Financial TimesFinancial Times

Russia in Africa: How Moscow bought a new sphere of influence on the cheap

By Andres Schipani, David Pilling and Steven Bernard

07 Feb 2023 · 12 min read

Editor's Note

Moscow is establishing a foothold across a strip of countries from Mali to Sudan, using Wagner mercenaries and hybrid war to promote autocracy and gain influence. The FT has a sobering report.

At Saint André’s Orthodox cathedral in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Regis Saint Clair Voyemawa, the monsignor, has switched allegiance from the patriarchate of Constantinople to that of Moscow.

Russia funded the restoration of frescoes and a new façade for his dilapidated cathedral and paid for Voyemawa to spend three months in Moscow last year. It donated $6,000 to build a school classroom where 60 children, all orphans from the country’s civil war, receive basic Russian language classes. Several small children recently sat before a blackboard repeating “do svidaniya, papa; do svidaniya, maman”, while others wrote “spassiva” on personal chalkboards.

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