In This Review

ANC: The View from Moscow
ANC: The View from Moscow
By Vladimir Shubin
Mayibuye Books, 1999, 232 pp

The author of this unique book was a high-level Soviet official who was involved for many years in aiding the African National Congress and its ally, the South African Communist Party, in their war against apartheid. He seeks to discredit the idea that the anc, which depended on Soviet aid, was ever really under the sway of the Kremlin; instead its relationship with the Soviet Union was a reciprocal one of friendly mutual trust. As he sees it, the Soviets dispensed weapons, equipment, money, training, scholarships, air tickets, medical care, and paid holidays in return for the satisfaction of helping a noble cause. More useful than the analysis is the profusion of factual and anecdotal details about levels of Soviet aid (liberation movements too friendly to China had their allocations slashed), the frequent consultations between South African and Soviet decision makers between 1960 and 1990, and the complex process of disentanglement that began in the late 1980s as Gorbachev, in moves that Shubin condemns, maneuvered closer to the West and the Pretoria regime to help fend off economic collapse.