Robbie Williams to ‘Party Like a Russian’ for Rich EliteBy and
Russia’s top leaders will meet in St. Petersburg this week
Rusal and Oleg Deripaska won’t be part of official program
“It takes a certain kind of man with a certain reputation, to alleviate the cash from a whole entire nation. Take my loose change and build my own space station. (Just because you can, man.)”
Robbie Williams’s lyrics in the 2016 song "Party Like a Russian" digs at the country’s rich and powerful. This week, it might be their dancing music. The British pop artist is headlining the glitziest after-hours bash at Russia’s annual economic forum this week. The party will celebrate the 25th anniversary of MegaFon PJSC, the wireless company owned by Alisher Usmanov.
Aside from the business agenda, the three-day event in St. Petersburg is known for its lavish late-night parties where Russia’s top brass mingle with celebrities and the champagne flows freely. The economic forum this year will be attended by President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, and panels include everything from how to do business in Russia to biotechnology and blockchain.
Noticeably absent from the forum will be an official delegation from United Co. Rusal, the aluminum giant sanctioned by the U.S. government last month. For the first time in about a decade, the company isn’t sponsoring events or sending a team of executives, according to three people familiar with the situation.
Rusal owner Oleg Deripaska will make a final decision this week on whether to go to St. Petersburg, the people said, adding that it’s unlikely he’ll attend.
The company has more pressing issues to deal with. Rusal faces a long list of operational problems, and is currently negotiating an end to the sanctions with the U.S. Treasury. A spokeswoman for Deripaska declined to comment.
An absence would mark the new reality for the aluminum magnate, who prided himself on his reputation as a globe-trotting executive who threw extravagant events. In February, Deripaska’s party in Davos featured Russian folk dancers and a performance by Enrique Iglesias.