Russia has never pushed U.S. businesses away despite the "confusion" and "emotion" surrounding recent sanctions, the chief executive of the American Chambers of Commerce in Russia, told CNBC Thursday.
"Businesses have continued to operate in Russia and continue to do so successfully, the Russian government has never really turned its back on U.S. business, it has been making a consistent and credible message of, 'You're welcome here, operate here, please stay and we like you and we appreciate the business you do here,'" Alexis Rodzianko told CNBC on Thursday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have increased in recent weeks with the U.S. piling more sanctions on Russia for its alleged meddling in the U.S. election in 2016; the latest sanction list issued in April included Russian oligarchs, government officials and entities that it said were allied with President Vladimir Putin and engaged in "malign activity" around the world.
Notable inclusions on the list are aluminum giant Rusal and its outgoing president Oleg Deripaska, as well as VTB Bank President Andrei Kostin, who was listed as a government official (VTB Bank is majority owned by the Russian state).
Rodzianko said the list was confusing. "I would argue that these oligarchs are not particularly close to Putin, these are holdovers from the (former President Boris) Yeltsin era and they're more tolerated than considered close. So that was a confusing factor and if confusion was the objective then, hey, there's lots of confusion. Uncertainty that anybody could be next is in the air," he said.