Vladimir Putin on the rostrum of the BRICS summit, 2018. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/press service of the President of the Russian Federation/TASS
Tomorrow, August 22, a three-day BRICS summit opens in Johannesburg, South Africa. From him in the East they expect a geopolitical breakthrough, and in the West – a strategic failure. Komsomolskaya Pravda answers the main questions about one of the main political events of the year.
Why didn’t Putin go to South Africa?
On July 19, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced that Vladimir Putin would participate in the summit in South Africa via video link.
– It will be a complete participation. Minister Lavrov will be present at the meeting itself, Peskov said.
And on August 15, South Africa’s representative to the BRICS, Anil Suklal, spoke a bit more about Putin’s participation in the Johannesburg summit: “Yes, he will join the meeting on the evening of August 22, he will participate in closed and open sessions on August 23.”
As you know, this spring the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin on charges of “illegal deportation of children from the occupied Ukrainian territories to Russia.”
– We consider the very formulation of the question outrageous and unacceptable. Russia, like a number of states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court and, accordingly, any such decision is null and void for the Russian Federation from the point of view of law, Peskov said then.
At the same time, South Africa ratified the Rome Statute, which is the founding document of the ICC. However, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa compared Putin’s arrest at the BRICS summit to declaring war on Russia. As a result, by mutual agreement, a decision was made on the participation of the Russian president in the online summit. The remaining BRICS leaders are expected to arrive in Johannesburg.
“Such a scheme has been used repeatedly… After all, it is the country itself that determines who will represent the country,” added Maria Zakharova, an official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, urging “not to look for traps, intrigues, etc. .”
Why are the BRICS considered a competitor to the West?
No one was surprised when, in April of this year, the British macroeconomic research firm Acorn Macro Consulting announced that, according to its calculations, the total GDP of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (that is, those countries that are part of the BRICS) surpassed that of the G7 (G-7, which includes the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan). Everyone knew that sooner or later it would happen.
But economics is one thing, and geopolitics is quite another. The West has been the main dominant in everything for many decades. And so he was openly asked to advance from Olympus. True, not everyone is sure that the BRICS are already fully ripe to put on the yellow jersey of the leader.
You still can’t exactly call the members of this “club” a close-knit team. In other words, the participants in the multi-level meetings within the framework of the BRICS are often still very similar to the main characters of Krylov’s fable about the swan, cancer and pike.
How many countries want to join the new bloc?
The potential of this partnership is simply gigantic.
– BRICS personifies the synergy of cultures and civilizations representing different regions of the planet. This international structure is an example of genuine multilateral diplomacy adapted to the realities of the 21st century, believes Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Therefore, there are so many who want to be on this side of the barricade as soon as possible.
The South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the leaders of 23 countries have expressed their official desire to join the BRICS. There is also a trio of “leaders”: Argentina, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. There are even more unofficial requests. At the same time, the South African authorities, as hosts, invited the leaders of 67 countries and the heads of 20 international organizations to the Johannesburg summit. Miniature UN, if you will!
BRICS leaders in Brazil, 2019. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS
What will be discussed at the summit?
But first, the five leaders will need to discuss several important issues on which the future of the BRICS largely depends. Essentially, there are two key issues:
1. the mechanism for admission of new members to the BRICS;
2. Creation of a single BRICS currency.
The issue of the expansion of the BRICS is more than relevant. But what will be the rules, criteria and entry procedures? Each of the BRICS members has their own preferences and proposals in this regard.
“All this requires deep analysis and delicate internal work by the ‘five’ to reach a consensus,” Zakharova explained.
With the introduction of the BRICS single currency, not everything goes smoothly either. Many experts generally doubt the ability of the “five” to turn words into deeds. “The BRICS countries have never achieved anything since they started meeting… Are they going to create a BRICS central bank? How would you do it? said economist Jim O’Neill in an interview with the Financial Times.
However, there are those analysts who do not rule out that a new single currency may appear very soon. After all, the BRICS members need their own working mechanism to protect themselves from Western sanctions.
– BRICS today is more than 40 percent of the world’s population, almost a quarter of world GDP and 18 percent of trade on the planet. It is enough to have monetary ambitions aimed at protecting a multipolar world in which the United States will not dominate and, in general, the domination of Western countries will be a thing of the past, – said Alexei Zudin, Senior Lecturer at MGIMO, Russian Foreign Ministry .
According to Sergei Lavrov, “serious and self-respecting countries are well aware of what is at stake.”
“They see the incompatibility of the owners of the current international monetary and financial system and want to create their own mechanisms to ensure sustainable development, which will be protected from external dictates,” summarized the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.