Everyone is reporting today how Pres. Medvedev changed Russia’s WTO entry strategy yesterday at his G8 press conference, with hundreds of English-language articles already published on the subject, even more than in Russian. Kommersant provided a good background to the whole issue. Remember that last month Putin announced that Russia was withdrawing its WTO bid, and would instead join as a member of a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus. This prompted a lot of acrimony from Western countries, and some saw it as a preemptive message strike against Pres. Obama on the eve of his first visit to Moscow, while others claimed it showed that Putin was still ‘in charge’.
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