The Group of Eight is one of the key informal mechanisms to coordinate the political and economic courses of the USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Canada and Russia. The role of this political club is determined with the economic and military potential of its members.
The question of Russia’s place in the G8 has become a subject of numerous discussions and speculations. Both Western and a certain part of Russian media outlets continue their propaganda to weaken Moscow's political position on the threshold of the G8 summit in St.Petersburg.
Those who stand against Russia’s membership in the club believe that the country does not fit in because of its low economic indexes, the violation of ‘democratic freedoms,’ including freedom of speech and press. Former economic advisor to the Russian president, Andrei Illarionov, stated that the forthcoming summit in St.Petersburg would mark the end of the Group of Eight.
All discussions pertaining to huge differences between the living standards in the West and in Russia are based on political craftiness as long as they try to prove Russia’s inadequacy in the club. It is noteworthy that the average living standard in India and China is lower, but Western officials say that these two countries should be granted membership anyway.
Russia does lack behind its Western partners in terms of the GDP. However, such lamentable results were achieved at the time when the Russian administration was blindly following the instructions from Western economic advisors. Now that Russia bids farewell to this policy and strengthens its economic positions in the world, certain political forces in the West cannot but set out their concerns on the matter. In the event Russia is excluded from G8, Western superpowers will be deprived of a mediator for the coordination of mutual interests.
Russia’s foreign politics used to be about making concessions for the West in return to empty promises and verbal encouragements only. The time of the silly political games is over. Moscow and Washington have completed the talks on Russia’s incorporation in the WTO. The documents may probably be signed on July 14.
Until recently, Russia was not allowed to participate in the solution of key financial questions within the scope of the G8. However, G8 finance ministers expressed their satisfaction with the development of the Russian economy during the last ministerial meeting.
The question of energy security will be Russia’s top subject for discussion during the G8 summit in St.Petersburg. World's leading newspapers and magazines published an article written by President Putin in March of the current year. Putin said in the article that any kind of development in the world was impossible without energy. “When talking about the energy security, we imply not only the interests of industrially developed countries, but all other members of the international community. We imply the needs of entire mankind, but not the ones of the most developed countries of the world. Finally, when we were choosing this subject, we wanted to choose the problem which Russia could contribute to solving greatly,” Putin wrote.
This problem will help Russia unveil its new role in the world and in world politics. On the one hand, Russia is a key oil and gas supplier. On the other hand, Russia is not a member of OPEC, which means that its assistance could be important in case OPEC members took certain actions to destabilize the situation on the energy market. In other words, Russia could become a political bridge linking the West with the rest of the world, including other energy suppliers. Those Western forces that still want to dictate their prices to oil and gas suppliers apparently dislike the idea.
If the West does not want to listen to the voice of Russia and take its political and economic interests into consideration, the G8 summit in St.Petersburg will most likely turn into a meeting of talking heads.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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