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Buzz Barometer: Robust BRICS
March 31, 2013 11:56

The group’s summit in South Africa drew a lot of media attention from around the world. And most probably, it was not just the media who listened in to what was coming out of the BRICS talks.

‘Challenge Western-backed monetary institutions’ - Al Jazeera

‘Watch Out, World Bank: Here Comes the BRICS Bank’ - CNBC

The menace narrative was perpetuated in dozens of reports. But we’ll start with a positive one, for a change.

The Huffington Post picked Sergei Katyrin, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce, to do a summary of what Russia is bringing to the table.

In his piece, he reminded that the BRIC summits actually started in 2008 in Russia’s Yekaterinburg, in the Urals.

‘Brics is however far more than a label,’ said Katyrin and embarked to lay out Russia’s role within the pentalateral union.

Apart from cooperation in energy, Russia’s main objective is to grow trade turnover in other key sectors, like R&D, metallurgy, and medicine.

With Brazil in particular, Russia's target is to reach an annual $10 billion.

Katyrin admits trade with South Africa is at just under $1bn, but ‘presents a great opportunity to use the country’s stable environment as a ‘springboard to develop commerce in all of Africa’.

You can watch full video of the panel session here:

Bloomberg gives you the full background about the BRICS and its latest initiatives:

       Five nations account for 43 percent of the world’s population and total foreign-currency reserves of $4.4 trillion.

       Trade within the group surged to $282 billion last year from $27 billion in 2002 and may reach $500 billion by 2015.

     Foreign direct investment into the nations reached $263 billion last year, accounting for 20 percent of global foreign direct investment flows, up from 6 percent in 2000.

But what’s coming next?

The media laments the lack of specifics on the funding and operations of the future development bank that the BRICS want to set up.

It also quotes Andrew Kenningham, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, as saying that ‘any new institution is unlikely to achieve much in the near-term’ due to disagreements over capital contributions and governance structure

You can also watch an interesting interview provided by Bloomberg:


The New Times disseminates rumours that the global loose association could soon transform into BRICSI. Why? Because  Indonesia has a ‘strongly growing economy’.

One of NYT blogs quotes The Jakarta Post as saying that ‘McKinsey & Co. predicts that Indonesia will be the seventh-largest economy in the world and will add 90 million people to its middle class by 2030.’

The paper also questions the role of China in the group, citing concerns that it may be soon throwing its weight around.

Calcutta’s The Telegraph gets deeper into the disagreements the nations, so diverse in size and economic clout, are facing.

It says that Indian officials wanted a window for participation in the development bank by non-Brics nations keen to join it.

India appears to be concerned about China’s role, too.


We now move on to the most scathing op-eds on the event that I’ve seen.

In his post on Global Research, Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar grills the Western corporate media over their reports on the premature death of the BRICS.

He admits there are huge differences within the group, with Brazil being one of the hardest hit countries from of cheap Chinese manufacturing.

But it doesn’t overshadow the main trend that he says is out there – the North (G8) is being overtaken in the economic race by the global South at a dizzying speed.

He then focuses specifically on Russia and China, and the recent visit of the new leader, Xi Jinping to Moscow.

Escobar uses the term ‘Pipelineistan’ which he says is at the heart of the ultimate BRICS complementary relationship, with Gazprom and Rosneft securing lucrative and long-anticipated deals with their Chinese counterparts.

‘China’s need of Russia’s oil and gas is a matter of national security. Russia wants to sell more and more of it, diversifying away from the West; moreover, Russia would more than welcome Chinese investment in its Far East – the immense Trans-Baikal region.’

Watch an in-depth report by Al Jazeera:


Slate slams the BRICS for failing to invite NGOs to its table and a crackdown on the non-governmental organizations in Russia, citing numerous inspections.

The magazine’s Carroll Bogert also put ‘press conferences’ in inverted commas to emphasize that the leaders of Russia and China are not ready to respond to challenging questions and have only replied to the questioned fielded by their  ‘own lapdog media’.

And here’s the official version of how Russia sees the BRICS role (in English)

And, finally, for a treat, here’s the video everyone’s in Russia has been talking about – South African security officers blocked the Kremlin’s secret service agents from entering the venue.

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: BRICS Russia International    

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