Libmonster ID: U.S.-1455
Author(s) of the publication: A. A. TOKAREV

THE ANGOLAN VICTORY WAS FORGED WITH SOVIET WEAPONS

Angola is one of those African states that many people in our country feel involved in the modern history of which. Because, first of all, the Soviet Union was one of the first to support the liberation struggle of the peoples of the Portuguese colonies for independence and, together with some other States, provided political, economic, military, and moral support to the anti-colonial forces of Angola throughout all the years of their struggle.

One of the most reliable sources of evidence about this is the recently published book by S. A. Kolomnin "The Russian Trail under Kifangondo" (Moscow, "Ethnika", 2014, 128 p). The author of the book is a military journalist, a direct participant in the provision of military-technical assistance to Angola in 1977-1978. He is the author of numerous publications devoted to the war in Angola in 1975-1991 with the participation of Soviet and Russian servicemen.1

The new book deals with the crucial role of Soviet and Cuban assistance to the armed forces of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in their confrontation at Kifangondo with units of the opposition National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA)2, supported by regular troops of Zaire and units of foreign mercenaries.

Assistance from the USSR, Cuba and other allies became vital for the MPLA in 1975, on the eve of independence, due to the increasing confrontation between the MPLA, on the one hand, and on the other, the FNLA and the TOILET, which were supported by the invading regular troops of Zaire and South Africa. At the same time, political, economic, and military assistance to the leadership of the FNLA and UNITA was provided by the United States and major Western powers, as well as China and a number of other countries.

On the eve of the declaration of independence of Angola (and November 1975) on the map was the actual situation in the country.-

page 75

the fate of the country is at stake. The decisive military and political event was the Battle of Kifangondo, which took place on the outskirts of Luanda on October 23-November 10, 1975. An objective assessment of the significance of this battle, the place and role of its participants in it - the MPLA, FNLA and UNITA, as well as the allies of each of the movements - is extremely important for reflecting the history of Angola during this period.

S. A. Kolomnin spent many years of painstaking work collecting documents, reconstructing historical realities, and investigating the small-scale but very important period filled with drama on the eve of independence of this country, the scale of armed assistance provided to the MPLA by the Soviet Union.

The book provides a balanced assessment of the dramatic events in Angola in late October and early November 1975. The political situation around the events in Angola, the alignment of political forces in the country are described in detail, and the order and volume of foreign military assistance to each organization-MPLA, FNLA and UNITA, before and after the battle, are thoroughly analyzed.

S. A. Kolomnin focuses on a step - by-step study of the development of the situation in the northern suburbs of Luanda, near Kifangondo, where the FNLA units advancing from the north, supported by the Allies, on the one hand, and the MPLA armed units supported by Cuban instructors and volunteers, on the other, met in a decisive battle.

S. A. Kolomnin's meticulous analysis of the events in the Kifangondo area is a real journalistic investigation. He draws attention to the discrepancy in the estimates of the number of personnel, forces and means of the warring parties.

Thus, in Western sources and memoirs of FNL supporters, the number of FNL and Zaire troops is underestimated (1.5 thousand people or less), while in Cuban and Angolan sources (in the memoirs of MPLA supporters), on the contrary, it is overestimated (3 - 3.5 thousand people or more) 4.

As time moves away from those events, their details are erased from memory, active participants and witnesses of the battle of Kifangondo pass away. But, on the other hand, new documents are being opened, memories of participants in those events are being published, including in Russia, Cuba, South Africa, Portugal, and Angola itself.

Time completes the historical portrait of the anti-colonial struggle in Angola, clarifies the view of the role and place of each of its participants. The fact that the author drew on the memories and testimonies of people who represented various parties to the conflict when collecting materials gives the study a special historical value. Therefore, the author's conclusion about the decisive role of Soviet weapons not only for the victory at Kifangondo of the MPLA armed formations and the Cuban soldiers who supported them, but also for the coming to power in Luanda on November 11 of the MPLA leadership led by A. Neto and the proclamation of the People's Republic of Angola sounds convincing.

S. A. Kolomnin's point of view is shared by me as a direct witness and participant of those events.

At the beginning of November 1975, while on a business trip to the Congo (Brazzaville), and then in Angola, together with Soviet specialists in the combat use of BM-21 "Grad", I was present during the preparation for sending these installations to Angola.

Later, communication with Cuban and Angolan military personnel led to the conclusion that the equipment delivered by the Soviet Union and used by Cuban military personnel at Kifangondo in a timely manner (first of all, BM-21) played a decisive role in turning the tide on the approaches to Luanda.

After the battle of Kifangondo, the opposing MPLA forces made an attempt from the south and north to break through to the capital again and seize it. Literally the day after the arrival of the first group of Soviet military specialists (including the author of the review) on the combat use of BM-21s, headed by Colonel Yu. D. Mitin, on November 16, 1975, in Luanda, they left for combat positions and prepared a new counterattack. This led to a decisive change in the situation on the northern and southern fronts...

The significance of the events at Kifangondo for Angola is evidenced by a memorial erected in the battlefields. In memory of these battles in Angola, a song was composed, the chorus of which was the words: "The people have not forgotten Kifangondo."

S. A. Kolomnin's book makes a significant contribution to the history of Angola and Russian-Angolan relations. Its materials can be used to supplement museum expositions in Angola dedicated to this period of its history, and to train Angolan military personnel in classes on modern Angolan history, and to write the history of Angola, where the events near Kifangondo and the role of Cuban military personnel and Soviet military equipment in them will be described as objectively as possible.

Let Angolans keep alive the memory of Cuba and the Soviet Union, of their international help and of the internationalist warriors who helped to achieve the decisive victory of the people's government in Angola in 1975.

A. A. TOKAREV, Candidate of Historical Sciences Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences


1 See: Kolomnin S. A. Russkiy spetsnaz v Angole [Russian Special Forces in Angola], Moscow, 2005. Russkiy spetsnaz v Angole. M.) (in Russian); Kolomnin S. A. The victory at Kifangondo was achieved by Soviet weapons. Voenno-istoricheskiy zhurnal. 2009, N 12. (Kolomnin S.A. Pobeda pri Kifangondo... // Voenno-istoricheskiy zhurnal. N 12) (in Russian); and others.

Tokarev A. A. 2 FNLA v antikolonialnoi borbe i grazhdanskoiy voine v Angole, Moscow, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2006 (Tokarev A. A. 2006. FNLA v antikolonialnoi borbe i grazhdanskoiy voine v Angole. M.) (in Russian)

Tokarev A. A. 3 "The Black Cock" of Angola / / Asia and Africa today. 2002, N 5. (Tokarev A. A. 2002. "Chernyi petukh" Angoly / / Aziya I Afrika segodnya. N 5) (in Russian)

Kolomnin S. A. 4 Russkiy sled pod Kifangondo [Russian Trail under Kifangondo], Moscow, Etnika Publ., 2014, p. 32 (Kolomnin S. A. 2014. Russkiy sled pod Kifangondo. M.) (in Russian)


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A. A. TOKAREV, "THE PEOPLE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN KIFANGONDO" // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 07.06.2024. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/-THE-PEOPLE-HAVE-NOT-FORGOTTEN-KIFANGONDO (date of access: 25.07.2024).

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