BRICS expresses interests of global majority

Yury Ushakov is the Russian presidential foreign policy aide. Picture: Supplied

Yury Ushakov is the Russian presidential foreign policy aide. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 12, 2024



Russia took the rotating presidency of the BRICS group in 2024. Yury Ushakov, Russian presidential foreign policy aide, has granted TASS (the Russian News Agency) an interview in which he previewed Moscow's priorities, prospects for BRICS development and expansion, and commented on the West’s attempts to impede the association’s activities.

While speaking about the priorities of Russia’s BRICS Presidency, Vladimir Putin mentioned the development of economic partnership, cooperation in science and innovation, security and counter-terrorism, culture and sports. How do you prioritise these guidelines? Which aspect of BRICS activities is of particular value to us: political, economic or civilisational?

First of all, I would like to say that cooperation within BRICS is undoubtedly one of the key features of Russia's long-term foreign policy. Interaction with the association’s members meets the fundamental national interests of our country and fits in well with our systematic policy of forming a fair multipolar world order and creating equal opportunities for all countries to develop.

As the Russian president said in his message published on January 1 on the occasion of the beginning of Russia's BRICS Presidency, in 2024 we will focus our efforts on promoting the entire range of partnership and cooperation within the framework of the association on three key tracks - politics and security, the economy and finance, and cultural and humanitarian ties.

All these three guidelines are of fundamental and equal importance. They have been identified as the priorities of the Russian Presidency, which will be held under the common motto: “Strengthening Multilateralism for Equitable Global Development and Security.”

Let me emphasise that Russia is approaching the BRICS Presidency with great enthusiasm and diligence. A comprehensive Concept of the Russian Presidency has been approved.

To implement it, an interdepartmental Steering Committee for Preparing and Ensuring Russia's BRICS Presidency in 2024 has been established under a presidential decree.

This body, which I have been assigned to head, is responsible for coordinating the participation of Russian federal and regional authorities, parliamentary, business and non-governmental organisations in the BRICS mechanisms, and, in general, all issues related to the Russian Presidency, including the preparation of meetings at various levels and, of course, the BRICS summit.

The Steering Committee meets on a regular basis. Working groups have been set up within its framework to oversee foreign policy, financial and organisational issues. All government ministries and agencies, non-governmental organisations and other structures promptly report to the Steering Committee on the progress made and results achieved.

In December 2023, the Steering Committee approved a large-scale plan for events under the auspices of the Russian Presidency. There are about 250 such events to be held in a dozen Russian cities.

It is noteworthy that ever more requests are pouring in for hosting additional events in important areas of cooperation within the BRICS framework. Up-to-date information on what exactly is being implemented and planned is regularly uploaded to the website of our Presidency:

The BRICS summit in Kazan on October 22-24 will be the key event of the Russian Presidency, of course. Moreover, it will be the first BRICS summit following the group’s enlargement. Let me remind you that at the meeting of BRICS leaders in Johannesburg last August a decision was made to invite new members to the association.

Starting from January 1 it includes 10 countries. The twofold increase in the number of BRICS members undoubtedly opens up vast prospects for the further strengthening of the role and authority of our association internationally.

At the same time, of course, Russia, as the current president of the organisation, has a special responsibility to ensure the fastest and smoothest integration of the new members into the operation of all BRICS mechanisms. This is undoubtedly a cornerstone and high priority task of our Presidency.

When can we see another round of BRICS expansion?

Given the expansion that has taken place, Russia’s BRICS Presidency this year has a special mission: to ensure a smooth incorporation of all new members of the association, while at the same time preserving and enhancing all the achievements accumulated over years and preserving and developing the experience of effective cooperation.

For this purpose, first of all, we will focus on the organic integration of “newcomers” into the architecture of partnership mechanisms, and on familiarising them with “BRICS culture” that has been established over 15 years.

Federal executive authorities have a clear task: in close coordination with the Russian Foreign Ministry to actively and proactively involve the five new countries in the BRICS processes, to brief them on how cooperation in the association is organised in practice.

This is the case with the new BRICS members that have already been admitted. However, the number of those wishing to establish some cooperation with our association continues to grow. Whereas by the Johannesburg summit, as I mentioned above, there were just over twenty of them, today we have received a number of new applications.

Although it is premature to speculate about a second “wave” of expansion, all the countries of the association agree that the interest toward BRICS, displayed by many countries can only be welcomed and encouraged. This clearly demonstrates that the principles on which our association operates are very close to a wide range of countries, in fact, to the global majority.

In this connection, I recall that another important decision was made in Johannesburg. It concerns the development of a new form of interaction between BRICS and non-member countries. The issue on the agenda is to define the modalities of a new, special category of BRICS partner states, which would participate in cooperation on specific projects in both the political and economic spheres.

How do you see the Western countries’ attitude to BRICS? Are there any signs some of them may be interested in joining the association?

It is all quite clear. They are certainly not delighted to see the BRICS growing authority and influence. Let us be honest - they are outspokenly jealous about its expansion, as well as about the fact that the countries of the global majority would like to unite more closely for cooperation on the BRICS platform. We have seen considerable evidence of the Western opponents trying to hamstring and weaken our association.

To put it in a nutshell, BRICS, as well as the very objective process of creating a new world order, have irreconcilable opponents who are determined to impede this process and prevent the establishment of new, independent centres of development and influence in the world. BRICS does not compete with anyone. Nor does it challenge anyone. It is not an anti-Western association. By the way, our president has stressed this many a time.

Yury Ushakov is the Russian presidential foreign policy aide.

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