Russia in Africa
Resurgent Great Power or Bellicose Pretender?
Challenging Western depictions, this consideration of Moscow’s post-Cold War Africa policy takes into account both African and Russian decisionmakers.
Three decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, Russia has transformed from a fringe player to a resurgent great power in Africa. The October 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi highlighted the appeal of Russia’s normative agenda, the ubiquity of Russian military technology, and the breadth of Moscow’s presence on the continent. Beneath the pageantry, a darker side of Russia’s African resurgence looms large. From Libya to Madagascar, Russia has used sinister tactics to expand its influence, such as private military contractors, shadowy mining and energy deals with authoritarian regimes, and election interference campaigns.
This book presents a chronological examination of Russia’s post-Cold War foreign policy towards Africa, and outlines the factors that have enabled and impeded the growth of its influence. It pays special attention to the non-material factors behind this rising power; the domestic drivers of Russian decision-making; Moscow’s relationships with fellow external powers; and African perspectives on Russia’s geopolitical role. Samuel Ramani’s analysis cites extensively both Russian-language media and academic sources, and his own interviews with Russian and African elites. His fascinating study challenges popular depictions of Russia as an opportunistic anti-Western actor, instead emphasising Moscow’s strategic commitment to Africa and the endurance of historical memory.
Samuel Ramani PhD teaches International Politics at the University of Oxford, and writes on global affairs for a range of publications, including The Washington Post and Foreign Policy. He tweets as @SamRamani2.