Russia and new chances for development of the African continent

    Gulbaat Rtskhiladze

    In the period of the greatest power of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Moscow turned the look to Africa and began to pursue very active policy on the Dark continent. Then, in 60th and 70th the 20th century, the communistic ideology with political goals was fundamentals of the African policy of the USSR. The main task of Moscow consisted in strengthening of the ideological followers. For support of the left movements of the African countries considerable funds were allocated. The Soviet Union rendered very active assistance in creation of infrastructure, training of skilled workers of shots, increase in education level among local population, etc. That is, the USSR carried out technical assistance. By the Russian estimates, the contribution of the economic units constructed by the Soviet Union in the countries of Africa in GDP of the certain countries reached 15%, at the same time it was talked of the enterprises which made frame of the modern sector of production. The certain countries of Africa had a debt to Moscow which Post-Soviet Russia generally wrote off from them as return of debts all the same was unreal. As a result the conclusion is drawn that the Soviet help to Africa was not calculated on economic return and had generally political motives in the context of opposition of the socialist East with the capitalist West.

    Many African countries estimated support of Moscow in fight against colonialism. They saw that success of their fight for independence it was in no small measure provided thanks to the Soviet support. After disintegration of the Soviet Union weakening of communications of Russia with the developing world, loss of many political positions by it, leaving from their markets, especially in Africa was observed. The Russian society concentrated on the solution of the internal problems did not show to the African continent of essential interest.

    However after improvement of a situation in Russia to the middle of the 2000th years, the picture began to change – political dialogue of Russia with the African countries was intensified, the impulse was given to expansion of economic cooperation. Successful pilot projects of the Russian business began to be carried out, a number of trade and economic interstate agreements was signed. The help to Russia to development of Africa extended. However establishing interaction in a new format it was slow and not absolutely effective process. It passes in a situation of intense competition with other powers having the economic and political interests in Africa.

    Unlike the Soviet policy of an era of “Cold War”, the foreign policy of modern Russia is much more focused on economic return, on mutually beneficial cooperation in various spheres of economy, especially power engineering specialists. The Russian diplomat, the adviser to the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of FS of Russia Andrey Baklanov in the “Russia in Global Policy” magazine depicted on August 10, 2018 the strategic nature of economic interests of Russia in Africa. “According to experts, about 30% of world reserves of mineral minerals, including 83% of world extraction of platinum, 45% – diamonds, 40% – gold, 47% – cobalt, 43% – palladium are the share of the countries of Africa, 42% – she is lame”, – the author of article writes. “A share of our country (taking into account the Arctic zone) – over 25% on mineral minerals, we have also about 20% of energy potential of the world. The nomenclature of minerals of Africa and Russia differ. Both partners supplement each other in respect of deliveries to the world markets of primary goods. For the foreseeable future Russia can have deficiency on a number of minerals which are extracted in Africa. In addition, it is important to consider that owing to features of bedding of minerals and low cost of labor, profitability of investments in mining industry in Africa is much higher, than in other regions of the world, and the cost of the got products – it is essential, is often 20-30% lower, than in other places. In general, about 50-52% of all resource capacity of Earth are the share of Russia and Africa. It objectively leads to presence at us of coinciding approaches in questions of the organization of the world economy”, – he concludes.

    Further the author notes positive shifts in cooperation of Russia with the countries of Africa which however did not result in desirable results – even the indicator of 185 percent growth of commodity turnover between Russia and Dark continent for 2005-2015 is not considered decisive break. Russia still lags behind in the rating of the major powers which are present at the markets of Africa. Nevertheless, economic interest of Russia in Africa – the fact. “Russia masters Darvendale in Zimbabwe – it is one of the largest fields of metals of platinum in the world, invests money in extraction of the same platinum in Ethiopia and Mozambique, in Angola mines diamonds, in the Central African Republic diamonds and gold, rare-earth metals in Congo, our experts build the NPP and service hydroelectric power station” – the Russian publicist Denis Balin writes on April 24, 2019.

    But interest not unilateral. African states not less vividly is interested in Russia and realize benefit for themselves from cooperation with it. For this reason the summit planned a few years ago Russia-Africa becomes a reality. In the official chronicle of the Kremlin on May 28 this year there was a message that “on October 24 in Sochi under co-chairmanship of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdelfattakh Sisi, the Chairman of the African Union, the summit Russia – Africa will take place. This action of such level, the first in the history of the Russian-African relations, to which heads of all states of the African continent and also heads of the largest subregional associations and the organizations are invited. Special attention at the summit will be paid to a state and prospects of the relations of Russia with the countries of the African continent, development of interaction in political, economic, technical and cultural areas. It is supposed to discuss a wide range of questions of the international agenda, including joint counteraction to new calls and threats, strengthening of regional stability. Following the results of a meeting adoption of the political declaration in the main directions of the Russian-African cooperation is planned. Within the top-level actions on October 23 leaders of Russia and Egypt will open an economic forum with participation of the Russian and African officials and representatives of large business. Following the results of a forum signing of a powerful package of arrangements in trade and economic and investment spheres is expected”.

    It is the unique project which promises benefit to all its participants. Thanks to the Russian initiative representatives of the African continent have a real chance, at last for the first time in history to find stable economic and political development, to strengthen statehood and peaceful relationship. Russia as historically developed purely tellurokratichesky power, never aspired to a kolonialization of Africa (and other overseas territories too) unlike the European powers. Europe since antique times were engaged in colonization – we will remember ancient Athenians. Attempts to become early colonists of the Middle Ages (partly successful) were at the skandinaskikh of the people; genoeses and Venetians were the Mediterranean colonialists also; then the turn of the pireneyets, Dutches, French and British who chose a talassokratichesky way of an imperialism came. But also tellurokratiya of Europe as Germany and Italy, let late, but nevertheless involved themselves in process of colonialism at sunset of the 19th century. The colonialism remains not healing wound of Africa. Only one tiny Belgium caused a huge loss to Africans which will remain eternally an evil itself(himself) which bore with itself(himself) the European colonialism for Africa.

    Russia behaved absolutely differently on the lands attached or won by it. I as the representative of Georgia who studied history of the country I know that thanks to accession of the Georgian kingdoms and principalities to Russia in the 19th century the Georgian people escaped physically from destruction from powerful Muslim empires, began to breed and was restored to peaceful life, and the country united in the historical borders. Better than any other historical era Georgians felt as a part of the Soviet Union… So this factor cannot be ignored when we analyze traditions and constants of foreign policy of Russia. Russia especially is not dangerous to Africa and, supporting so-called multipolar political system in the world, can become one of the main guarantors of peaceful development of Africa. The Sochi summit on October 23-24, 2019 designed to unite all countries of the continent around the positive purposes and partnership, will only strengthen this trend.

    Gulbaat Rtskhiladze,

    Dr.Phil., Germanist and Politologist, the Founder of the NGO “The Institute of Eurasia” (Tbilisi, Georgia)