RIA Novosti: Opinion: Russia-West Tension to Bring BRICS Closer Together

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

WASHINGTON, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – The rift between Russia and the West over Ukraine could bring the BRICS five major emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – closer together, according to Dmitry Beskurnikov, an official with Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the US.

“My feeling is that many emerging economies, apart from BRICS, will come to the inevitable conclusion that a single nation shouldn’t be in a position where it can impose unilateral sanctions that can hurt these countries economically. So they’ll think of ways to protect themselves,” Beskurnikov told RIA Novosti.

On Tuesday, Washington hosted the second annual Doing Business with the BRICS Conference, which drew US and Russian experts, as well as businesses from BRICS member states.

In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Beskurnikov told RIA Novosti that the recent economic clampdown on Russia could accelerate the BRICS’ ongoing work on the creation of a free trade zone or a development bank as an alternative to the West-dominated World Bank.

The Russian economist suggested that the joint EU and US sanctions could eventually “discipline” Russia, giving it an incentive to reorganize its economy and resolve the issues that had amassed throughout the years. “All sanctions, in my opinion, serve to boost the Russian economy,” he said.

Beskurnikov cited Russia’s law to create its own card payment system as one of the positive effects.

Plans to establish a national card payment processing system emerged in response to Ukraine-related sanctions that saw several Russian banks denied service by global powerhouses Visa and MasterCard, troubling the general public and raising concern over the security of the country’s financial system.

As a reaction to Crimea reunifying with Russia in mid- March, the US introduced targeted sanctions against Russian officials and Rossiya Bank, considered by the US Treasury to be a private bank for many Russian government officials.