The World Economic Forum (WEF) has refused to invite a single Russian to its annual conference in Davos this week, in what is set to be the first Davos conference without any Russians since the fall of the USSR.
The WEF’s annual meeting – which is set to be the first in-person Davos conference since the start of the pandemic – is set to see the rich and powerful from across the globe descend on the Swiss resort town of Davos from Sunday 22 to Thursday 26 May.
Crowds are set to hear from an assortment of the world’s most influential politicians, academics, and chief executive officers, on topics such as geopolitics, macroeconomics, and climate change.
However, Russia’s oligarch – and their opulent parties – will be distinctly absent from this year’s event, after the WEF decided not to extend invites to any Russian individuals or organisations in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The block comes in spite of the fact Russians have traditionally acted as a major force at the WEF’s previous conferences, in acting the third largest contingent of billionaires at the NGO’s last 2020 meeting.
Instead, world leaders are set to hear a special address, via video call, from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, with attendees also set to discuss the impact of sanctions on Russia and plans to rebuild Ukraine.
Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates is also set to tell the conference how to avoid the next pandemic, while Democratic Party John Kerry is set to discuss plans to make the world resilient to the imapcts of climate change.