The Russian embassy in Harare has sent its congratulations to Zimbabwe on the occasion of the national Heroes’ Day and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day celebrations this Monday and Tuesday.
The message read, “The Embassy of the Russian Federation extends the sincere congratulations to the Zimbabwean Friends on the occasion of Heroes’ Day and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day.”
During the liberation struggle, the Soviet Union helped the Patriotic Front freedom fighters with training, material and logistical support. After Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, diplomatic relations between Russia and Zimbabwe were efficiently established.
“Russia has been back-to-back with Zimbabwe through support of the Liberation struggle, assistance in safeguarding the State sovereignty and development of mutually beneficial cooperation.” Said the embassy.
The diplomatic relations between the two countries were interrupted in 1989 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, Russia maintained her ties with Zimbabwe during this interruption.
Russia’s ties with Zimbabwe were re-awakened following the invasion of Iraq by the US led coalition of the willing in March 2003. Evident to the revival of diplomatic relations between the two countries, are trade agreements signed and actions of government officials in the diplomatic and academic space. Critiques, however, argue that the relationship is not balanced as Russia, like China, is robbing Zimbabwe of its natural resources.
“The Embassy joins the gallant Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe and commemorate shaking off oppression, maintaining independence and ensuring security of this blessed Land.”
“By honouring the Heroes and their Deeds we pay respect to those who sacrificed their lives for the great cause of African Liberation.”
Meanwhile, the US government and its western allies have increased their pressure on Harare to cease a targeted crackdown on opponents of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF and government critics.
The ZANU PF led Government has been under intense criticism in the recent weeks for alleged human rights abuses.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent