Russia’s return to Africa

President Putin views geopolitical relations as insurance for his country’s stability, pursuit of Russia’s assertive stance globally

Russia’s role and profile in Africa, including the factors underlying its activities, are rarely discussed. The underlying factors include the threat of Russia’s diplomatic isolation from Europe and the U.S. over Moscow’s policies in Syria and prior to this, the situation in Ukraine, leaving the Kremlin with no alternative but to seek new allies. As the competition for resources, political influence and access to markets continues to increase, Russia begins to look outside established power centers.

Africa has historically been a prominent field of influence for the U.S. and the then-Soviet Union (USSR). Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia has been trying to establish its place by setting formative policies to reassert itself on the world stage as a major international power. Bilateral relations between the USSR and African nations were frozen at the end of the Soviet period. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to have new aspirations in Africa to restore his country to a big power status, spurred on by concerns that China, India, Brazil, and especially the U.S. are intensifying their involvement in Africa.

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