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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Analysis: Russia's place in G8
The Moscow's Kremlin
The Kremlin readily supported the US-led war on terror


The decision by the G8 to hold its summit in Russia in four years' time is being heralded in Moscow as an indication that Russia is now a fully-fledged member of the world economic community.


However you twist the figures, technically Russia is not one of the world's top eight developed economies

But the fact that the G8 is also preparing to give Russia $20 billion to help dispose of its weapons of mass destruction suggests that the country still relies more on aid than do the other members.

However you twist the figures, technically Russia is not one of the world's top eight developed economies - which is what the term "G8" is supposed to mean.

It does not even come in the top ten.

But, geographically, Russia is the biggest country in the world.

And its legacy from when it was a part of the Soviet Union means that it still has a huge nuclear arsenal.

From G7 to G8

These factors have meant that Russia has gradually been growing closer to what used to be called the G7 ever since the then Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, made the first overtures to the organisation in the late 1980s.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
The G8 decision is big boost for President Putin

G7 became G7 plus one, then G8.

But the crash of the rouble in August 1998 saw a swift return to G7.

The recovery made by the Russian economy since then, though, has seen a growing acceptance by the G7 to bring Russia into the fold.

And in the past year, politics has played a huge part.

The readiness with which the Kremlin signed up to the international war against terrorism has led to an expectation of some sort of payback from the West.

Huge boost

In recent weeks, both the European Union and the United States have granted Russia the recognition that its economy can now be deemed "a market economy".

That neatly paved the way for Russia to be considered a full member of the G8, sidestepping the technicality of the Russian economy not being the world's eighth largest.

Granting Moscow the right to host the summit in 2006 is a huge boost.

But giving the Kremlin $20bn over the next 10 years to deal with its weapons of mass destruction underlines that economically Russia still owes much to the West.


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26 Jun 02 | Business
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