If I had 10 rubles for every time a Russian politician, publication, or pro-Kremlin political analyst crowed triumphantly about BRICS, I’d have a pretty nice amount of money. It wouldn’t be nearly as much as I’d have prior to last year’s ruble flop, but I could definitely afford a new gaming laptop at the least. The fundamental problem with Russia’s understanding of BRICS is that they think it is some kind of alliance, aimed at creating a “multipolar world” in opposition to the United States and the European Union. Hardly a day goes by on the Russian social networks that you don’t see some cartoon or meme suggesting that Russia’s part of a global team of America-haters who will soon turn the tables on Uncle Sam. The poor things. They won’t know until it’s too late.
Here in the real world, the very concept of BRICS is highly flawed. It wasn’t anything even remotely like an alliance in the beginning (nor is it now). It was simply a term to describe emerging markets with rapid growth and which were attracting a lot of foreign investment. And again, based on that criteria, Russia is out. Therefore it is BICS.
None of this keeps the Russian press from charging ahead with their fantasy that BRICS is a reality that is here to stay. In Ufa, BRICS leaders are getting together to finalize the creation of their own development bank to rival the World Bank and IMF. This might sound like a great idea, but Russia, being increasingly isolated from the West, has more of a stake in this than its “allies.”
This article highlights this and other problems with the whole BRICS concept, and note that the author pays special attention to Russia’s misconceptions about BRICS. I’m no expert, but I’m not sure that the leaders of the other nations, particularly India, Brazil, and South Africa, have any illusions as to BRICS being some kind of anti-US, anti-NATO alliance.
And while we’re on the topic of shattering Kremlin dreams, here’s an interesting article on the topic of Russia’s energy level, i.e. its purported ability to lean on other countries thanks to its control of oil and gas. As we all know, that oil advantage is gone, pissed away by Putin and his pals. Gas is not far behind. One can speculate as to the time frame, but Dear Leader Putin is clearly driving Russia back to the 90’s, and this time it won’t be rescued by high oil prices.