The BRICs and Russian foreign and security policy

Changing the narrative 1

Authored by: Rachel S. Salzman

Routledge Handbook of Russian Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815396710
eBook ISBN: 9781351181242
Adobe ISBN:


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The BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) is a core symbol of Russian discontent with the international system. It has not, however, always served a critical purpose or filled a security need. Russia initially brought the group together as a rhetorical feint against Western dominance of institutions of global governance. In the decade of BRICS’ institutional existence before the onset of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, Russian political leadership spoke about the role of BRICS as a keystone of a new, democratic world order, but they invested little in the substance of the group itself. In the immediate aftermath of the onset of the Ukraine crisis, that changed. From 2014 to 2015, BRICS served as a key organ of security. Since 2015, with the lessening of international focus on the Ukraine crisis and the diversion of interest in BRICS from China and India, BRICS is once again a rhetorical device for Russia, but one that has proved its worth in times of need.

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