The article examines the role of political leaders of the states of Southern Africa in Russian-African relations. Giving the interdisciplinary nature of the study of the political leadership and of the system of international relations, the author makes use of the methods of history, political science, international relations, political psychology and other disciplines. On the basis of the analysis of the decision-making process (primarily, content analysis and event analysis) the author shows the dynamics of development, progress and problems of bilateral relations between Russia and the countries of the region, their cooperation on the UN platform, as well as the partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa in the framework of BRICS. The image of the political leader occupies a special position in Africa in the hierarchy of mental processes of perception of the national political discourse and plays a significant role in “citizen-power” communications. It is noted that the foundation for the development and strengthening of lasting relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries was laid back in the Soviet period: the support of the USSR for national liberation movements in their struggle for independence, assistance to the development of young states. The restoration of ties between the Russian Federation and the states of Southern Africa that had declined after the collapse of the USSR began mainly in the late 1990s.
The interests of Russia and the countries of Southern Africa on the international arena coincide in many areas. In recent years, the leaders of our countries have done a lot in shaping the mechanism of collective impact on the processes of globalization, struggling for preventing and resolving interstate, regional and local conflicts, countering international terrorism. The partnership between Russia and South Africa in the framework of BRICS has been not only a new stage in the development of relations with South Africa, but has also opened up additional opportunities for cooperation with its neighbors in the region which are very closely connected with it politically and economically. A political dialogue with the majority of the countries of the region is engaged on a regular basis, regular inter-ministerial consultations are held, the legal basis is updated and improved.
Today, a multifaceted cooperation with South Africa strengthens Russia’s position in this region. It can also become a pledge for further activation of Russia’s foreign policy on the African continent. At the same time, the article notes that there is an obvious disbalance be-tween the political and economic components in relations between Russia and the countries of Southern Africa.
For a progressive development of relations between the Russian Federation and the countries of the region, it is important to maintain the continuity of their foreign policy course while a change of a country’s leader occurs. Therefore, the author focuses her attention on the relevance of a more complete understanding of the leaders of Russia’s African partners, particularly stresses the influence of the factor of the leaders’ own image on the attitude towards their countries. It is also noted that significant success of the states of the region in establishing gender equality in politics has affected the staff of their foreign policy departments.
Russia, political leaders‚ South African countries, Russian-African relations, BRICS, partnership, Union Nation, peacekeeping, multipolar world, continuity in politics, political leaders’ images, gender equality in politics
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