Putin’s re-election won’t affect Russia-SA relations – analysts

Russian president Vladimir Putin. Picture: Valery Sharifulin/Pool/AFP

Russian president Vladimir Putin. Picture: Valery Sharifulin/Pool/AFP

Published Mar 19, 2024


Durban — South African political analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin’s re-election as head of state will not affect relations between the two countries.

The 71-year-old won a landslide 87.8% victory – and with it begins a fourth decade in office.

University of Zululand political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said Putin’s victory would not affect South Africa’s relationship with Russia.

“A foreign policy is rarely defined by the electoral outcomes of another country. This applies also to South Africa. In addition, South Africa’s relationship with Russia is cemented by past historical ties. Breaking these ties is something difficult to do.

“In addition, Russia is an important member of the BRICS countries, which hope to influence international relationships in favour of (the Global South). South Africa should, however, not turn a blind eye to the atrocities allegedly perpetrated against dissidents in Russia. At the same time, it cannot be seen to be interfering in the affairs of another country,” Seepe said.

Independent political analyst Thobani Zikalala said Putin’s re-election bodes well for the relationship between Russia and South Africa because it offered a base of consistency.

“Putin has been very strong on relations with BRICS. In terms of (Putin’s) lengthy rule, I don’t think there’s an issue (there), because the most important thing should be the impact of political leadership on a country.

“If the leadership is doing well and people are happy, then there’s no problem with a lengthy rule. It only becomes problematic when the political leadership isn’t discharged correctly and there are many complaints about this leadership and people aren’t being served well. (There are also issues) when the country isn’t run well,” he said.

Questions of lengthy rule arose only when the impact of that rule was questioned.

“Vladimir Putin is consistent with (his) type of politics and policies, and the Russian people are happy with them. There haven’t been any concerns about the elections and (whether) they were free and fair.

“This bodes well for the Eastern bloc of countries (that will) have consistent leadership in that regard, and leadership that’s pursued. It bodes well for the building of a multipolar world,” he said.

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