Photo: Stephane Mahe / Reuters
Russia was never fully integrated into the international club with the countries “the Big seven”, and will not have such opportunity even if the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis. This opinion was expressed by Director General of Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC) Andrei Kortunov in workbook “Why “seven” was “eight” or thirty years relations of Moscow and of the group of seven”.
Kortunov at the beginning of its work, recalled the story of Russia’s accession to the “Big seven” during the reign of President Boris Yeltsin. “Both sides sought to maintain maximum flexibility (..), which ultimately allowed us to integrate Russia into the G7 in the very short term.” It is emphasized that for a long time, the West remains hopeful for the transformation of Russia into a full “Western country”, which was not against China and India. However, Russia is not fully integrated into the Union even by 2014 — the most important issues discussed without its participation.
It is noted that the time between the membership and the chairmanship in the “Group of eight” (1997-2006) can be considered the “honeymoon” in relations of Russia from the G8. The climactic moment in the relationship the author believes the summit in St. Petersburg in 2006. It was then that “the”Group of eight” comes closest to being a truly global platform to discuss new rules of the game in international politics and the world economy of the XXI century”.
The analyst also says that preparatory work for the summit in Sochi 2014 began even before the Ukrainian crisis and continued until mid-March of that year. However, Kortunov stressed that the format could not prevent the conflict in Ukraine, even despite the fact that “seven” overlooked his background. RIAC Director General stressed that Ukraine has never become a topic for serious discussion at the meetings of the “Big eight”. After 2014 the G7 this topic has always boiled down to the issue of preservation of anti-Russian sanctions.
The author concludes that even if the final resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s return to the “Big seven” will lead to the same problems that existed between Moscow and the West in past years. The format of the G8, according to Korotkova, most appropriate be described as the summit of the “7+1” without full integration “in a privileged Western club”. By 2019, the G8 has lost the basic elements of universalism that existed in the twentieth century and became a symbol of the “collective West,” he said.
In June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia will be able to return to the group G8, but this requires the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The “big eight” ceased to exist in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. Then the leaders of major world powers has refused to participate in the G8 summit that Russia, as chair, was held in Sochi. Instead, in Brussels was held a summit of the G7 (France, UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada).
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