Russia’s prime minister Mikhail Mishustin is to head a high-profile delegation to a business forum in China next week as Moscow’s economic dependency on Beijing grows, more than a year into its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Mishustin and Russia’s top energy official Alexander Novak, who are under western sanctions over the invasion, will be the most prominent Russian figures at the Russia-China Business Forum in Shanghai on May 23rd, according to people familiar with the matter. A spokesperson for Mishustin did not respond to a request for comment.
Top state company officials including Sberbank’s Herman Gref and Rostelecom’s Mikhail Oseevsky, who are also sanctioned, plan to attend, they added, as does a group of businessmen from Russian industrial companies.
A list of people applying for visas to attend the forum includes figures such as agricultural billionaires Andrei Guryev Jnr and Vadim Moshkovich, who are sanctioned, as well as Russia’s richest woman, the ecommerce billionaire Tatiana Bakalchuk, who is not. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The event is expected to underscore China’s growing support for president Vladimir Putin after western nations passed sweeping sanctions in response to the invasion that cut Russia off from global markets and crucial supply chains.
A draft programme for the forum, seen by the Financial Times, outlines Russian and Chinese plans to increase economic co-operation in areas from agriculture and transport to energy, industry, and tech.
Russia’s bilateral trade with China hit $190bn in 2022, a new record, and grew 39 per cent year on year to $54bn in the first quarter of this year. The renminbi has also taken on an increasing role in Russia’s payments after western sanctions left it largely unable to use the dollar.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, made a state visit to Moscow in March just