A SON OF HIS TIME
PORTRAIT OF A PROMINENT POLITICAL FIGURE IN THE ARAB WORLD A. PODCEROB Candidate of Historical Sciences December 27, 2008 marks the 30th anniversary of the death of President ANDRE Houari Boumediene. The time has probably come to remember this remarkable man, his role in the national liberation movement in North Africa, in the formation of modern Algeria, as well as his contribution to the development of friendly relations between this state and our country. I first met H. Boumedien in 1969 during a visit to the Algerian People's Democratic Republic (ANDR) by N. V. Podgorny, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, when I was working in Algeria as an attache of the Soviet embassy. A representative delegation arrived from Podgorny, accompanied by numerous translators from the French language. The country, however, was then overwhelmed by another wave of Arabization, and the Algerians firmly stated that negotiations at the level of heads of delegations should be conducted in Arabic. There was only one Arabist in the delegation - Kamilev, and, of course, he was physically unable to provide a "marathon translation" alone. It was necessary to find a way out of this situation, and then my candidacy surfaced. Late in the evening of March 26, shortly after N. V. Podgorny arrived in Algeria, I was summoned by Ambassador D. P. Shevlyagin, who informed me that during the plenary talks I would have to translate from Russian into Arabic, while Kamilev would provide translation from Arabic into Russian. I already had some experience by this time: during my studies at MGIMO, which I graduated from in 1967, I had to work with delegations of Arab countries who came to Moscow through the Central Committee of the CPSU. He also translated lectures for Arabic-speaking graduate students of the Moscow Institute of Social Sciences, and while working abroad, translated conversations between deputy foreign ministers of the USSR and state and public figures in Syria and Pa ... Read more
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