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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

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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