So I was reading some news analysis (no link, it was in the Action Ukraine report) about Putin's visit to Israel, and I read that Putin is set to assume the rotating Presidency of the G-8.

Can someone please explain to me my Russia is even IN the G-8, let alone about to lead it and host it's summit? The G-8 is a summit consisting of democracies that lead the world in economic output. Last I checked, Russia has an economy that ranks something like 86th in the world in terms of per capita GDP, putting it behind such luminaries as Mauritius, Malaysia, and Martinique. Last I checked, Russia had recently been downgraded by Freedom House to a "Not Free" rating in their annual comparative assessment of the state of political rights and civil liberties around the world. According to David Brooks in the NYTimes today, a 20-year-old Russian man in 2000 had only a 46 percent chance of reaching age 65. The HIV rate in Russia is more comprable to sub-Sahran Africa than it is to anywhere in the developed world.

Granted, Russia doesn't participate in the economic or financial discussions that are part of a G-8 meeting...but again, why are they even there? More importantly why are they hosting it and allowed to be even the titular head of such an event? Should developed western democracies be allowing this to happen? What kind of message does that send? Why is Putin hosting the G-8? If Russia wants to host some summit with like governments, host these guys. Invite Turkmenbashi. Talk about gold statues of yourself that revolve to face the sun. Have a blast. But the G-8?