Question: What was the BRICS countries biggest achievement during the Russian Presidency?
Nikolai Troshin: Today, BRICS countries have scored their biggest success in the financial sphere. They have adopted decisions to establish the first institutions of BRICS - the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). Moreover, they have coordinated a uniform position on changing the world's financial architecture - in part, the IMF and reforming financial regulation in the Financial Stability Board (FSB).
Now, they should consolidate their successes - and in part launch the NDB that might become a catalyst for implementing joint projects in other priority spheres.
Question: What can we expect from the July Summit in Ufa?
Nikolai Troshin: If all countries ratify the NDB agreement by the July Summit, they will continue to form its governing bodies and define its priorities. They attach a great deal of importance to the BRICS Economic Cooperation Strategy. Russia has come up with about 30 projects of mutual interest in this context.
Question: A number of experts maintain that the economic potential of Brazil, Russia, India and China allows them to become the world's four dominant economic systems by 2050. Do you agree with this?
Nikolai Troshin: At the RISS conference on 2nd April а speaker presented a forecast showing that by 2050 BRICS countries will account for over 40 percent of the world's GDP as compared with about 27 percent today.
China is acting as a locomotive in this respect. Its economy is already the first in the world. China has left behind the United States in the GDP purchasing power parity. It may overtake the United States in terms of nominal GDP in 2017.
Question: Are international financial structures likely to try and exert pressure on BRICS countries in this context?
Nikolai Troshin: The purpose of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement is to give BRICS countries an opportunity to receive urgent financial aid in the event that international agencies are "unfriendly" toward them. That said, today there is no confrontation in this respect, which is yet further evidence that there is a possibility of using part of the CRA's funds on the relevant IMF programme.
Pressure is surely coming but from individual countries, primarily the United States which is attempting to influence our BRICS partners. At the same time, the Western press is trying to present BRICS as an artificial association. The Ukraine crisis has shown the futility of such attempts. We appreciate the position of our BRICS partners on this issue and their refusal to join anti-Russian sanctions despite pressure from Washington. The meeting of the BRICS leaders on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Brisbane (Australia) demonstrated the failure of US policy on Russia's international isolation.
Question: Could you describe the prospects of BRICS energy cooperation?
Nikolai Troshin: Rosneft pushed an initiative to establish the BRICS Energy Agency under the BRICS Economic Cooperation Strategy. A proposal to create the conditions for using BRICS national currencies for energy deals has also become part of the strategy.
Russia has also proposed reviewing a project of a BRICS reserve fuel bank. This will make it possible to match US strategic fuel reserves and stabilise the energy market. To further reduce US influence, it would be possible to consider the formation of an independent mechanism of energy price formation within BRICS. This could be done by launching parallel bidding for oil and gas on the exchanges of BRICS countries with deals being conducted in their national currencies.