Egypt–Russia relations

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Egypt–Russia relations
Map indicating locations of Egypt and Russia

Egypt

Russia

Egypt–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-египетские отношения) refer to bilateral relations between Egypt and Russia. Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Egypt were established on August 26, 1943. Egypt has an embassy in Moscow. Russia has an embassy in Cairo and a consulate-general in Alexandria.

History[edit]

Relations between Russia and Egypt have a long history. Early on, they were centered on the Russian government's and the Russian Church's support for the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria. As early as in 1556, Patriarch Joachim of Alexandria sent a letter to the Russian Czar Ivan IV, asking the Orthodox monarch to provide some material assistance for the Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, which had suffered from the Turks. In 1558 the Czar sent to Egypt a delegation led by archdeacon Gennady, who, however, died in Constantinople before he could reach Egypt. From then on, the embassy was headed by a Smolensk merchant Vasily Poznyakov. Poznyakov's delegation visited Alexandria, Cairo, and Sinai, brought the patriarch a fur coat and an icon sent by the Czar. Poznyakov's account of its two and half years' travels, which may have been the first ever Russian first-hand African trip report, became popular among Russian readers for centuries to follow.[1]

Russia continued to provide support to Egyptian Christians for centuries to come.

In the 1950s, Gamal Abdel Nasser independent and anti-imperialist policy earned him enthusiastic support from the Communist government of the USSR. The degree of the Soviet approval of the Egyptian leader's policies culminated, rather controversially, in the award of the highest Soviet decoration, the star of the Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin to Nasser during Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the African country in 1964.

During the Nasser years, many young Egyptians studied in Soviet universities and military schools. Among them was the future president, Hosni Mubarak, who went for training in a military pilot school in Kyrgyzstan.[2]

The relationship went sour within years after the death of Nasser, when the new president Anwar Sadat started re-orienting the country toward the West. On May 27, 1971, a friendship treaty was signed between the two countries, but relations were nevertheless declining. In July 1972 the Egyptian government expelled Soviet military advisers from Egypt and in March 1976 abrogated the friendship treaty. In 1981, these relations were severed as a result of Soviet opposition to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Relations were reestablished under president Hosni Mubarak in 1984, and Alexander Belonogov became the Ambassador. In February 1989, Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Shevardnadze visited Egypt.

Intergovernmental relations improved after the fall of Communism in the USSR, and Russia's appearance as an independent political actor. In April 2005 the Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Egypt, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited Russia in April 2008. Both countries agreed to work together to help Egypt create a nuclear programme which is mostly for civilian purposes. In May 2013, Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi visited Russia.

After the Egyptian army's dispose Mohamad Morsi, Russian policy was greatly supportive to the Egyptian government policy after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates bringing Russian support on the table.

In November 2013, the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Nabil Fahmy met with his Russian equivalent, Sergey Lavrov, while the Egyptian chief of army staff, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, met with the Minister of Defence of Russia, Sergei Shoigu. Fahmy stated that Egypt wished to return to Soviet-level relations with Russia, and Shoigu hinted that there may be military cooperation between the Russian and Egyptian navies and air forces. Egypt may also be planning several billion dollars' worth of military equipment from Russia.[3]

Tourism[edit]

Russians constitute the largest group of outsiders to visit Egypt, while Russia is popular with Egyptian tourists as well.

Higher education[edit]

View of the Egyptian Russian University

In 2006, the Egyptian Russian University was opened in Badr City, Cairo, offering training in pharmacy and engineering. [4][5][6][7] Many of its students visit Izhevsk, Russia, for additional classroom study and summer internships. [8] Plans are under way to add a program in nuclear power engineering as well.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]