- Russian oligarchs are known for throwing lavish parties at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
- But this year, zero Russian businessmen or companies received the invite, according to multiple reports.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual keynote address on Monday.
Russian oligarchs — and their lavish parties — will be noticeably absent this year from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos as Putin’s war on Ukraine nears its fourth month.
Not one Russian official, executive, or company received an invite to the exclusive conference, which kicks off on Monday. Meanwhile, a philanthropic group has turned the site’s “Russia House” into an exhibition called the “Russia War Crimes House,” Reuters reports.
It’s the first time the conference will exclude Russians among its elite attendees since the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Bloomberg first reported. In 2020, Russians were the third most-represented billionaires in attendance, per the outlet.
“We are not engaging with any sanctioned individual and have frozen all relations with Russian entities,” Amanda Russo, a WEF spokesperson, told Politico back in March. WEF did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for further comment.
After two years of virtual-only events, the grand meeting of the world’s political and economic elite is attempting to reclaim its place in a post-pandemic, war-torn world. The boycott is a far cry from WEF’s response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2015, after which they invited President Vladimir Putin to speak at the event.
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is currently sanctioned by the US, EU, and UK, is known for throwing opulent after-parties at the conference. In 2018, the billionaire aluminum magnate hosted a bash featuring a performance by Spanish pop artist Enrique Iglesias. Two years prior, models dressed as flight attendants reportedly spoon-fed guests caviar and vodka shots, according to the Politico report.
Ukrainian officials have quickly filled Russia’s spots at Davos, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy scheduled to deliver a virtual keynote address on Monday.
The World Economic Forum condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, adding that it “will do whatever is possible to help and actively support humanitarian and diplomatic efforts.”
“We only hope that — in the longer-term — reason will prevail and that the space for bridge-building and reconciliation once more emerges,” the statement continues.