Дата публикации: 12 января 2024
Автор(ы): I. M. PETROV
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: РАЗНОЕ
Источник: (c) Asia and Africa Today, No. 3,31 March 2013 Pages 76-77
Номер публикации: №1705062651

I. M. PETROV, (c)


Professor of the National Research University "Higher School of Economics" I. I. Filatova and Professor of the same University, Academician A. B. Davidson " Russia and South Africa: Building Bridges "(Moscow, Higher School of Economics Publishing House, 2012) contains almost 500 pages. One can't help but wonder: did the authors really have enough materials to prepare such an impressive monograph? After all, we are talking about the relations of two countries located-without exaggeration - on different ends of the Earth, at a distance of more than 9 thousand kilometers from each other. kilometers and 17 hours of connecting flight! In addition, as is well known, the Soviet Union did not have diplomatic relations with South Africa; they were established only by a renewed Russia, and then relatively recently - in 1992. And have there ever been any relationships at all?

But after reading the first two dozen pages you are convinced: there were such relationships, and they were distinguished by exceptional activity and great diversity. And at some point, you even begin to reproach the authors for being too short and concise in many important sections - they open up so many new, bright and unusual things to the Russian reader. For the authors did not reduce their story only to describing the relations between the two countries "at the official level" - over the past decades, party and public organizations have cooperated with varying degrees of activity (first of all, we are talking about the relations of the CPSU with the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SCCP)). The USSR provided military aid to South African anti-apartheid fighters and their allies, and hundreds of ANC activists were trained in universities and military schools. The intelligence services of the two countries also showed unflagging interest in each other - dozens of fascinating pages are also devoted to this topic.

The book "Russia and South Africa" is a kind of continuation of another work published two years ago by the same authors "Russia and South Africa: three centuries of relations", a review of which our magazine has already published (see: "Asia and Africa Today", 2011, N 4).

South Africa's attitude to the Soviet Union during the period described in the new book was ambiguous: for opponents of the racist order, it was a friend, for defenders of these orders-a sworn enemy. In this paper, the positions of both sides are considered in detail, with the involvement of numerous documentary materials. In addition, a significant place is occupied by the personal impressions of the authors - they visited South Africa at different times and for a long time.

In this book, the authors often refer to the works and opinions of many Russian scientists-Africanists and publicists-African correspondents of our newspapers and magazines. Apart from this, there are frequent references to the statements and works of Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor V. G. Shubin, who was responsible for the African direction in the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

The authors write quite frankly that the policy of the USSR in relation to this region of Africa, as well as in relation to the national liberation movements (NL), was not consistent, there were ups and downs in it. In principle, the USSR always supported the NCD in Africa, but at some stage such support, especially military support, complicated the policy of detente and peaceful coexistence with the West. A large section is devoted to this serious problem, covering the Soviet theory of national liberation revolutions in their specific application to the ANC and the UACP.

For three decades, the Soviet Union supported and cooperated with the ANC, which appeared on the list of recipients of CPSU financial aid as early as 1963. The book describes in detail how the Congress opposed the active anti-communist and anti-Soviet propaganda that had been waged in South Africa for many years. It is interesting that the authors of the book also made a significant contribution to the destruction of stereotypes about life in the USSR during their trips to this region of the continent.

Perhaps the most dramatic pages of the book are devoted to the military assistance provided by the Soviet Union to the Government of independent Angola. South Africa has constantly sent troops into the country, supporting the reactionary forces of UNITA.

Perhaps for the first time in this book, we will learn about the heavy losses suffered by Soviet military personnel at that time, as well as the extent of our assistance to this country-

page 76

a radal country. At least 30 thousand of our military personnel of various categories, as well as thousands of civilian specialists, passed through Angola. The book by I. I. Filatova and A. B. Davidson provides a lot of unique information about military equipment supplied from the USSR, about specific operations involving our military. Willingly or unwittingly, the authors have filled in a number of notable "white spots" in our recent history - after all, we have very few publications on this topic.

A lot of vivid and even somewhat touching episodes are given in the section devoted to the study of ANC activists in the USSR. These people, for the most part, came to the "Lenin country" with exceptional excitement, and they invariably received a warm and kind welcome at all levels. But there were all sorts of things - some cadets from a distant country "got drunk on Saturday and ended up in a drunk tank." And others, after living in our country for several months and getting acquainted with the "Soviet realities", experienced bitter disappointment.

But almost everyone talked about their teachers with enthusiasm. "He was our best friend in Moscow... Vladimir Shubin, wrote one of the" cadets " of Kasrils. - He was bear-sized, with a thunderous voice and a hug that threatened to break our bones... He was like an uncle to all of us, had a razor-sharp mind and ... an amazing understanding of the South African situation." And there are many such remarkable characteristics of friends from a distant country, as well as interesting details in the work.

Perhaps the most important and certainly positive feature of the book "Russia and South Africa: Building Bridges" is a surprisingly harmonious combination of a deep scientific presentation of the material, balanced political assessments - on the one hand, and a lot of bright, "everyday", even "everyday" details, detailed coverage of little-known pages of relations between our two countries - on the other side.

Being in all respects, including purely formal ones (the presence of an extensive list of used documents and literature, a personal index, etc.), a serious scientific study, the book (at least most of the pages) is written at a high journalistic intensity, and therefore will be interesting to a much wider range of readers than just scientists, graduate students and students- to the Africanists.

The authors put an end to the story about the stage of relations between South Africa and Russia, when diplomatic relations were established between our countries. By the way, not so little time has passed since then-almost 21 years. This country has come a long way in this period. Today, it is no longer classified as a "third world" (although it is also not considered a developed country), it is the largest and fastest growing economy in Africa.

That is why readers can expect from I. I. Filatova and A. B. Davidson another, third volume on the same topic, which, presumably, will be no less interesting than the first two.

Опубликовано на Порталусе 12 января 2024 года

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