Brics States: Russia shows up with powerful friends

virtual meeting
Rising Five: Putin Gathers States Brics Around Himself

Putin at the Brics virtual meeting

“Only through honest and mutually beneficial cooperation can we find a way out of this crisis,” Putin said at the beginning of the Brics virtual meeting.

© Michail Metzel / Picture Alliance

While European leaders are considering the pros and cons of Ukraine’s accession to the EU, the Kremlin is gathering its most important allies. The Brics Virtual Meeting aims to show the West that we can do it without you.

China invites autocrats to come. The heads of state met on Thursday Brasilien, Russland, Indien, China a WITHSouth Africa connected. In fact, the Brics states, controlled by populists with a noticeable frequency, meet once a year to spice up their economic relations. Now is the first time that best economic friends have met in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. So their chat probably revolves mainly, albeit unofficially, around one topic: Western sanctions against Russia. After all, they oppose “common sense and elementary economic logic,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday in his video greeting at the economic forum.

At the meeting itself, Putin accused the West of selfishness. The world economy has fallen into crisis “due to reckless, selfish actions by individual countries, which use financial mechanisms to transmit their own macroeconomic mistakes to the world,” the Kremlin chief said on Thursday.

Unequal alliance

According to the American financial magazine “Investopedia”, the abbreviation Bric (originally without South Africa) comes from economist Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs. More than 20 years ago, he predicted that the four developing countries would dominate the world economy by 2050. Since 2010, South Africa has settled at the table of creators tomorrow.

A look at the numbers shows how much power has gathered at the virtual table on Thursday. The Brics states about three billion people, more than 40 percent of the world’s population. Together, their gross domestic product accounts for almost a quarter of global sales. In fact, Brazil, India, China and South Africa have been among the fastest growing economies for years. Russia, on the other hand, casts a far greater shadow than it deserves. For comparison: In 2020, the German economy more than doubled its projected world power.

In the end, China is a major power. The economy of the People’s Republic already outperforms the other four participants. China’s economy is projected to continue to grow rapidly over the next five years: by 2027, GDP will be more than $ 29 trillion. This puts the country at almost the same level as the United States.

Connect for profit

In addition to constant efforts for economic recovery, the five have one thing in common: aversion to the US-dominated West. It is no wonder, then, that none of them has unequivocally condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This is very beneficial for Putin – without alternative markets, the Kremlin would not be able to keep its war machine running. “The volume of Russian oil supplies to China and India is increasing significantly,” the head of the Kremlin said in a welcoming speech. According to the “Business Insider”, Russia’s revenue from oil exports even increased by 11 percent in May. In fact, India in particular is proving to be one of the greatest winners of the war. Indian refineries buy cheap oil from Russia at a bargain price, refine it and then ship it around the world without penalties – probably to the west. With huge profit margins (read more here). According to Putin, negotiations are also underway to open Indian chains and increase the share of Chinese cars and technology in the Russian market.

The decisive factor is not the content but the symbolic power of the meeting

Although Beijing continues to maintain its often-vaunted “rock” friendship with Moscow, and Brazil presents itself as a benevolent mediator, the Brics states also suffer from the massive economic consequences of the Russian invasion. However, as the BBC writes, the war also offers them the opportunity to present themselves as helpers in need to developing countries, which are suffering mainly from rising inflation prices, and to make them economically dependent on them.

Putin and Xi Jinping are likely to agree on tougher action against the West. India, on the other hand, feels quite well with its economic rope and does not want to alienate the West or the East. In any case, analysts believe that China’s dominance in Delhi is a thorn in its side. Together with the USA, Japan and Australia, India forms the so-called Quad Alliance. The four leading democracies in the Indo-Pacific region want to reduce China’s influence in the region.

In the end, the content of the autocrats is not the decisive content, but much more symbolic power. Putin can show the world what powerful friends have his back. It’s a not very sophisticated message for the West: Look, we can do it without you.

Sources: “Investopedia”; Deutsche Welle “; BBC; DPA; AFP; Statista


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