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The agreement with the Congo and the "corridor of influence"
Material posted: Publication date: 24-07-2019
Military agreement between Russia and the Republic of the Congo is finalizing the establishment of its African "corridor of influence".

Russia sending experts to the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) for maintenance of military equipment completes the plan of Moscow on creation of the corridor of influence on the continent, from the Sudanese coast of the red sea to the Congolese Atlantic coast through the Central African Republic, which thereby significantly increases the chances that it eventually will succeed with its Grand strategy of the 21st century turning into the primary African-Eurasian "balancing" power in a New cold war.

"African crossing the line"

Most observers have not noticed, because the media was not given that much attention, but Russia and the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville, then just Congo) signed an important agreement last week about the direction of specialists in this African country to service military equipment, which Moscow sold her for decades. Although at first glance this is nothing more than a technical arrangement, in fact it completes the plan of Moscow on creation of the corridor of influence on the continent ("African crossing the line") from the Sudanese coast of the red sea to the Congolese Atlantic coast through the Central African Republic (CAR), where a small group of Russian military personnel, reportedly, together with the mercenaries of Wagner with the approval of the UN security Council to stabilize war-torn but resource-rich country. In other words, Russia now has much better chances of success of its Grand strategy of the 21st century to become the primary African-Eurasian "balancing" power in a New cold war if she can successfully export to the rest of the continent a model of "democratic security" to counter the hybrid war.

Collectively, the dominant trend is that Russia has achieved such success in implementing its low-cost and low involvement model of "democratic security" in the CARS that many other African countries are now more than willing to share their invaluable experience with the stabilization of the state in exchange for valuable contracts for the production of mineral raw materials, which can lead to the fact that Russia will become a leading defender of their "silk road".

The threat to "Francafrique"

Having a better idea of the larger strategic goals of Russia in Africa, the reader can now appreciate the brilliance of the recent military moves of Moscow in the Congo. This geostrategic country before was a close Soviet ally during the old Cold war, when the rule of the Marxist-Leninist government, and today it is the center of several regional lines of division, what longtime leader Denis Sassou Nguesso did not forget to remind Putin during their meeting eye to eye last week. Moving clockwise, the Congo borders the Central African Republic, with the ever-volatile Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the oil-rich Angolan exclave of Cabinda by where it happens periodically, a surge of separatist violence, Gabon, threatened by a coup, and doubly suffering from hybrid war Cameroon, which currently suffers simultaneously from destabilizing the English separatists and "Boko Haram". Probably with a view to persuading Russia to help stabilize this strategic space through its model of "democratic security," Sassou Nguesso told Putin that Russia could help Africa to create a new system of regional security.

"African crossing the line" Russia through the Sudan-Central African Republic-Congo, interestingly, cuts the continent into two almost equal halves of influence, which conventionally correspond to the Western sector, dominated by the interests of France and the EU, and the Eastern sphere, where competing Chinese and Indian interests, thereby putting Moscow right in the center of the new "battle for Africa". Moreover, it also allows Russia to export its model of "democratic security" in the state, located next to her "African crossing the line" in the French/EU and Chinese/Indian "spheres of influence", which has the highest risk of internal conflict (for example, the Cameroon/Chad and the DRC/Ethiopia), further increasing its "balance" value for both fields. In addition to this new non-aligned movement ("New name"), the gathering of which may deals with Russia to increase the likelihood of achieving a "new discharge", could very easily join the growing number of its African partners seeking a "third way" between the West and China, in each respective "sphere of influence".

In the African context, the Russia-led "New days" will be more detrimental to the interests of France, than to the interests of China, because a neo-colonial policy of Paris, known as the "Francafrique" will suffer great losses from diversification patrons among the great powers of its (African) partners. Note that two of the three countries in the "African crossing the line" are part of "Francafrique" and use produced by Paris, "Central African franc" as the national currency, which may gradually change if Russia will push the Central African Republic and the Congo to use rubles in bilateral mining, military and other contracts to strengthen its currency and improve the chances that its investment there will be recycled back into its economy through the creation of a complex system of economic and strategic interdependence in the future. This perspective is still far from implementation, but the fact remains that it is quite a realistic scenario to force France to fear for the future of the "Francafrique" if you achieve "democratic security" of Russia in and around the "African crossing the line" will develop freely.

"Red October"

Like any acting in the world without regard of the great power, and following the example of the Soviet superpower, Russia wants to institutionalize its influence abroad and especially in Africa, which is why it holds its first polnotsennny-Russia summit Africa in Sochi in October of this year to consolidate their newfound gains and expand them to the entire continent. The Russian model of "democratic security" has laid the Foundation for its "pivot to Africa" through the newly established "African crossing the line", which she staked out by these means, connecting the red sea and the Atlantic ocean through the territories of the Sudan-Central African Republic-Congo, and now she wants on the basis of its strategic success fully move into other areas. "Military diplomacy" will simply be insufficient to maintain its strategic success, after the United States declared that they consider the introduction of sanctions against all military partners of Russia in the world so Moscow urgently needs to expand its partnerships with many countries in the continent to persuade them to counter future campaign the US pressure.

It may in the foreseeable future to do this by connecting his model of "democratic security" and economic benefits in the real sector, such as investment in infrastructure (especially Railways), the free trade agreement, support for education, low-interest loans and diplomatic support in the UN to create a sufficiently attractive package to get them to review the submission requirements in the USA. Addressing issues with African countries on a bilateral basis in this respect is one thing, but the establishment of cooperation at the level of the entire continent between Russia and Africa through the upcoming summit is something qualitatively quite different, which may help to overcome the difficulties of Russia in the field of influence of non-military means, raised in the previously mentioned article about it a great strategy if it allows its many current and future partners better understand the role it hopes to play in the stabilization of their cases in the ongoing New cold war.

"African crossing the line" is a step in the extension of Russian influence in other parts of the continent on his French/EU and Chinese/Indian "sphere of influence", with a convincing stabilization of the Central African Republic as a good example of what can be achieved strategic partnership with Russia. This is extremely attractive for many countries, faced with the threat of the spread on their territory, "African spring" or natural its continuation after the achievement of its goals. EU (except France) can also appreciate the impact that can have the Russian model of "democratic security" to prevent migrant crisis 2.0 in West Africa, just as China can see the need for agreement with Russia about the services for the protection of its "silk road" and help China to avoid what many believe will be the inevitable "tightening operation" in this regard. Actually it is USA and France (which are "special partners" to each other) fear the spread of Russian influence across Africa and these two countries, quite possibly, may become a serious threat to Moscow.

Final thoughts

"African crossing the line" of the Russian military completed after the deal she just signed with Congo, which thereby gives her all summer to consolidate its strategic gains in the space of three States, crossing the continent between Congo, CAR and Sudan before the first summit Russia-Africa in Sochi in October of this year. Also important is the fact that the Congo is the second country for which Russia is making every effort to "lure" her out of the French neo-colonial "sphere of influence" of Francafrique, which obviously will quarrel it with Paris and its "special partner" in Washington, but it could give Moscow an opportunity to strengthen this produce an impression in favor of its soft power if it is nimble enough to use unchanged the hopes of the region's decolonization, which in reality failed to materialise after independence. For Russia it would be correct to use the upcoming summit in Sochi not only to present a comprehensive "balancing" strategy for the continent that goes from the original function of the "democratic security" in the economic sphere of the real sector, but also for their reputation of Soviet support for decolonization and anti-imperialist processes to maximize the appeal of the new non-aligned movement.

Andrew Korobko


Tags: Russia , China , Africa

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