About 120 years ago, my paternal grandmother, Tamara Drusinsky – then a babe in arms – left Russia for Constantinople, and eventually arrived with her family in SA.

More recently, when President Vladimir Putin visited Parliament in Cape Town in September 2006 — after my ANC colleagues had burnished their Soviet Union credentials with him — I advised the Russian head of state that I could claim to be the only South African parliamentarian he would meet that day who had a Russian grandmother. The hitherto intense and deadpan Putin became quite animated. When he asked me where in Russia my grandmother hailed from, I told him she was from Sebastopol in the Crimea. He responded to my somewhat shaky geopolitical grasp by informing me, via an interpreter: "Sadly, Crimea is no longer part of Mother Russia but is in the Ukraine." Of course, some eight years later, in March 2014, and with what The Economist magazine called "dazzling speed and efficiency", Putin annexed the Crimean peninsula. In so doing, he also, the magazine noted, "has driven a tank over the existing world order". Just how kaleidoscopic this shake-up of the world order is manifesting r...

Subscribe now to unlock this article.

Support BusinessLIVE’s award-winning journalism for R129 per month (digital access only).

There’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in SA. Our subscription packages now offer an ad-free experience for readers.

Cancel anytime.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.