Staunton, July 27 – Russian nationalists are celebrating the coup in Niger much as their tsarist predecessors did in Ethiopia more than a century ago, employing anti-colonial slogans to cover what is nothing more than an effort by the Russian state to build its own colonial empire in sub-Saharan Africa, Dmitry Galko says.
The Kyiv-based commentator says that Moscow is interested in displacing the French and other Western powers so that Russia will be predominant and have the opportunity both to sell its only major products – arms, PMCs, and propaganda – and to reverse the rise of democracy in Africa (graniru.org/opinion/m.288079.html).
The coup in Niger not only removed the last democratically elected president in the Sahel, a region of 100 million people, but means that there are now fewer democracies in sub-Saharan Africa than there were 20 years ago, giving Moscow greater scope to corruptly influence their leaders and seize important economic resources.
Russia is playing a role similar to that which the Soviet Union played and even closer to the one the tsarist authorities did at the end of the 19th century when they sought to build a Russian empire on the continent, denying in every case that its actions were those of an imperialist power and insisting that Russia is a liberator on the side of the Africans.
Again as in the past, the world has been distracted by Russia’s propaganda, Galko continues; but the facts are clear: Russia is building its own colonial empire under anti-colonial slogans and may well succeed unless it is defeated in Ukraine and forced to look inward rather than abroad.