Russia’s ruling elite views the G8 summit scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg next summer as one of the top events of the season. Hypnotized by perpetually high oil prices and the correspondingly strong growth of Russia’s hard currency reserves and stabilization fund, Kremlin insiders are behaving in an amazingly relaxed and torpid manner. A good term to describe their current mood is joie de vivre, similarly used to describe the disposition of Saudi princes in the 1970s.
So it is rather remarkable that anticipation of the G8 meeting, which will occur on Russian soil in its full-fledged form for the first time, has sent Kremlin insiders into a flutter. Regardless of affiliation, everyone in the Kremlin agrees that the G8 summit offers a trump card that should be used to pull off a winning hand. […]