A world divided into two camps again?

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is fuelling fears of a new cold war. The West's relatively concerted response is competing against other vested interests. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday threw his weight behind Russia at the virtual summit meeting of the Brics states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Commentators analyse the new constellation.

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Kommersant (RU) /

Russia's mixed results

Russia has changed the world order within three months - which is not necessarily good for the country, writes political scientist Alexander Baunov in Kommersant:

“Not long ago, soon-to-be Nato members Finland and Sweden were eternally neutral, Nord Stream 2 was about to go on stream, the number of countries abolishing visas for Russians was growing year by year, RT was successful on the global information market, some Western officials secretly recognised Crimea's de facto annexation, in Ukrainian schools everyone - as we have since learned - read Pushkin and Tolstoy, and Lithuania let all goods pass through to Kaliningrad without problems. In changing the world order, Russia was forced to realise that it was not only its victim, but also part of it and even its beneficiary.”

Delfi (LT) /

Don't rule out cooperation with Moscow for good

With China's power growing, the West must remain willing to cooperate with Russia, Delfi writes:

“China will also strengthen its influence in neighbouring Russia. The Kremlin could well change its foreign policy priorities in the future, making the fight against China's influence more important than confrontation with the West. Russia could adopt a foreign policy like that of Lukashenka in recent decades, manoeuvring between the EU and Russia. If such a scenario were to materialise, the West must be prepared to cooperate more actively with the Kremlin. Otherwise there is the danger that a new Russia will form in Eastern Europe: China's vassal state.”

Polityka (PL) /

Brics states forming a counterpole to liberal world

The West should not be surprised, Polityka says:

“Simply organising a Brics summit with the participation of all members at a time when Russia is violating international laws can be considered outrageous. The problem is that this is only a Euro-Atlantic view. For decades, Putin and those like him have been creating their own order in which the rules of the game are different to those in Nato or the EU. It would be naive to believe that this order is only just emerging now. ... Washington, Berlin and Brussels have looked away or at each other for too long and ignored these different approaches to economic and diplomatic cooperation.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Conflict between two opposing poles

The war in Ukraine has already become a proxy war, comments Pierre Lellouche, a former member of France's National Assembly for Les Républicains, in a guest commentary for Le Monde:

“What started as a local conflict confined to the Donbass and the status of Ukraine has become not only a highly destructive war in the heart of Europe, but also an unofficially declared proxy war between Nato and Russia, one that risks spiralling out of control at any moment. What's more, with its repercussions in the key areas of the economy, energy and food, it has also become a global war.”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Societies being put to the test

In Russia, people wrongly believe they have an advantage when it comes to staying power, writes Kommersant FM:

“It is said that the Russian puts up with everything while the capricious Westerner immediately sets out to overthrow his government. ... But this thesis is controversial. ... Many Russian people, although not a majority, have already had a taste of a halfway tolerable way of living. And Europeans and Americans are not so primitive that they would trade democratic values for warm homes. However there is some truth to the saying that the 'broad masses' are the same everywhere, and that having their bread and butter is more important to them than any vague ideals.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Don't leave Africa to Russia and China

Europe needs to get more involved in Africa again, writes the Tages-Anzeiger:

“If you ask young Africans what they would like so they can build something for themselves, the answer is often the same: stable electricity and cheap loans. These things are not available in any country on the continent. Not even after decades of development aid. China may not be perfect, many Africans say, but at least it is honest. It doesn't promise democracy, it just wants our raw materials, but at least it leaves us with railways and roads. ... Russia pretends it has no colonial past and promises nothing except that it is different from France. That is often all it takes to gain support, because many no longer expect anything from Europe.”

Expresso (PT) /

Cold War is a Western concept

Expresso warns that Europe should not think in outdated patterns:

“There is a far more complicated world where India, certain African powers and Latin America, which have shaken off almost all left-wing or right-wing dictatorships, do not fit into this old chess game. And they constitute a large part of the planet. ... The misconception that we are going back to the Cold War is a result of the same old mistake: Eurocentrism. The war in Ukraine is a problem for the world because of its effects. But what is at stake in Ukraine is a European problem.”