Indonesian President Joko Widodo is visiting Putin in Moscow today. Both countries have good relations with each other, and Indonesia does not want to exclude Russia from participating in the G20 summit later this year.
Putin to 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, Indonesia this year, will determine whether countries will be 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 will accept the invitation to attend the summit in Bali, but it is not yet clear whether he will attend physically or via video link.
A number of Western countries, led by the United States, have been pressing Indonesia for some time to exclude Russia from the summit. But for now, President Widodo is sticking with his decision.
A sign to the west
According to our Russia correspondent Eva Hartog, it is very important that Putin be present at the summit. Hartog: “Putin can prove to his people that his plan to map Russia is working and that he is still dependent 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 are willing to keep talking and doing business with Russia.”
opportunity for Russia
This is exactly what Western countries, especially the United States, want to avoid. They want to isolate Russia as much as possible, thereby weakening the economy.
There are indeed countries like China and India that have always continued to do business with Russia, but according to Han ten Broeke (Director of The Hague Center for Strategic Studies), there are many countries that do not know exactly how to deal with Russia.
According to Ten Broeke, those countries (particularly from Asia, Latin America and Africa) are now looking at Indonesia. If that country invites Russia and allows it to participate in the G-20 summit talks, that also provides it with options to trade with the Russians.
And vice versa, this presents an opportunity for Russia: it must now rely on these cooperation to keep its economy afloat.
Mass anti-Western forces?
According to our correspondent, Russia ideally wants to establish cooperative relations as closely as possible. Hartog: “Putin, of course, would prefer countries to get behind him in some kind 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 balance cooperation between Western countries. ”
But, says Hartog, even if some countries with strong economies remain in the middle, for example by not participating in sanctions against Russia in the course of business as usual, Moscow in this situation is already a gain.
So Indonesia’s invitation (and thus the lack of punishment) is Russia’s first victory. Although it remains unclear whether the G20 will last. Several Western countries threaten to boycott if the call to Russia continues.