29.06.2023 Author: Yuriy Zinin

Moscow-Algeria: on the way to deepening a partnership

“Moscow-Algeria: closer than ever before”

“Moscow-Algeria: closer than ever before,” “Algerian-Russian Axis: New Prospects for Cooperation,” “Summit of Friends.” These and similar headlines in Algerian media reflect the reaction to President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s recent state visit to Russia.

During the visit, the Russian Federation and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria signed an in-depth strategic partnership declaration, as well as eight separate agreements. These bilateral ties between the two nations are universally referred to be “privileged” by experts.

They began in the 1950s, when Algerians were fighting for independence from France’s colonial rule, and Moscow provided them with significant political as well as additional support.  Then, in the early years, when the Algerian state was rising to its feet, the USSR provided a helping hand, assisting in the construction of the basic sectors of the national economy, including energy, health, research, defense, and culture.

Hundreds of vital industrial facilities, including five major technical universities that have become a talent foundry for local specialists, were established with Moscow’s assistance in various parts of the African country.

Algeria is one of Moscow’s most sought-after allies on the periphery of its Third World policy due to its diversified ties. They have contributed to the diversification of Russia’s foreign economic activities, active access to the markets of equipment and machinery in Asian and African countries.

As history has shown, a different emphasis is placed at different times. Today the potential of the two states has grown immensely. Numerous Algerian specialists believe that by taking into consideration the demands of the present day and global changes, it enables the two partners to take their long-standing relationship to an ever-higher quality level.

In particular, we are talking about expanding the range of business ties and reaching new frontiers of economic interaction. Russian colleagues were invited to implement a number of facilities in the manufacturing sector, to invest in petrochemicals, the agricultural complex, the country’s private banking system, and to participate in the recovery of small and medium-sized businesses based on “principles of mutual benefit.”

Local media directly point to the president’s message to economic operators in Russia that his country is an open country and that they can count on the government’s support for their affairs. The common agreement of the leaders of the two countries rejecting “the politicization of economic relations” was also emphasized.

Algeria’s interest in joining the BRICS organization, which was announced during the visit, is relevant. It is linked to the country’s ambition to strengthen its sovereign development, open up promising new markets, and diversify its structure and economy in order to lessen reliance on the oil and gas sector.

In doing so, the authors highlight the BRICS group’s expanding economic influence as well as Algeria’s ties with each of the alliance’s member countries.  Algeria is also exploring for ways to shift to local currencies, such as the ruble and the dinar, in mutual settlements and gradually move away from the dollar’s dominance in global settlements

Algerian political expert Dr. Belhoul, editor of Defense and Geopolitik magazines, believes that “the visit aims to unify the Algerian-Russian strategic and military compass on regional and global issues that await the formation of a stable and secure strategic axis in the region, which would contribute to the completion of a more secure and stable multi-polar world order, after the bankruptcy of the unified vision and leadership of the world.”

Al-Fajr newspaper believes that the two countries “need each other” at a time when the world is going through unique circumstances following the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine.

Algeria has maintained its long-standing ties with Russia and has never supported Western sanctions against Russia, claims the Jordanian newspaper Al Majd. The two countries have also collaborated on other international affairs issues. It is seconded by a Lebanese newspaper, which speculates that as a result of Algeria and Russia’s expanded partnership, one can now anticipate a greater entwining of relationship and interest, increased coordination at the bilateral level and in multilateral spaces at the regional and global levels, as well as increased dynamism in the implementation of targeted programs.

These facts are not to everyone’s liking. The very fact that a rebellious Algeria, which has defied colonialists and their henchmen and then chosen its own path of development and partners, has caused and continues to provoke outbreaks of unrest, with attempts from the West to apply pressure on it.

Western analysts try to discredit the Russian-Algerian rapprochement, claiming that Algerian President Tebboune has opened wide opportunities for “Russian expansion” in a geopolitical space vital to Western influence and interests, etc.

So, on the eve of his visit to Moscow, 27 members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, expressing concern about Algeria’s growing ties with Russia and calling for sanctions against the Algerian government due to the “billion” dollar arms deals with Russia.

In Algeria itself, the apparent attacks on the policies of the republic’s authorities did not arouse surprise or fear in society. Judging by social media, the citizens of Algeria followed the event with interest. It was the center of attention on the streets and in cafes. People’s pride in their nation’s voice being heard was not hidden, and the country’s resolute stance in the face of outside pressure demonstrated that “it is strong and sovereign,” according to an Algerian newspaper.


Yury Zinin, senior researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

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