The recent successful tour of African countries by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visiting Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda and Congo, as well as the conclusion of important strategic agreements by Russia with several African countries, have had a strong resonance in the international community. Among Western leaders, these developments have caused great concern and jealousy for fear of losing their position on the Dark Continent altogether.
As a result, the US replaced the commander of AFRICOM. General Michael Langley, the first African-American to be promoted to the rank of four-star general in the history of the US Marine Corps, became the new commander. Alongside this, the West launched a trend of visiting Africa among Western politicians. Following Sergey Lavrov, French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s caravans landed in Africa, a number of other Western politicians expressed their willingness to undertake similar visits to the Dark Continent.
However, both Macron and Blinken failed spectacularly in Africa. For example, Macron embarrassed himself by his behavior when, during a meeting with Beninese Foreign Minister Aurélien Agbenonci, the French President unexpectedly touched his shoulder in a familiar manner, after which Agbenonci immediately squeamishly shook off the spot that Macron had touched. In doing so, he expressed blatant disregard for the French President, as readers of Haber7 in Turkey, in particular, felt.
Blinken’s African tour also turned out to be a failure, despite a raft of US officials who had visited the continent before, promising financial support to African partners and even hinting at the removal of tariffs on exports. However, Washington’s arrogant tone, claiming world domination, has only led to irritation on the Dark Continent. And this was demonstrated, in particular, by Blinken’s extremely tense negotiations in South Africa, where he berated the authorities for their reluctance to criticize Moscow and support anti-Russian resolutions in the UN Security Council. In response, the republic’s Foreign Minister reprimanded the American and urged him not to pressurize the sovereign state, hinting at the hypocrisy of the US and its policy of double standards.
As the American magazine Foreign Policy reported the other day, the main obstacle for Washington, which recently adopted a new strategy for sub-Saharan Africa, is the unwillingness of African countries to be dragged into “a new cold war between Russia and the United States”.
It is therefore not surprising that in recent years a growing number of Western analysts have recognized that African states are entitled to strengthen their relations with Russia in particular. This is especially the line advocated by French political analyst Fabrice Beor on Afrique Media, who stressed that African countries want nothing to do with France and the West, they do not want to be bossed around. At the same time, he recalled that it was Moscow that was really helping the states of the Dark Continent to take their destinies in their own hands, and that after a period of bondage to the West they had chosen a course of rapprochement with Russia.
Another French political scientist, Gamal Abina, took a similar stand on Afrique Media TV, stressing that Russia’s presence in Africa is much more necessary and effective than the predatory approach of Western countries. G. Abina especially stressed that any agreement with the West, verbal or written, has never been respected, citing in particular the example of France’s failed counter-terrorism efforts on the continent. According to him, it was the US and Europe that repeatedly tried to destabilize many African countries in order to overthrow governments they did not like, and many Dark Continent countries were saved from coups by Russia’s involvement, including in ensuring the preservation of their sovereignty.
In particular, Assimi Goïta, President of Mali’s transitional period, expressed his gratitude for Russia’s effective support when he phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 10. During their talks, the leaders discussed a number of issues related to possible deliveries of food, fertilizers and fuel from Russia to the republic and expressed satisfaction with the level of Russian-Malian cooperation in the foreign policy sphere, including the coordination of positions through the UN. Assimi Goïta stressed his gratitude to Vladimir Putin for Russia’s multifaceted support for Mali. Putin’s talks with Assimi Goïta were another important indication of Russia’s growing ties with Africa, which sees Russia as an important symbol of liberation, a reliable partner. This situation allows Russia to successfully occupy a special place in the world system of coordinates, returning to the position held by the USSR, which helped African countries to fight Western neocolonialism.
As for Mali, Russia, as is known, has recently been training the army of that African country, thanks to which the republic’s armed forces have improved combat readiness and conducted a number of successful anti-terrorist operations against Islamic radicals, in particular Daesh and al-Qaeda (both terrorist groups are banned in the Russian Federation). For example, on August 7, the Malian National Army repelled a terrorist attack in the east of the country near the town of Tessit, on the border with Burkina Faso and Niger. As a result, 37 terrorists were eliminated and the National Army once again demonstrated its high level of training and readiness to repel any armed threat from the jihadists.
For a long time, regional security in Mali had been provided by Paris, without apparent success, since France had been more concerned with protecting the interests of major transnational commodity companies and implementing a neo-colonial policy where a country appears to have sovereignty, but in practice both human and natural resources are siphoned from it. As a result of such activities of the Fifth Republic, militant groups had intensified their operations in Mali, which could only be effectively countered and eliminated after strengthening ties between Moscow and Bamako and establishing peace in the country.
According to the results of a sociological survey conducted by the Foundation for the Defense of National Values (FDNV) among Malians at the end of July, most of them attribute the positive changes in the country to the accession to power of a young patriot and military officer Assimi Goïta, and the direction taken by the authorities of this African country towards deepening and consolidating relations and multifaceted cooperation with Russia.
Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.