Russia and Zimbabwe continue to strengthen their traditional ties, which were born during the era of the Zimbabwean people’s struggle for independence. All these years, bilateral relations have steadily grown stronger, and their further development cannot be underestimated. Diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and Russia marked their 40th anniversary.

These are the historic facts that Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko and President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa acknowledged when they met in early June in Harare, Zimbabwe. Matviyenko led a delegation of Russian senators to Mozambique and continued to Zimbabwe where the Russian-Ukrainian crisis dominated discussions as well as new substantive topics on regional and international issues. Outstanding bilateral issues and how to implement them were also raised.

Besides all historical diplomatic niceties, Matviyenko informed Emmerson Mnangagwa that inter-parliamentary ties are developing dynamically, Russia and Zimbabwe have agreed on a protocol for cooperation in science, technology and innovation . “I consider the practice of signing bilateral interdepartmental documents very useful, and it is necessary to open up some of the aspects, as much as possible, in today’s difficult conditions, which is in the mutual interest of the ‘State,’ said the president of the Council of the Federation. .

Regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis that began on February 24, she noted the support that Zimbabwean colleagues are giving to Russian foreign policy initiatives. “It’s also important that Harare takes a balanced stance on the situation in Ukraine,” she said.

During the conversation, Matviyenko and Mnangagwa also discussed issues of expanding trade and economic ties between Russia and Zimbabwe. “So far, the volume of mutual bilateral trade has not matched its potential. Therefore, the main tasks at this current stage are the creation of conditions for increasing the volume of trade and its diversification. Then we proceed from the fact that the implementation of all these plans will be facilitated by successful joint work within the framework of the Russian-Zimbabwean Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Cooperation,” Matviyenko explained.

Matviyenko and Mnangagwa, however, noted the Russian-Ukrainian crisis around the world, issues related to food security. Offering reassurance, she said: “Russia is ready to do everything possible to avoid a food crisis. We are ready to fully fulfill our contractual obligations. If Zimbabwe turns to Russia, we will work out a supply mechanism together and provide Zimbabwe with the necessary amount of food.

Together with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda, the Speaker of the Council of the Federation underlined the frequent interaction which gives serious impetus not only to inter-parliamentary relations, but to the whole of Russian-Zimbabwean relations . According to her, the two countries are actively interacting in the international arena on the basis of respect for international law and respect for state sovereignty.

Both reiterated the need to bring trade, economic and investment ties to a level consistent with political trust. “We attach great importance to interparliamentary cooperation, which aims to promote the implementation of agreements at the highest level, and we look forward to its promotion,” she reiterated.

As noted by Jacob Mudenda, mutual visits are very useful in terms of parliamentary diplomacy. According to him, the Zimbabwean parliament is working on legislative aspects in the area of ​​expanding investment opportunities, expediting the issuance of visas for foreign investors and reforming the tax regime for them.

Mudenda called on Russian companies and entrepreneurs to expand cooperation with colleagues from Zimbabwe, especially in the field of agriculture, mining and exploration of natural resources. He said Zimbabwean colleagues would strongly support Russia on international parliamentary platforms.

During the meeting, Federation Council Deputy Speaker Konstantin Kosachev briefed Zimbabwean parliamentarians on the work of the Russian delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly meeting in Indonesia.

Co-chairman of the Russian-Zimbabwean Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation Alexander Kozlov informed about the results of the fourth meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission held the day before in Harare.

Zarubezhgeologiya, the operator of international projects of the Russian state company Rosgeo, could be called upon to work on the geological mapping of Zimbabwe, said the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources after a session of the intergovernmental commission Russia -Zimbabwe.

“During meetings on the sidelines of the session, (Natural Resources Minister) Alexander Kozlov proposed to Zimbabwe’s Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando to engage the Russian company Zarubezhgeologiya in the field of geological mapping. A Zimbabwean colleague supported the idea and noted that the experience of Russian experts could be used in creating a common digital geological database that has not been updated since the 1970s.

There was a series of signed documents. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed decrees regarding memoranda of cooperation with Zimbabwe on diamonds and platinum group metals, according to documents published by the official legislative information portal.

Separately, Zimbabwe has asked Russia for more supplies of agricultural products and deliveries of petroleum products, Alexander Kozlov said after a fourth meeting of the Russian-Zimbabwean Intergovernmental Commission in Harare.

“The government of Zimbabwe has offered to increase the supply volumes of wheat and vegetable oil and to start deliveries of petroleum products,” Kozlov said. Therefore, it was suggested that the Zimbabwean ministries of agriculture and energy draft a specific request indicating the amount of additional deliveries and logistics chains, he said.

The share of agrarian products in Russian exports has increased in recent years, mainly due to wheat and mineral fertilizers, Kozlov said. According to the Grain Exporters Union, Russia supplied 11,900 tonnes of wheat to Zimbabwe in 2021, up from 810 tonnes in 2019.

During a conversation with the Russian-Zimbabwean inter-parliamentary groups, Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Zimbabwe Mabel Chinomona and President Matviyenko exchanged views on a wide range of Russian-Zimbabwean inter-parliamentary cooperation, and further noting that in current stage, a stable and confident political dialogue has been established between the two parties.

Russia and Zimbabwe successfully interact in the international arena on the basis of proximity or identity of positions on topical international and regional issues. “For its part, Russia has always supported Zimbabwe in the struggle to strengthen national sovereignty, defending its right to independent development,” both shared this view.

They highly appreciated the existing possibilities for intensifying Russian-Zimbabwean inter-parliamentary relations. “One of the tools could be the conclusion of a cooperation agreement between the Federation Council and the Senate of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Based on this document, Matviyenko and Mabel Chinomona suggested jointly implementing a kind of what they called “parliamentary patronage” in the development of contacts between business circles – providing the necessary assistance to their activities.

It was then proposed to sign an interparliamentary agreement outlining the priorities of the Russian-Zimbabwean agenda as the pursuit of coherent work to develop the legal framework of bilateral relations, for example, the possibility of broad cooperation in the field health care, education and the humanitarian field.

The President of the Federation Council supported the idea of ​​the Zimbabwean side to install a monument dedicated to Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 on the territory of the African Liberation Museum being established in Harare.

Deputy Minister of Science and Education of the Russian Federation, Natalya Bocharova, briefed Zimbabwean parliamentarians on Russian initiatives in the field of humanitarian cooperation.

Valentina Matvienko and Mabel Chinomona took part in the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe on cooperation in the field of scientific, scientific, technical and innovative activities. Matvienko finally underlined that Russia wishes to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of the African continent, adding that “this is one of the priorities of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation”.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian-Zimbabwean interaction is based on strong ties of friendship and cooperation, which developed during the people’s struggle for independence, and which continue to develop today . Zimbabwe is one of 16 members of the Southern African Development Community.