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Medvedev Speaks Out Against U.S. Sanctions at St. Petersburg Forum

Published: June 21, 2014 (Issue # 1816)



  • Dmitry Medvedev speaking Friday at the fourth St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.
    Photo: Government.ru

Russia is taking its complaints against the sanctions-happy U.S. to the World Trade Organization, having sent the international body a communique that accuses Washington of failing to fulfill its trade obligations, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday at the fourth St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.

The White House's sanctions against Russia arrived in three waves in May and April following Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March. The most recent sanctions list targeted 17 companies — including several banks — owned by the likes of Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, Gennady Timchenko and Yury Kovalchuk, all of whom are believed to be President Vladimir Putin's personal friends. The sanctions led to the refusal of international payment systems Visa and MasterCard to service several Russian banks, in response to which Russia has taken steps to create its own national payment system in order to reduce dependence on the two companies.

In comments published on the government's website, Medvedev said that the sanctions violate WTO rules by discriminating against the suppliers and goods of another country, and that members of the organization have the right to make use of the "protection mechanisms" that it provides. However, he said that Russia's chances of winning the suit are slim due to the considerable clout he feels the U.S. wields in the organization. Russia joined the WTO in 2012.

"The question, of course, is which account of the legitimacy of the sanctions the WTO will accept, but it gives us the opportunity to evaluate the objectivity and impartiality of the organization," Medvedev added.

The possibility of Russia contesting the sanctions has been brewing for some time — as early as April, Russia's Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Moscow was considering filing a lawsuit with the WTO over the United States' sanctions against Russian banks. Later that month, Reuters reported that Russia had circulated a confidential document at the organization setting out its grounds for launching a trade dispute.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



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