Leaked documents reveals Russia's African stance
Publish date: 13 June 2019
Issue Number: 4718
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of 'leaders' and undercover 'agents', leaked documents reveal. The initiative is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. The Guardian reports that one aim is to 'strong-arm' the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off 'pro-western' uprisings, the documents say. US special counsel Robert Mueller last year indicted Prigozhin over his contracts with the Kremlin. According to Mueller, his troll factory ran an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. The documents show the scale of Prigozhin-linked recent operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub. The report notes that Putin showed little interest in Africa in the 2000s. But western sanctions imposed in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea have driven Moscow to seek new geopolitical friends and business opportunities.