Russia is preparing to welcome leaders and executives from the world of business and economics but this year's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) comes at a time when the country's international relations are more unstable than ever.
Nonetheless, investors and market watchers will focus on the forum if only to hear what Russian President Vladimir Putin — who will attend and speak at the event — and other high-profile ministers, economists and business leaders have to say about the country.
This year, speakers include French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as Russia's Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
Russia's relations with its western neighbors are at a low ebb, with its support for the authoritarian regime in Syria, a suspected Russian-directed nerve agent attack on U.K. soil and likely meddling in elections in the U.S. causing controversy and prompting suspicion among many members of the international community. Moscow denies having any part in the U.K. attack or political interference.