Russia publishes 'Comandante Fidel' memoirs

17th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov presented Monday a state-funded translation of the veteran Cuban leader Fidel Castro's memoirs, praising "Comandante Fidel" as a "most competent" statesman.

"Comandante Fidel is profoundly respected in our country," Russia's top diplomat said, presenting the two-volume memoirs released by the ministry's publishing house.

"A patriot of his country, he is largely known as one of the most competent statesmen and politicians of our era," Lavrov said.

"Fidel Castro is still full of energy and continues his activities as a thinker," he told ambassadors of Latin American countries at a ceremony in Moscow.

After years of silence and rumours of ill health, Castro published his memoirs in August 2010, written with a team of journalists and historians.

The hardbook memoirs by the leader, known for his verbose speeches, top 1,200 pages in Russian. The two volumes are titled "Strategic Victory" and "Strategic Counter-Offensive."

The book by Castro, 85, is being released with an initial print run of just 2,000 copies in Russia.

The Russian foreign ministry also held a small exhibition of photographs and memorabilia.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was Cuba's closest political ally and a major source of support for its communist economy.

After a period of frosty relations, Cuba and ex-Soviet Russia have grown considerably closer lately, with President Dmitry Medvedev visiting Havana in 2008 and the new Cuban president, Castro's brother Raul, visiting Moscow in 2009.

Russians and Cubans can visit each others' countries visa-free, under a deal made in 1993.

The book was "published with financial support from the Federal Agency for Print and Mass Media, as part of a programme called "Culture of Russia," a note in the book says.

© 2011 AFP

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