Russia Day in South Africa

Ambassador Ilya Rogachev with Minister Thulas Nxesi

15 June 2022

Russia Day is celebrated on 12 June and at a gathering in Pretoria marking this event, Mr Ilya Rogachev, Russia’s Ambassador to South Africa said that Russia is a unique land with more than a thousand years of history (beginning from Novgorod founded in 859) and rich cultural heritage. The country stretches over a huge space of eleven time zones and serves as a home for hundreds of ethnic groups and followers of the world’s major religions, united in a single state.

The declaration of state sovereignty of Russia was adopted on 12 June 1990 and Rogachev said that over a relatively short period of the past three decades, they have dramatically strengthened Russia’s statehood, improved its economic standing, and enhanced prosperity and well-being of its citizens.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and South Africa. The historical relationship, however, dates back to the years of the liberation struggle where the Soviet Union provided various forms of support and assistance to the movements that fought against apartheid, primarily to the ANC and the South African Communist Party.

Speaking about the Russia-Africa Summit Rogachev said, “Russia had never been a colonising power, and it played a leading role in consolidating the decolonisation processes on this continent. Today we attach great importance to maintaining excellent political relations with our African partners, while promoting trade and investment required for the fulfilment of national and continental goals. In this context, we are confident that the holding of the Second Russia-Africa Summit – hopefully, later this year - will provide tangible outcomes and pave the way for a broader mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Minister of Employment and Labour of South Africa, Thulas Nxesi reiterated the strong bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries. With the many conflicts around the world Nxesi said, “multilateralism lies at the heart of the biggest issues facing the world today: promoting peace and security, trade, and human rights, ending hunger, preventing health epidemics, tackling climate change, and protecting the environment. These issues go beyond individual countries and cultures. As a continent we continue to endeavour to work towards peaceful resolution of conflict situations, and the importance of diplomacy and peace in the resolution of disputes cannot be over emphasised.”

South Africa takes on the Chair of BRICS next year and Rogachev emphasized the truly transcontinental nature of this grouping. He said that BRICS forms an extremely important platform for dialogue and unites states that truly respect each other’s’ interests, and freely coordinate sovereign and independent decisions they take both in foreign and internal policy areas.