Looks like despite Russia’s retreat from democracy and its abuse of human rights, the United States has decided to back Russia’s entry into the WTO. More troubling from an international trade perspective, however, is the way Russia treats Georgia. After Georgia arrested four Russians accused of spying, Russia has cut of Georgia’s mail, harassed Georgian nationals in Russia, and, in a move that should trouble the WTO, doubled the price it charges for gas to Georgia. Perhaps NATO experts are right to fear a Russian-led ‘gas cartel’, which they’ve described Russia as trying to form, a sort of “OPEC for gas”
I’m sure the logic runs something like, once Russia joins the WTO, they will have to follow certain rules. But it seems like Russia should follow some basic rules before they are given the privilege to join the WTO in the first place, and Russian policy making is hardly transparent enough to ensure that they don’t get around WTO rules.