Russia is quietly colonizing Africa, while the West is ‘only worried’ again
This post was published in News.ru. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
MOSCOW, (BM) – Russia plans to establish several military bases on the African continent. This was reported by the German edition of Bild with reference to data received at the German Foreign Ministry. This information is obviously troubling in the West.
Although, according to analysts, the Kremlin has no coherent strategy for Africa at the state level. Probably, the FRG press is just once again trying to force the topic of Russian expansion.
According to Bild, we are talking about the creation of Russian bases in Madagascar, as well as in Sudan, Egypt, Eritrea, Mozambique and the Central African Republic (CAR). Journalists refer to the report of the diplomats, drawn up earlier this year.
The government of Vladimir Putin is massively expanding its presence in Africa. Military involvement is becoming more common in an increasing number of countries on the continent. This is especially beneficial for the rulers who want to suppress the protest of their population with the help of Russian troops, the newspaper notes.
Indeed, the press regularly discusses Russia’s permanent military presence in the aforementioned countries. For example, two years ago Russia and Madagascar prepared an agreement to facilitate the procedure for Russian warships to enter the country’s ports. Nevertheless, there was no talk of a full-fledged base. According to reports, political strategists of “Putin’s chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin are working in Madagascar.
In Sudan, Russia has traditionally supported ex-President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted from power just over a year ago. The latter had been talking about the American threat for a long time, so close relations with Moscow and plans to create a base looked quite logical. However, the country’s new government diversified its international ties, placing a serious stake on expanding relations with the West.
Egyptian law bans foreign military bases, but talks about creating Russian “footholds” have not died down since 2013. Then the Egyptian newspaper Al Watan reported that the Russian contingent could be deployed in the Mediterranean ports of Alexandria, Damietta, Port Said and Rosetta.
Later, among the options, the Egyptian city of Sidi Barrani was mentioned, from where the Russian special forces seemed to operate, providing UAV reconnaissance for the detachments of Khalifa Haftar.
On the territory of Eritrea, according to some reports, a base for the military from the Russian Federation is already being built – but there is no evidence. Speculation is usually based on the fact that the country already has Russian – or rather Soviet – military infrastructure.
We are talking about the 933rd point of material and technical support (PMTO) of the USSR Navy, located on the island of Nokra. This base began to be created back in 1978 – it was intended to serve the Soviet nuclear submarines located in the Indian Ocean. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was not used.
The topic of mercenaries from the so-called PMC Wagner comes up in relation to Mozambique and the Central African Republic. In the latter republic, Russian citizens are employed both in guarding President Faustin-Arrange Touadère and in working in the mines. The CAR authorities in October last year again spoke about the possibility of creating a full-fledged military base of the Russian Federation.
However, all this, as they say, is written with a pitchfork on the water. Expert on international politics Vladimir Frolov, in a conversation with NEWS.ru, recalled that the military interests of the Russian state in African countries have not been announced by anyone, and it is difficult to comment on the question of the interest of private companies.
“There are no official statements that Moscow needs bases in African countries. This is a controversial issue, of course. The military always needs bases. Whether the state needs them is not so obvious. So far, in my opinion, this is all” design work “Private traders with a state” wink “ Frolov said.
In this regard, the German press is probably just trying to once again force the topic of Russian expansion. In recent months, it has received a new development – primarily in the UK, where a report was released on the Kremlin’s interference in the referendum on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit). The situation in Belarus, which openly accuses Russians of attempts to destabilize within the republic, also adds fuel to the fire.
However, it can be assumed that the stake on the presence in Africa of structures officially banned on the territory of the Russian Federation (but, obviously, guarded by intelligence) is Moscow’s strategy on the continent in conditions of high competition and a desire for economy. “Parallel diplomacy” reduces bureaucratic delays and is obviously fraught with delicate requests that African leaders often need to fulfill, but in case of failure it does not threaten Moscow with image losses.
However, the calculation of the implementation of foreign policy by the hands of mercenary structures (PMCs are still official firms with relatively white accounting) in itself affects the quality and assessment of the tools available to the Russian Federation. To what extent Moscow can painlessly combine the official and private approaches in the international arena is an open question.
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