The Minister of foreign Affairs of Italy Angelino Alfano did not rule out the return of Russia in the “Big eight” by the next summit the informal organization, which will be held in may on the island of Sicily near Taormina. This statement was made Minister on the TV channel RAI on 10 January. Considering that from 1 January 2017 the presidency of the G7 passed it to Italy, it could be considered as a kind of official position.
“The participation of Moscow for the summit in Taormina is good hope the beginning of the year, which can be realized in the coming months,” said Alfano. He added that many “will depend on the Kremlin” and how Moscow will implement the Minsk agreement. However, after a few days, the Italian Minister changed the tone of his statement. On a question of journalists of the Agency ANSA about the possibility of restoring the G8 with the participation of Russia, Alfano responded more cautiously.
“We need to consider the prospect of returning of Russia in the G8, but I don’t know if it by may,” said the head of the Italian foreign Ministry.
Recall that Russia withdrew from the political club in 2014, after the events in the Crimea and in the Donbas, after which the organization of the “Big eight” again became “Seven”. It includes USA, Canada, Japan, UK, France, Germany and Italy.
In the late summer of last year about the prospect of Russia’s return to the “Big eight” said the head of the German foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “Despite the fact that the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine continue, we are not interested in the fact that Russia is excluded from our club, which includes the world’s largest economy”, – he declared on August 31.
The head of the Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov soon after said that Moscow does not aim to return to the G8, but Western countries are “already persuaded myself that I need Russia in “eight” return”.
By the way, now we are discussing the return of Russia to another international organization – the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 2014 and 2015 the Russian delegation was deprived of PACE voting rights and participate in statutory bodies of the Assembly, although he continued to work in the organization. In 2016, Russia has completely abandoned the work in PACE and in meetings did not participate. At the present January session the Russian delegation will not be.
Speaker of the state Duma Vyacheslav Volodin has declared that Moscow will not resume their work in the organization until you change the “negative” regulation that allows you to deny the vote of the delegation of the minority. On January 12, a scheduled meeting Volodina with President of PACE Pedro Agramunt, which will discuss the issue of changing the regulations and the return of Russia to the Assembly.
Whether the European political establishment are inclined to normalize relations with Russia or is it another political maneuvers and rhetoric? And whether Russia participation in organizations, which again may limit their rights if they disagree with the policy of Moscow?
– I would divide the international organizations and parties, – the Director of the Center for political studies, Financial University under the government of Russia Pavel Salin. – The organization has the status, the Charter, the Secretariat of the authority. The “big seven”, as “Big twenty”, this status has not, it’s just a party. Each year one representative of this group sends the rest of the invitation and host them. Russia’s recent invitation is not sent. So technically it is not excluded, because no one took.
In fact, Russia was connected to the meetings of the “Seven” in 90-e years in compensation, when they began to draw in other areas. So I see no reason to go back to G8. This is a club in the Western world. Russia is not positioned as part of the Western political superstructure. It claims the status of a free player who leads the discussion on an equal footing with the West and the East. Therefore, in the meetings of the “Big twenty” still have to participate, but in the G7 Russia was a stranger.
“SP”: – does it make sense to return to the PACE?
PAZ is an international organization with all its procedures. With it, as in relations with Europe, Russia, I think you need to take a position of waiting. Not to take any steps neither to deterioration nor to improve relations. It is better to focus on the Eastern vector of our policy in the Asia-Pacific region. By the way, there are now focused and United States, and with the trump this trend will only intensify.
Europe let the relationship develop gradually. I think sooner or later the Europeans will come here and will offer to resume cooperation. As for PACE, if we manage to link our membership there with the lifting of sanctions, a dialogue is possible. But in General Russia in this situation neither heat nor cold. I don’t think you need to take the initiative in this area.
Similar opinion is shared by Deputy Director of the Institute for strategic studies and forecasts of the Russian University of friendship of peoples Nikita Danyk.
– In the last six years we have been hearing from various representatives of the European political elite that it is appropriate to resume a productive cooperation with Russia and to return to all international organizations in which its participation is essential. First of all, it concerns the PACE because the interaction between parliamentarians is an important international institution, which until the events of 2013-2014 has been quite effective. Russia’s participation in it was full, and the exchange of experience at such a high level strengthens international and political relations.
“SP”: – And “the Big eight”?
– In contrast to the formal organization of the PACE, which represents the parliaments of European countries, the G8 is an informal club. There is no of the Institute membership is a platform, which, until recently, was joined eight democratic States that adhere to certain parameters in its political system. Please note that the China was not included in the “Big eight”, although this is a very important player on the world stage.
In my opinion, different signals and hints that Russia was again ready to let this informal club is nothing more than political bargaining, which will not succeed. We have repeatedly stressed that after the collapse of the G8, the interaction between States can be done in other areas, particularly in the economic “Big twenty”. The G20 is a much more convenient format that is free of ideological dogmas G7.
The return of Russia in the “Big eight” is simply not appropriate. First, go back to where you are, roughly speaking, kicked out, not very prestigious. Secondly, the mere presence of Russia in this informal club is not so important and fundamental. I don’t think we will be back-even if to call us.
“SP”: – And the PACE membership is important to us?
– With PACE, the situation is different. The European Union has always been for us an important player. We perceive Europe as one of key allies and partners. In order to restore lost credibility, the interaction between parliamentarians is necessary. But the same Volodin stressed that Russia is ready to return to the Assembly only on the condition that our country will be a full member of the organization. After all, the Europeans have repeatedly said that they want to see Russia in PACE, but with limited rights, for example, our delegation will not be able to discuss any initiatives or will be deprived of voting rights.
The PACE membership now is an element of political bargaining. In my opinion, to agree to return to the Assembly in exchange for some concessions from our side, too impractical. The organization, which should be built on principles of General equality and democracy, and the G7 can boast freedom from ideologized and engagement. Therefore, although participation in PACE is an important element of interaction, to be torn and to participate in meetings on the rights of the poor relation is not necessary.
Moreover, the steps taken against Russia, it may be repeated. If Europe does not like some actions of the Russian leadership, they will again exclude the Russian delegation. We need to ensure that this ping-pong will be no more. The efficient work PACE is possible only at observance of the General rules and equal treatment of all participants. So if you go at the PACE good, and if not that’s cool, too. Moreover, without Russia a number of key issues of Europe and the world is still not solved.