The Centre for Contemporary Turkish Studies and Russia—Turkey Relations at St Petersburg University together with TOBB University of Economics and Technology (Ankara, Turkey) held an international conference ‘Russian-Turkish economic relations during the COVID-19 pandemic’.

 TOBB University of Economics and Technology (TOBB ETU) was established by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey in 2001.

The conference was held with the support of: the Embassy of Turkey in Russia; the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Turkey; and the Russian-Turkish Businessmen Association (RTIB). It was held online.

Opening the online meeting, the moderator of the conference Arda Tokat, Head of the Department of International Entrepreneurship at TOBB University of Economics and Technology, said:

We are destined to live in a very difficult period that will last a long time. Despite the vaccination, we are getting more and more news about another lockdown in Europe. This situation has dealt a heavy blow to the economy worldwide.

Arda Tokat, Head of the Department of International Entrepreneurship at TOBB University of Economics and Technology

Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University welcomed the participants of the conference and the audience on behalf of the administration at the University: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has spread all over the world and has had a detrimental effect on the global economy. The subject of the impact of the pandemic on various spheres of our life resonates strongly with academic society. St Petersburg University strives to make a humanitarian, academic contribution in the resolution of the pressing problems caused by the pandemic. It has succeeded in taking the leading positions in many spheres.’ The economic relations between Russia and Turkey have been developing for many centuries. Now the collaboration of the two countries is one of the most dynamic on the global arena. Sergey Andryushin reminded the audience of the conference about the landmark visit of the president of Russia to Turkey in 2019. During it, agreements on many economic issues were reached, as well as on major Russian—Turkey strategic projects that were launched in 2020, such as TurkStream.

Asena Caner, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at TOBB University of Economics and Technology pointed out that the pandemic affected not only the economy but also the cultural and social relations of the countries. ‘There is not a single sphere of social life left that has not been affected by the pandemic. Today’s discussion will become an important milestone in the development of further collaboration between Russia and Turkey in the difficult current situation,’ she added.

The relations of Russia and Turkey have strategic importance, which relates to geography and economics as well as to strong and old ties between our countries in the field of culture. Today, it is important to make maximum use of the existing capacity and use new possibilities, platforms, formats of cooperation to return quickly the relations to their former level.

Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University

Presentations were given by the heads of the Trade Representatives of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey and CEOs of major Turkish bank and development organisations as well as university teachers. Elena Sokolovskaia, Associate Professor, leading research associate at the Laboratory of Asian Economic Studies of St Petersburg University and Sergei Belozerov, Professor at St Petersburg University made a presentation on the impact of the pandemic on development of insurtech in Russia and Turkey. Elena Anokhina, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University spoke about strategic sustainability in big, medium-sized and small businesses as well as its influence on the development of regions with a low level of social and economic development.


Apollinariia Avrutina, Doctor of Philology and Director of the Centre for Contemporary Turkish Studies at St Petersburg University, made a final report at the conference. She assumed that we have witnessed unique events that have led or will soon lead to great social changes. Many familiar forms of communication, exchange of information, receiving services or products have transformed completely. However, these changes have mostly affected culture, education and tourism. There have appeared new less expensive but more effective forms of international interaction. The pandemic resulted in a massive surge in the production of intellectual output, an increase in the creation of new educational platforms, and an interest for new educational products. ‘Historical changes await us in the academic sphere,’ Apollinariia Avrutina noticed. ‘The repercussions of the pandemic will be studied by researchers from different fields: economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology and others. Literature and art communities will give the current events interpretation in the form of art.’


The translation of the conference is available on St Petersburg University YouTube channel.