Podcast / Africa 1 minutes

Russia in Africa

This week on Hold your Fire!, Richard Atwood and guest host Comfort Ero are joined by Africa expert Pauline Bax to discuss Russia in Africa, its ambitions on the continent, the role of Russian military contractors and how Western powers view Moscow’s rising profile.

After a post-Cold War hiatus, Russia is returning to Africa. Through both traditional diplomacy and the deployment of security contractors, Moscow’s influence on the continent is growing. Particularly controversial has been the role of the Wagner Group, a Russian military contractor. In the Central African Republic (CAR), Wagner forces have been at the forefront of operations against rebels. Overall, Russia’s muscular new visibility on the continent has unsettled Western powers. 

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Pauline Bax, Crisis Group’s senior Africa adviser, joins Richard Atwood and guest co-host Comfort Ero. Pauline has just written a piece on Russia’s role in CAR. They discuss how Russian mercenaries have shifted battlefield dynamics in that country in the government’s favour and popular perceptions of their gains, both in the capital Bangui and in areas affected by fighting. They discuss how Moscow, which had close ties to former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, has navigated Sudan’s revolution. They also talk about Russia’s emerging role in the Sahel, where it has sought to capitalise on anti-France sentiment to win influence. They ask what Russia’s aims are in Africa and what the impact of its increased presence is for Africans themselves.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Russia and Africa pages.


Executive Vice President
President & CEO
Deputy Program Director, Africa

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.