Russia's Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina the country must prioritise 'ensuring the openness of our economy'.
Russia's Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina the country must prioritise 'ensuring the openness of our economy'. AFP

Russia's central bank chief called Thursday for Russia to be an "open economy" despite the barrage of Western sanctions and trading restrictions it has been hit with over its Ukraine offensive.

Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina was speaking at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia's landmark annual business event that used to be a hotbed of dealmaking for Western investors.

Previously dubbed the "Russian Davos," Western attendees at the set-piece event are few and far between this year, with the forum now serving as a demonstration of Russia's isolation in much of the developed world.

At a panel discussion on Thursday, Nabiullina said Russia must prioritise "ensuring the openness of our economy."

"Despite the sanctions we should be ready to integrate our economy" into the world economy, she added.

Sanctions have largely carved Russia out from the international financial system and killed off its former lucrative energy partnerships with the West.

A slew of Western companies have also withdrawn from Russia since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine.

China has become Russia's main economic partner over the last two years, though President Vladimir Putin has railed against the United States putting "pressure" on that relationship by threatening sanctions on Chinese banks that deal with Russia.

Speaking alongside Nabiullina, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov had a different message.

Russia needed to boost its "financial sovereignty," he said.

"We will work on this in the coming years," he added.

Nabiullina also said Russia needed to develop its capital markets and warned planned tax rises -- which could raise $30 billion for the government -- must not be implemented in a way that discourages investment.

As always, Putin is at the forum, which takes place in his home town.

A presidential aide said guests from more than 130 countries would attend, though there is little in the way of Western presence -- from either the political or business worlds.

Putin was set to meet the leaders of Zimbabwe and Bolivia, the highest ranking foreign guests.

Before the conflict in Ukraine, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, France's Emmanuel Macron, China's Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi had also all spoken on stage alongside Putin.

This year a Taliban delegation was attending to discuss boosting economic relations with Moscow, state media reported.