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Russia-Africa Summit: The Bear Returns to Africa

Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP

For decades the Soviet Union had extensive ties across Africa, from its contribution to the national liberation movements in countries such as Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and South Africa, as well as its involvement in the Ogaden conflict. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, these relationships grew cold as Post-Soviet Russia became occupied with internal political, economic, and social challenges, resulting in over two decades of relative inactivity in Africa.

However, since coming to power in 1999, Putin has enhanced Russia’s diplomatic, economic, and military clout in a manner that is fondly referred to as a ​“resurgence” by western pundits​. This resurgent Russia is increasingly shaping global politics, in South America, Russia’s support for Venezuela’s troubled leader Nicolas Maduro has helped keep him power, to the Middle East, where Moscow’s diplomatic support and military intervention at the behest of Syrian President Bashir Al Assad has been pivotal in defeating regime change rebels, Al Qaeda, and ISIS.

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