5 things about Russia that will interest Nigerians

Russia, a transcontinental country is the largest country in the world spanning across two large continents, Asia and Europe, and nearly covering twice the landmass of Canada which is the second largest country.

The longest river in Europe, Volga passes through the terrain of Russia. The formal dismissal of the Soviet Union originally known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991 led to the independence of Russia in December 1991.

Some may not know, Nigeria has some bilateral relations with Russia.

There is a Russian embassy situated in Lagos, Nigeria with a representative office in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and the present Russian ambassador to Nigeria is Alexey Shebarshin. In the same vein, Nigeria also has an embassy in Russia’s capital, Moscow.

Here are the five things about Russia that will interest you as a Nigerian

1. Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Nigeria and Russia

First, what is a diplomatic relationship? A diplomatic relation is an association between two countries in which there is a representative of each country in the other. The diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and Russia was established in 1991. 

Before this, the relation was formerly between Nigeria and the Soviet Union (under which Russia was) which started on the 25th of November, 1960. Notable assistance was rendered in form of military assistance by the soviet union during the Nigerian civil war which took place between 1967 and 1970.

2. Presidential Visit between Nigeria and Russia

The signing of the declaration on the principles of friendly relationship and partnership between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Russian Federation was established when, in March 2001, President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Moscow, the capital of Russia. The declaration was co-signed by Vladimir Putin who had just left office as a prime minister.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev inspecting the Guards Brigade during a visit to Nigeria in June 2009. Credit: Wikipedia

Also, Dmitry Medvedev was the first Russian leader to visit Nigeria. He visited Nigeria on the 24th of January, 2009 as part of a 3-Nation trip to Africa.

3. Military Agreement Between Nigeria and Russia

The military agreement between Nigeria and Russia was first established in 2017 when Nigeria had an interest in making purchases of the Russian military equipment and facilities of which helicopters were among. Fast forward to August 2021, 

Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi [Retd] had a signed agreement with the Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation Director, Dmitry Shugaev for the training of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

4. Russia-Nigeria Trade Importation

Russia is regarded as Nigeria’s seventh-largest trade in terms of import as of 2020 estimating a value of 1.24 billion dollars according to Trading Economics. Of the several imports, importation of equipment and machinery, chemical products, and food materials are very prominent.

Now, with the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, there is a high probability that importation of these materials may be difficult or even impossible.

5. Russians are taught never to smile in school

This final point got me smiling. How would I imagine that someone doesn’t smile? It was observed that if you are smiling anyhow in public, it will be taken as a sign of a mental-related issue.

So, are you planning to take a trip to Russia? As a Nigerian, try not to smile too much. Russians rarely smile at strangers.

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