One of the reasons for French President Macron to treat extremely gently Russian President Putin, an odious breaker of the established world order, who defied rules and principles of international law though until recent was thought to be a toxic politician in the world elite circles – is the Russian presence in Libya, where France used to be very influential. According to the Times and the Telegraph, about 300 Russian mercenaries recruited by the so-called Wagner Group Private Military Company. In addition, The Sun reported that UK intelligence became aware of supply by the Russian Federation of Kalibr anti-ship missile systems and S-300 systems designed to destroy air targets. Groups of Russian special purpose troops and dozens of officers of the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have already deployed in eastern Libya, being involved in training of local armed groups and organization of communications.
Why then Libya? It is an oil-rich African state. Libya is a foothold that allows the Russians to strengthen their military presence in the Mediterranean. Libya is the gateway that can either hinder the entry of hundreds of thousands of Africans into Europe or facilitate their migration to the European continent. In other words, those who control Libya control migration flows.
Like other European leaders, Macron realises: Putin uses the Libyan map to blackmail and subjugate Europe.
However, this is not only Macron’s concern. Ongoing Russian penetration deep into the African continent becomes a point of great concern for French military and political authorities. Thus, militants from the Wagner PMC actively operate in the Central African Republic, which has become a powerful Russian military base.
Similar situation we may see in many other African states: Mauritania, Sudan, Congo, Chad, Zambia, etc. Russian mercenaries as well as Russian propaganda are also involved there. About 200 political technologists work in 20 African states. The result of their activities was the rise of Kemetism movement in the French-speaking African states named after its leader Kémi Séba (Benin). His statements reads as follows, “The joint struggle with Russia against the cancer of Western imperialism makes us stronger.” With their help, Kremlin attempts to create the so-called single strategic center within the continent. According to The Guardian, Russia conducts a campaign “to eliminate the positions of France and other regimes close to it in African states.”
Particular feature of Russia’s special attention to Africa is the upcoming first Russia-Africa forum to be held in the Russian city of Sochi on October 22-25, 2019. Leaders of all African states gave their consent to participate in it. More than 3,000 African businessmen are expected to arrive.
A new “Russian world” is being built in Africa. The French government is afraid of this, still trying to influence its former African colonies by financing political forces or sending its peacekeeping contingents to hot spots on the African continent.
Whatever the case, it seems that Macron has fallen into the Kremlin trap and is looking for ways to get out of it. But it is unlikely that the peace-offering and appeasement policy in case of Putin will lead to success. As our recent history shows, such treatment of international aggressor (Nazi Germany) is doomed to failure.