Day: September 5, 2006

Lavrov in Israel

A report in Nezavisimaya Gazeta describes an embarrassing situation for Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov as he sets off on an official visit to Israel. The visit was originally timed to coincide with the opening of a large “Russian National Exhibit” at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel-Aviv, costing in the region of $300,000. The exhibit was to have presented “science-intensive technologies in the different fields of industry, agriculture, medicine and tourism.” However, at the last moment the exhibit was indefinitely delayed “for technical reasons”, at the instigation of the Russian organizers.
Arutz Sheva has a different explanation, however:

Moscow said the reasons were “technical” but the Russian government has expressed its anger at Israel, which has presented evidence that Hizbullah terrorists have Russian-made weapons. Russia denies the claims.

Putin in South Africa

As Vladimir Putin begins his visit to South Africa, the first by a Russian leader, some points for reflection. For one thing, Putin goes as head of a country in which racially motivated incidents are showing a marked increase. A timeline from 2004 to March 2006 shows a staggeringly long list of racial assaults committed against groups and individuals from countries in Africa and Asia, as well as against Russia’s own non-white minorities.

It’s no secret that many of today’s leading South African politicians and political figures, including President Thabo Mbeki, received training and support in the Soviet Union as far back as the 1970s. Thus, Putin’s visit further confirms the growing movement of Kremlin foreign policy towards the strategic and ideological orientations of the past.