International business leaders will be assembling in St. Petersburg in Russia for the country's annual economic forum this week amid hopes that the country can still rebuild its investment outlook and relationship with the rest of the world.
The three-day St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) starts on June 18 and comes at a difficult time for Russia. The country remains largely isolated on a political and economic level due to international sanctions on the country, imposed for Russia's perceived role in the pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine, which it denies.
Making matters worse in Ukraine, there has been an escalation of violence lately between pro-Russian rebels and the country's armed forces, threatening a fragile official ceasefire, called the Minsk agreements, and potentially earning Moscow an extension of sanctions until the end of the year.
Russia's economy has been on a roller-coaster ride since the conflict erupted in spring 2014 with its currency and stocks hit hard by declining oil prices, capital outflows and soaring inflation.