The USSR and Sub-Saharan Africa: A Balance Sheet
Sub-Saharan Africa—with the exception of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa—is largely peripheral to Moscow's geostrategic concerns. This chapter reviews the evolution of Soviet policy in Africa since the late 1950s, assesses Moscow's position and objectives in the region, and discusses the USSR's near-term prospects, particularly in regards to the dominant regional power, South Africa. Moscow's involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa dates back to the mid-1950s when Nikita Khrushchev sought to exploit vigorously the apparent opportunities afforded by the rapid decolonization taking place in the Third World. The Soviets try to institutionalize influence through the establishment of various political and ideological ties. Despite the general disillusionment with the Soviet economic development model in much of the world, Moscow offers an attractive blueprint for power to young new leaders or would-be leaders in the Third World. The Soviets have utilized a variety of means and instruments in pursuit of these objectives.