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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, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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