- Russia takes advantage of the mood of African nations that are still torn by the actions of European colonizers, who often left the countries plunged into chaos
- – Nobody can promise as much as Russia can promise. Most often they are empty promises – says Dr. Olech
- However, Africans feel that they do not have to rely on Western countries and that they have an alternative in the form of Russia. On behalf of the Kremlin, the forces are being built up by the Wagner Group – a Russian mercenary group. – This is Putin’s masterpiece. Unfortunately – we hear
- Africa is a continent rich in natural resources, which may also become an alternative to Europe in terms of oil and gas imports. Russia does not want to let this happen
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2018 year. Barthelemy Boganda Stadium in Bangui, Central African Republic. In the middle, the participants compete for the title of Miss Country. Outside, the Russians are waging a battle for the hearts and minds of Africans. Russian flags adorn its crumbling walls. The logo of the diamond-mining company Lobaye Invest, allegedly closely associated with the Kremlin, is clearly visible on the billboards informing about the sponsors of the event. Everything rich. This is how Moscow finances the first beauty contest in three years.
On the 20 thousand. around 100 people appear in the stadium. Apart from the participants dressed in exquisite costumes parading in high heels, the event is watched mainly by families and officials. However, this is not the most important thing. What matters is the effect. A flash, glitter, but also hope for a better future. This is a signal that Russia intends to effectively act not only militarily, but also with “soft force” in the former French colony, trying to take advantage of the mood of the society, still torn by the actions of European colonizers, who left the country plunged into chaos.
“Nobody can promise as much as Russia can promise. Most often they are empty promises.”
– The Russians take advantage of anti-Western sentiments not only there, but also throughout the continent. They create them themselves, promising a lot. These are promises of tightened energy cooperation or military cooperation, such as throwing a fishing rod. Nobody can promise as much as Russia can promise. Most often they are empty promises – says Dr. Aleksander Olech from the Institute of New Europe, co-author of the report “Military commitment of the Russian Federation in Africa” in an interview with Onet.
The effects of Russia’s many years of efforts are particularly visible on March 2, 2022. The member states of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly vote in favor of the resolution that strongly condemns the war of Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine. Out of 54 African countries, 28 vote in favor. While only Eritrea of the remaining 26 is against the resolution, the neutrality of the remaining 25 is worrying. This is Moscow’s signal to the world and the result of Russia’s many years of political offensive and information warfare in some parts of Africa.
The Central African Republic is one of Russia’s main areas of influence. Pro-Russian TV films, sponsored articles and billboards that fit into Putin’s narrative are the Kremlin’s daily activity in this landlocked country. Moscow’s propaganda had brainwashed its citizens to such an extent that on the day the full-scale Russian war began in Ukraine, a parade of support for the Wagner Group – present on the site of a Russian mercenary party – was held in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
– The Wagner Group can build up its forces in Africa on behalf of Russia. It uses the conscription in African countries for this, while promising a lot, from scholarships to visits to Europe. In order to carry out their operations, “Wagnerists” use the experience of an African soldier who knows the terrain, the specificity of the region and the people. This, unfortunately, is a masterpiece by Russia – explains Dr. Olech for Onet.
The rest of the text is below the video.
As the expert emphasizes, the Kremlin focused primarily on military and energy agreements. – It has been happening for many years. From Moscow’s perspective, this is a brilliant safeguard against what is happening in Ukraine right now. The Russians made a ground for themselves. Nobody has ever focused on energy agreements, which Russia has been dynamically developing for years, increasing its presence, for example, in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, CRA, Mali, but also in Chad, Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique and Zambia, says Onet’s interlocutor.
The Russians are taking advantage of the withdrawal of Western countries from Africa. The best example is Mali. The Kremlin waged a battle for online attention, nurturing anti-French narratives, e.g. on Facebook, even before the arrival of the Wagner Group. This one finally filled the empty space left by the French forced to retreat. Those leaving Mali, among others due to the anti-Western attitude of the local population. Today, the Malians support Putin, not Volodymyr Zelensky, in the war in Ukraine.
The Internet is one of the Kremlin’s primary weapons. In South Africa, on the other hand, the Russians are promoting material suggesting the presence of American chemical and biological laboratories in Ukraine, releasing fake news about “Ukrainian war crimes” and fueling anti-Western sentiments.
The Kremlin’s target is mainly countries that have problems – with power, rebels, or financial problems – recently Burkina Faso, Sudan, the Central African Republic, but also Ethiopia and Kenya. – It is about the awareness that Russia is, in the opinion of African countries, a superpower that supports certain countries. The alternative is the keyword. After all, African countries feel that they have a choice, the more so as Russia does not impose political solutions, says Dr. Olech.
Moscow, the analyst notes, is laying the groundwork for itself. According to a report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Russians are striving to return to closer ties with African countries from the time of the Soviet Union. Moscow supports local communities and, under the guise of maintaining stability, wants to become the guarantor of security in the region.
In return, he expects real benefits. The Central African Republic has numerous deposits of crude oil, as well as gold, uranium and diamonds. In turn, Mali has rich deposits of gold and uranium. Moreover, the oil-bearing potential is estimated to be one of the largest in the region.
The entire continent is full of natural resources. I am talking about deposits of platinum, nickel, copper, gold, but also bauxite, phosphates, cobalt and diamonds. All these resources are necessary for Russia to continue the functioning of the state, but also to wage war in Ukraine, especially in the face of the tightening loop on the Kremlin’s financial neck due to the West’s deepening economic sanctions.
Russia takes advantage of state weakness and protracted conflicts to secure mining concessions and lucrative arms deals. Russia’s involvement in Africa is dictated by the strategic aspiration to obtain the status of a great power, but for several months now the priority has been to win the favor of African countries and, as a result, of the raw materials necessary for warfare.
There is also a third reason, perhaps the most important one for the Kremlin. – Countries such as Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Guinea and Angola can guarantee an alternative to Russian gas. The Russians do not want an alternative for Europe to the Russian gas to be created, hence all these military and energy agreements for many years, summarizes Dr. Olech.
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Date Created: June 18, 2022, 18:52