Column: Developing countries that do not support sanctions against Russia, “long-standing grudges” in the west | Reuters

[London, 11th Reuters]-March, when Russian troops continued to fight in Ukraine and Western nations sought support for sanctions against Russia from around the world. South African leftist leader Julius Malema told the crowd: Neither he himself nor his supporters will be hostile to Russia, who has supported the fight against apartheid.

During the Ukrainian War, the Kremlin has tried to take advantage of its historic relations with emerging nations, while the United States and its allies have several times in the so-called “Global South” (southern hemisphere-centered development). There is a history that it was difficult to get support from (developing countries). The photo shows an online meeting between India’s Prime Minister Modi (background photo) showing his intention to maintain trade relations with the Russian government and US President Joe Biden seeking sanctions against Russia. Taken at White House on April 11th (2022 Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin has stimulated a global struggle for “influence.” This battle may be as important as the actual battle. In this conflict, the Kremlin has tried to take advantage of its historic relations with emerging nations, while the United States and its allies have several times so-called “Global South” (centered around the Southern Hemisphere). It has been difficult to get support from (developing countries).

For many years, the Kremlin has sought to strengthen relations with the emerging markets Goldman Sachs named BRICs in 2001: Brazil, India and China.

Russia’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov told state television RT on March 30 that the BRICs will become “the center of a new world order” after the end of the war. Russian media argues that US attempts to persuade developing countries to participate in sanctions on Moscow will backfire.

The reality is more complicated. After all, there is increasing evidence of casualties targeting civilian settlements in Ukraine. On the one hand, however, there is a long-standing grudge against Western nations, from the invasion of Iraq to support for oppressive regimes and trade policies allegedly accelerating the distress of the “Global South.”

Such a tendency is spreading not only to the BRICs but to all developing countries. For some time, China has used its skepticism towards Western nations as part of its strategy to extend its economic and political influence to developing countries. Russia is trying to take it a step further.

However, the reality of the Ukrainian war is also having an impact. The UN General Assembly voted on a resolution to remove Russia from the UN Human Rights Council on the 7th, a big victory for Ukraine, the United States and its European allies. Brazil, India, South Africa and others have abstained, despite Russia’s pressure to vote “opposite.” Meanwhile, China voted “opposite.”

According to Mahmood Pargu, a researcher at the Alfred Deacon Institute (Melbourne, Australia), about 12 of the Arabic Twitter posts that touched on the issues of Russia and Ukraine from February 22 to March 15. % Also mentions conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Palestine. Many posts pointed to the double standards of Western countries.

According to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Policy Research and Research Center in March, 43% of Palestinians blamed Russia for the war with Ukraine, while 40% blamed Ukraine. was. However, 57% of respondents found that Western countries believe that Western countries have adopted different criteria when judging conflicts in Europe than the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

In Pakistan and Sri Lanka, soaring food and fuel prices caused by disruptions in grain and energy supplies have already caused economic and political crises. In both countries, which have become more prone to China, the crisis has created criticism of Western nations. On the other hand, however, some argue that the current problem is due to Russia’s military action and increased debt to China.

Since the invasion began, Russian press have become increasingly isolated from the Internet and television viewers of Western countries, and are keen to participate in and excite these Western-critical exchanges. We are particularly focusing on the Latin American region, which has already gained a solid foothold. RT Spanish broadcast has 3.5 million followers on Twitter and 18 million on Facebook, more than RT English followers.

According to the Digital Forensic Institute, an affiliate of the U.S. Atlantic Council of think tanks, RT Spanish and Sputnik Mundo, also a Russian state-run Spanish broadcast, are the most shared Spanish posts related to the invasion of Ukraine on Twitter. It is in 15 domains. There are many examples of spreading conspiracy theories on the Russian side, such as “The recent massacre was forged by Ukraine.”

Demos, a British think tank, has tracked hundreds of accounts with a surge in Twitter posts on February 24, when the invasion began, or March 3, when a significant UN resolution was passed. Russia has analyzed that it may have tried to artificially influence multilingual social media conversations in developing countries. Most of these accounts posted a mix of anti-American and anti-colonial content retweets and Russian and invasion support.

The posts confirmed by Demos were written in multiple languages, including Urdu, Sindhi, and Persian. There have also been examples of being incorporated into networks supporting India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which advocates Hindu nationalism, and South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma. Zuma, like his beloved disciple Marema, has consistently openly supported Putin since the beginning of the war.

In India, the older generation, who are right-wing and support Hindu nationalism, tend to be sympathetic to the Russian government, partly because the Soviet Union supported the Indian government during the Cold War. With this war as an opportunity, the division with the younger generation, who have a strong tendency to support Ukraine, has been revealed.

India, a major importer of Russian-made weapons since normal times, has expressed its intention to maintain trade relations with the Russian government despite sanctions by Western countries. According to media reports, Russia is taking over the oil it offers at a significant discount, even though it has not previously imported Russian crude oil.

However, India cannot be free from sanctions. Air India announced last week that it will suspend flights to Moscow because it is no longer insured.

The Brazilian government is also under pressure, including pressure from mainstream domestic politics. A week before the invasion, President Jair Bolsonaro visited Putin in Moscow and praised Putin for saying that the two countries were “solidarity.”

But a few days later, Vice President Hamilton Mourão infuriated the president by denying Brazil to remain “neutral” and defending Ukraine’s sovereignty. Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said on April 6 that the country would “solidarity” with civilians killed in Bucha near Kieu (Kyiv), but declined to blame Russia.

US President Joe Biden recently called President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on the 8th, re-pressing him to join the joint front over the situation in Ukraine. President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a political rally he attended on the 10th that the call with Mr. Biden was “calm”, but his policies have not changed. It is a long time before the battle for international influence comes to an end. And the US government is not in a position to behave in a bullish stance.

(Peter Apps reporter translation: Acrelen)