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Russian landing landed in the center of Africa

Russian landing landed in the center of Africa

April 28 2018 LJ cover – Российский десант высадился в центре Африки
Tags: CAR, Russia, Politics, International relations, Army, Analytics, Africa

The Western press in a hysterical tone describes the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), which is "captured by Russian mercenaries." Apparently, Russian specialists really arrived in this country. Why were they called there, what exactly are they doing there - and what significance does this have for the CARs and for Russia?

Russian Troopers

Outwardly, everything looks like this. In October 2017, the president of CAR Fosten-Arkange Tuader flew to Sochi to meet with the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov. On it, he, according to official reports, asked Russia to apply to the UN with a request to temporarily lift restrictions on the supply of weapons and equipment to the CAR. Informally, President of Tuader asked Russia for armament for three local battalions, that is, about 1,5 thousand fighters with light armored vehicles. The answer was positive.

A month later the UN agreed to partially cancel for Moscow the arms embargo in the CAR, and 26 January this year, the first IL-76 landed at Bangui Airport. On 31 March, President of Tuder solemnly accepted the parade of the first company (200 man) of the Central African army, dressed in Russian camouflage and with Russian weapons. Suspicious white men commanded this detachment.

But the main surprise was waiting for all 30 March at the main football stadium of Bangui, the capital of the country, at the celebration of the second anniversary of Tuader's election as president. Some armed people of Slavic appearance appeared at the celebration as the personal guard of the President of Tuader. Prior to this, the Rwandan soldiers from the remnants of the collective peacekeeping force had to ensure public safety in Bangui at mass events. White guards at the moment almost completely control the administration of the president of the CAR, have unlimited access to the schedule of his movement and to key figures from the environment of President Tuader, to the president's garage and armored vehicles.

Officially, the administration of President Tuaderi recognizes the fact that from now on there is a "detachment of Russian special forces to enhance the security of the president." In the presidential administration, a new post has appeared: the "security director" of the Russian officers is formally "responsible for the work of a group of bodyguards". The French press believes that this same officer is also "a key intermediary for the contacts of the CARs and Russia in the defense and economic spheres."

In just a few weeks, Russian people - often without a military uniform, but with a distinct military bearing - have become an important part of the life of the capital of the Central African Republic. They are visible not only in the presidential palace and around it, but in key ministries, beginning with the Ministry of Defense, in military units with soldiers, in street patrols and even in Lebanese shops on the central avenue of BOGANDA. The French press uses the figurative expression "they fled like antelopes around the country," since Russians were already seen in the provinces. At the same time, the fact that the Russians captured the "Fords" staff, which was previously provided by the Pentagon to the CARs, provokes particular irritation, and they shamelessly drive through them through the streets of Bangui. 15,5 million dollars, allocated by the Pentagon for the needs of the army of the CAR, were in the hands of the Russians.

It is believed that the official staff of Russian military advisers consists of only five career officers, and all the rest are employees of private military companies (PMCs). The French press claims that they are employees of Sewa Supreme organizations (registered in India and engaged in detective and security services) and Lobaye Ltd (the place of registration is unknown, but Lobaye is a reserved region in the Congo), but does not provide any evidence. These statements marked the beginning of a whole series of speculative publications about "Wagner mercenaries in Africa", accusations against the same characters from the entourage of President Putin and the standard set of lamentations about "Moscow's hand".

The French sigh, shrug their shoulders and nod at Washington. "The Russians are waiting for the reaction of America. In addition, they use methods that we do not use, "says an unnamed French diplomat in the CAR. "They shamelessly bribe everyone who opens the doors before them." Here, who would say. France in the CAR historically lived only on bribes - and they were given and taken in both directions.

The origins of the crisis

The situation in the CARs a few years ago could not be deciphered for a simple white man. It was a territory of chaos with shades of genocide on religious grounds.

The religious and ethnic situation in the country is extremely confusing. Of the autochthonous population in the CAR, only the Sara tribe remained (no more than 10% of the population), all other tribes were more or less alien.

The fact is that through the modern CAR in the XVIII century there was a caravan route to the Middle East, along which the ivory and slaves were transported, and gradually Arab slave hunters simply devastated this land. Local Ubaghian tribes eventually completely disappeared under the pressure of aggressive refugees, and from the west and south, tribes from the territory of present-day Nigeria, Congo and Cameroon, now up to 90% of the population of the country, have come to the depopulated lands. But in the pure form of the conflict between the tribes, as in Rwanda, in the CAR never been observed. There was a common enemy - Arab slavers and Islamized tribes from Darfur and Chad, who were also exclusively engaged in slave trade and robbery.

In the second half of the XIX century, the territory of the modern CAR became the place where the waves of colonization of three empires collided in the forehead at once: the British emanating from the southeast, the French one moving through the jungle from the west, and the German one, accidentally caught by this batch, expanding its influence in Tanzania. It almost came to a direct Anglo-French war, but in the course of peace negotiations, the territory of the present CAR was divided between the main world empires. The boundaries of what we now call the CAR were carried out on the principle of "who first got up - that and the sneakers". Specificity of the population - both religious and ethnic - was not taken into account. Formally, the lands of Central Africa remained behind France.


After the independence of the Central African Republic, proclaimed in 1960 ("the year of Africa") from France, chaos became a systemic phenomenon. Prior to the apotheosis, he was led by Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the president of the Central Asian Republic from the year 1966 (seized power as a result of a military coup) in 1976 year, when he proclaimed himself emperor and ruled as such for another three years. The basis of Bokassa's foreign policy was blackmail. He threatened virtually everyone he had dealt with: France, the Soviet Union, China, Romania, Yugoslavia, he bribed French politicians, and when they started to make claims, he threatened to take away the concessions. The source of personal enrichment and bribes to the French was the plundering of diamond placers. At the same time, one must understand that the CAR is now one of the poorest countries in the world, since all the explored deposits of diamonds, uranium and rare-earth metals are either not used at all or are not controlled by anyone.

In Paris, the "case of Bocassa diamonds" led to the fall of President Valerie Giscard d'Estaing, who, for the sake of uranium concessions necessary for France to develop his own nuclear weapons, was bragging with Bocasso, calling him "friend" and "brother," traveling to the CAR to hunt for elephants. It turned out that the French president was aware of not only the typical African love of Bocasso for luxury (the shoes in which he was "crowned" are recognized by the Guinness Book of Worlds as the most expensive in the world), but also about other details of the life of the president-emperor.

After Bokassa's visit to 1970 in Moscow, where he also extorted assistance from the USSR in exchange for concessions, he really liked Russian cuisine, and he asked him to send him a Russian cook. But this poor fellow, having discovered human meat in the refrigerator of the presidential palace, managed to escape to the Soviet embassy. Later, at a court in Bangui in 1986, Bokassa claimed that he kept part of the human body in the refrigerators in Berengo's palace, not for cannibalism, but for ritual purposes. He was believed and officially charged with cannibalism. Although the fate of several dozen oppositionists and some of 19's wives, including European ones, remained unclear.

Born in a Catholic family (he was even supposed to be a priest), Bokassa, with the aim of all that political blackmail of France (but already under President Mitterrand) invited Muammar Gaddafi to the Central African Republic, promising to give him uranium mines, and openly converted to Islam, becoming Salahaddin. This was the last and the main mistake. Uranium in the hands of Gaddafi - this France already could not bear. The formal reason for the overthrow of Bokassa, however, was not this, but the murder of about 100 schoolchildren, who protested against the introduction of an expensive, but compulsory school uniform. Operation "Barracuda" has begun. The foreign legion, part of the commandos from Gabon and the 1 Parachute Division of France landed in Bangui, when the newly converted Salahaddin Bokassa was visiting a friend of Muammar in Libya. In Paris they called it the "last colonial expedition of France". Wrong.

By the way, the next ten years Bokassa lived comfortably in his castle Adinkur near Paris. In 2011 year, after his death in Bangui from a heart attack, the castle was sold at auction for more than 900 thousand euros.

Modern layout

The first thing that General François Bozise did when he became president in 2010 was to rehabilitate Bokassa and "restore him in all his rights." "He built the country, and we destroyed everything he built," Bozizé said. Bozize was born in the territory of Gabon and tribe gbaia. But he, as a member of the Bokassa clan, had no chance of remaining in power for a long time, especially since he relied only on foreign bayonets. In general, foreign military personnel of various degrees of competence have been already twenty years old as the main force of life in the CAR.

And in 2012, an alliance of the "Selek" ("union" in the Sango language), made up exclusively of Muslims, invades from the north into the country. With the support of the Chad and Sudan armies (both deny) and with direct funding of Saudi Arabia in a few weeks, he captured the entire country. The president was the leader of the "Seleki" Michel Jotodia. Formally, on the basis of religion, he is a Muslim. But he studied in the USSR in the purely Russian city of Orel in the accounting and credit technical school, and then at the University of Peoples' Friendship named after Patrice Lumumba. He is married to a Russian, they have a daughter, summarily spent in the USSR more than 10 years, and on his return to the CAR he worked in the tax service, and then in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is a gentle person and during all the endless civil wars and outbreaks of violence he participated in organizations whose names always included the words "unity", "peace", "consent". But formally headed by him "Seleka" in actual fact was a bunch of jihadists and bandits who after the seizure of the capital unfurled in it sadistic terror towards the Christian population.

In response, the Christians began to form a militia, and the civil war took on a religious character. 15% of Muslims successfully killed 75% of Christians (another 10% - pygmies and jungle dwellers, believers in spirits of trees and leopards) with the full support of Saudi Arabia and the total helplessness of the French military contingent. Convinced of his inability to rule the country that had fallen into a bloody chaos, Michel Jotodia chartered the plane and flew to Chad.

In November 2013, Paris again recalled its "historical responsibility". Operation "Sangaris" (the butterfly such) has begun, but in December the French suffered the first losses. The then president François Hollande personally arrived in Bangui, but it did not help. The clashes between Christians and Muslims only increased. The French tried to make the president their woman, the mayor of Bangui Catherine Samba-Penza, who only called on the French to introduce more troops, went to G7 summits in colorful national clothes, asked for humanitarian aid and promised to go to war against Christians. The number of losses has increased. In May 2014, that is, with a delay of at least three years from the beginning of a new round of civil war, a unit of Estonian troops arrived in the CAR, consisting of 45 people. Did not help.

And in February of 2016 in the elections a decisive victory was won by the former rector of the local University of Fosten-Arkange Tuader. The French gradually began to curtail and fly to Gabon and Mali. The Estonians somehow dissolved themselves. The situation is not that it stabilized, it somehow became quiet and hid.

And then these Russians appeared.

Remote control

So far, there is no information about the fact, under whose control the existing diamond mines and uranium mine moved. Usually this happens fairly quickly and bloodlessly. It is another matter that physical control over deposits and fisheries does not mean a legal transfer of property. President of Tuader has so far said nothing about this topic and is unlikely to be in the near future. For him, the effectiveness of the actions of the invited contingent on the protection of borders, the destruction of the very fact of the threat from the Muslim detachments and the final restoration of security throughout the country is important. And if the French could not cope with this, then why not try it.

Links to PMCs - from the evil one. The French say that "the Russians are completely Americanized," once using PMCs. In their mouths it is a charge. But the president of Tuader did not ask for the arrival of Russian troops, he asked for help in training his soldiers to use the Russian weapons they delivered. This is what they are doing. What is the problem? Ask the troops - they will fly.

The recent agreement with Mozambique on free entry to the ports of this country for Russian warships is added to the same line. It remained without such information pressure from the Western media as events in the CAR, simply because of its nonmedia.

Under this agreement, Russian warships can, according to a simplified scheme, stop in Mozambican ports for maintenance and refueling, which turns this South African country practically into a base for the Russian Navy.

Many are inclined to see in this the prerequisites of some new "battle for Africa", in which, unlike the "proxy wars" of the Cold War, not only purely armed methods, but also political technology will be used. Even specific names of people are supposed to be called, responsible for this. It is claimed that only people with "African experience" are used in the project, that is, a priori over forty years of age and with knowledge of local languages ​​and realities. We do not pretend that this is possible. But for sure you can agree that Africa will necessarily become another "competitive zone". Only farther away from us than the post-Soviet space or the Balkans.

Eugene Kroutikov
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