Libmonster ID: UK-1289

Keywords: AlgeriaUSSR/Russiabilateral relations

In April 2012, the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences held a solemn meeting of the Academic Council dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Algeria and the establishment of friendly relations and Russian-Algerian diplomatic relations.

The meeting was opened by the Director of the Institute, Academician A.M. Vasiliev. He stressed the huge role of the victory of the Algerian people in the struggle for independence in the collapse of the colonial system as a whole, as well as the importance of long-term and fruitful Russian-Algerian cooperation for both peoples and solving regional and sometimes global problems.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Mikhail Bogdanov addressed the meeting participants with a welcoming speech. He noted that Russia and Algeria are linked by strategic partnership relations: Algeria was the first country in the Arab world and Africa to sign such a Declaration in April 2001.

Since then, three Russian-Algerian summits have been held-in 2006, 2008 and 2010, in addition to meetings of the leaders of the two countries at various international venues , including within the framework of the UN and the Group of Eight. Regular contacts have been established at the level of foreign ministers and heads of other ministries and departments.

Cooperation with our Algerian friends, Mikhail Bogdanov stressed, is particularly important now, when the Middle East and North Africa region is undergoing a period of tectonic shifts, which, in fact, determine the future contours of not only the region, but also the world as a whole. "At such turning points in history," he said," it is important for us to regularly 'check our clocks' with reliable, time - tested partners. " Mikhail Bogdanov noted the closeness or coincidence of the positions of the two countries on key issues of our time, including the need to coordinate efforts in multilateral and bilateral formats in such areas as strengthening the foundations of international cooperation. rights, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, as well as the right of their peoples to determine their own development paths independently, without outside interference, acting on the basis of a broad national dialogue.

The report dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Algeria and Russia was delivered by the Ambassador of Algeria to the Russian Federation, S. A. Abramovich. Shergi. He noted that his country well remembers the role that the Soviet Union played in supporting the struggle of the Algerian people for national independence, having established diplomatic relations with this North African country even before its official declaration of independence. Ambassador Shergi called this step "Russia's contribution to the establishment of human dignity, which is forever inscribed in the common memory of peoples."

We have not forgotten in Algeria, - S. Shergi said, - the help and assistance that was provided to the young republic in the formation of its statehood and national economy. Thousands of Algerian students studied in the USSR, who later formed the backbone of managerial personnel in various areas of the country's economy. Among the most important areas of cooperation, he highlighted military cooperation, as well as energy, where Algeria and Russia successfully cooperate both at the bilateral level and within the framework of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

The diplomat noted the growing interest of Russian entrepreneurs in the Algerian market, demonstrated during the Russian-Algerian bilateral business forums held in Algeria in 2010 and 2011. Cultural exchange is developing successfully: in 2010, Moscow and St. Petersburg hosted the "Week of Algerian Culture" in the Russian Federation, and in 2011 the "Week of Russian Culture" was held in Algeria. The twin cities movement of the two countries has developed.

The Ambassador believes that the currently observed "necessary return" of Russia to Afri-

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ku is very important in connection with the events taking place in the Arab world and other regions. In his opinion, the dynamically developing Algerian-Russian cooperation can contribute "to the prevention and resolution of crises based on international law, the promotion of the dialogue of civilizations, and the humanization of the world community as a whole."

Great interest was aroused by the speech of the Russian Ambassador to Algeria (1995-2000) V. E. Yegoshkin, who knows and loves this country and its people very well. From the point of view of a direct witness, he spoke about the revival of Algeria after the bloody struggle for independence, about specific examples of Soviet assistance to the young republic and the friendly, warm relations that developed between Algerians and Soviet specialists. V. E. Egoshkin organized an exhibition of everyday objects and folk art of Algeria at the Institute of Africa.

The speech of the famous Russian scientist, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor R. G. Landa attracted the attention of the audience because it contained both a scientific analysis and facts collected by him, an eyewitness of the events that took place in and around Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s. R. G. Landa, a leading expert on the modern history of Algeria, spoke about the source base of his works (and this is not only data from archives, but also testimonies of participants in the national liberation struggle, many of whom the scientist knew personally).

N. A. Zherlitsina, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Historical Sciences, described the main stages in the history of Russian-Algerian relations. She pointed out that the Russian Empire had established permanent consular relations with Algeria as early as 1884. The trade turnover grew steadily: on the eve of the First World War, Russia took the 5th place in Algeria's foreign trade.

After the Second World War, when the balance of power in the world radically changed, favorable conditions were created for the rise of the national liberation movement. In November 1954, the Algerians launched an armed struggle for independence, which became the bloodiest in the history of Arab countries. The Soviet Union gave all-round support to the struggling Algeria. Moscow established direct contacts with the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic, and on March 19, 1962, even before the declaration of independence of Algeria, officially declared its de jure recognition.

The USSR was among the first countries to support Algeria in eliminating the consequences of colonialism and the long war, and restoring the national economy.

In the 1960s and 1980s, relations between the two countries were multifaceted and stable. Cooperation developed in politics, economics, science and culture, in the training of national personnel, and in the military-technical sphere.

Since the mid-1980s, there has been a certain similarity between the processes that took place in the life of the USSR and Algeria. In both countries, the economic situation was deteriorating, and disillusionment with the ideals of socialism was felt. The volume of cooperation and trade at this time was minimal, although it was not interrupted.

It was only in the late 1990s that contacts between the two countries began to acquire a new quality. This is confirmed by the mutual visits of the Presidents of the Russian Federation and Algeria in 2001 and 2006, as well as in 2008 and 2010.

In conclusion, N. A. Zherlitsina stressed that Algeria is currently one of the main partners of the Russian Federation in the Arab world and in Africa. This is determined by the long-term history of relations between our countries and the accumulated potential for cooperation.

An emotional speech by Colonel A. Pavlenko, Chairman of the Algerian section of the Union of International Soldiers, was listened to with interest. In 1962, he served in a group of Soviet sappers in Algeria. The author of the book of memoirs "Our Hearts Remain in Algeria", in which he spoke about the selfless work of Soviet sappers in Algeria, when the country was still fighting, about the comrades who died on Algerian soil, about the fraternal friendship that bound our military and Algerian fighters for independence. In total, about 2 million mines were neutralized, and many Algerian military specialists were trained. Soviet sappers risked their lives, Pavlenko said, to allow Algerians to walk freely on their land. "Times and politics change, but the friendship between our peoples remains,"the veteran concluded his speech.

Head of the Center for the Study of North Africa and the Horn of Africa, Candidate of Economic Sciences A. A. Tkachenko, spoke about the research conducted at the Institute of Africa for the Study of Algeria, about publications on Russian-Algerian relations. These relations did not always develop equally smoothly and progressively (in the early 90-ies of the XX century, for various reasons, they noticeably decreased), but today, according to the speaker, there is reason for optimism. There are good opportunities to expand trade and economic contacts, especially in the oil and gas sector. Alexander Tkachenko stressed that the provisions of the fundamental Russian-Algerian documents should be implemented more actively. Not the least role in this should be played by the business community of both countries and, in particular, business councils that bring together entrepreneurs interested in expanding bilateral cooperation.

This idea was supported by the Director of the Russian-Arab Business Council (RABC) T. Gvilava. She spoke about the work of the Council to promote Russian business in the Algerian market. Algeria hosts annual exhibitions, where many Russian regions demonstrate their capabilities. Some contracts concluded during their implementation are already being implemented. According to the RADS Director, there are good prospects, in particular, in such areas as construction, infrastructure, and energy.

Ambassador S. Shergi awarded T. Gwilava with a certificate of the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for actively promoting the development of Russian-Algerian economic ties. He also thanked Alexander Vasiliev, Director of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Academic Council for organizing the event dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Algeria and the establishment of Russian-Algerian diplomatic relations.

M. N. AMVROSOVA, Candidate of Historical Sciences Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences


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