Strengthening the BRICS group: Putin and Xi turn away from the “selfish” West

Strengthening of the BRICS group
Putin and Xi are turning away from the “selfish” West

With the BRICS group, President Putin is trying to create a counterweight to western alliances. Russia wants to create a new world order together with Brazil, India, China and South Africa. But the five states are not as united as they appear.

China and Russia used this year’s BRICS summit to sharply criticize the West. The BRICS countries, which also include Brazil, India and South Africa, should “take more responsibility” and work for “equality and justice” in the world, Chinese President Xi Jinping demanded in his opening remarks at the virtual summit. “Unilateral sanctions” must be opposed. The five so-called BRICS countries – named after their first letters – have met once a year since 2009. However, due to the strict corona measures in China, which is the formal host, this year’s summit will only take place as a video link.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of selfishness. “Only on the basis of honest and mutually beneficial cooperation can we find a way out of the crisis in which the world economy has fallen – because of the ill-considered selfish actions of individual countries, which, using financial mechanisms, are passing on their own mistakes in macroeconomics to the whole world” said Putin. The Kremlin chief assigned a special role to the BRICS group in this context. The organization must lead the way in creating a “multipolar world” in which relations between states are based on international law.

Unlike the major industrial nations (G7), who are meeting for this year’s summit in Bavaria on Sunday under the German presidency, the BRICS members have so far avoided criticism of Russia and have repeatedly condemned the sanctions imposed by the West. India, for example, is taking a neutral stance on the conflict because the country has long and close ties with Russia, and much of its military equipment comes from there. Recently, like China, it has significantly increased its oil imports from Russia. Brazil has also spoken out against sanctions because of the negative impact on trade and the economy.

Russia itself repeatedly declares that it wants to expand its economic relations with partner countries in view of the massive Western sanctions. In a speech on Wednesday, Putin pointed out, among other things, that in addition to the oil deliveries mentioned, the export of Russian fertilizers to the other BRICS countries and agricultural cooperation were developing “dynamically”. The Kremlin chief also said that Russia is developing “alternative international transfer mechanisms” and an “international reserve currency” with its BRICS partners in order to reduce dependence on the dollar and euro. However, many experts have considerable doubts that Russia will be able to cushion the pressure of Western sanctions in the long term without major damage.

Tensions between China and India

Despite the negative stance on sanctions, the BRICS partners by no means agree on all issues. There are even real conflicts between them. Relations between India and China in particular have remained tense since a fatal incident occurred on their shared border in the Himalayan region two years ago. India also forms the so-called Quad Alliance together with the USA, Japan and Australia. The quartet of leading democracies in the Indo-Pacific region wants to reduce China’s influence in the region.

After the deliberations of the BRICS heads of state, another online forum is planned for Friday, to which a number of developing countries have been invited. China had announced in advance that it was striving to expand the BRICS format to include other states. However, the plans have not yet been fleshed out.

Russia was already excluded from the G8 in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea and, after the war of aggression against Ukraine that started in February, was expelled from other international organizations or withdrew itself because of the criticism voiced there.

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