Brazilian president: why so Moscow-friendly?

Like China, Brazil is trying to mediate in the Ukraine war. Its proposals: no arms deliveries, Kyiv’s renunciation of Crimea and a "Peace G20" for negotiations. President Lula called on the US and EU to "stop promoting war and start talking about peace". Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seemed to be in high spirits during his visit to Brazil. Europe’s press is annoyed.

Visão (PT) /

Estranged from Europe

Visão accuses the Brazilian president of cosying up to Russia:

“Lula da Silva should ask Zelensky if he can visit Bakhmut or Bucha and so many other scenes of death and total destruction. Instead of honouring the Russian soldiers, the Brazilian president would have to kneel in front of the mass graves where innocent civilians, old people, young people and children, were massacred. It is clear that Latin America is not connected to what is happening in Eastern Europe, nor does it live with the constant threat of a nuclear power, but this current estrangement will only widen the gap between the two continents.”

Luís Delgado
Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

As clueless as the Pope

Krytyka Polityczna also has no understanding for the Brazilian president’s attitude:

“Given Lula’s biography and the history of the Latin American left, it’s understandable that he is sceptical of the US leadership and may be unfamiliar with the grim reality of Russian imperialism. ... However, Lula’s complete blindness to the question of who invaded and who was invaded, his failure to see that Ukraine is fighting a just defensive war, is astonishing even in this context. In this respect he resembles another charismatic leader from Latin America, Pope Francis. Both are characterised by the same mindless symmetry, naïve pacifism and ignorance of the realities in our region.”

Jakub Majmurek
taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Siding with the aggressor

From a leftist perspective Lula’s position is morally and politically bankrupt, the taz writes in fury:

“Anti-imperialist solidarity with an invaded country? Nope. Lula says that under no circumstances will he become part of a new cold war. But his fawning, uncritical attitude towards his Russian guest makes him just that. Lula’s talk of founding a ‘peace club’ for Ukraine can’t hide the fact that he has de facto sided with the aggressor. Putin will be pleased.”

Bernd Pickert
NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

There are reasons for the anti-Western stance

In his column in NRC political scientist Luuk van Middelaar shows some understanding for Lula:

“Brazil’s bond with Moscow and Beijing is not just based on economic interests. It also reflects a desire for autonomy. Too often, we here in Western Europe forget how much Latin America’s recent history between 1960 and 1980 was affected by the CIA’s support for a whole slew of coups, juntas and dictators. ... Such bitter memories take the shine off Biden’s discourse on democracy and are the starting point for a cool balancing of interests.”

Luuk van Middelaar