Russia and Africa: Expanding Influence and Instability

Navy Day celebrations in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2017. (Photo: Russian Military)

The main tools Russia relies on to assert influence on the continent—mercenaries, arms for resource deals, coopting and sustaining friendly leaders, and disinformation—are inherently destabilizing.  While opportunistic, this approach provides Russia an opening to secure port access in the eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea while undermining democratic norms in the region, advancing the Kremlin’s geostrategic interests.

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