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Russian propaganda is pushing Serbia into BRICS, where does Hungary stand?

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In the past month, hardly a day goes by without the Belgrade branch of the Russian news agency Sputnik focusing on BRICS, and raising the question once or twice a week of where Serbia stands in this alliance. The Serbian President expressed that even if there is no prospect of EU accession, he does not intend to deviate from the European path, which implies that he will not lead Serbia into BRICS, although not all statements by Vučić can be trusted.

This issue is being raised more and more frequently

Considering that Sputnik is not the most widely read news portal in Serbia, the speculation about this matter may not be overly intriguing. However, since this news service is considered Russia’s and even more so, the Kremlin’s mouthpiece, we cannot ignore the phenomenon.

The most important article related to this – accompanied by a one-hour video – was published on June 24th on the pages of Sputnik, even before the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which, according to Sputnik, generated enormous interest despite the strong anti-Russian sanctions. This is because the world is increasingly being woven by organizations in which the United States is not present.

This was justified by a misguided Serbian politician, Branko Pavlović, by stating that the technological capabilities of China, Russia, and India’s economies render the West almost unnecessary. He supported this by pointing out that the capital of the BRICS Development Bank jumped from two to three billion dollars in three years to 30 billion dollars.

Don’t let anyone be misled that Russians still calculate in dollars today. Another Szputnyik article states that reducing the use of the US dollar has long been a concern for the mentioned association. In this regard, the possibility of creating a common currency has been raised, although this is not a simple question, but there is another one-hour video about it on the Russian-funded Serbian portal.

Sputnik also reports that the French President is leaning towards BRICS, which is indicated by the alleged desire of Emmanuel Macron to participate in the upcoming August summit of BRICS, scheduled to take place in South Africa. This is noteworthy regardless of the fact that the Republic of South Africa is a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and would be obligated to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he were to personally attend the event.

Another two hours of brainwashing-like video material is dedicated to this topic, bringing the total footage to four hours. The videos were produced jointly by Sputnik and Novosti, a Serbian government-affiliated media outlet. This can be interpreted in two ways: either the Serbian leadership does not object to it, or the editor-in-chief of Novosti, Milorad Vučelić, holds a slightly different stance than the top Serbian leadership.

BRICS

Macron is also said to be interested, and again, Putin is reportedly not happy about it

Maybe in twenty years

In recent days, the Russian press, including not only Sputnik but also the English-language Russian propaganda machinery, reported that another country, Ethiopia, wants to join BRICS. This pertains to Ethiopia, a country belonging to the poorer quarter of Africa and the world, but with a population of one hundred million.

The Serbian President recently calculated how many countries would be in BRICS if the countries he listed also joined. According to his statement, Argentina, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt are also interested in joining this economic bloc. However, Serbia has not yet been included among the countries knocking on the door of BRICS.

The Serbian President pointed out that the population of BRICS countries currently amounts to 3.2 billion, while the entire West, including NATO member states, has a population of only 950 million. Therefore, if the aforementioned countries are admitted, the world’s political landscape will “dramatically change,” especially if BRICS manages to resolve internal conflicts and strengthen interrelationships.

Vučić stated all this during a “national press conference” and speculated that the future may present a significant question for Serbia: the choice between the European Union and BRICS. However, as long as he remains the country’s president, meaning in the next four years, Serbia will stay on the European path.

However, despite this, the Serbian President did not hold high hopes for EU membership and considered it almost certain that Serbia would not become a member of the European Union because the EU does not wish to include his country among its member states.

Vučić did not comment on what would happen in fifteen or twenty years, but he added that at that time, things could look different both historically and economically, even if it doesn’t appear so at the present moment. 

BRICS

Mindenféle térképek megjelennek, ezen például a vörös és a kék világ látható, a szerző ismeretlen

How does Hungary fit into this?

The Russians are strongly working to move Serbia in this direction, namely towards BRICS membership. TASS, for example, published its report on the mentioned press conference with the headline stating that according to the Serbian president, Serbia will have to choose between the European Union and BRICS in the future.

TV BRICS, an international media group also under Russian influence but publishing in English, titled their article as “Serbian President: BRICS Holds Great Opportunities.” This indicates that there are indications that BRICS, or at least Russia, is receptive to Serbia, even if expansion is not the primary goal at the present moment.

Ivan Timofeev, the Director of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), stated in an interview with Lenta.ru that the main task of BRICS is not to search for new members but to establish interaction within the group. Therefore, it is premature to talk about which countries can join BRICS, although another Russian official stated that Moscow supports the admission of Egypt.

According to Timofeev, the possibility of Serbia’s accession is naturally raised, but other European countries are not very likely candidates because European countries demonstrate a hostile attitude towards Russia.

Considering the decreasing sympathy for the European Union in Hungary due to numerous statements against Brussels, the question arises whether the Hungarian leadership, riding the wave of “Eastern Opening,” might consider alternative solutions, such as joining BRICS.

However, the other question is whether Hungary’s entry into BRICS is desired because this also came up in the aforementioned Tyimofeev interview, and surprisingly, the response was not overly positive. According to the Director of the Russian International Affairs Council, Hungary is “deeply integrated into the European Union and NATO, making it difficult to join BRICS.”

Based on this, simplifying the question, we could say that if there comes a time when we are no longer needed in the European Union, the doors of BRICS will not be wide open for us either.

However, let’s add that in the mentioned interview, Tyimofeev remarked about Hungary that “anything can happen,” implying that there is still a small chance, despite the not-so-positive historical experiences, that someone in Budapest might have the inclination to once again throw themselves into Moscow’s arms.

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