South Africa has announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not in fact attend the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) economic summit that will be held in Johannesburg between August 20th and 22nd. This comes after the ICC (International Criminal Court) ordered an arrest warrant for Putin, and South Africa, being a member of the ICC, would have either had to carry out the arrest or break their commitments. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov will take his spot in person; the Kremlin has also said Putin will call in through video to the summit. Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Indian President Narenda Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are expected to attend in person.
The ICC warrant issued for Putin was issued after they found him complicit in war crimes in Ukraine, specifically regarding the deportation of Ukrainian children en masse to Russia. Russian state officials reject the validity of the warrant since their government is not a member of the ICC. In June, Ramaphosa revealed that Russia threatened a declaration of war in the event of Putin’s arrest, saying that such an arrest would also undermine efforts by South Africa to negotiate peace between Ukraine and Russia.
South Africa has affirmed its neutral status in the war, leading envoys of African states to meet with both Zelensky and Putin in efforts to mediate peace talks and prevent further economic toil that in turn has had detrimental effects on the African continent, especially with a Russian chokehold on grain supply from the Black Sea and over a year of attacks disturbing farms across the nation and its considerably fertile soil. Western nations have criticized SA for being too friendly with Russia; the two countries have had a close relationship that dates back to the apartheid era.
The newly elected President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, will be the only representative who was one of the founding members of the group and in office during the first BRIC summit in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Although Vladimir Putin is the only one who was involved in the formation in 2006. For years, BRICS countries have sought to find alternative currency standards to the U.S. dollar, although experts say such a move is unlikely to be announced at this summit. The action alone, however, for planning such a transition in global economic reliance from the dollar to other currencies can be as realistically possible in actual execution as the USD has been weakening consistently since 2020. BRICS has made considerable investments both infrastructural and economical especially in the post-pandemic period, as well as has laid a foundation built on cross-border financing and digital transactions through its global banking projects.
The BRICS have a combined area of 39,746,220 km2 (15,346,100 sq mi) and an estimated total population of about 3.21 billion, or about 26.7% of the world’s land surface and 41.5% of the global population. Brazil, Russia, India, and China are among the world’s ten largest countries by population, area, and GDP (PPP), and the latter three are widely considered to be current or emerging superpowers. All five states are members of the G20, with a combined nominal GDP of US$28.06 trillion (about 26.6% of the gross world product), a total GDP (PPP) of around US$56.65 trillion (32.5% of global GDP PPP), and an estimated US$4.46 trillion in combined foreign reserves (as of 2018).
The BRICS are considered the foremost geopolitical rival to the G7 bloc of leading advanced economies, announcing competing initiatives such as the New Development Bank, the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, the BRICS payment system, the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication, and the BRICS basket reserve currency. Since 2022, the group has sought to expand membership, with several developing countries expressing interest in joining. The BRICS have received both praise and criticism from numerous commentators, often stemming from positions taken by critics or supporters regarding the member nations or, in contrast, Western equivalents.