Russia was set to host the elite group for the first time, amid growing differences with its G-8 partners over Moscow's domestic and foreign policy.
Energy security, infectious diseases and education are to be the top agenda items for the three-day meeting opening Saturday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of young people from the G-8 countries on Friday that the leaders saw eye to eye on them, according to the AP.
International non-governmental organizations pushed for the leaders to make more progress on previous commitments to battle poverty, while Russian and foreign activists meeting in St. Petersburg on Friday hoped that G-8 leaders would challenge Putin on Russia's backpedaling on democracy.
The leaders of China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico were scheduled to join the G-8 leaders for some of the discussions Monday. British Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed that all five be made G-8 members so that the grouping could better tackle the problems of developing nations, according to a report in London's Guardian newspaper on Thursday.
Russian officials have said that the presence of those countries, especially energy-hungry China, was essential to any plans to boost the stability of global energy supply and demand - a subject the Kremlin had hoped to make the centerpiece of the summit, highlighting Russia's position as the world's top oil and natural gas supplier.
KGB General Nikolai Leonov, who personally knew Lee Harvey Oswald, talks about the version of John F. Kennedy's assassination on the orders from Nikita Khrushchev