Dean of the Faculty of Engineering N. Trofimov with a graduate student from Ghana. Peoples’ Friendship University of RussiaInternationalIndiaAfricaMuhammad Nooh OsmanWriter/EditorAfrican-Russian relations were established during a crucial period in history, when the peoples of Africa, who fought for independence, started throwing off the consequences of colonialism and began building their own statehood. Many of them turned for assistance to Moscow, which never hesitated in supporting the new states.Russians and Africans are similar in mentality – for example, they both have the ability to mobilize at a critical moment and to provide mutual assistance, Irina Abramova, director of the Institute for African Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Sputnik.
"Russians and Africans have a lot in common, we are generally similar in mentality. Both in us and in them there is not only a certain amount of inertia, but at the same time we also have such qualities as mutual assistance," the researcher said.
In addition to this, we have “the ability not to get upset when something goes wrong, including trying to find a solution every time and mobilizing during critical moments”.
The importance of Russia-Africa cooperation
Given the similarities, and the fact that Africa is the world’s fastest-growing market and that the region’s population is growing faster than anywhere else, Abramova said that Moscow needs to “actively engage” with African nations “now”.
"Otherwise, it will be too late, and, no matter how ridiculous it sounds today, in 30 years we will already turn into Africa's younger brother. So let's not be late," she argued.
Highlighting the importance of this partnership, the Director of the Africa Institute deemed it necessary to take concrete steps. Among other things, Ms Abramova says that the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) in Moscow should be renamed Patrice Lumumba University, as it was known until 1992, in honor of the Congolese politician.RUDN University, one of the leading Russian state universities, was founded in Moscow in 1960, when African nations were fighting for independence and overcoming the effects of colonialism.This weekend, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the ministry was “very enthusiastic” about the ongoing discussions to restore to the university its former name – after the world-famous fighter for freedom and independence of the African continent who became the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as the Republic of the Congo).