The Zimbabweans understand that the Russians will not be able to translate the consequences of their help into a direct political or economic force, and even the simple influence of influence is not yet discussed. Therefore, they are willing to receive any form of support from Moscow. Russia, on its behalf, still has no experience, information and human resources to compete in Africa with former colonial powers than China. However, it can play a comfortable role that requires much less resources: a deterrent and independent power.
During the year since the soft military competition in Zimbabwe and the abolition of the long-term leader of the lead leader of Mug Mugabe, the new, more predictable leadership of the country has been keenly interested in China and Russia. Having dropped for Mugabe's empty promises in the past, Moscow is now trying to establish cooperation with Harare not only in the traditional goods sector but also in new areas.
For example, Russians played a significant role in the July 2018 presidential election that Emmerson Mnangagwa saw the ruling party (which replaced Mugabe after the competition) was officially elected. This local success could start Russia's participation more systematically in political processes across the African continent.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited the country in March 2018, and was followed in April by Sergei Ivanov Jr., Russian Minist's Chief Executive, Alrosa. One of the issues discussed during the old visit was the development of Darwendale platinum deposit by Big Dyke Investments (Pvt) Ltd., a Russian-Zimbabwean joint venture. The Darwendale deposit could be the second largest in the world, with estimated investment volumes reaching $ 2.8 billion by 2055.
Of course, Russia's activity in Zimbabwe still compares with China, the largest foreign investor in the country and the main source of hard currency, which is in deficit there, to the authorities. But China's scale of attendance should not be overstated, either: the number of projects currently being implemented is much lower than published amounts.
China currently accounts for only 5-7 percent of Zimbabwe's export-import market, compared to the South Africa share of 50 per cent of foreign trade turnover. A Chinese approach seems to be the first assured political influence and to ensure that the situation is stable, and then only move on to implement major real investment projects.
The Zimbabwe government announced its interest in the East with its "East-looking Policy" back in 2003 in response to US and EU sanctions, but an African nation has not yet been able to replace Western investors are full. This is mainly due to its inconsistent policies and short-sightedness. For example, due to the decision to nationalize diamond mining in 2016, the international transnational company "Rioesus" is not only losing its assets, but so Russia's friendly Zarubezhgeologia company, as well as a number of Chinese companies.
This year's election in Zimbabwe seems to be the first time in post-Soviet history that Russian political consultants have played an active role in an election campaign in an African nation. He was not opposed by the Zimbabwe opposition, who suddenly criticized the March 2018 visit of Zimbabwe's electoral commission, Priscilla Chigumba and presidential advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa to Moscow. Chigumba and Nikolai Levichev, a member of the Russian central election commission, questioned topics such as "issues of electoral sovereignty" discussed during their meeting.
This was followed by allegations that Zimbabwe authorities have made up ballotted votes in Russia in secret. A separate topic of the media and political users of social media was tracking the introduction of these votes to Harare airport by a "secret flight" from Russia.
On the eve of the election, the candidate from Nelson Chamisa's main opposition in public said that the Russians and the Chinese were working with the awarding party, ZANU-PF (National Union of African Union of Zimbabwe British) to falsify the results of the voting. According to him, 64 Russians in Harare suburbs worked for the power party and Mnangagwa nominee.
But Russia was not the main player in the Mnangagwa dirty campaign, but the opposition. Zanu-PF's supreme party officer Jonathan Moyo said Chinese-related experts claimed the registration systems of biometric voters to handle ballot and vote figures for the party's candidate's candidates.
Indeed, no serious evidence was submitted to support these claims, and even the opposition quickly forgot about them after the election. The engagement of foreign consultants when inviting a party that runs in an election is not an offense and is not banned by international law. Russian consultants, if they were taking part in the Zimbabwe election, offered alternatives to Western services only in the field of electoral technologies. After all, competition is important to the user.
Russian consultant plans were written to take part in the Zimbabwe election campaign back in April by Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky. Of course, "64 Russians" are a clear overlap: such a large presence would be difficult to hide from the suspicion of electoral observers. But it is quite clear that Russian consultants pay close attention to the development of the Zimbabwe presidential campaign.
In response to penalties, Russia is beginning to show interest in the most distances on the map even: any countries in which suspicious Western government can get help with small resources. And in these countries, Russia is welcomed with an eager expectation.
On August 10, 2018, when the Zimbabwe opposition parties objected to the election results, the first vice president and shadow leader of the country, "Chubenese Dissonant" went to Russia with a "special message" for President Vladimir Putin. Chiwenga took part in the closing ceremony at the International Army Games and met Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
The visit was not included by the Russian media, but for Zimbabwe this was an important sign. Soon before that, on July 25-27, President Mnangagwa had visited the BRICS conference in South Africa and met Putin at his election campaign height: the visit to Johannesburg was actually his finish.
The Zimbabweans understand that the Russians will not be able to translate the consequences of their help into a direct political or economic force, and even the simple influence of influence is not yet discussed. Therefore, they are willing to receive any form of support from Moscow.
Russia, in turn, still lackes experience, information and human resources to compete in Africa with the old colonial powers or China. However, it can play a comfortable role that requires much less resources: a deterrent and independent power.
The West can count on almost anyone in Zimbabwe. The UK and the United States have lost long control of the situation there, and now China and South Africa, as the main partners of Zimbabwe, are interested in the country's political and economic stabilization. Local people see Russia weak, but also as a kind of at least balancing the influence of China. Given the difference in the scale of the economic interests of both parties, however, this competition is largely nominal.
Source: Corniege Moscow Center