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  • Writer's pictureMariah Nimmons

Africa Entwined

A NOTE: Our Russia-Ukraine Resources are updated weekly - if you're accessing the page a week or more past the below date, pieces mentioned in this post may have been removed to make room for up-to-date resources.


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Updated Resources - May 3, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa during plenary session at the Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi, Russian. October 24, 2019. ("Russia-Africa Summit" by GovernmentZA is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)



KEY DEVELOPMENTS

  • Russia reports drone attack on Putin’s residence at the Kremlin while he was working from Novo-Ogaryovo

  • Xi Jinping and Zelensky speak for the first time since Russia’s invasion, Beijing prioritizes facilitating negotiations and pushing for peace

  • Russia launches first large-scale air attacks in nearly two months ahead of Ukraine’s offensive, casualties climb

  • Twitter restricts English-language account of former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev following a post arguing that Poland ‘should not exist’

  • Putin signs life-sentence penalty for treason into law, increases penalties for aiding international organizations including ICC

  • China Votes in Favor of UN Resolution Acknowledging Russian Aggression Against Ukraine

  • Russian opposition convenes in Berlin, signs joint ‘Declaration of Russia’s Democratic Forces’, includes troop removal language

  • South African authorities urge Putin not to attend BRICS summit in person over ICC arrest requirement for the Russian president

  • Putin signs EO allowing authorities to deport Ukrainians who refuse Russian citizenship from annexed Ukrainian territories

  • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopts resolution recognizing the forced displacement of Ukrainian children to Russia as genocide

  • Journalists report that remains of an unidentified ‘aerial military object’ found in northern Poland contained writing in Russian

  • Russian Ambassador to Poland says Polish prosecutor’s office seized funds from embassy accounts, Santander Bank stopped cooperating with the Russian embassy and closed its accounts

  • Radio Liberty journalists release names of 13 public figures who have joined Viktor Medvedchuk’s new political initiative, including commentators from Ukrainian pro-Russian TV channels (now shuttered) and banned pro-Russian political party Opposition Platform

  • Sweden expels five Russian diplomats accused of ‘engaging in activities incompatible with their diplomatic status’

  • Following Finnish NATO accession, Helsinki and Washington are negotiate a bilateral agreement so U.S. can use Finnish military bases

  • Alexey Kuzmenkov, former deputy chief of the National Guard, appointed Russia’s new deputy defense minister responsible for logistics

  • Ukrainian military claims fire resulting from attack on fuel depot in Russian-annexed Sevastopol in ‘preparation’ for forthcoming counteroffensive

  • FSB investigates Moscow police for sale of law-enforcement data on dark web, clients reportedly include Ukrainian nationals

  • Russian government temporarily pauses reporting statistics of oil and natural gas extraction by its petroleum industry, a sector essential to economic forecasting

  • Electronic military summonses sent out in St. Petersburg as part of ‘test’ distribution

  • Forbes’ 2023 billionaires list includes 22 more Russian citizens than in 2022, despite five billionaires who renounced their Russian citizenship

  • Russian Ministry of Education produces new history textbook for 11th graders containing section on the ‘special military operation;’ new edition of Russian fourth-grade textbook has removed several references to Kyiv in chapters about the history of Kyivan Rus

  • ‘Kindergarten military parade’ held in Russia’s Krasnodar region attended by local children, ‘the great-grandchildren of the great victors’ according to regional governor

 

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane talking to Eritrea's Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh during the official group photo session of the 17th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the NAM.("Non-Aligned Movement Summit, 16 Sep 2016" by GovernmentZA is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

WHAT'S ON OUR MIND


Throughout the course of the war, media scrutiny intermittently alights on the broadening influence of the Global South, including the historically overlooked role of - and ramifications for - African nations. The latter is woven into the backdrop of this war, from the grain shortages wrought by Black Sea blockades to African nations’ increasingly consequential partnerships with nonaligned states and with Russia. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the war’s tributaries trickle into Sudanese unrest and yesterday, South African authorities urged Putin to abstain from attending its forthcoming BRICS summit in person, citing their obligation to execute the ICC warrant for his arrest. In today’s collection, we examine the intersections between African nations, the shifting global order, and the Ukraine War.


One piece offers an overview, reminding us of the historical exclusion and exploitation the African continent has faced which still reverberates today. It provides context for many of its nations’ abstention from taking a strong stand against Moscow following the invasion as a pushback against a rules-based order that has seldom served Africa’s interests.


Another queries the war’s effect on Russo-African relations, positing that Russia’s influence on its African partners is likely to diminish with any outcome of the war. In consideration of the latter’s exigent grievances of neglect and disregard on the global stage, the author goes on to encourage the West to invite African nations into the fold in lieu of chastising the absence of their condemnation for Russia.


In a similar vein, another piece suggests that the oft-posited question of the benefit - or harm - of Chinese and Russian influence on African nations misses the mark. Instead, it suggests that if Western players wish to counteract the superpowers’ influence on the continent, they must reflect on what they can offer instead. It argues that the bare minimum of ‘consistency’ must be met.


Here, our selection shifts to examine the current relationship between Russia and some African nations. One piece examines Russian PMC Wagner Group - a key player in the Ukraine War - and their believed exacerbation of regional instability in several African countries. Most recently, there is growing suspicion of their involvement in the unrest unfolding in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum, where heavy fighting between rival regional forces have forced more than 100,000 people to flee and many Western states to evacuate their nationals from the city. Wagner has denied involvement in this clash, but these denials grow increasingly suspect among experts - though to what extent their actions reflect the wishes of the Kremlin remain murky.


A final piece explores Russian experts’ eying of the continent as a resource boon, whose energy market and rich natural resources could provide for battlefield advancement. The piece encourages US experts to do the same in a worrying return to the aforementioned exploitation of the region.


Find these explorations of the war from a different vantage point - and many more perspectives - on today’s resource page.

 

ARTICLES OF PARTICULAR INTEREST

Find these stories and more on our Resource Page


  • ​​The Most Dangerous Game: How Shadow War Over Ukraine Nearly Triggered Nuclear Holocaust (The Nation)

  • Learning the Wrong Lessons from Ukraine (Commonweal)

  • We Need a New Military Doctrine (Boston Review)

  • Making the Case for Legislation Granting Permanent Residency Rights to Ukrainian Migrants and Others Admitted by Using the President's Parole Power (Reason)

  • Upcoming Virtual Forum: Home and Abroad Public Forum: U.S. Strategy and the War in Ukraine (Council on Foreign Relations)

  • How a celebrated Ukrainian writer turned into a war crimes researcher (The Kyiv Independent)

  • The Lasting Devastation of Global Atomic War (The Nation)

  • A literal minefield: Why the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine will be felt for decades (RT)

 


Grigory Okhotin, independent journalist and co-founder of the grassroots police monitoring organization OVD-info. Participants in the 2013 Internet Freedom Fellows Program visit the International Telecommunication Union. ("Grigory Okhotin - Internet Freedom Fellows visit ITU and ICT Discovery" by United States Mission Geneva is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0)


OVERVIEW & VIDEOS


In the overview, a brief on the current state - and sustainability - of US strategy for the War and European security. Find also a breakdown by Grigory Okhotin’s, founder of Russian human rights media project OVD-Info, examining more than two decades of Putin’s policies, their effect on civil liberties, and how they ultimately culminated in the invasion of Ukraine.


In videos, a Ukrainian perspective debunking of the most common misconceptions about the country’s history, the friends and colleagues of imprisoned WSJ journalist Evan Gershkovich launch a letter writing campaign of support, and a debate between former US permanent representative to NATO Ivo Daalder and Quincy Institute Director of Grand Strategy George Beebe about what it will take to end the war.

 

ARTS


Left to right: Lviv National Opera Ukraine (Photon 400 750, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons), Devon Carney and Rudolph Nureyev in rehearsal for Don Quixote (KCBalletMedia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons), Kazimir Malevich (1878 - 1935) - painter famous by his works in avangardism, impressionism, futurism and cubism styles whose identity is now disputed ("Kazimir Malevich Constructivism USSR Soviet CCCP" by Russian Constructivism is licensed under CC BY 2.0)


In the arts, grief and memory expressed through song by the Lviv National Opera, how Ukrainian opera houses have emerged as powerful symbolic civic centers in the last year, the beauty and pain of a Russian singer-songwriter grappling with the war, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater drops Kirill Serebrennikov’s ‘Nureyev’ ballet in response to recent crackdowns on LGBT ‘propaganda,’ a Russian artist’s protest by way of a storytelling project, Eastern European art as the latest battleground in countering Russian imperialism, and Ukrainian artists’ depictions of the war.






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