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  • Kheireddine Saidi

The Development of Historical And Political Relations Between Russia And Algeria

Introduction:

Russian-Algerian relations go back to advanced stages historically, as the first frictions took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Algerian naval fleet was attacking western ships in the Mediterranean, and Russia was then forced, to ensure its trade in the Mediterranean, negotiate with the Algerian fleet, and conclude friendship agreements that protect its merchant ships.

Then Russian-Algerian communication was interrupted during the French occupation of Algeria during the period (1830-1954), and communication between the two parties is renewed through the eastern Russian support for the Algerian revolution against the French occupation in 1954, as Russia saw that this revolution is a workers’ revolution against Western capitalist domination. In the framework of the conflict that existed in the world between the communist camp led by Russia and the capitalist camp led by America, Russia declared its material, diplomatic and military stand with the Algerian people against French hegemony in the country.



That is why the Soviet Union at that time supported the Algerian revolutionary activity. The Soviet Union confirmed on more than one occasion that it stood by the Algerian people and the Liberation Front party, the official representative of the Algerian people.

The Russian position on the Algerian issue had a great influence on Algeria’s politics after independence, as Algeria found itself sympathetic to the eastern camp against western imperialism. Algeria adopted the socialist system in 1962 and announced its economic and cultural partnerships with the Soviet Union. It didn’t stop there. Rather, relations became stronger between the Soviet Union and Algeria when independent Algeria sent its military and civilian students to join Soviet military schools. Most of the Algerian competencies were formed in Russian schools. The Algerian army was greatly influenced by the structure and organization of the Soviet army. This prompted the political decision-maker to rely on Russia to arm the Algerian army.



Russia saw Algeria as a strong revolutionary strategic ally in the region compared to Tunisia and Morocco. Wheel Habib Bourguiba in Tunisia represented the Western trend for Russia, and the same was true for Morocco, as the Soviet Union believed that Morocco was subject to Western control. For Algeria to remain the strong strategic partner in the region.

That is why the relationship developed greatly between the Soviet Union and Algeria, especially during the seventies, when the heads of the two countries paid mutual visits, and Russia made a number of investments in Algeria. When Algerian President Houari Boumediene fell seriously ill, this remained a secret, and he chose to go to Russia for treatment because of his absolute confidence in its political and military leaders.



The relationship between the two countries experienced some apathy, due to the bad situation that the Soviet Union was living in during the eighties and nineties, and the relationship returned to become stronger after the arrival of Abdelaziz Bouteflika to the presidency of Algeria in 1999. Armament agreements were signed during Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s visit to Russia, worth $8 billion.

At the beginning of his rule, he bet on Algeria’s traditional allies, headed by Russia. The Russians welcomed the return of warm relations between the two countries, and that is why the Algerian president was hosted more than once in Moscow, and the two countries succeeded, considering common interests, especially the sale of gas to Europe, in reaching bilateral agreements regarding the gas market. Rather, the two countries sought to establish an economic body that regulates the gas market. However, low gas prices did not allow the project to continue in the first phase.

Russia continued to view Algeria as a strategic ally, especially after the rise in oil prices to record levels, which allowed Algeria to achieve trade surpluses that exceeded 1000 billion dollars. The Algerians needed it at the time, in an attempt to break the siege imposed on it by the West in acquiring weapons, and the two countries succeeded in concluding armament agreements between the two countries whose value exceeded 30 billion dollars.



At the beginning of his rule, he bet on Algeria’s traditional allies, headed by Russia. The Russians welcomed the return of warm relations between the two countries, and that is why the Algerian president was hosted more than once in Moscow, and the two countries succeeded, considering common interests, especially the sale of gas to Europe, in reaching bilateral agreements regarding the gas market. Rather, the two countries sought to establish an economic body that regulates the gas market. However, low gas prices did not allow the project to continue in the first phase.

Russia continued to view Algeria as a strategic ally, especially after the rise in oil prices to record levels, which allowed Algeria to achieve trade surpluses that exceeded 1000 billion dollars. The Algerians needed it at the time, in an attempt to break the siege imposed on it by the West in acquiring weapons, and the two countries succeeded in concluding armament agreements between the two countries whose value exceeded 30 billion dollars.

Rather, the Algerian President invited President Putin to visit Algeria and further strengthen relations between the two countries. Which is what happened. This was reflected in Russia’s choice of Algeria as a partner to produce the Russian Sputnik anti-Corona vaccine

An agreement was also reached between Algeria and Russia in 2020 to activate a strategic partnership between the two countries, so news talks about the two countries have agreed on new weapons worth 13-17 billion dollars, and it is within an agreement that ends with the signing of a strategic partnership that the two parties plan to sign during this year 2022. Russia has expressed its happiness and approval of Algeria’s formal request to join the BRICS economic group, of which Russia is a founding member and includes China, India, South Africa, and Brazil.



One of the results of this agreement was that a few parliamentarians in the US Congress submitted a request to the US government to impose sanctions on Algeria because of the large arms deals with Russia. On November 14, 2022, the President of the Algerian People’s Assembly received the Russian Ambassador to Algeria, Mr. Valerian Shuvaev. The two men reviewed the historical relations between the two countries and ways to promote cooperation between the two countries. It was agreed on the need to promote cooperation between the two countries, especially in the field of higher education and scientific research. It was also agreed to plan the visit of the Algerian president to Russia before the end of this year.

In the end, we can say that the Algerian-Russian relations, since the beginning of the Algerian revolution in 1954, were exemplary, and these relations remained in continuous development until they have now reached a distinguished stage for the two parties in a win-win relationship for each of the two parties.

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