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ANC & RUSSIA ANALYSIS

To Russia with Love and Hopeless Devotion, from Fikile Mbalula and the ANC

To Russia with Love and Hopeless Devotion, from Fikile Mbalula and the ANC
Illustrative image, from left | Russian President Vladimir Putin; ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: Contributor / Getty Images | X/ @myanc)

The ANC’s bromance with Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party tells us more about their mutual hostility to the West than about their ideological affinity.

This past weekend, ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula posted on X: “From Russia the meeting of minds the new world order in motion.”

Mbalula was posting from the first “international inter-party forum against modern neo-colonialist practices”, headlined “For Freedom of Nations”, organised by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, and attended by about 400 delegates from more than 50 countries.

Mbalula happened to be in Moscow when Putin’s government announced that its arch-critic Alexei Navalny had died in prison on Friday, 16 February.

In the eyes of many Western governments – and certainly internal opponents – the Kremlin is the prime suspect in Navalny’s death, having tried to poison him nearly four years ago.

But Mbalula said not a word about Navalny’s suspicious death – not even to call for an investigation.

On the contrary, he vowed that the ANC would remain loyal to Russia, no matter the cost.

“We, South Africa, stand with Russia as our friend and we make no apologies for that… We will never abandon you,” Mbalula said at the forum, as reported by RIA Novosti.

He said South Africa was ready to sacrifice its relationships with other friends for the sake of its friendship with Russia.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Russia’s lost Alexei Navalny’s drive for sanity but his spirit lives on

This vow of absolute devotion to Russia has understandably gone down like a lead balloon with Western ambassadors in Pretoria, particularly of countries which provided substantial support to the ANC when it was in exile, fighting apartheid.

Mbalula, of course, quite often embarrasses even his own party.

Yet his visit to Moscow for this event clearly had the blessing of the party.

When Daily Maverick asked party leader President Cyril Ramaphosa about it last week, he did not distance himself from Mbalula’s visit, though his reply was vague.

“These are developing issues where we seek to bring everyone into one tent, so relax,” he said. “The world is topsy-turvy as it is now. There are so many moves and changes all over the world.” 

Putin’s United Russia Party

It does indeed seem topsy-turvy that the ANC – a party which still likes to think of itself as socialist – goes out of its way to fraternise with Putin’s United Russia Party which seems, if anything, to be rather fascist.

It appears that the ANC therefore is simply suffering from a mindless nostalgia for Russia’s previous incarnation, the Soviet Union, which supported the ANC as they were then ideologically aligned. 

Now, 34 years later, Putin and his United Russia represent the kind of lawless, oligarch-dominated economics that must be making Karl Marx turn in his grave.

Socially, too, the party has now formally adopted the policy of “Russian conservatism” which is most strongly shaped by the Russian Orthodox Church. 

This includes strong opposition to abortion and homosexuality, especially, and any attempt to put individual rights above those of family, community or nation.

“The Russian Orthodox Church helps project Russia as the natural ally of all those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tradition-crushing rush of globalisation, multiculturalism and women’s and gay rights,” as Wikipedia puts it.

The Putin government and the ruling party also lend support to right-wing political parties in Europe – such as Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National in France and Alternative for Germany in Germany. 

And in the United States, it has largely been the pro-Trump right wing of the already right-wing Republican Party that has opposed US support to Ukraine to fight Russia.

Many contradictions

Russian expert Irina Filatova, professor emeritus and senior research associate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, says objectively there could be many contradictions in the ANC fraternising with the URP.  

But it is enough for the ANC that it shares with United Russia an ‘anti-Western, anti-colonial’ agenda. When either party hears phrases like “anti-colonialism” or “ neo-colonialism”, it reacts like Pavlov’s dog.

“They think of the world in Soviet categories. There are exploiting nations and there are exploited nations and that narrative suits them absolutely. That’s their mentality, that’s their ideology. 

“What’s behind it either economically or whatever, they are really not interested. So I don’t see any contradictions in that.”

When the ANC’s closest allies killed their own Mandela in Navalny and we looked away

Filatova adds that the former Fox anchor Tucker Carlson’s recent interview with Putin had revealed several objective contradictions – for instance, Putin’s territorial claims on Ukraine based on 9th-century or 17th-century history. And his claim that Ukraine was an artificial state because it was created by Stalin and Lenin in 1919.

If this was true, then most African states were also artificial as most had been also created after 1919 by colonial powers, she said.

“But the South Africans do not see this contradiction. They just follow the Russian line and that’s all.”

Putin blaming Poland for the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 in the Carlson interview was “like blaming Jews for the Hamas invasion” of Israel on 7 October last year.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Vladimir Putin justified Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland; South Africa must denounce him

She noted too that in the Carlson interview, Putin had claimed at least parts of Polish territory because Russia had conquered Poland in bits and pieces during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The ANC  should reject this as it should not, according to its own principles, be recognising Putin’s claims on the territories of other countries, she said.  

“But you see, the ANC doesn’t know these things. They are not interested in these things. They don’t know their own history. And they don’t know their own principles. They are stuck in colonial times. This is just a propaganda exercise.”

Power alliances

Most analysts say that United Russia is not really a party in the usual sense of having an independent ideology or even an independent existence.

“It is basically the party of power,” as Olexiy Haran puts it.

“These are people who were united around Putin and they didn’t have any freedom of discussion within this party,” said Haran, professor of comparative politics at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and research director at the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, a leading Ukrainian analytical and sociological think tank.

“These people are not ideological. They are more interested in staying in power and keeping their business. So if there were any signs of problems with the Putin regime, they might easily switch sides or downplay their role in supporting Putin.

“This is the harsh reality of a fascist-type regime.”

Samuel Ramani, a tutor in politics and international relations at Oxford University and author of the recent book Russia in Africa, agrees that “the United Russia party is mostly a catch-all party that serves Putin’s ambitions. 

“Since the 2012 elections and the protests that accompanied them, United Russia has embraced a more conservative policy agenda to appeal to the Orthodox Church and nationalists. But it is malleable in its international outreaches.” 

He says United Russia’s strategy of forming party-to-party relationships with African countries and parties in the Global South, mirrors the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to export its governance model to countries like Ethiopia.

United Russia builds on the legacy of inter-parliamentary dialogues that helped Russia rebuild partnerships in Africa during the late 1990s/early 2000s, he says.

“Anti-Westernism and multipolarity are much stronger outreach tools for United Russia than conservatism in Africa and dominate the party’s outreaches to countries like South Africa.

“This is why I suspect the ANC will be engaging with them directly and why left-wing activists like Julius Malema have no qualms about being very supportive of Russia’s political system.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: When the ANC’s closest allies killed their own Mandela in Navalny and we looked away

The opinion that United Russia is not driven by ideology seems to be corroborated by the fact that Putin and his party have established links not only with right-wing parties but also with left-wing parties around the world.

So, on the right, the party has signed cooperation agreements with the populist Freedom Party of Austria and Italy’s populist Five Star Movement, among others. 

On the left, apart from the agreement it signed with the ANC back in 2012, the party has also signed agreements with parties such as the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, the Communist Party of Vietnam, the New Azerbaijan Party, the Prosperous Armenia party, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party – Syria Region, the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Communist Party of Cuba, and others. 

Using each other

Maria Snegovaya, senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, also found, in her study of Russia’s influence-peddling in Europe, that Moscow had forged relationships with both left and right-wing European parties.

For her report of May 2022, entitled “Fellow travellers or Trojan horses? Similarities across pro-Russian parties’ electorates in Europe”, Snegovaya studied the policies of political parties (which had won above 2% in elections between 2008 and 2017) in 15 EU member states and found that  40 of the parties openly embraced pro-Russian positions.

These pro-Russian parties, “regardless of their ideological (right or left) leanings, tend to hold significantly more Eurosceptic attitudes than supporters of mainstream parties”.

She said this Euroscepticism explained their endorsement of narratives and policies indirectly favourable to the Kremlin.

“It also sheds some light on the opportunistic rather than ideological nature of Russia’s influence operations in the European Union, which exploit opportunities presented in respective regions. In other words, these parties are the Kremlin’s fellow travellers.”

By characterising these pro-Russian parties as “fellow travellers” – rather than “Trojan horses” – Snegovaya meant that the European parties and Russia were using each other to promote their mutual anti-EU interests, rather than Moscow one-sidedly using the European parties to advance its anti-EU agenda.

Snegovaya told Daily Maverick that her paper was about Europe. “But we can safely assume the Kremlin’s approach is similar across various geographic contexts.”

To apply her thesis outside Europe, one would need to broaden the Euroscepticim she identified to embrace a wider scepticism – or indeed, often more strongly, hostility – towards the West more generally.

So it seems Mbalula and the ANC are not Putin’s or the United Russia’s “useful idiots”. They are not Russia’s Trojan Horse so much as they are fellow travellers, united by a common enemy. The difference being that the common enemy regards South Africa as a friend. 

Daily Maverick asked ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri and Nomvula Mokonyane, the chair of the ANC national executive committee’s international relations sub-committee, to confirm if Mbalula had really said the things attributed to him by RIA Novosti.

Neither had replied by publication time. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Errol Price says:

    Exactly on which planet does the author of this article reside ?
    The ANC is merely carrying forward its ideological propensities which were apparent to all but the blind since 1990.
    The Constitution was a useful fig-leaf.
    One has to be dumbfounded also when the incurably fatuous groupies describe South Africa as a “ constitutional democracy”,

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      That is not my understanding of the ANC. In 1990 the ANC was a committed nationalist organisation, with many different ideologies that it used when it suited the organisation. Since then it has lost its’ ideological way completely and Ramaphosa’s renewal exercise amounts to the organisation working out what it stands for now, and from what I see, if Ramaphosa has his way, it will not be a freedom-fighting organisation any more but a modern social democratic political party. What makes it so difficult to really understand the ANC is that not only does all the factions, each promoting a different ideology, are in a perpetual debate with each other about everything they try to do, but it is in the midst of a process of fundamental change – a transformation to something different. That is also why we can’t agree on what the ANC is – because it seems to be different things, depending on from which side you look at it.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      Something else: By associating with Russia, the ANC is betraying its’ anti-colonial stance because Russia is the last colonial power on earth. And unless the ANC comes to its’ senses and decide on which side it is (with the Israel-Palestinian issue it still shows a clearly anti-colonial bias), it is going to disintegrate.

  • Lyle Ferrett says:

    “ The opinion that United Russia is not driven by ideology seems to be corroborated by the fact that Putin and his party have established links not only with right-wing parties but also with left-wing parties around the world.”

    These political parties are driven by the desire to remain in power at any cost; that’s their ideology. I’m concerned that the ANC is moving towards authoritarianism to maintain power. However, I believe that South Africans will vote them out of office, even if it means forcefully dragging them out kicking and screaming!

    • Steve Davidson says:

      I really hope you’re right, LF.

    • Steve Davidson says:

      ““We, South Africa, stand with Russia as our friend and we make no apologies for that…” and please put my dollars in this suitcase…

    • Ben Harper says:

      “moving towards” it’s been their objective since day 1

      • Michael Thomlinson says:

        A shallow friendship – the friend supplies the ANC with money and Putin is happy to have useful idiots to help his cause. How is it that Russia can say that it is figting neocolonialism when, in effect, Russia was the coloniser of multiple eastern block countries after WW2? These countries were only too glad to throw off the yoke and side with the West after the collapse of the USSR and do not want to be drawn back into Russia’s fold. Obviously the ANC is blind to this fact as it is blind to the comparrison of what happened Steve Biko and Alexei Navalny in the hands of an authoritarian government.

      • Lebitsi Leburu says:

        The USA is the biggest donor to SA in terms of humanitarian aid. You can think of USAID and and many other agencies that provide humanitarian aid to this country. AGOA, though it’s a trade agreement, also has elements of humanitarian aid. I wold like to know what is Russia’s contribution to us as a country apart from filling the pockets of ANC and it’s cadres. ANC must distinguish between SA and ANC as being friends of Russia. They are friends with them, not all of us South Africans, but they are not our enemies either.

    • Alison Immelman Immelman says:

      “Generally, the left wing is characterized by an emphasis on “ideas such as freedom, equality, fraternity, rights, progress, reform and internationalism” while the right wing is characterized by an emphasis on “notions such as authority, hierarchy, order, duty, tradition, reaction and nationalism”.
      No wonder the ANC courts both right and left wing practitioners – they are both themselves!

  • Ray mac says:

    The woke west has spied on you, lied to you, stolen from you, and murdered a lot of us … almost on repeat for the last 100 years. And here you are .. faithfully serving at the altar of anti Russia hysteria just like the woke west needs you to … congratulations your brain is washed as clean as a pin.

    • John P says:

      The “woke west”? There are people and groups in the West who could be described as Woke yes but that does not make “The West” woke. It just means that the West allows people to have different viewpoints from the current governing party. Russia on the other hand does not.

      • Kevin Busby says:

        At least they have a brain, unlike some of the ANC ilk.

      • Desmond Bob says:

        like they allowed Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden or Julian Assange to have their “view points” on the war crimes the US coalition committed in Iraq or the current legal machinations going on in the US aimed at preventing the right wing Trump from contesting the 2024 US elections?

        • Pet Bug says:

          Whether Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden are traitors or heroes is one of those ‘debates’ that is yet to be settled…
          Their leaking of classified information was a form of activist protest against state actions and surveillance in the age of terrorism.
          Now, all three are still alive, if not free, – a vastly different and more desirable state of being than those same heroes/traitors from China and Russia. Navalny is just the latest example of one’s fate in these countries.

    • Vincent L says:

      Sounds like 2000 mules!

  • Andrew W says:

    This has nought, nothing, nada to do with ideology. This is RealPolitik. The ANC is taking Russian money and in return they are quite happy playing the useful idiot to support Vlads agenda.
    How dare FixFokol speak on South African’s behalf, when he there on party business. If you’re going to play the idiot, I suppose you choose the ATeam.

  • David A says:

    “Putin blaming Poland for the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 in the Carlson interview was “like blaming Jews for the Hamas invasion” of Israel on 7 October last year.”

    I’m not so sure that that’s a fair comparison..

    • Sydney Kaye says:

      Well there are plenty of people doing that.

      • Lebitsi Leburu says:

        Mbalula went there with begging bowl to ask money for campaigning. Taps are dry, partly closed by thecZondo commission, De Ruyter, whistler blowers like Babita Deokaran, this media house etc. Election posters. buying of votes don’t come cheap.

  • Peter Dexter says:

    I love the objective of the meeting in Moscow: “international inter-party forum against modern neo-colonialist practices” Surely even our Mr Fix Fokol understands the most active global neo-colonists are currently China and Russia? But then reflecting on his past statements, this concept may be too complex for him.

    • Vincent L says:

      Yep, Squealer speaks again. I wouldn’t say too much though, I might go to the glue factory!

    • A.K.A. Fred says:

      My third attempt to post this. I wonder if it will be successful his time:
      Mr Fix Fikol confirms the average IQ for South Africa (68.8 according to the World Population Review for 2024). This is average which means there are some with higher intelligence and some with lower. I consider Mbalula to be in the lower band.

  • Harold Neugarten says:

    South Africa has become a disgrace

  • Thorsten Günther says:

    It’s heartbreaking to see how SA is steered away from democracies. Certain people surly like the fact that Russia will never hold them accountable for internal wrongdoings. They don’t care at all.
    I don’t think it’s about Ideology.
    The west is now in a dilemma. Either pull support and give way to even more influence of malign forces to the determent of millions of innocent people or stay and be constantly humiliated.
    I really hope that the election brings some change.

  • Agf Agf says:

    We have joined the Axis of Evil.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    There was no hyperlink for “apart from the agreement it signed with the ANC back in 2012,” and coincidentally this came up in a search.
    In 2012 Renova invested $350 million in the development and modernisation of a manganese mine for
    the joint United Manganese Kalahari project. Currently Renova is preparing a large-scale project to renovate a ferrous metals factory (estimated at $250 million).
    UMK historically is a contributor to ANC funds around Christmas. Maybe UMK donated more than usual last year to get ANC out of financial difficulty.

  • Walter Spatula says:

    The ANC longs to be like the URP, but they have an annoying constitution standing in the way.

  • BOB Rernard says:

    The present day anc has little in the way of ideology, their utter failure to build, let alone maintain, any institution for the upliftment of the “people they fought for” over the last 30 years has shown this. No, put crassly they’re in it for the money. They pander to lucrative 1st world markets for the wealth that trade brings while simultaneously supporting despot dictators/regimes such as russia, iran, zimbabwe and others. Of course there is the matter of allegiances and payback for exile when they were categorized as a terrorist organization pre-1994, and when they’re answerable to a thug such as putin with the demonstrated means, and willingness, to assassinate across borders and in “high security” countries, the anc dare not step out of line. Life is good with snouts in the trough, who needs ethics and ideology.

  • Timothy G says:

    Yet another set of reasons to vote these palookas out of office in May.

  • Johan Buys says:

    “ international inter-party forum against modern neo-colonialist practices”

    He issued this statement from Russia, which is right now trying to colonize Ukraine! Perhaps he thinks neocolonial does not include the tanks and bombs method, but that NEOcolonial only refers to spreading ‘western’ principles such as freedom of religion, speech, association, economy and the rule of law.

    Measured against the South African constitution, BRICS+ (his new world order) fail miserably. They are fascists not socialists. Central command and control is their core value.

  • Sean Pettit says:

    Has any government spokesperson or Pandor released a statement or even commented on the death of Navalny in detention? This should resonate with ANC considering the activists who died in detention in SA .

  • Dr Know says:

    “We, South Africa, stand with Russia . . . ” – in what universe does this asshole speak for me? Perhaps on his next trip we should arm him so he can go help shoot at Ukrainians then detour via Gaza to give Hamas a hand while he is about it.

  • Henry Coppens says:

    The ANC will follow anything anti west, whether from the left or the right. Just expediency. A party that is corrupt, lazy, incompetent and driven by greed will not have any principles. ‘So it alledged ‘non-alignment’ stance is meaningless. If Htler was around the ANC would fall over backwards to support him.

    • Iam Fedup says:

      No, I don’t agree Henry. The ANC will follow anyone, moral or immoral, if they get a backhander. They are not ideological – they are just pure and simple criminals.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Simply another display of brainless stupidity by the ANC’s Secretary General. If this is official ANC policy with Russia and the ANC retains power in the coming elections, then South Africa will indeed be a doomed society. The big problem is the deafening silence from Ramaphosa and his ‘collective’ in light of the utter lunacy of Mbalula’s stated confirmation of their grovelling adoration of Putin. The ANC has effectively kicked our international friends and trading partners in the groin. Any new party voted in on May 29th will have to go hat-in-hand, to the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, the Scandinavian and Nordic countries, and many others, and apologise for the ANC’s destruction of our economic and friendship ties with the West. How embarrassing to be a South African at this time.

  • Dov de Jong says:

    Cry the beloved country

  • Denzil Williams says:

    Typical ANC sitting on the fence. Mbalula don’t include us with your We, South Africa stand together with Russia. Those are your views only.

  • Gary De Sousa says:

    “We, South Africa, stand with Russia as our friend and we make no apologies for that… We will never abandon you,” Mbalula said at the forum, as reported by RIA Novosti.

    He said South Africa was ready to sacrifice its relationships with other friends for the sake of its friendship with Russia.

    And there is the real reason to vote them out on the 29th or become the next russian useful idiot annexure.

  • Wayne Stepanik says:

    The ANC should stop its ‘we South Africa’ rhetoric and replace it with ‘we the ANC’. I would imagine that most South Africans with an average or higher IQ or those who wish to put food on their children’s plates are not overjoyed at the ANC’s suicidal (economically) flirtation with the dregs of world governments.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Ramaphosa will, as ANC President, have sent Mbalula to Moscow. Who paid for it… probably our Government or Russia, though Luthuli Houseis apparentlywell funded again..

  • William Dryden says:

    Hopefully when we get rid of the ANC at the ballot box, we can then send Mbalula back to Russia on a one way ticket.

  • Peter Merrington says:

    Vooitog. Dumbness, comprehensive failure to grasp the pattern of late modernity. Or, more simply, history, geography and so forth. A pity about the expense of an executive-class air ticket for Mbalula and entourage. I think there is a nostalgic craving for those dinky red-starred fur caps like the one that Zizi Kodwa liked to wear.

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F February 23rd 2024 at 10:02
    Fikile, were you speaking with your president’s authority. Surely not. Ramaphosa must a little more intelegent than you are

  • Nicol Mentz says:

    AGOA is under serious threat and sanctions are going to be a mere formality. Hope the Russians will step up to the plate when the time comes.

  • Jan Vos says:

    Terrorists supporting terrorists. Nothing new here, move along, folks.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    The only thing that makes this porno panto remotely bearable is the certainty that the nice Russians are laughing their faces off at Ramaphosa and the dimwitted gimp he sent off to represent him.

  • Norman Sander says:

    Watched a thing on BBC the other evening and it jelled in my mind again that the KGB is in effect running Russia along with all their dirty tricks.
    Putin is the most dangerous man on the planet right now.
    At some stage the West is going to have to call their bluff and that will probably lead to war. Europe and much of NATO is not ready for war (just like it was in WW2). There are no trained soldiers in Europe, besides the reduced permanent force contingent. Hardware is scarce (even helping Ukraine with tanks, artillery and other war making systems, has depleted stocks in the West).
    Only the Americans have retained enough military hardware, reserves and full time soldiers, to resist Russia for a certain amount of time.
    Then we have one of Putins sidekicks threatening to nuke the major Western Cities if the West dare go to war with them, or even insist that they leave the Crimea. My worry is that the oligarchy in Russia are crazy enough to carry out that threat…
    I am amazed that grown people, who are supposed to be intelligent thinking beings are just focused on committing acts that will lead to the demise of the human race.
    If Russia fires some nukes, you can be sure the reaction from the West will be rapid and profound. The next step is a wasteland with probably billions of sentient beings being dead.

  • Adam Cordery says:

    Mbalula has been a disaster in every ministerial position held. Sport, Transport….The only ministerial position he’s been any good in was Minister for Insta. Although he was self appointed to that position!

  • Jopie Adam says:

    All these politicians must make their statements in the name of the ANC. A very high percentage of South African citizens disagree with their sentiments that are often totally contrary to the feelings of the nation. Ramaphosa, Mbalula, Pandor please stop making your outlandish statements in the name of our Beloved Country. You will be gone tomorrow but not this land we all cherish.

  • David Crossley says:

    Mbalula has always led with his mouth – but I have a growing realisation that South Africa, far from claiming to be non aligned is in fact firmly aligned to Putin and his corrupt regime.
    The fact that ANC members address each other as “Comrade” tells the same story – they are communists at heart and will blindly follow the most unscrupulous leader in the world – Putin, a psychopath and a murderer, who is unquestionably linked to the death of Nivalny.
    Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a fools paradise.
    This ingratiation with Russia and Putin will cost South Africa dearly when it comes to trade with thr United States and the west – brace yourselves for job losses on an epic scale!

  • Charles Kuhn says:

    The question is whether the ANC is now supporting murder! The Russian State (Mr Putin) killed Mr Navalny!

  • Mike Schroeder says:

    I don’t understand … you use the original “Rassemblement National” for the French far right, why not use the correct “Alternative für Deutschland” for Germany’s counterpart?

    • Dietmar Horn says:

      The author probably has some prior knowledge of French, but not German. In order to understand German terms himself, he uses Google Translate. He assumes that DM readers have the same school education as himself and as a service to the readers he provides the translation from German. DM readers who don’t understand French don’t enjoy this service and have to google it themselves.

  • Waheed Sookool says:

    Russia as well as China, even Iran, Turkey and many other so-called regional powers, are rational actors whose behaviour simply serves their own local and regional interests. We may have very good reason to not like these countries and their policies but we need to respect them else they become really dangerous if we threaten their borders, their economy, their local interests, and attempt to influence internal politics – ala US. There’s no threat if you leave them be and let their citizens decide their fates.
    Putin is an autocrat and oligarch but he’s certainly no crazy expansionist, despite what your ‘experts’ suggest. Russia has territorial beefs with China, India and probably all of its neighbours but why did she invade Ukraine – simply because of NATO expansion, and the existential threat losing control of warm water winter ports poses to the Bear.
    The real menace in the world remains the US. Uncle Sam is not only the largest exporter of weapons but also of war. Thanks to overt US military involvement Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia as well as major parts of Yemen, Syria and the Ukraine, are now in complete and total shambles. The Ukraine invasion and rising tensions in Asia are directly caused by US behaviour. The chaos in many parts of the middle-east directly stems from the US’s covert support of the murderous Israeli state, the latter being the single biggest cause of regional instability. It’s the US that poses an existential threat to the world!
    In the area of international relations the post-’94 government has trod a moderate, non-aligned and principled path – one which irks the US which sees itself as the de facto global power and expects all to toe its line.

  • Neil Parker says:

    “But Mbalula said not a word about Navalny’s suspicious death – not even to call for an investigation.”

    Right up there with Donald Trump and other luminaries in the Kremlin wing of the GOP.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    The ANC is not really a socialist party in the sense that the word is widely understood. It is rather a nationalist party, with the word “nationalist” meaning committed to any and every ideology when that ideology suits the nationalist goals. But overall it has become, at least in the last 30 years, an African capitalist party in the sense that Moeletsi Mbeki has defined it. And in the ANC all these different ideologies are represented by different factions that are promoting it, with the ANC viewpoint then the conclusion of the debate between all the factions. That is why EVERYTHING the ANC tries to do takes so long – because the debate drags out so long before all the factions can get to a relative consensus on the path forward. But when Mbalula said that South Africa stands with Russia, he could not have been further from the truth – as usual he was just plain speaking nonsence.

  • Prav Tulsi says:

    Russia is the archer and Fikile the rickety bow and arrow

  • James Francis says:

    Fikile Mbalula had drinks with a dictator who killed his main enemy like the Apartheid government killed Steven Biko and countless others.

    Let that sink it if you support the ANC.

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