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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Eloi Alphonse Maxime Dovo, then the foreign affairs minister of Madagascar, arrive for a meeting in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 22, 2018 (Photo by Vitaliy Belousov for Sputnik via AP).

What Is Russia Up to Across Africa?

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Concerns about Russian activities across Africa have been growing for some time, and new revelations about the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to interfere in the most recent presidential election in Madagascar have lifted the veil on what looks like a concerted campaign to expand Moscow’s influence by a variety of means.

As outlined in a BBC documentary last month, in addition to investigative reporting by The Project, an independent Russian journalism collective, these efforts have been spearheaded by Yegveny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin who is known as “Putin’s Chef.” Prigozhin rose to prominence after he was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Prigozhin had set up the troll factory known as the Internet Research Agency that waged “information warfare against the United States” through a sophisticated disinformation campaign to boost Donald Trump’s candidacy, according to Mueller’s indictment. Prigozhin extended these efforts to Africa, establishing a center to handle all of Russia’s influence projects on the continent after apparently selling Russian President Vladimir Putin on the idea. ...

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