From Democracy Digest
Russia lacks China’s muscle when it comes to trade and infrastructure. But it has other assets. One is a shrewd appreciation of the political needs of African dictators, another is skills, honed at home, in dirty tricks, analyst Edward Lucas writes for The (London) Times:
A leading force here is the Wagner Group, prominent in the wars in Syria and Ukraine, and associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch close to the Kremlin who denies US prosecutors’ claims that he masterminded interference in the 2016 US presidential election. The costs are low and the gains high. The Russian state gains diplomatic support at the UN, a bigger military footprint and means of evading sanctions. Russian companies (and individuals) get rich. Everybody, except Africans suffering misery and misrule, is happy.
Some details of Russian undercover activities were disclosed earlier this year in leaked documents published by an investigative unit funded by the émigré tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Lucas adds. These involve at least 13 African countries. A separate BBC investigation in April highlighted the activities of dozens of mysterious Russians who doled out cash and brokered deals in Madagascar’s presidential elections (see above).
Read more here.