V. G. SHUBIN, Doctor of Historical Sciences Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: N. Mandela, African National Congress, South Africa, Umkonto we Sizwe
20 years ago, on May 9, 1994, members of the National Assembly of the Republic of South Africa, formed by the results of the first general elections in that country, unanimously elected Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as President. For us, the few Russians who were invited to this meeting, it was deeply symbolic to watch on our Victory Day how all the deputies, including those who defended the apartheid regime with weapons in their hands, supported his candidacy.
Indeed, such a vote signified both a political and moral victory for the South African African National Congress (ANC) and its leader, won as a result of decades of liberation struggles that took place in various forms - mass, underground, armed, and diplomatic.
LIFE AND STRUGGLE
Only a few months did Nelson Mandela not live to see the 20th anniversary of this victory. His passing on December 5, 2013 caused a wave of sympathy and deep regret around the world. Dozens of heads of state and Government and other prominent figures gathered for the funeral ceremonies. So, both the current president and three former ones arrived from the United States. It was Barack Obama and President of the Cuban Council of State Raul Castro who were essentially the main speakers at the December 10 memorial rally at the Johannesburg stadium.
Russia was also represented with dignity, although not at the highest level - Valentina Matveenko, the Chairman of the Federation Council, arrived in South Africa. She is not only the third highest person in Russia under the protocol, but also has a direct relationship to South Africa: it was when she was the head of the Russian part of the Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation, this committee finally started working*.
Condolences were also expressed personally by President Vladimir Putin during hi ... Read more