(RT) – Tony Blair appeared at the St Petersburg Economic Forum in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hometown on Friday, where the former UK prime minister advised business leaders on ways they could improve their performance.
His appearance on the
panel came just hours after he was offered a job by the Ukrainian
Blair advised Russian businessmen on how they could learn from
his delivery unit, which he initially rolled out in Downing
Street to help speed up hospital reforms. He did not touch on the
economic impact of Western sanctions on Russia.
The St Petersburg International Economic Forum, designed to
mirror the World Economic Forum, has been boycotted by some
Western companies in recent years, who have taken their lead from
the UK and US governments.
The former PM addressed Russian and foreign business leaders and
investors alongside Sberbank CEO Herman Gref. Russia’s biggest
bank has suffered losses following the imposition of Western
Blair’s appearance, in a session called “Crisis Mitigation
Policies: The Need for Government Reform,” came just hours
after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced he had
offered the former UK prime minister a role on his advisory
Poroshenko said Thursday that Blair was a “true friend of
Ukraine,” saying he had “expressed firm support for
Ukraine, its independence, sovereignty and territorial
“The British politician emphasized that the world community
had a great desire to support Ukraine and asked the president
what practical international assistance was necessary for
Ukraine,” an official statement read.
“Petro Poroshenko invited Tony Blair to share his experience
of public administration within the Advisory International
Council of Reforms under the President of Ukraine.”
Blair’s extensive network of business interests now includes an
oil firm in Saudi Arabia, American bank JP Morgan Chase, and
various Chinese clients.
The former PM’s spokesperson said: “Mr Blair participated on
a panel talking about the need for government reform.
“He discussed leading reform programs and improving the
delivery of public services, having established the Delivery Unit
while Prime Minister and worked on the issue of governance since
leaving office. He received no fee.”
On his business in Ukraine, the spokesman added: “President
[Poroshenko] asked him to join his reform council yesterday on a
voluntary basis, but no decisions have been made at this
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