How much can a quarter of a century change things? It was a brand new world when I first covered the Group of 7 in Denver in 1997. The host President Bill Clinton invited Boris N. Yeltsin from the Russian Federation. Russia to Take part in the discussion rebranded the meeting “the Summit of the Eight.” Then onwards, Russia G7 became G8 soon after.

It is now, many years after the G7, that we are back at it. Russia It is not there to be found for this year’s meeting in Hiroshima, Japan. It was expelled nearly a decade ago for attacking its neighbor Ukraine, a symbol of Moscow’s isolation from the international community. Instead, it is Ukraine’s leader, President Volodomyr Zelensky, who is the guest of the world’s major democracies, sitting at the table where Vladimir V. Putin is no longer welcome.

That First summit meeting of Russia 1997 was a memorable year. Yeltsin had a complex character. A hero for standing up to Soviet hard-liners introducing democracy to RussiaWhile Mr. Yeltsin had many flaws, he also was a heavy-drinker and erratic guest. On a 1995 trip to Washington, Washington. He was found standing naked on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Blair House Guest Quarters in the middle the night. Slurring words and trying to speak. to He called a taxi to get him some pizza.

I remember that at the Denver Summit, Mr. Yeltsin missed the concert after the formal meetings that Clinton so meticulously planned. His aides claimed that he had been tired. Remembering Mr. Yeltsin’s bouts with the bottle, others thought that maybe there was a little more to It’s more than that. The Russian delegation alerted the local hospitals at one stage, though Mr. Yeltsin wasn’t sent.

Escapades were not the only thing that was important. Russia to be included in the world’s most exclusive club, and even Mr. Putin, the K.G.B. Even Mr. Putin, the K.G.B. veteran who followed Mr. Yeltsin in office seemed to Value it. It was a great honor to host Mr. Putin. Russia’s first G8 meeting just outside his hometown, St. Petersburg, that he rebuilt a 1,000-room czarist palace Peter the Great never finished it. The mansion was expanded by Mr. Putin to include 20 more buildings. to The visitors will finally come in 2006. The tour was fantastic. The tour was amazing.

Mr. Putin’s next chance to However, it would not happen. He was arrested just before his scheduled to In 2014, while he was presiding over the G8 in Sochi, he invaded Ukraine for the first time, angering the other members of the club. to kick Russia out. Putin has been pushed to the sidelines.