From the CAR to Eritrea, Russia’s African Ambitions Unfold


The Central African Republic might seem like an unusual venue for Russia’s evolving strategy in Africa. The CAR doesn’t boast Ethiopia’s booming economy or Angola’s deep oil reserves. It lacks a developed mining industry like Zambia or a strategic location like Djibouti.

But the landlocked country of fewer than 5 million people, most of whom survive on subsistence farming, has something else of interest to Moscow: conflict.

Since 2013, the CAR has grappled with a protracted civil war. Mass displacements, political instability, and competing factions of rebels and militia groups have weakened the government and eroded peoples’ trust in its institutions.

In the ensuing volatility, Russia has found opportunities to project power far beyond its borders and rekindle…

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