President Asif Zardari has said that there should be more trade between Pakistan and Russia. He said this to businessmen in St Petersburg during his current visit to Russia. This trade will play an important role in bringing the two countries closer together. Both countries need to get closer, because while Russia needs an expansion of its influence in South Asia generally, Pakistan has specific reasons now to seek friendship with states other than the USA, after the cost of its friendship has proved to be the egregious violation of its sovereignty. Russia too has reasons to be wary of the USA, specifically its entry into Central Asia, and also its own abandonment by India after the collapse of Communism and the USSR. The collapse of that ideology also removed the justification Pakistan used to have to avoid the USSR. However, that does not apply now, while India, which developed relations with the USSR, has developed ties with the USA, which has made India its regional counterweight against China, a role into which India has eagerly fitted. The needs of Pakistan will be helped by a Russian firm agreeing to carry out a feasibility of run-of-the-flow hydel projects on its canal system, as well as the more general congruence created by the twinning of Karachi and St Petersburg, both thriving ports and business hubs. At the same time, the Russians should pay attention to President Zardaris saying that the two countries should forget the legacy of the Cold War. The government should not just take President Zardaris visit as a formality, but should make sure that there is a vigorous follow-up with the Russian business community. While any investment is welcome, Russian investment in the power sector will be all the more welcome because that is one of the specific areas in which the USA had offered help, but has not followed through. This is also an area where Pakistan is presently facing perhaps its biggest challenge. It must not be lost sight of that this visit is not of merely bilateral significance, but will be a signal sent to the chanceries of the world, and not least to those in Washington and New Delhi.