The Soviet Union and Southern Africa
This document discusses the involvement of the Soviet Union in southern Africa, giving the historical background of Soviet African policies, describing the basic Soviet approach since the end of the 1960s, and its interventionist policies from 1975 and focus on southern Africa, as well as Soviet interests and objectives in southern Africa. It concludes that the Soviet Union’s record in Africa generally has been uneven. Southern Africa is not currently top priority for the Soviet Union since it is bogged down with serious problems in Afghanistan and Poland, as well as Ethiopia and Angola. The Soviet Union has not achieved unadulterated success in the region, which does encourage it to commit greater resources to the region, but it is not without the potential for future success. The Soviet Union’s inclination to exploit instability and conflict for its own ends constitutes a threat to southern Africa. Angola and Namibia provide examples that the conflict situation itself provides the threat. It is in the interests of both countries as well as South Africa to settle the conflict as soon as possible. If that happens, Russian influence will decline, as shown in similar situations elsewhere in Africa. The best way to counter Russian influence in southern Africa is stability based on political settlements.