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Russia offering African governments ‘regime survival package' in exchange for resources, research says

·2 mins

The rebranded Wagner Group in Africa is working to consolidate and expand Moscow’s strategic relationships across the continent. The group’s operations have been subsumed by Russia’s overseas military intelligence unit, the GRU. Russian government documents allegedly revealed a vision of exploiting access for a more concerted attack on Western interests. Russia’s military intelligence service offers African governments a “regime survival package” in exchange for access to strategically important natural resources. Wagner has been a key component of the Kremlin’s efforts to grow its influence in politically unstable countries in Africa. The GRU divided Wagner’s activities into two parts: Volunteer Corps, which covers Wagner’s former operations in Ukraine, and Expeditionary Corps, which picks up the dismantled group’s activities overseas. The Expeditionary Corps aims to recruit and train local forces in territories where Wagner was active. Russian authorities assess the strengths and weaknesses of Moscow’s Africa strategy following the dismantling of Wagner. The GRU offers a “regime survival package” that includes military support, economic and political protection, and the support of political technologists to target countries’ elites. The package isolates the target country’s leadership and aims to close off relationships with the West. The Expeditionary Corps provides personal protection to the president in Mali, similar to the strategy employed in the Central African Republic. The GRU exploits persistent instability in Africa to push migration into Europe and trigger political destabilization. This has led to Finland shutting down its Russian borders, accusing Moscow of funnelling migrants toward them.