“So, which world leaders are friends or accomplices of Putin?
Especially significant is India’s Narendra Modi, head of the world’s largest democracy. In recent months Modi has extended a hand of friendship to Putin. Modi sides with him on Ukraine, and the two often speak. Under Modi’s increasingly authoritarian leadership, India has bought substantially more oil from Siberia and reduced imports from the Persian Gulf, further bolstering Russia’s economy.
Modi’s India is a key member of BRICS, a partnership that links Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping have declared publicly that unilateral sanctions are against international law, and none of the partners in BRICS have imposed sanctions against Moscow. Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro, who is currently facing an election, and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa are also friends, along with Alberto Fernandez of Argentina and the supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, both leaders of nations that have applied to join BRICS.
Putin has friends of a different kind in the Persian Gulf, including oil-rich United Arab Emirates. The ruler of Dubai and deputy president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, is encouraging Russian investment and participation in the opulent Palm Jumeirah development. Dubai’s Emirates airline has 23 flights a week to Moscow, dirhams and roubles flow freely in each direction, and Russian oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich, the banished former owner of Chelsea football club, park their yachts at Jebel Ali.
Another destination for Russian billionaires is Türkiye’s Mediterranean coast. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a Putin collaborator who has a conflict of interest. Türkiye is an important member of NATO, but it trades freely with Russia and ignores sanctions. Moreover, Türkiye controls the entrance to the Black Sea, which is a critical route from Russian and Ukrainian ports into the Mediterranean. Erdoğan’s complicity – some say duplicity – has earned him brownie points, however. He recently worked with the United Nations to open a sea route for Ukrainian grain that had been blocked by Russia’s navy since the early days of the invasion.
For some, the most worrying friend of Putin is the longest serving European leader, Viktor Orbán of Hungary, whose defiance of the European Union’s sanctions against Moscow, and a pact to continue to import Russian oil and gas, exasperates Brussels. Within the EU, there is also increasing concern about the probable election of a far-right coalition in Italy later this month and the turbulence in Moscow-leaning states of the Balkans.
And then there is Donald Trump, more of a Putin accomplice than a friend.In their separate ways, they sought to weaken NATO, with Trump once threatening American withdrawal from the bloc.”
Comment from Glen Grant:
“India cannot be a democracy. A democracy has values that are totally missing from the Indian government actions over Russia. No democracy could support child rape.”
Comment from Thomas Kennett:
“Agree, Hannes, a bunch of thugs and thieves. All buying off one another to keep the cash flows going and their pockets filling. After 5000-6000 years of civilization, we find ourselves worldwide amidst the integration of organizational corruption and criminal enterprise. Are we aware of what nastiness might transpire the next 100 years, let alone the next 1000? Maybe Earth is saying ENOUGH! She’s going to cast us off in a series of heavy shrugs, let her better accomplishments carry on.”
Comment from Charn Deol:
“Disgusting – leadership with no ethics and diminished morals. They are accepting killing, torture, and rape of innocent men, women and children in Ukraine.”
Comment from Melanie Mizell:
“A rogues gallery of cruel and greedy men.”