Ethiopia- Russian Federation relations
Ethiopia and Russia have longstanding historical relations going back to the period of the Russian Czar Machilovich, the father of Peter the Great, in the 17th century. It is also recorded that Alexander Pushkin, a renowned Russian writer, was a grandson of Abraham Hannibal, an Ethiopian who lived in Russia. Other early contacts between Russia and Ethiopia include the visit of an Ethiopian delegation sent by the Emperor Menilek II to Russia, and visits of several Russians to Ethiopia during Menileks reign, at least one of whom was given the title of Dejazmatch for his travels on behalf of the Emperor along Ethiopias southern boundaries. These contacts laid the foundation for the close relations of the two countries, based on mutual respect and friendship between the two peoples. And it is notable that regardless of the differing political systems that existed at various times, relations between them have continued close and friendly.
One demonstration of that friendship has been that Russia has always, and without fail, stood with Ethiopia whenever the sovereignty of Ethiopia was threatened. Russian solidarity with Ethiopia was first illustrated when the Russian Red Cross Society came to Ethiopia in 1896, at the time of the Battle of Adwa when Italy attempted to attack the country. It made an outstanding contribution in provision of medical supplies and care to the Ethiopian patriots on the battlefield and subsequently. Again, during the fascist invasion of Ethiopia in 1936, Russia was one of those countries which stood in solidarity with Ethiopia. It has done so on every occasion throughout the 20th century whenever Ethiopia faced challenges to its sovereignty and its core national security interests. In short, the bonds that exist between Ethiopia and Russia have stood the test of time and proven their strength time and again.
The most important historical landmarks of Ethio-Russia historical relations visible in Addis Ababa are the large plot of land granted for the construction of a Russian mission after the Battle of Adwa, where the Russian Embassy is still located, and the establishment of the Russian Hospital, now the Balcha Memorial Hospital. Diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Russia were upgraded to Embassy level when both countries opened their respective embassies in Addis Ababa and Moscow in 1956. While relations between Ethiopia and Russia continued throughout the Imperial era, they were much closer during the Marxist, military regime of the Derg when both counties belonged to same ideological camp. With the change of government in Ethiopia and the collapse of the Soviet Union, relations were placed on a different footing, but they remained warm and friendly. In recent years, there have been increased exchanges of visits of high level officials between the two countries. Major visits have included Prime Minister Meles's trip to Moscow in December 2001 and the then Foreign Minister Seyoum in November 2007; former Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Kasyanov came to Ethiopia in September 2002; and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came here in September 2006.
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