Zim, Russia strengthening bilateral relations President Mnangagwa and Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev recently held talks via video conference

Political Editor

ZIMBABWE and Russia are set to deepen bilateral co-operation in the economic, security and humanitarian sectors to counter neo-colonialism used by Western countries to control developing nations.

This emerged during a meeting held between President Mnangagwa and the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, on Tuesday, virtually.

Zimbabwe and Russia share long historical bonds that were forged during the former’s liberation struggle, and since then, the two nations have co-operated on a wide range of issues on the international stage.

Over the years, Russia has blocked machinations to punish Zimbabwe, through the United Nations Security Council, by vetoing several resolutions sponsored by the West to ostracise the  country.

Presently, as Russia fights Western countries through a proxy war, the Euruasian giant has suffered from unilateral sanctions.

As such, Zimbabwe and Russia have so much that binds them together, both in terms of geopolitics, economic trade and human capital development.

President Mnangagwa, in his engagement with Mr Medvedev, who is also chairman of Russia’s ruling party — United Russia — noted the inadmissibility of the collective West applying unilateral, illegitimate sanctions on independent countries, Russian media reported.

He also confirmed the immutability of Harare’s similar approach to discussing the Ukrainian story on international platforms, despite unprecedented pressure from outside.

Indeed, Western countries tried to push Zimbabwe to adopt a hardline stance against Russia, but the Second Republic, that is a friend to all and an enemy to none, resisted the Western machinations that had come sugarcoated with promises to review the unilateral sanctions on the country.

“The leaders of United Russia and ZANU-PF pointed to the ongoing colonial orientation of the policies of the US and its satellites towards African countries. To counter the modern practices of neo-colonialism used by Westerners, the importance of creating an appropriate mechanism was emphasised, including by actively using the capabilities of the leading political parties in Russia and Zimbabwe,” the United Russia party’s press service reported after the meeting.

Russia has repeatedly drawn attention to the discrepancy between the West’s slogans ‘for equality, for the support of African countries’ and its real economic policy.

In particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out that trillions of dollars and euros printed over the past two years were spent by the US and Europe to “buy up goods on world markets,” which has sent up prices against the background of poor harvests and reduced production. Primarily, the poorest countries — countries of Africa and partly of Latin America and Asia – suffered as a result, President Putin explained.

According to a statement provided by United Russia, Mr Medvedev thanked President Mnangagwa for his balanced approach to the Ukrainian crisis and the recent referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR respectively), as well as in the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions.

“A decision to include these regions into Russia was made based upon the will of local residents, and that will is permanent. We would never allow anyone to tear away the territories in question and [we] will resort to using all available means in order to protect everyone living there,” Mr Medvedev told President Mnangagwa.

The parties also discussed in detail the implementation of a number of economic projects, in particular, in the mining industry.

“In addition, special attention is paid to the development of co-operation in the transport sector — both its railway component (modernisation of the relevant infrastructure in Zimbabwe) and air (opening of direct air communication between states).

“Separately, the issues of establishing supplies of Russian agricultural products and fertilisers to African countries in the face of obstacles imposed by Washington and its allies, as well as the implementation of training programmes for Zimbabwean farmers were considered,” the statement said.

Mr Medvedev and President Mnangagwa also discussed the need to hasten the construction of the Museum of African Liberation in Harare, and the creation of a monument dedicated to the Victory in the Great Patriotic war.

According to United Russia’s press service, this is important for “preserving the historical memory of the difficult times of the past”.

The parties also addressed humanitarian issues with Mr Medvedev confirming that Russia was ready to continue assisting its partners in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

They also expressed willingness to expand the practice of training Zimbabwean students at the Russian universities.

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