World Views
12:09 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Ousted From The G8? Russia Doesn't Care, And Neither Should You

President Vladimir Putin opens an afternoon plenary session at Konstantinovsky Palace during the G20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013.
Credit Pete Souza / The White House

Earlier this week, the Group of Eight industrialized nations said they would suspend participation until Russia “changes course.” The move by the G7 nations is aimed at isolating Moscow as punishment for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, says the statement is primarily symbolic, with few long-term effects.

“More important now is the G20, which includes countries like Russia, China and India – these growing economies,” Cruise says. “They are absolutely not going to kick Russia out of the G20, and that’s where economic power and these discussions in the international market are going to take place.”

The G7 nations issued the statement following an emergency meeting Monday in the Netherlands. The leaders say they are ready to "intensify actions" against Russian is Moscow escalates the conflict further.

“It’s a very difficult balancing act,” Cruise says. “The western world trades a great deal with Russia. Russia is now integrated in the international market. So if the sanctions are too heavy, they are very likely to negatively affect the United States and Europe as well.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the country’s Parliament last week the European Union would expand a freeze of bank accounts and travel bans of people that have been linked to the crisis, but Cruise says Germany is also reluctant to take the lead and set a precedent.

“Germany is a country that is very reliant on Russia for gas,” Cruise says. “In 2010 almost 40 percent of Germany's natural gas came from Russia, so they are very concerned about that.”

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