BRICS and the Breaking Glass
Updated: Nov 12
A NOTE: Our Russia-Ukraine Resources are updated weekly - if you're accessing the page a week or more past the below date, pieces mentioned in this post may have been removed to make room for up-to-date resources.
To receive our weekly updates on this conflict directly to your inbox, join our mailing list by providing your contact information under 'Join Us' at the bottom of this page.
Updated Resources - August 23, 2023
President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, during a family photo of the BRICS Leaders. Osaka - Japan, 28/06/2019. ("28/06/2019 Reunião Informal do BRICS" by Palácio do Planalto is licensed under CC BY 2.0)
Kyiv Independent: Newsfeed
Novaya Gazeta Europe: Newsfeed
The Insider: Newsfeed
"The modern civilization of Europeː France in Morocco & England in in Egypt," by A.H. Zaki for Cairo Punch c. 1908. (A.H. Zaki, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
WHAT'S ON OUR MIND
Speculation that Prigozhin was a passenger killed on an aircraft traveling from St. Petersburg to Moscow today has stolen the headlines on the Russia Ukraine war. In South Africa, the focus is a bit different.
Talk of a shift towards multipolarity, nonalignment, and the global south’s growing influence permeates discussion of the war in response to the NATO's largely ineffective bid to rally the world in the economic and political isolation of Russia. This week, leaders gather in Johannesburg to chart a path forward at the 15th BRICS summit, the gathering draws greater global interest than ever before. For the nations present, the agenda includes expansion of the bloc and 'dedollarisation.' For the US and its allies, the countries represented - both in person and virtually, as is the case for Russia due to Putin’s ICC warrant - run the gamut from partners to adversaries. In today’s update, we explore perspectives on the significance, momentum, and viability of BRICS following geopolitical shifts wrought by the war.
Responsible Statecraft publishes a piece questioning whether US leadership is prepared to take the bloc seriously and proscribing a number of responses. A piece by the same author for The Nation expands on the previous sentiments, outlining some of the major issues at play for the ‘East-South grouping’ and its significance as an alternative to western hegemony. Foreign Policy builds upon this idea, stipulating that BRICS has tapped into this demand for an alternative, as yet unmet elsewhere, but questions whether the divergent interests and trajectories of its member states are conducive to the group’s durability and advancement.
Offering a focus on the Southern hemisphere, The Insider and The Conversation explore the growing influence of African nations in the emerging order, with the former examining Putin’s agenda for the continent and the latter opining that neutrality offers its nations the most gain. As if in response, the Kyiv Post shares South African President Ramaphosa’s vow to resist being drawn into ‘a contest between global powers,’ though others in our reading cite African nations’ eagerness to join. Another from Foreign Policy examines the growing contingent of South American nations with an interest in joining the bloc.
Finally, we offer a Russian state perspective from RT on the summit contrasting BRICS and the G7. Foreign Policy examines how Ukraine’s appeals to Europe - though understandable as necessary to self-preservation - may clash with anti-colonial ideals and alienate those with a memory of European subjugation. It recommends people-to-people initiatives as a means of tackling this complex issue.
In the overview, a discussion of trends pointing to the rise of ethnonationalism in post-Putin Russia. Find also a piece shedding light on the intersection of the Prague Spring of 1968, Soviet Ukraine, and today's war. In videos, the story of a Russian teenager imprisoned for plotting to overthrow the government and her mother’s transformation from apolitical citizen to human rights activist.
In the arts, a podcast discussing Russian cinema and intelligentsia and the contemporary Ukrainian composers whose works transform the tools of war.
Find these stories - and so many more - in today’s resource update.
Track Two: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy stands in opposition to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. We have many friends in both countries and we stand with the people of Ukraine and Russia. We deplore their suffering.
Track Two does not believe violent conflict or war are valid means to push political agendas. Today, threats to our existence from nuclear arms, climate catastrophes, diseases and cyberattacks are intensifying, and we do not believe any country should resort to violence. All people, of all nations, have a right to peace, meaningful work, shelter and food. Much collective work must be done to ensure our children and grandchildren can live full lives in a habitable world.
We believe there are humane and diplomatic avenues to coexistence that must be explored to mutual benefit. Let's arrive at these with deliberation so that we can continue work essential to preventing the end of life on this planet.
More than ever, it is incumbent upon all of us to be acutely aware of the disinformation campaigns orbiting the globe, and offer support to those who need it most. To that end, we've compiled a selection of resources from our team and network as we follow this crisis closely.