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The move prompted speculation that President Putin had ordered the event to be boycotted in light of Britain’s continued refusal to extradite Boris Berezovsky, the billionaire businessman and outspoken opponent of the Russian leader.
Mr Berezovsky sparked an outcry in Moscow last week by claiming that he was financing an anti-Kremlin “revolution”.
Kremlin sources said that the conference boycott was the result of “an order from above”.
The Russian Economic Forum, organised by London-based firm Eventica, is the world’s biggest international networking event for Russian companies. This year’s event, the tenth, begins tomorrow and was due to attract more than 2,000 delegates.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
The Kremlin Boycotts Eventica
Each year, London's Russian expat business community holds a large and elaborate conference organized by Eventica, the company which also arranges the annual Russian Winter Festival in Trafalgar Square. The conference, which is often addressed by senior British government figures - this year Alistair Darling is due to speak - is one of the main pillars of Russian-British relations, and its upbeat, business-oriented flavour is often contrasted with the state of relations during the Cold War. This year, however, a dozen influential executives with links to the Kremlin have pulled out, according to a report in the London Times: