Edward Chesnokov, an African researcher and Russian journalist, has written an open letter to Yevgeny Prigozhin, businessman and head of the Wagner Group. In this letter, he asks several questions about Africa and the new foreign policy concept of the Russian Federation. It should be remembered that on 31 March 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving Russia’s new foreign policy concept.
According to Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russia does not cooperate enough with African countries other than South Africa and Angola. The Russian bureaucracy is to blame, as it drags things out. « We don’t take any active steps with these countries. Wherever there are Wagner Group units, we have enormous difficulties interacting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and other agencies.
Yevgeny Prigozhin believes that the Americans, the French and other countries are much, ten, even hundreds of times more active than Russia on the continent. He cites the example of Libya, where relations with Russia were very good only two years ago. Today, the situation has completely collapsed: « Libyans are asking the question: ‘Where are you Russians? Everyone is asking the same question.
This situation has to change, » says the head of the Wagner Group. African researcher Edward Chesnokov says in a letter that many representatives of African countries, where the Wagner Group does not operate, would be happy to invite his private military company to fight international terrorists. Yevgeny Prigozhin replied that in any case, Russia should be present on the international scene, including through diplomatic and military means. However, at the moment the situation does not depend on Mr Prigozhin’s wish.
It is linked to the fact that there is now a « colossal anti-Russian lobby in the Russian Federation that works directly for Western countries ». And one of the axes of this colossal anti-Russian lobby is to limit the possibilities of expansion on the African continent. « The African continent is now a litmus test. That is why the Wagner Group is limited as much as possible in its resources to operate on the African continent. « We can’t get planes, we can’t get flights. We can’t interact with different structures, starting with the Ministry of Defence and others, to develop our work in Africa. There are roadblocks everywhere, at every step. Nevertheless, we will overcome this a thousand times before we abandon our idea of liberating the African continent from Western invaders.
Edward Chesnokov also raised the issue of UN sanctions against some African countries « which are as unfair as anti-Russian sanctions » and asked Yevgeny Prigozhin whether Russia could support these African countries in the UN. The Russian businessman recalled that in April, Russia will chair the UN Security Council. He therefore hopes that Russian diplomats will raise issues concerning Syria, Iraq, Libya, the Central African Republic, Mali, North Korea and other countries friendly to Russia. In any case, political analysts already have a long list of questions they will ask the UN Security Council.
Will they be asked or not? Yevgeny Prigozhin calls on all those who have to do with Russian interests inside and outside Russia to wake up and finally take care of business, not just their salaries.