The annual St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum will take place today for the first time in four years.
The forum, dubbed a global cultural event, was canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and last year’s edition, originally scheduled for a mid-November date, was canceled as well, most likely in response to the war in Ukraine.
This year’s theme is “Forum of United Cultures” and will bring together thousands of cultural experts, including prominent theater, opera, and ballet figures, musicians, government officials, business leaders, and members of the academic community. Russian Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova claimed that the event will be “very vibrant and undoubtedly international”, however, the Forum’s comeback edition will undoubtedly lack the presence of cultural experts and attendees from most of Europe and the US.
The event will test the limits of Russia’s international reach, particularly in the cultural sector. Having been banned from sports competitions and music events in the past years, Russia’s cultural sector is more isolated than ever, a development that was greatly accentuated by the war in Ukraine. Nevertheless, expect the Russian government, which organizes the event, to use the occasion to expand its cultural ties in an attempt to hinder further isolation.