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Davos After boycott threat, Russia will send top envoys to WEF

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev smiles during a panel discussion on the future of Russia at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

(Keystone)

Russia will participate in the next World Economic Forum (WEF), the organisers announced on Sunday. Moscow threatened in November to boycott the Davos meeting if its businessmen were excluded.

"We are delighted that Russia will also send a high-ranking government delegation to Davos," WEF executive director Alois Zwinggi said in a statement. "To meet global challenges, we need all stakeholders at the Forum's annual meeting." 

If the Russian delegation were to include persons subject to sanctions, "all necessary measures have been taken to ensure that their presence would fully comply with the legal conditions in force", Zwinggi said.

 Oligarchs in the crosshairs

Last month the Financial Times reported that three businessmen – aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska, businessman Viktor Vekselberg and VTB Bank chief Andrei Kostin – had been informed that they would not be welcome at the elite gathering at the resort in eastern Switzerland, which next year takes place from January 22-25. All three have attended the Davos WEF meeting in the past.

 + Read more on why Russia threatened a no-show in Davos

What the three men have in common is that they have became the target of American sanctions this year and are considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow threatened to boycott the prestigious gathering if these Russian tycoons were excluded.

"If all these decisions that have been made in relation to Russian business representatives are not changed, then we will have to make a decision regarding the cancelation of participation in the Davos forum of state employees and Russian companies where the state has a stake," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on November 13.

Quoting Russian state news agencies, the NZZ am Sonntag and the Financial Times reported on Sunday that the WEF had caved in to Russian threats and renounced considering the three Russian oligarchs as persona non grata.

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