Although Russia’s accession process has been planned for a number of years there remains a very significant knowledge gap within Russia regarding what WTO membership will mean to the country. It is widely believed that many of the politicians who voted for (and against) WTO accession did not fully appreciate its implications in all sectors. The Russian government is eagerly seeking to recruit personnel with experience in international trade, including lawyers and economists. Several hundred positions need to be filled in Moscow and Geneva and there is an insufficient pool of qualified professionals to draw from because Russian universities do not yet offer courses on the WTO. Clearly the development of a suitable foundation of local expertise in international trade could take some time. Until then foreign expertise will be needed, likely in the form of expensive American and European law firms. The WTO itself sponsors a number of training initiatives and it is hoped that Russians will make use of these."
Multidisciplinary teams, both for negotiation as well as dispute settlement, is a way forward to address this issue. Indigenization of legal expertise and capacity to effectively engage with the quagmire of multilateral legal rules is a sine qua non of a strategic use of the WTO. How and when Russia will achieve this self sufficiency would be an interesting aspect of Russia's tryst with the multilateral trading regime.