Desperate Putin? Russia Establishes Africa Corps

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.30 - 2024 9:52 AM CET

Photo: Clive Chilvers /
Photo: Clive Chilvers /
Russia Establishes Africa Corps.

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Russia is reportedly forming the Africa Corps, a formal military presence, to take over the operations previously conducted by the Wagner Group in Africa. This move signals Russia's intent to strengthen its geopolitical influence on the continent.

According to Bloomberg, The Africa Corps, distinct from the Wagner Group's mercenary approach, will operate under the Russian Defense Ministry. The initiative aims to establish a network of military bases in several Africa-friendly countries, including Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, the Central African Republic, and Niger.

This development follows the decline of Western influence in Africa and the demise of Wagner Group's founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The Africa Corps is expected to continue the extraction of raw resources, a significant aspect of Wagner's operations, to finance Russia's military efforts elsewhere.

The first deployment of the Africa Corps has already begun with about 100 Russian troops arriving in Burkina Faso to provide security for Captain Ibrahim Traoré. Plans for a regional headquarters in the Central African Republic are also underway.

African Students Flock to Russian Language Programs.

Over the past few years, Putin has been actively striving to improve relations with Africa, particularly after Russia had to seek new allies following its invasion of Ukraine. However, Russia's efforts in Africa are not limited to the military front; they also include offering various free language programs, enabling Africans to learn Russian.

Over the past year, the Kremlin has successfully launched Russian language and cultural programs across the continent, enrolling hundreds of young Africans.

According to Semafor In Kenya, which has the largest economy in East Africa, this initiative began in March of the previous year. Dmitry Maksimychev, Russia's ambassador to Kenya, noted that the introduction of free Russian classes has led to a significant rise in the number of learners.

From 2018 to 2023, the number of Russian language learners in Kenya increased tenfold, with 900 individuals enrolling in both physical and online classes in just the last year. A student who took the online courses told Semafor Africa that each class accommodated about 30 students and lasted for six months.

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