Russia is shaping a multipolar world

In the first months of the special operation, European leaders could not decide whether they should communicate with the Kremlin

Russia is shaping a multipolar world
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Poland and the Baltics called for a complete boycott. On the contrary, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron called Vladimir Putin, hoping to become peacekeepers in the Ukrainian crisis. For such an attitude, they even received a “slap in the face” from the Estonian prime minister, who demanded not to call the Kremlin.

One way or another, despite the difference in approaches, both Western and Eastern Europe acted within the framework of the Anglo-American geopolitics. The latter consists in creating pockets of instability around Russia and its economic strangulation. Macron and Scholz are talking to Putin, but at the same time they are supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons. That is, as the leader of the ruling party in Italy, Giuseppe Conte, says, “they are adding fuel to the fire.” They work for the same goal – the weakening and isolation of Russia.

If the world were limited to NATO countries, then the cherished goal of the retired Estonian Prime Minister Kai Kallas and her Polish friends would be fulfilled even tomorrow. But the world is more than 30 NATO countries. For the past two or three months, Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov have been proving this thesis with their foreign visits. In a relatively short period of time, Lavrov traveled almost half the world. He traveled to India, China, the Maghreb, the Persian Gulf countries, Turkey, Iran and recently visited four countries in Africa. Indonesia is waiting for Putin at the G20 summit. But whether the Russian leader himself will go to Bali is a big question.

President Putin flew to Ashgabat at the end of June to take part in the summit of the Caspian states. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkmenistan have always been of strategic importance for Russia. Azerbaijan is a border country, a transit country to Iran and a link in the North-South project. With Kazakhstan, the longest border. Iran is a partner in Syria, and Turkmenistan is a border with troubled Afghanistan. The Caspian countries of Russia will not be able to replace Europe, but they can help weaken the effect of sanctions to their advantage. Kazakhstan, for example, is ready to host companies from Russia in order to re-export their goods to the Russian market. Azerbaijan can also engage in “parallel imports”. Iran is already exporting Russian oil and gas to Oman, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. At the same time, Iran, together with Azerbaijan, are ready to switch to paying for goods in national currencies, bypassing the euro and the dollar.

No less important was the visit of the head of the Russian state to Iran. The formal reason was the meeting in the format of the “Astana troika” on Syria, which the countries formed back in 2017 and were able to create de-escalation zones through it. Problems in Syria still exist. The civil war is not over. Russia and Iran support Assad, while Turkey supports his opponents. Moscow and Tehran are dissatisfied with the preservation of the terrorist core in Idlib. They believe that according to the Sochi deal between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turks should deal with the “cleansing” of Idlib. On the other hand, Turkey itself has claims against Russia. Ankara is annoyed by the preservation of two strips of territories on the Syrian-Turkish border under the control of Kurdish detachments. At a meeting in Tehran, it was not possible to agree on these points, but the Turkish and Russian presidents were able to find a common denominator with their Iranian counterpart Ibrahim Raisi – the end of the American occupation of the Euphrates.

Washington is not expecting big surprises from Iran now. In Tehran, conservatives are in power, disillusioned with the “nuclear deal.” Although the withdrawal of Iran from sanctions in the event of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) would give a chance to replace Russian energy carriers in the European market. But the preservation of Russia’s partnership with Turkey is a real irritant for the United States. Turkey is a NATO country. NATO confronts Russia in Ukraine. But Erdogan not only did not go for sanctions, but is thinking about how to further strengthen trade and business ties with Russia. Turkey suffers from inflation and does not have the luxury of ditching Russian tourists, as Europe has already begun to do. Gas agreements with Gazprom are extended. The Akkuyu NPP, unlike the Nord Stream 2 blocked by Europe, is under construction.

Thanks to the efforts of Erdogan, it was possible to convince Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to agree to a deal on the export of grain, from which not only Ukraine and Turkey benefited, but also a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Turkish leader, by his behavior, sets an example for Scholz and Macron, who, under pressure from America, are putting Europe on the brink of gas starvation. The other day, in an interview with TRT, Erdogan said that the attitude of Western leaders towards Putin does not paint them.

The West is closely watching Russia’s attempts to consolidate its influence in non-Western countries and is trying to undermine these efforts. Western emissaries rushed to India on the heels of Lavrov. In 2023, Russia will hold a second summit with African leaders, but US President Joseph Biden will host a similar one in December 2022.

At least 17 African countries that refused to vote at the UN General Assembly for the resolution on the “Russian invasion of Ukraine” are open to new cooperation with Russia in the field of energy, food and weapons. Russian companies are building the first nuclear power plant in Egypt, an oil pipeline in Uganda and are ready to increase grain supplies to Uganda and other countries. So, so far, attempts by the United States and European countries to prevent Russia from strengthening contacts with non-Western countries have not had any effect. India and China continue to buy Russian oil and do not join the sanctions, although Washington is already publicly threatening economic measures. Saudi Arabia will increase oil production only in five years, and not today, as Biden actually demanded.

In a word, Russia is forming a multipolar world.

Kamran Hasanov, VIEW

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