International Relations Theory and the BRICS Phenomenon


  • Alexander Sergunin Moscow State Institute of International Relations and St. Petersburg State University
  • Valery Konyshev St. Petersburg State University
  • Gao Fei China Foreign Affairs University



This article examines the BRICS phenomenon through the prism of several International Relations theories. Particularly, power transition theory, soft power and peaceful coexistence concepts, the theory of “global regionalism” and status theories are reviewed. Each of them suggests its own theoretical interpretation of the BRICS phenomenon, as well as its own vision of this group’s role in world politics and economy. It is safe to assume that despite limitations of these theories each of them has some explanatory power. Being used together they can be helpful for studying - in an interdisciplinary way - a complex phenomenon, such as the BRICS.

A number of modern theories hold that, along with the pursuit of purely material and pragmatic interests, the BRICS countries actively use this integration association to strengthen their positions in the world arena and elevate their international status.

It should be noted that the BRICS was rather successful in presenting itself as a new model of world order which is a serious alternative to the existing one dominated by the West. It is based on the principles of cooperation, mutual respect and balance of interests, rather than dictate, discrimination, hierarchy and balance of power. It is too early to ascertain that a principally new type of an international institution was born within the BRICS format. However, there is no doubt that some positive experience has already been accumulated by this forum, and that this grouping has some good prospects for the future. For this reason, it will remain of considerable interest for International Relations theory.

Keywords: BRICS, International Relations Theory, alternative world order






Research Article