Russia’s Putin sees BRICS economic bloc as ‘global majority’
Virtually addressing the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, Vladimir Putin – who continues to be the target of an ICC arrest warrant that South Africa is theoretically bound to enforce if the Russian president sets foot in the country – claimed the bloc represents a “global majority”.
He was the most notable absence from the meeting and made the remarks in a pre-recorded address from Russia. The leader called de-dollarisation “an irreversible process”, after years of speculation the leading settlement and reserve currency would eventually lose prominence.
The dollar accounts for nearly 90% of foreign exchange trading globally and about 60% of foreign exchange reserves. On Tuesday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, however, said Washington doesn’t visualise the bloc turning into a geopolitical rival.
He called BRICS “a very diverse collection of countries … with differences of view on critical issues.” But in recent years, there have been increasing discussions on the group expanding, with dozens of countries around the world expressing their desire to join.
BRICS Not Meant To Challenge Other International Blocs
As it stands, the bloc of emerging economies represents about 32% of global GDP, driven by China – whose GDP is estimated at about $18 trillion, compared to $3.75 trillion for India, $2.2 trillion for Russia, $2.4 trillion for Brazil and $730 billion for South Africa.
The three-day summit commenced Tuesday, with leaders setting out quite differing visions for the group. Trying to set the tone for the summit, Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said BRICS is not meant to challenge other international blocs, but to “organise” the so-called Global South.
“We just want to organise ourselves,” the Brazilian president said in a live broadcast as he attended the meeting in Johannesburg. He lent his support for a common trading currency for BRICS members, stressing the move would not be aimed at “rejecting” the dollar.
Lula said he wanted the group to become a “multilateral institution”, instead of “an exclusive club”. He revealed his particular support for Argentina joining BRICS. Meanwhile, China’s Xi Jinping expressed his country’s determination to enhance ties with South Africa on Tuesday.