Moscow's relationship with Sudan is far from new, but Russian activity in Sudan is deeper now, and Russia cannot afford to sacrifice the benefits of having Bashir in its orbit.
As protests in Sudan calling for the removal of President Omar al-Bashir enter their fourth month, Russian support for the regime has begun to attract international interest. Much has been written about Russian activity, whether overt or covert, in places like Syria, the Central African Republic and Venezuela. But until now, comparatively little attention has been given to Moscow’s involvement in Sudan, which is a linchpin of Russia’s approach to sub-Saharan Africa and, for this reason, will continue to enjoy Russian support despite its internal strife.
Russia’s relationship with Sudan is far from new. Moscow has been exporting substantial amounts of military equipment to the country for decades, even after a U.N. arms embargo was put in place in 2005. Sudan holds the distinction of being the first Arab nation to purchase Russia’s Su-35 jet.