More about Diamonds


Vladimir Shubin


Abstract. The article is a rejoinder to the work of Yury S. Skubko, previously published in the Journal of the Institute for African Studies, on Moscow’s relations with De Beers. It is based not only on the available literature but also on the author’s personal experience. The author shows that under the monopoly of this South African company in the field of diamond sales, Soviet organizations, even in the conditions of a South African boycott, were forced to deal with its subordinate structures and the attempts to sideline them were in vain.

In particular the article analyses the attitude to a controversial agreement signed by the Soviet state-owned “Glavalmalmazzoloto” and De Beers Centenary in 1990, when, like in many other cases in the “Gorbachev’s era” Moscow’s principle stand was eroded for short-term results even personal gains.

The author comes to the conclusion that the responsibility for Moscow’s dealings with De Beers must be borne not by our country, but above all by the United Kingdom, which allowed De Beers have the headquarters of its Central Selling Organisation (CСO) in London.


De Beers, CSO, diamonds, South Africa, boycott




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Skubko Yu. Literaturnye zapiski byvshego dissident. [Literary Notes of the Former Dissident], Moscow, 2012.
Soviet Revue, Stellenbosch, № 3, 1990.