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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

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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