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In the middle of war, Putin looks east from Russia's window to Europe

Cut off from the West, Russia is pitching its $2 trillion economy to giants like China and Saudi Arabia and longerterm prospects like Zimbabwe and Afghanistan at its premier investment forum in St. Petersburg, which was established by the tsars as a window to. Europe.

The war in Ukraine has caused the most significant upheaval in. Russia's relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Rocket. Crisis, and Western sanctions have required a once-in-a-century. revolution in Russia's financial relations.

Since Peter the Great laid the foundations of the modern. Russian state and made St Petersburg the capital in the early. 18th Century, Russia's rulers have looked to the West as a. source of technology, financial investment and ideas.

The 2022 invasion of Ukraine, however, has actually forced President. Vladimir Putin to pivot towards Asia and the rest of the. non-Western world in the middle of what the Kremlin says amounts to an. economic blockade by the United States and its European allies.

Western sanctions have actually not torpedoed Russia's economy,. nevertheless, and Moscow has actually supported ties with China, significant regional. powers in the Middle East and throughout Africa and Latin America.

It is less clear, however, just how much money these nations are. prepared to buy Russia's economy, and at what cost. No. smash hit deals were announced up until now.

But Russian authorities say it is just starting - which. relations with the West are destroyed for a generation.

Bolivian President Luis Arce, who will sign up with Putin at the. primary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Online Forum,. stated he wanted to share the experience of Bolivia's new economic. design - with a big state - considering that 2006.

We have our own economic design, which we have been. implementing since 2006, and we want to share this experience,. Arce told Putin.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is attending, as are. 45 other foreign authorities including the Saudi energy minister,. Oman's minister of trade and commerce, and a senior Taliban. authorities.

Russian trade with Zimbabwe is small though - just $168. million in 2023 versus Russian-European Union trade of$ 300. billion in the year before Russia got into Ukraine.

Gone from the online forum are the Western financiers and financial investment. bankers who when gathered to protect a piece of Russia's vast. mineral wealth and one of Europe's most significant customer markets. saw no major Western companies at the forum.

Mostly gone too are the 1990s oligarchs who made fortunes. wheeling and handling the mayhem of a collapsing superpower.

In Putin's Russia the primary arbiter is the state, managed. by the former Cold War spies and technocrats in his entourage.

CHINESE DRAGON

State-controlled banks such as Sberbank, VTB << VTB. and VEB have massive stands, as do Russian areas and. ministries together with resource giants such as Gazprom Neft. and Novatek.

In an indication of the times, Alfa Bank's stand was a vast Chinese. inflated dragon decorated with Chinese characters and an assertion. that Alfa was the best bank for service with China.

Chinese high-end cars and truck brand Hongqi included armoured vehicles.

A delegation from the Taliban, still formally prohibited in. Russia, explored the stands. The Taliban originally drew members. from fighters who, with U.S. assistance, drove away Soviet forces in. the 1980s.

The theme of the online forum is the statement: The foundation of. a multipolar world is the formation of new points of growth.

While Russia's economy has revealed strength in the face of. stringent Western sanctions, rates are rising as defence. investing balloons.

In dollar terms, the economy is about the exact same size it was a. years earlier, and Putin is locked into a financial war with the. West whose financial might is a minimum of 25 times larger than. Russia's on a nominal GDP basis.

From many foreign participants there was praise for Russia.

This year's occasion has actually grown in size ... There are a lot of. chances, Nebeolisa Anako, an authorities from Nigeria, told. .

The West may be in fact separating themselves as they are a. minority in the world, although a very vital part of the. world. It is constantly much better to cooperate with other parts of the. world.

Other officials from Africa and the Middle East echoed those. words.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman met. Putin's energy point man, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak,. at the forum.

Novak stated friendly countries took the vast majority of. its oil exports and that about 70% of it was paid for in. nationwide currencies.

We already supply 95% of oil and petroleum products to. friendly nations this year in 4 months, Novak said.