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Russia's Ouster From the G8: Three Things to Know

Speaker: Stewart M. Patrick, Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program, Council on Foreign Relations
March 28, 2014

Western leaders' decision to eject Russia from the Group of Eight (G8) is "the most visible diplomatic response to date" to Moscow's annexation of Crimea from the Ukraine, says Stewart M. Patrick, CFR's senior fellow and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program. He highlights three things to know about the likely consequences:

  • Russia Never Belonged: Russia was invited to join the G7 after the Cold War ended in an effort to facilitate Moscow's Western orientation, but the effort failed. "Russia—lacking both an advanced economy and a robust democracy—was always the odd man out," Patrick says, and its presence became problematic long before the Ukraine crisis.

  • Symbolic Gesture: Russia's suspension will sting, but it will not likely influence Putin's strategic calculations, Patrick predicts. Russia's future moves in its periphery may be influenced by the force posture of the NATO alliance and the strength of Western economic sanctions.

  • Continued Dialogue: The Kremlin still has access to many bilateral and multilateral channels of communication, including direct lines between heads of state. Russia also retains full membership in the more diverse Group of Twenty forum—"the forum in which it belongs," Patrick says.

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