“We are very sorry, but we are 100% funded from private sources and highly dependent on the contributions of our sponsors”, the Delphi Economic Forum organising committee said when pleading the deputy head of Sputnik news websites, Tatiana Kukhareva, to withdraw her candidacy as a moderator of one of the sessions, citing numerous concerns from speakers and sponsors.
The panel, titled “Assessing Russia's Relationship with the United States and the European Union: New Beginnings or Perpetual Contrasts?”, is expected to take place on 5 March. Delphi forum’s organisers invited Sputnik to chair the session this February, as the participation fee has already been paid months in advance. They refused to specify who was so concerned about Sputnik’s role in the discussion.
According to Delphi Forum’s draft agenda, it is Ben Hall, European editor at the Financial Times, who is now set to lead the discussion on Russia’s relationship with the West. It appears to be that Hall’s candidacy raised less questions from the forum’s sponsors.
Commenting on the matter, RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan appealed to Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who oversees the forum, asking him “when did political censorship return to the homeland of democracy?”
“Dear Greek friends, this does not work for us”, Simonyan wrote on her Telegram channel. “We will be happy to restore initial agreements and [receive] an apology to Tatiana from your side. Especially since the last day of your forum falls right on March 8 [International Women's Day]”.