Russia’s Resurgence in Africa: Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, January, 15, 2019. Image: Getty, Mikhail Svetlov
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, January, 15, 2019. Image: Getty, Mikhail Svetlov

While Russia’s relationship with Africa goes back decades, to the continent’s anti-colonial struggles, the past few years have seen a resurgence in relations.

Summary:

  • Russian involvement in Africa dates back to the Cold War, and the Putin regime is currently focused on renewing relations.
  • International sanctions and the drop in the oil price are major drivers of Russian involvement.
  • Russian involvement in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique is strongly focused on the extractives sector.
  • The arms trade is also a key sector for Russia in Africa.
  • In both Zimbabwe and Mozambique the engagement has been driven by elites, and is frequently characterised by high levels of opacity and possible corruption.
  • Russia has also been a factor in both countries’ elections, with election monitors linked to the Russian government providing a gloss of approval to highly problematic election practices.
27 Nov 2020
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Research by
Country
Mozambique, Russia, Zimbabwe
SAIIA Programme
Foreign Policy
Tags
Russia-Africa Summit
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