Russia is plunging deeper and deeper into the Soviet practice of granting multi-billion dollar assistance to loyal regimes abroad, both near and far.
After writing off all of Kyrgyzstan and Cuba’s debts, restructuring Venezuela’s debt and forgiving $20 billion worth of African countries’ Soviet debts, the Kremlin is now willing to start assisting Zimbabwe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intentions after negotiations with his Zimbabwean colleague Emmerson Mnangagwa, Interfax reports.
“Very recently you won a convincing victory in the elections,” Putin told Mnangagwa, the president who replaced Robert Mugabe, whose 30-year rule ended in a military coup in November 2017.
“We are prepared to do everything that depends on us to ensure that the collaboration between our countries benefits our nations, to ensure that it is a meaningful, significant contribution to the implementation of the plans and programs that you have developed,” Putin said.
The Russian investments will be directed at diamond mining in Zimbabwe. The Russian diamond conglomerate Alrosa opened a subsidiary (Alrosa Zimbabwe Ltd) in the country in December last year, and intends to offer “all the technologies” it possesses, the company’s director Sergey Ivanov said on January 14.
“We are prepared to share any know-how we have so that Zimbabwe can take the position that the country held several years ago in the global market,” he emphasized.
In 2014, Russia and Zimbabwe signed a military collaboration agreement.
By shipping weapons to 19 sub-Saharan African countries, Russia is “buying” their votes in the UN Security Council, “keeping dictators in power, undermining peace and security, and acting against the interests of the African countries’ populations,” US National Security Advisor John Bolton remarked in December.