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What Does Putin's Election Victory Mean for the Global South?

© Sputnik / Pavel Bednyakov / Go to the mediabankVladimir Putin greets Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo
Vladimir Putin greets Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.03.2024
A distinguishing feature of Vladimir Putin's presidency is unconditional support to the Global South, Dr. Anuradha Chenoy, a retired professor at the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Sputnik.
Vladimir Putin won his re-election bid on March 17, opening the door to the next six-year term of his presidency. What do the countries of the Global South expect from Putin's forthcoming tenure?

"The Global South most urgently needs economic development and wants the right to choose its own path of development without it being imposed by any foreign entity. They also need unconditional support for this development. The Global South has understood that multipolarity allows [the creation of] such space. So they look to Russia and President Putin to support these efforts," Dr. Anuradha Chenoy, a retired professor at the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Sputnik.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during the XIV BRICS summit - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.01.2024
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Under Putin, Russia has especially focused on relations with the Global South as more and more developing states plot a course towards pursuing an independent domestic and foreign policy, and adhering to their own development model.
If compared with the West's approach to the Global South, the distinguishing feature of Russia's strategy is unconditional support and equal partnership, according to the Indian scholar.
"First, it is unconditional. Second, Russia does not intervene through regime change, sanctions, assassinations, military intervention etc. Third, Russia is not looking for proxies to carry out its agenda as the US is [doing]. Fourth, Russia does not have a CIA operating in other countries to intervene in their politics," the Indian scholar summed up.
Emerging economies are demonstrating remarkable resilience and agility, with BRICS – a club of major countries – overtaking the Group of Seven, the world's industrialized nations, in terms of its share in global gross domestic product (GDP) in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
Having won the 2024 election, Putin is likely to continue strengthening relations with the Global South, according to Chenoy. She referred to longstanding Russo-Indian relations as a model of such a relationship.
"President Putin coming to power in 2000 was a critical moment in reviving India-Russia relations," Chenoy told Sputnik. "Since then, President Putin has taken a special interest in driving these relations to new heights. Putin understands India and Indian political leadership like no other world leader does. He gives unconditional support to India and never makes value judgments. He does not intervene in India’s internal matters. He supports the transfer of technology and Indian national interests. This provides a basis for close India-Russia cooperation."
While Russia maintains its membership in many multilateral forums, BRICS represents a platform that unites different continents and forms of governing. The group's inclusive approach led to the organization's expansion in January 2024, when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa were joined by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt and Iran.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized in August 2023 that BRICS "does not aim to replace existing multilateral mechanisms, much less to become a new 'collective hegemon'" but is seeking to form "one of the pillars of a new, fairer, multilateral world order."
Russia and its BRICS fellows have proposed an appealing universal formula of inclusiveness, equity and mutual assistance, Chenoy told Sputnik last August.
"BRICS does not believe that geopolitics is a zero-sum game where economic development or the security of some states becomes a threat to others," she said on August 21. "BRICS does not position itself against the West but on the contrary supports a multipolar system that encourages the coexistence of different ideas, systems and institutions."
Moscow's longstanding ties with developing countries, which originated in the Soviet era, were brought to the test after the West's sanctions spree over Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. Most countries of the Global South rejected the West's unilateral and illegal restrictions against Russia.
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When the US and EU bans threatened to cripple Russia's ability to trade and supply agricultural products and fertilizers to emerging economies, Moscow announced an initiative to deliver grain and fertilizers to those in need free of charge.
As of February 21, Russia has donated 200,000 tons of wheat to the six poorest countries in Africa, according to Russian Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev. In 2024, Russia is expected to export up to 70 million tons of grain. Last year, it managed to supply 66 million tons of grain, including 51 million tons of wheat, to the world market despite Western sanctions.
The Global South also ignored the West's attempts to present Russia as the world's threat. While the Munich Security Index 2023 "risk bump chart" ranked Russia as the number one risk, a similar chart for Brazil, India, China and South Africa saw Russia going slightly up from 29th place to 28th at the very bottom and then returning to its previous position the next year.
The attempts to isolate Russia failed, largely due to the foreign strategy chosen by Putin, according to Chenoy.
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The Russian president has repeatedly lambasted the West's interference in the domestic affairs of other countries and its neo-colonial approach to the Global South.
The collective West's elites have been parasitizing on other nations for the last 500 years, Putin remarked in his exclusive March interview with Dmitry Kiselev, director general of Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik's parent media group.
"They tore apart the unfortunate peoples of Africa, they exploited Latin America, exploited the countries of Asia, and, of course, no one has forgotten about this," the Russian president said, stressing that the Global South is waking up and is unwilling to maintain this unfair status quo.
[The people of the Global South] associate our struggle for our independence and true sovereignty with their aspirations for their own sovereignty and independent development," Putin continued. "But this is aggravated by the fact that the Western elites have a very strong desire to freeze the existing unfair status quo in international affairs. They have spent centuries filling their bellies with human flesh and their pockets with money. But they must realize that the vampire ball is ending."
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