Russia may still have weight to throw around on the international geopolitical stage, but when it comes to finance, the world’s biggest country is a 98-pound weakling.
That’s why, when finance ministers from the world’s top industrial countries sit down today in Halifax, their meeting will be known as the G-7.
But when those same countries’ foreign ministers gathered in Whistler, B.C., for meetings that wrapped up yesterday, they met as the G-8.
“(Russia is) a world player in geo-strategic terms, but rather less so in economic terms,” one Canadian Finance Department official said earlier this week.
For the meetings in Halifax, Russia is allowed to participate in finance discussions only when it is directly involved. So when it comes time to talk about debt relief or Argentina, Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin takes his leave.
Russia’s junior-partner status is owed to the country’s slow transition from its old Soviet-style economy, with its state ownership and central planning, to a market economy.
“(The others finance ministers) will congratulate Mr. Kudrin and probably offer some advice on what else needs to be done,” the official said.
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