| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Russia implements a policy of neocolonialism in African countries

From July 26th to 29th, the Second Russia-Africa Summit “For Peace, Security, and Development” will take place in St. Petersburg. Approximately 10-15 heads of state and governments from African countries may participate in the summit. Moscow plans to use this event to emphasize its influence in Africa and to assert that Russia is not internationally isolated.

In fact, starting from 2014 when sanctions were imposed on Russia for the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of hostilities in eastern Ukraine, Moscow has been trying to portray itself in Africa as a fighter against Western colonialism. It actively plays on the history of African countries’ struggle for independence, even though it seeks to regain influence over post-Soviet countries today. This is evidenced not only by Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine but also by the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who referred to the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. Russian politicians and propagandists have repeatedly stated that after Ukraine, Russia would seize other former Soviet republics.

In the Kremlin, countries in “black Africa” have long been considered underdeveloped, where various measures can be taken against democratic systems. Soviet “internationalism” was thinly veiled paternalism, treating Africans as less developed people who needed to be guided on the right path. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, paternalism in Russia transformed into open racism.

Today, xenophobic ideas promoted by Russian neo-Nazis align with the prejudices of many Russians who harbor hostile attitudes towards dark-skinned people from the North Caucasus and former Soviet republics. The treatment of people from Africa by average Russians is even worse. Over the years, there have been numerous reported cases of attacks on black African students studying in Russian higher education institutions. The statement “Russia is for ethnic Russians” has reached its highest level of approval in the past 30 years, with around 55% of Russians agreeing with it.

The Russian Federation continues to behave as a colonial empire, replicating the worst practices of colonial warfare. For over a year, Russia has been conducting a full-scale war to seize as much Ukrainian territory as possible, thus violating the principle of inviolability of state borders by force for the first time since World War II. This could potentially create a domino effect worldwide, including in Africa.

Russia is not opposed to changing existing borders in Africa, as it would fuel interstate hostility and political tensions on the continent, potentially diverting attention from the war in Ukraine. It aims to create a unified “confederation” of African states subordinate to Moscow, potentially including Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Sudan.

Russia constantly seeks to incite coups and destabilize African countries in an effort to control their governments and policies. Moscow may resort to the elimination of African leaders who pose obstacles to its expansion on the continent. To achieve this, it utilizes Russian private military companies under its control, notably the Wagner Group. Putin himself confirmed the direct involvement of the state in funding the Wagner Group after a recent coup attempt by its representatives against Russian authorities.

Thus, African countries are regarded by Moscow solely as resource assets. Russian private military companies control significant oil and mineral deposits, including gold and precious gemstones, in the Central African Republic and Sudan. It is evident that the intentions of the Russian Federation are not limited to these countries alone. Its plans are much broader. Above all, Moscow aims to overcome democracy in African countries and establish regimes under its control.


Source: 24 Brussels online