After 18 years of negotiations Russia finally became the 156th Member of the WTO. Given the fact that Russia is the last of the 'BRICS' and G20 acceding to this organization, there are considerable hopes that this event might not only modernize the Russian economy but also have a vitalizing effects on other national economies. Apart from potential economic gains there are hopes that the WTO membership will have a favourable effect on transparency and predictability of Russia as an actor in international trade. Notwithstanding, the matter remains controversial as sceptics invoke that instruments provided by the WTO are insufficient for controlling a Russia that in regard to the world's dependency on energy holds a strong political bargaining position. The guiding question thus is whether the WTO can be effective in 'putting the Russian bear on a leash' in the sense of making Russia adhere to trade rules.
This article will provide an overview of Russian trade relations and highlights trade disputes with several EU Member States. Hence, it will introduce the changes under WTO Membership and provide a prediction as to how these developments might influence legal structures in the country.Journal of World Trade