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Alternative World Orders? Russia’s Ukraine War and the Domestic Politics of the BRICS


Russia’s war in Ukraine has sharpened the contours of alternative world orders. These diverging orders emerged in recent decades through the creation of distinct institutions and policy positions by the ‘Political South’. While the ‘Political West’ emphasises democracy, market economy and universal human rights as guiding principles for international order, the Political South prioritises national autonomy, non-intervention in internal affairs and state-permeated economies. The Political South rejects military aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, cultivates a good relationship with Moscow and criticises Western conceptions of world order as paternalistic. Core actors of the ‘Southern World Order’ (SWO) are the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, the People’s Republic of China [PRC] and South Africa), which created international institutions as alternatives to the Liberal International Order (LIO). These countries, however, did not leave the LIO and continue to have close economic relations with the West. This double-track strategy arguably correlates with the plurality of domestic societal forces, which includes ideational and material ties with the West.
Keywords: international order; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; BRICS; domestic politics; societal approach