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Grogoriyevich Vassili Solodovnikov (1918 - )

The Order of the Baobab in

Grogoriyevich Vassili Solodovnikov (1918 - ) Awarded for:
His outstanding contribution to the cause of the decolonialisation of Africa and combating apartheid and lifetime achievement in the study of Africa.

Profile of Grogoriyevich Vassili Solodovnikov

Grogoriyevich Vassili Solodovnikov was born on 8 March 1918 in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

During an illustrious career, Solodovnikov served among others as Academic Secretary of the Institute of Economics of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1952 to 1956), Deputy Director of the USSR Academy of Sciences Institute of World Economy and International Relations (1956 to 1960) and as a member of the USSR Diplomatic Services (1961 to 1964).

Having spent many years in the field of Economics, Solodovnikov developed an interest in the history and peoples of Africa. In 1964, he became the Director of the USSR Academy of Sciences Institute for African Studies, a position which he used to actively support the liberation movements on the continent. He also served as President of the Soviet Association of Friendship with African Countries (1964 and 1976) and Deputy Chairperson of the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee.

After a stint as ambassador of the USSR to Zambia (1976 to 1981), he was appointed in 1981 as Senior Councillor on Africa in the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he continued to assert the importance of African affairs within Soviet foreign policy.

In 1984, he became the principal research fellow at the USSR Academy of Sciences Institute of World Economy and International Relations. In the 1990s he joined the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for African Studies. He was also Vice-President of the International Congress of Africanists, council member of the Africa Institute, London and member of the editorial board of the journal Modern African Studies at Cambridge.

He has authored 10 monographs and over 200 articles on African and international affairs. In recognition of his scholarship and solidarity work, Solodovnikov has been rewarded with numerous honours from the USSR, Russia and Italy. Solodovnikov has been conferred with honorary doctorates from Lagos University, Nigeria, (1969) and Leipzig University, Germany (1970).

Solodovnikov has over many decades expressed his solidarity with the peoples of Africa. He is a great friend of the continent and of South Africa.