In early June, Russia hosted the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Everybody who is anybody in Russia was at the event – half seminar, half soiree, half networking extravaganza. President Medvedev keynoted, offering, among other ideas: the Russian ruble as an international reserve currency (China, for its part, mentioned it was already investing in rubles); that Russia intended to set up a “financial center,” (which a presidential aid clarified to mean infrastructural changes: “an exchange, a depository system, simplified state regulation of the financial market and, for the financiers, modernization of the transportation system in Moscow, creation of a communications system and a maximally free visa procedure”); that the U.S., as global financial hegemon, was not doing a very good job stewarding the world economy – witness the current fuel and food crises – and would benefit from Russian input.
For those who did not make the party, we offer a smattering of participants’ quotes.
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