After Mali, Will Russia Court Burkina Faso Next?

With Ukraine 🇺🇦 holding the world’s attention—while heroically holding off Russia 🇷🇺—the latter is increasing their influence beyond Europe by militarily supporting another autocratic government, this time in Mali 🇲🇱.

The ruling military junta reportedly received a new shipment of Russian equipment for the Malian armed forces, including two military Mil Mi-35P attack helicopters and 59N6-TE mobile radar systems.

The Africa Report

Currently, Russia 🇷🇺 has few allies in Europe. Except for Belarus 🇧🇾, Hungary 🇭🇺 (who ironically is a member of NATO) & potentially France 🇫🇷 (if Marine Le Pen wins the Presidency), most of Europe is united against Russia 🇷🇺 politically, militarily & economically.

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia 🇷🇺 is seeking new allies & has set its sights on the continent of Africa. With Mali 🇲🇱 isolated from European & North American powers via sanctions, we should expect to see Russia 🇷🇺 court more autocratic run countries in Africa—which means Burkina Faso 🇧🇫 is probably next.

Faso Lagam Taaba Zaka demonstration (source: Facebook.com/globinfos/)

On March 27, 2022, the “Faso Lagam Taaba Zaka” coalition, which brings together more than 100 civil society organizations, demonstrated in the capital Ouagadougou, asking the new government to develop Burkina Faso-Russia military and strategic cooperation, with the main goal of countering jihadi movements active in the region. During the demonstration, secretary general of the coalition Somaila Nana said that the authorities must diversify their partners in this fight against terrorism by allying themselves with countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea. “We criticize the presence of military bases of foreign forces [i.e., France], which no longer deserve our confidence. We demand the cancellation of colonial defense agreements,” he argued.

Memri.org

Like Mali 🇲🇱, Burkina Faso 🇧🇫 is fighting a war against violent religious extremism from Islamic fundamentalists. But like Mali 🇲🇱 (whose soldiers slaughtered a village of 300 civilians), the government of Burkina Faso 🇧🇫 is also oppressing the people they have sworn to protect.

Russia 🇷🇺 already has established military ties in the Central African Republic 🇨🇫 (via the Russian mercenary Wagner Group). The latter is also waging war against violent religious extremists from both Christians & Muslims with brutal results.

With Mali 🇲🇱 embracing assistance from Russia 🇷🇺 & Burkina Faso 🇧🇫 within Putin’s sights, it would not be surprising to see both African countries morph into oppressive authoritarian regimes at the expense of rule by the people via democracy.