News / Europe

BRICS Neutrality on Ukraine a Diplomatic Win for Putin

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (l) with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff during an agreement signing ceremony at Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, July 14, 2014.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (l) with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff during an agreement signing ceremony at Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, July 14, 2014.

A summit of the BRICS group of emerging market countries will abstain from criticizing Russia's recent actions in Ukraine, Brazilian officials said, a diplomatic victory for President Vladimir Putin.

The summit statement will make only a passing reference to Ukraine and will echo the neutral stance adopted by Russia's fellow BRICS countries - China, India, Brazil and South Africa - at the United Nations, according to Brazilian diplomats organizing Tuesday's meeting in Fortaleza.

Facing efforts to isolate Russia by leading Western nations, the BRICS summit provides Putin with a welcome geopolitical platform to show he has friends elsewhere, economic powers seen as shaping the future of the world.

“Russia wins by having Putin at an international meeting where Ukraine is not an issue. It implies that the BRICS reject Western efforts to turn it into a pariah,” said Oliver Stuenkel, an expert on the group at Brazil's Getulio Vargas Foundation.

The BRICS refusal to criticize Russia for annexing Crimea and stirring up rebellion in eastern Ukraine shows that the United States and Europe can no longer co-opt emerging powers into adopting their positions, Stuenkel said.

The BRICS is a diverse group known for its anti-Western rhetoric and a multipolar view of the world that Putin is advocating. Yet none of its members support Russia on Ukraine, and they all abstained when the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution criticizing the annexation of Crimea in March.

“Abstention is always a big win for Russia when it comes to criticism of relations with its neighbors, and this is what we are going to see at the Fortaleza summit,” said Marcos Troyjo, director of the BRICLab center at Columbia University in New York.

The geopolitical platform provided by the BRICS has become more important for Putin since some doors began to shut on Moscow, such as membership of the G-8 club of leading industrial nations.

“Having been spurned by the G-7, Putin can turn to the BRICS and say, 'Well, I have another peer group and they are the rising powers of the future,”' said Edward Verona, a former president of the U.S.-Russia Business Council and senior advisor at strategic advisory firm McLarty Associates in Washington.

Putin is on a Latin American tour aimed at raising Russian self-esteem and thumbing his nose at the United States, starting with a visit to communist Cuba, Washington's longtime ideological foe in the region.

Seeking to extend Russian influence in Latin America, Putin signed a nuclear energy cooperation deal with Argentina to bolster trade ties.

On Sunday, he attended the World Cup final in Rio. Russia will host the next soccer tournament in 2018.

In Fortaleza, the BRICS leaders will launch a development bank aimed at providing developing countries with an alternative source of finance from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund dominated since World War II by the United States and other Western nations.

The bank, which will have initial capital of $50 billion, is expected to be headquartered in Shanghai. Russia is vying for the first five-year presidency.  

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Comment Sorting
by: michael from: Ukraine
July 15, 2014 3:59 PM
Mr Putin always amazes me. His allies Include Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and a few other who are they countries. He is trying to get support from someone because the major players have shunned him. He keeps pushing the envelope from taking bombers to the limit and within US air space, Buzzing warships in the Black Sea to harboring criminals. This does not sound like a rational man. I would like to make something clear. Russians believe they can win a war against the USA and actually want a war to prove their might. While Russia is number two as far as military might it is not considered a super power. Russia is in second place but that is a very far and distant second place. To put things into perspective let us image Russia in a 100 yard dash with the USA. the USA runs a 9.5 sprint and russia a 11.2 . In the track world that is still second but the race was comical. Russia has approx 5500 airplanes and the USA 15500. The Usa has 12 Aircraft carrier battle groups (will be) Russia 1 and that is old and fairly useless. Then we will talk about the pilots , better that we do not. Putin may read this and have me thrown in prison for 10 years. But I do have one word (VODKA) how Russians love it ))) Russia should be careful for what it wishes. If there is a war it will be the end of Russia,

by: Terry
July 15, 2014 11:10 AM
I am somewhat surprised that VOA commented rather objectively on this particular news item instead of pushing a U.S. or N.S.A. / C.I.A. / State Dept. bias. I am now inclined to check out VOAS once in a while, being careful-of course-to analyze the report (s) to see if it is objective and in in keeping with the reality and facts of the world and / or presenting valid, opposing views....

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