Look at the attendance list for this week’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia’s annual showcase for global investors, and you’ll notice a couple of things.

First, the number of business leaders making an appearance remains way below the event’s heyday before the crisis in Ukraine. Second, those who do go to hear President Vladimir Putin’s keynote address on Friday are far more likely to bump into a European oil executive than an American banker.

While the panic over last year’s ruble collapse has ebbed, the economy’s slide into recession for the first time since 2009 continues to damp any interest in investment in Russia. Moreover, European companies are more willing to remain engaged than their U.S. counterparts, put off by the coolest relations between Moscow and Washington in a generation.

The stance of U.S. executives reflects continued pressure from President Barack Obama’s administration even if it’s “less obvious” than a year ago, said Alexis Rodzianko, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow.

“I don’t see a very quick solution to that,” he said.

Attendance has increased a little from last year’s forum, which took place as fighting in eastern Ukraine escalated. Among those scheduled to appear are the chief executive officers of accountants Ernst & Young and PwC, Swiss engineering firm ABB Ltd. and French bank Societe Generale SA. Among U.S. corporations, the head of Caterpillar Inc. is listed.

Goldman Sachs

That’s still far fewer than 2012, when Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein and the heads of Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley all attended. Other American business leaders that year included the bosses of General Motors Corp, Pfizer Inc. and Alcoa Inc.

The trans-Atlantic divide is marked in Russia’s most important industry: oil and gas. The heads of Europe’s largest producers, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Total SA, will all show up this year, like they did in 2014, while their U.S. counterparts will stay home for the second year.

European companies have existing businesses in Russia they need to look after. BP is the second-largest shareholder in state-controlled OAO Rosneft, for example. Total is building a giant gas-export plant in the Arctic.

“It’s all about showing presence,” according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Philip Chladek. “Total for one is against the sanctions, so this way they might be saying: we’re still interested.”

Rosneft Project

There could even be deals. BP is preparing to buy a stake worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Rosneft’s East Siberian Taas Yuriakh project, according to the Financial Times. That’s the kind of onshore project that’s exempt from sanctions.

Before the Ukraine crisis, the largest U.S. oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp., had embarked on a joint venture with Rosneft to explore in Russia’s Arctic, but the investment was stopped by U.S. measures against offshore drilling.

The company is now involved in a tax dispute regarding an existing project in Russia’s Far East and CEO Rex Tillerson isn’t on the list of this week’s participants.

In either case, it’s hard for the oil and gas industry to give Russia the cold shoulder. The country vies with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer and has the second-biggest reserves outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Keep Knocking

“If you are a major you cannot ignore the need to keep knocking at the doors of the largest oil reserves,” said Dmitry Loukashov, an oil and gas analyst at VTB Capital in Moscow. “At some point, one of them might be reopened.”

That said, the wider context for business in Russia remains bleak. The central bank in Moscow said on Monday that if oil prices remain at $60 a barrel, the economy will contract for a second year in a row in 2016.

European companies in Russia expect a longer period to recoup their investments and a further drop in foreign capital inflows, according to a survey published this week by the Association of European Businesses.

“This shows that people are going to be not so quick in deciding on any major investment projects and their expectations for the Russian market are rather limited,” said Frank Schauff, CEO of the European business lobbying group.

Russian big business is feeling increasingly isolated from the global economy as companies find it harder to raise capital abroad and engage with foreign markets, billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

“This is bad for business because there shouldn’t be any barriers for it,” he said.