chapter  4
Leading in the concert of great powers: Lessons from Russia’s G8 chairmanship
Pages 11

The privilege of chairing the G8 was hailed by the Russian leadership as a unique opportunity to demonstrate their country’s rising power and re-assert its coveted ‘great-power’ status. Russian foreign policy from mid-2005 and through most of 2006 was focused on upholding the chairmanship, while Vladimir Putin saw the summit in Strelna, near St. Petersburg, as the crowning moment of his presidency. No expense was spared on staging the ‘best summit ever’. The anti-globalization protesters who had made so much trouble at the 2001 Genoa summit and again in Heiligendamm in 2007 were kept on a short leash, and it was only the somewhat disagreeable ‘Leningrad weather’ that made a slight blemish on the perfectly organized high-profile event. Summing up the achievements of 2006, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the ‘significant growth of the Russian factor in international affairs’, stressing how ‘the success of our chairmanship in the G8 had the most profound impact on the global politics’.1