Russia's BRICS partners (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) expressed understanding of Russia's position in Crimea and rejected sanctions against Russia. If the position of the people of China and India was mentioned by Vladimir Putin in his speech on March 18, Brazil and South Africa were in the background for a while. What are Brazil's and Pretoria's arguments in support of the Russian Federation?
"The escalation of hostile language, sanctions and counter-sanctions, and force does not contribute to a sustainable and peaceful solution, according to international law, including the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter," quoted The Globe and Mail. "BRICS countries agreed that the challenges that exist within the regions of the BRICS countries must be addressed within the fold of the United Nations in a calm and level- headed manner."
The BRICS members have also criticized the assumption that Russia could be excluded from participation in the G20 summit in Brisbane in November of 2014 made by the Australian authorities. Australia does not determine the policies of G20, the statement indicated. "As for the meeting of foreign ministers of the BRICS countries today here in The Hague, we heard understanding of the situation, understanding of the historical aspects of this entire situation, and we are grateful to our partners," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday at a press conference in The Hague.
Given the alleged broad sanctions against Russia expected from the West, Russia needs this support very much.
This is not a new moment in the foreign policy of the block, and the countries had similar consolidated policy of non-interference on the Syrian issue. While the stance of the governments of China and India is widely reported and was mentioned by Vladimir Putin in his speech on March 18, the motives of understanding of the situation by Brazil and South Africa have not been discussed.
What arguments do these countries have in support of Russia? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil stated its position earlier. For example, Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo after a meeting with his French counterpart in Paris said that Brazil considered the Ukrainian events to be the "internal affair of the Ukrainians," thus underlining the position of "non-interference" of Brazil in this conflict. Brazil that intends to be a new permanent member of the UN Security Council and that considers itself to be a global player has been successfully resisting the U.S. influence in Latin America, although under President Dilma Rousseff the directness of this message has somewhat subdued.
Dilma Rousseff is preoccupied with the internal problems of the country, although she is consistently consolidating with both the left South American bloc ALBA (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua), and with the BRICS countries. For example, Brazil has initiated removing the US dollar from internal trade within BRICS. Brazil is also the largest trading partner of Russia in Latin America, and the trade between the two countries is expected to increase from the current $6 billion a year to $10 billion by the end of the decade.
In 2012 the president of Brazil had a fruitful visit to Russia. Agreements for the supply of Russian helicopters Ka-62 were signed, and further steps to implement the "Plan of Action of the strategic partnership between Russia and Brazil" were identified.
Russia is selling aerospace technology, energy, chemicals and fertilizers. In turn, Brazil is selling beef, pork and chicken, soy, sugar and other agricultural products. "I do not see how Brazil can take an antagonistic stance towards Russia, including because of the interests that unite the two countries, both economic and strategic, especially since it is directly linked with the consolidation of the BRICS group," said Gilberto Ramos, president of the Chamber of Commerce Brazil - Russia.
On Monday it was reported that Russia has offered Brazil joint development and production of fifth-generation multirole fighter T-50. "Unfortunately, we do not participate in the tender for the supply of 36 Brazilian fighters. Nevertheless, our offer to Brazil on the joint development and production of a multipurpose fighter based on the T-50 remains in force," said the director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Alexander Fomin.
South African analyst Glenn Silverman wrote that Crimea seemed to be far from South Africa and did not seem to have any relation to it. However, South Africa is a member of the BRICS and the outcome of the Ukrainian crisis may have long term consequences for the country's foreign policy and the country's economic future. The analyst added that his diagnosis of the situation was based on a concept known as "national scar," which for South Africa is apartheid. For Russia, it is communism and external threats. Russia throughout its history has been attacked by all of its neighbors, so in the case of Crimea it tried to protect its historic territory and national interests.
Isn't this approach of South African Federation to understanding the position of Russia different from the western cliché? The analyst wrote that in addition to the country's membership in the BRICS and moral dilemmas of the assessment of the annexation of Crimea, South Africa was facing growing economic ties with Russia. The author added that BRICS was at an advanced stage of negotiations to establish a development bank to finance infrastructure projects in five countries. Bilateral relations with Russia are developing in the areas of nuclear energy and trade.
South Africa imports 90 percent of wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Comprehensive sanctions that may be applied by the West to Russia would adversely affect the price of commodities.
Silverman concluded that the stakes were too high if you considered the history, military power and very strong and powerful leader of Russia who was recently ranked by Forbes magazine as the most powerful man in the world.