Vladimir Putin has become the first Russian president to visit South Africa in a trip aimed at forging closer diplomatic and business links. Soon after arriving in Cape Town from Greece, Putin went into talks with President Thabo Mbeki. Moscow was one of the African National Congress’ most important backers during the apartheid years when it was an illegal movement. But the visit is motivated by hard economic considerations more than nostalgia and Putin is accompanied by 100 business leaders. They hope to build bridges between two of the world’s biggest emerging market economies.