Europe Tech Meet Junks Invite To Pro-Kremlin Speakers
Europe's largest technology conference, Web Summit, sparked a raft of criticism in Ukraine when it invited pro-Russian speakers to its event in Lisbon this month, Daryna Antoniuk reported for Kyiv Independent.
Photo Insert: After the letter and other persistent requests, Web Summit decided to withdraw its invitation from The Grayzone.
Among Web Summit’s controversial invitees were Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate, journalists at The Grayzone, a far-left news website known for its misleading reporting and sympathetic coverage of authoritarian regimes.
Another participant, American philosopher Noam Chomsky, has been criticized for justifying Russia’s war in Ukraine and suggesting that Kyiv make concessions to Russia in order to "peacefully" end the war.
Outraged Ukrainians sent an official letter to the Web Summit, signed by Ukraine’s Embassy in Portugal, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, and the Ukrainian delegation to the conference.
“We find it offensive to see ourselves and other honorable speakers in the same venue and program together with people who justify the mass murders, rapes, and torture of innocent women and children,” reads the letter shown to the Kyiv Independent by one of the members of the delegation.
After the letter and other persistent requests, Web Summit decided to withdraw its invitation from The Grayzone.
“We apologize for the hurt caused,” said Web Summit’s statement on Twitter. Chomsky will participate in the event, despite Ukraine's criticism, but instead of performing on the main stage, he will speak virtually, according to Alexandra Govorukha, co-organizer of the Ukrainian Pavilion at Web Summit and head of global affairs at Sigma Software.
Web Summit is often referred to as “Davos for geeks” – it’s a gargantuan event that brings together big-name startups, investors, and leading tech media. More than 100,000 people are expected to visit it this year, including top executives of Binance, Airbnb, Revolut, Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft.