The Image of Russia in Africa: The Soviet Legacy’s Role
The paper is based on a vide range of evidence collected by a group of researchers headed by the author in 2006–2010. The nature and scope of the collected evidence allow arriving at veritable conclusions on the specifics of Russia’s image in Africans countries, particularly, on the positive and negative aspects of the influence of the image of the USSR on it. The research shows that, on the one hand, an independent image of post-Soviet Russia in Africa has not formed yet, first of all because of Russia's very weak information, economic, and political presence on the continent, what is a prerequisite for the formation of its image as non-positive by itself. However, on the other hand, post-Soviet Russia has partially inherited the image of the USSR, up to now associated for many Africans first and foremost with the support of their struggle against colonialism, neocolonialism, apartheid, and economic backwardness. An independent image of present-day Russia in Africa is rather absent than negative, and it has objective opportunities for constructing its image as positive by making African policy more active, mutually beneficial, and taking into account the specific features of African culture, including political and business. In the meantime, it is important to remember that these opportunities are diminishing as the generations of people who remember the Soviet Unionin leave the public scene.