Indonesian President Joko Widodo will visit Putin in Moscow today. The two countries enjoy good relations and Indonesia does not want to prevent Russia from participating in the G20 summit later this year.
Putin in Bali?
The G20 summit is a summit that brings together the nineteen richest countries in the world and the European Union. The chair of the summit, this year Indonesia, determines whether countries are allowed to attend and whether other countries are invited. In addition to Putin, there is also an invitation to Ukraine and President Zelensky.
Putin has already said he would accept the invitation to the Bali summit, but it is not yet clear whether he will attend in person or via video link.
A number of Western countries, led by the United States, have for some time been pressuring Indonesia to exclude Russia from the summit. But for now, President Widodo maintains his decision.
“Signal to the West”
According to our Russian correspondent Eva Hartog, it is very important that Putin is present at the top. Hartog: “Putin can demonstrate to his own people that his plan to map Russia is working and that he still matters on the world stage.”
But according to Hartog, Russia mainly wants to use the invitation as a signal to the West.
“Putin wants to show the West that there are enough countries that want to continue talking and doing business with Russia.”
Opportunity for Russia
This is exactly what Western countries, and especially the United States, want to avoid. They want Russia to be isolated as much as possible, thus weakening the economy.
There are already countries like China and India that have always continued to do business with Russia, but according to Han ten Broeke (director of the Center for Strategic Studies in The Hague), many countries do not know exactly how deal with Russia.
According to Ten Broeke, these countries (especially from Asia, Latin America and Africa) are now looking to Indonesia. If this country invites Russia and lets it participate in the G20 summit talks, it also opens up opportunities for it to trade with the Russians.
And conversely, this offers an opportunity for Russia: it must now rely on these collaborations to keep its economy afloat.
Anti-Western power bloc?
According to our correspondent, Russia ideally wants to set up collaborations that are as broad as possible. Hartog: “Putin would of course prefer countries to rally behind him in some sort of anti-Western bloc.”
Such a bloc has already been considered in the Kremlin: cooperation between Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia and Russia itself should counterbalance cooperation between Western countries. .”
But, argues Hartog, even if some countries with strong economies stay in the middle, for example, by not participating in sanctions against Russia as part of the status quo, Moscow in this situation already counts as a gain.
The invitation of Indonesia (and therefore the absence of sanction) is therefore a first victory for Russia. Although it is not yet clear if the G20 will continue. Several Western countries are threatening to boycott if the invitation to Russia remains.
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