Gibson Nyikadzino Herald correspondent
The Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Ms Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko, who arrives in the country today for a three-day official visit, has described the Western sanctions policy as thoughtless.
Ms Matvienko is expected to have high-level meetings and engagements with President Mnangagwa and other heads of national institutions on how Russia and Zimbabwe can strengthen their strategic cooperation in the face of Western sanctions.
Both Russia and Zimbabwe have been the target of sanctions from Western countries because of their preference for a fairer world where sovereign countries can determine their destiny within the limits of international law.
Speaking to the Herald ahead of her visit, Ms Matvienko stressed that “developing relations with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities”.
“The purpose of my visit is to discuss ways to strengthen the traditionally respectful cooperation between our two countries, to interact with my colleagues on topical regional and international issues, particularly in light of the indiscriminate sanctions policy by the West,” she added. said.
The West, led by the United States, has since the turn of the millennium resorted to the use of economic sanctions as an instrument of compliance in its strategy of coercive diplomacy against countries that do not share its views.
Zimbabwe was sanctioned by the United States through ZIDERA in December 2001 and by the European Union (EU) in February 2002 for reclaiming land from the white minority for fair redistribution to the landless black majority.
US-led economic sanctions have also been imposed on Russia to disrupt its economic base as the world’s main supplier of food.
In April, the US Senate passed the Combating Malicious Russian Activities in Africa Bill, legislation that would require Washington to punish African governments dealing with Russia. It now awaits President Joe Biden’s assent before becoming law.
Ms Matvienko said her official visit is confirmation that “friends should meet more often” and that “direct contact is essential”.
She said President Mnangagwa’s visit to Russia in January 2019 and Zimbabwe’s participation in the Russia-Africa Summit in October of the same year reaffirmed the friendly nature of the two countries.
“There are many friends of Zimbabwe in Russia. I vividly remember your President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to Moscow in January 2019 as well as his participation in the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi in October of the same year.
“I believe it has reaffirmed the friendly nature of our relationship. But friends should meet more often. Direct contacts are essential. At the same time, my visit to Zimbabwe is also important for me personally. I have no doubt that I will learn a lot of new and interesting things,” Ms. Matvienko added.