BRICS has received an impulse to make a real transition to a new, more just world order. The ability of the new BRICS to fully realize itself and fulfill the mission of the transition depends on how our descendants will remember the 21st century, Viktoria Panova writes.
Last week in Johannesburg, South Africa, the summit of BRICS leaders ended; this, in a number of different ways, marked a new stage in the development of the bloc, and in the growth of its influence throughout the world. Without going into details regarding the agreements that were reached, we will only note the fact that despite the large array of topics on all three pillars of interaction (political, economic and humanitarian) and the priorities of South Africa, most attention was focused on two key issues. First, the issue of expanding the group and the previous explosive growth of official applications for membership, and, second, working out a way for BRICS to launch its own payment instrument. Therefore, it is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of observers hardly noticed the development of many other issues on the agenda. However, today we will focus exclusively on those points that, in this author’s opinion, will have a decisive influence on the essence of Russia’s upcoming BRICS chairmanship.
Starting January 1, 2024, Russia will already be dealing with a completely different BRICS; as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, this is already a whole football team. Incidentally, the beginning of the new BRICS this year was also very symbolic. As we remember, the first BRICS summit was held in 2009 in Yekaterinburg. However, the groundwork for the meetings of the association was laid back in 2006, both through the interaction of Russia as the chairman of the G8 with dialogue partners from among the largest developing countries, (which later got the name Heiligendamm — L’Aquila Process, or HAP), and at a separate meeting on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly of the Ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Already in 2014, starting from the second cycle of meetings, the order of the countries’ chairmanships changed and began to correspond to the letters in the acronym (initially such a change in places was due to a Russian request, because of the need to combine several international obligations and the planned chairmanship in a different structure). So, the beginning of the fourth cycle was again marked by the presidency of Russia and it, as the upcoming chairman, has a special responsibility for the new face of BRICS.
At first, there was a degree of euphoria stemming from the fact that BRICS was showing itself to be a true representative of the global majority, responding to the existing request for inclusion instead of endlessly winding up the issue through a long and dreary process of developing restrictive criteria. However, now the association will have to solve a number of tasks, at least some of which will be even more complicated. The key one is to maintain efficiency, fully involving newcomers in all already agreed-upon projects and mechanisms, and not slowing down the process of deepening interaction.
It seems that the BRICS states have absolutely no alternative but to use the remaining time of the South African presidency completing the optimisation of all existing and agreed-upon processes and agreements, which imposes an additional burden on all relevant departments and expert circles. After all, it is logical that the new member countries should get an extremely clear and precise picture of all the relationships in the association for full inclusion in all BRICS processes. Leaving such issues for the duration of the Russian presidency may complicate the process of integration of new countries.