On February 16, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion, titled “Russia and the Struggle Against Neo-Colonialism: The End of the Western Dictate?”
The problem of global equality and the right to development is one of the key issues in modern world politics and economics. The gap between North and South, between the collective West and the rest of humanity, persists despite all efforts to overcome it during the half century after the collapse of the colonial system. Closing this gap is now one of the important elements of the Sustainable Development Goals put forward under the auspices of the UN. However, these goals are unlikely to be achieved within the next decade.
The imbalance between North and South persists in unequal access to resources, investment, technology, and, last but not least, in unequal opportunities for the development of human capital and social infrastructure. In expert and political discussions, the term “neocolonialism” is increasingly used to describe the actions of Western powers. Moreover, recently it has been taking new forms: such concepts as “digital”, “carbon” or “climate neo-colonialism” emerge.
Against this background, the activity of international associations in which developing countries are widely represented, such as the G20 and BRICS, as well as regional structures, is especially important. Within the framework of the BRICS, a unique system of values and political principles is being shaped, aimed at achieving global equality, law and development, as well as moving away from colonial dependence on Western countries. Today Russia is at the epicenter of confrontation with the West and, according to a number of experts, can lead international efforts aimed at breaking down the neo-colonial system.
What risks arise from the widening gap between North and South? What steps need to be taken to close this gap? What role can the BRICS countries and Russia in particular play in this process? Participants of the discussion answered these and other questions.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN;
Vasily Koltashov, director of the Institute of the New Society;
Keith Bennett, researcher, consultant on China’s international relations, co-editor of the Friends of Socialist China platform (United States);
Radhika Desai, Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada;
Rasigan Maharajh, Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation at the Tshwane University of Technology (South Africa).
Oleg Barabanov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club.
Working languages: Russian, English.