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RUSSIESE EN CHINESE UITBREIDING IN AFRIKA

Russiese uitbreiding in AfrikaDie twee Russiese bomwerpers in Suid Afrika het hier geland uit liefde vir die Afrikanervolk? So ‘n stelling sou vergelyk kon word met ‘n afleiding dat Brittanje Suid Afrika nou gaan om verskoning vra vir hulle oorlogsmisdade teen ons gepleeg tydens die Aglo Boereoorlog.

Die Britse volk het in ‘n referendum in 2016 besluit om die Europese Unie te verlaat sodat hulle weer hulle onafhanklikheid kan terugkry. Die algemene gevoel onder die deursnee gewone Engelsman op straat is dat die Europese Unie eintlik in beheer van Brittanje is en nie die regering wat deur hulle verkies is nie.

Dit dui op dieselfde posisie waarin die Engelse regering, met behulp van die VSA, Suid Afrika onder ‘n swart Kommunistiese meerderheidsregime ingedwing het deur die korruptering van karakters soos FW de Klerk, Pik Botha en trawante. Hulle bemoeienis in die binnelandse aangeleenthede van Suid Afrika, het nou die grondslag gelê vir die toestroming van volksvreemdes in beide Engeland en Europa met vêrreikende gevolge!

Met die kortsigtigheid en opportunistiese ingesteldheid van swart leiers is die ontginning van Afrika en huidig Suid Afrika deur kommunisme, feitlik voltooi! Swart leiers se affiniteit vir die materiële het BRICS ‘n vastraplek in Suid Afrika verseker waarvan Rusland, Indië en China ruim gebruik gemaak het.

Vir die Weste spel dit niks goed nie. Suid Afrika se minerale rykdom asook sy strategiese waarde in ‘n moontlike derde wêreldoorlog, wat waarskynlik in die Midde-Ooste sal begin, is al bykans vir hulle verlore! Putin van Rusland is duidelik besig om voorsiening te maak en dienooreenkomstig voor te berei vir die oorlog waarin die Amerikaanse magte wat agter die skerms werk, en skynbaar ook agter Trump se rug, Rusland wil betrek.

Militêre basisse en energiebronne is in so ‘n scenario van moontlike militêre konflik, van onskatbare waarde. Om die vaardigheid en kundigheid van die Afrikanervolk onder sulke omstandighede in Afrika te ontbeer, mag dalk die swakste strategie van die Westerse Imperiale moondhede wees wat hulle tot nog toe beplan het.

Die wortels wat China en Rusland nou voor diie “donkie” se neus hang is só aanloklik, dat die Weste baie hoër sal moet bie om die invloed wat hulle gedink het hulle nog in Suid Afrika het, te behou!

Lees gerus die onderstaande artikels om ingelig te wees. Die AVP plaas dit met beklemtoning om aan te dui dat die BRICSvenote se belangstelling in Afrika en veral Suid Afrika, nie uit liefde vir die Afrikanervolk is nie. Dit is wel moontlik gemaak deur ‘n lamsakkige NP regering wat ‘n hele volk, met sy erfenis en besit, aan hierdie gemors uitgelewer het!

Africans should be under no illusion about who their suitor really is, especially those who value their democratic institutions and practices. Racism, homophobia, a constricted civil society and curtailed human rights are all hallmarks of the Russian Federation under Putin.

More than 40 African heads of state return from Sochi after a fervent courting by Russia and with the ink drying on some substantial deals. Ethiopia and Rwanda have sealed nuclear co-operation agreements to bring the number of African countries keen on nuclear development to 18. South Africa is not among them.

The Black Sea retreat that is said to have been years in the making aimed to offer African leaders a renewed sense of partnership with Russia, who played the decolonial card with a firm hand.

African sovereignty, independence and a disdain for bullish western politics was the charm Russian President Vladimir Putin laid on thick. Analysts say the Kremlin claims that it has racked up $12.5-billion in deals over the two-day Russia-Africa summit. But it remains to be seen whether they actually materialise as real investments. The symbolically laden event to bolster co-operation and trade comes as sanctions against Russia persist. Firming up a Russia-Africa trading bloc is clearly a way to escape these constraints by structuring more deals in Russian roubles to improve economic stability.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) at the first plenary session as part of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit at the Sirius Park of Science and Art in Sochi, Russia, 24 October 2019.EPA-EFE/SERGEI CHIRIKOV / POOL

Russian economic presence on the African continent is quite small. The $20-billion trade with all African countries is almost two times smaller than African deals with France and pales in comparison with China’s almost $200-billion worth of investments in Africa. So, what is Russia’s plan for saving African countries from the West?

To start, Putin has announced the forgiveness of the Soviet Union-era debts to several countries, including Ethiopia, Mozambique and Madagascar. Wiping out debts for Mozambique comes with new agreements that allow Russia’s Rosneft access to the natural gas resources in Mozambique (that could create tensions with China) and co-operation in the military area. Many of the agreements also assume state loans from Russia. The structure of agreements hardly takes a “no strings attached” approach.

Russia is believed to have a long history of using state loans for the political benefit which has often facilitated an opportunity for corruption with its neighbouring countries. South Africa is one country that was on the brink of inking a state loan from Russia to construct a nuclear fleet. Had the almost R1-trillion deal gone through it might have collapsed the South African economy over the long run because of the way energy prices would have been driven relentlessly upwards.

Nuclear energy now costs globally between R1.70 and R2.80/kWh, compared to coal which is R1.30/kWh and renewables which are between 50c and 60c/kWh. Despite the potentially disastrous consequences of the nuclear deal, former South African president Jacob Zuma remained loyal to Russia:

“They would not come for us. They would understand, we would have an agreement to work out another arrangement. We know they [Russia] are trusted people. We know they will never sink us; they will lift us.”

In Putin, Zuma found an ally who shared contempt for western colonisation and hostile western businesses.

Russia has sought a way to take the sting out of finance agreements with business partners, setting out what it calls more favourable conditions for financing, instead of the punitive measures of western institutions. The International Agency of Sovereign Development RBK (IASD) launched earlier this year was promoted at the summit. The agency has already facilitated $2.5-billion worth of deals with Niger, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The non-state agency was positioned as a general partner of the summit and constitutes a collective of “consultants” with headquarters in Moscow. It is headed by Konstantin Malofeev, who was closely connected to the mercenary activities in Eastern Ukraine. Malofeev says:

“We have a network of direct contacts at the highest level with governments, institutions, corporations and investors around the world. We are supporting economic reforms in the countries which are trying to get out of economic and financial dependency of the western countries… Our goal is decolonisation, identifying infrastructural projects for investments.” Transparency is not part of this decolonial project as Malofeev has refused to disclose funding sources.

Military co-operation appears to be another central pivot for Russia which has pursued security contracts with more than 40 African countries to the tune of $3-billion in 2018.

“We will continue our course towards expanding contacts between the special services and law enforcement agencies of Russia and Africa in the field of combating terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration and piracy,” explained Putin.

The contracts foresee supplying military equipment, training military personnel, establishing service centres for Russian military equipment and more. Some deals are more than just an exchange of money for hardware and expertise though. Russia has received access to decision-making circles in Sudan’s Ministry of Defence, while Russian citizen Valeriy Zakharov was appointed national security adviser to the President of the Central African Republic (CAR).

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) at the first plenary session as part of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit at the Sirius Park of Science and Art in Sochi, Russia, 24 October 2019. EPA-EFE/SERGEI CHIRIKOV / POOL

Russia’s other leverage for earning state credit is the energy sector. Russia’s national nuclear corporation, Rosatom, is at different stages of negotiating nuclear power plant construction with more than 15 countries in Africa. The closest to implementation is the nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast in El Daaba, Egypt, where four third-generation VVER 1200 reactors are planned by 2028-2029.

Russia provides most of the funding, 85%, of the $21-billion nuclear power plant. In addition, Rosatom gets a 60-year servicing contract to maintain the reactors. Among other countries negotiating for nuclear plants are Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and more. Most of these countries lack the capacity to distribute the amount of energy that these nuclear plants will produce.

It may still be a bit early for citizens of African countries to worry — out of the 26 reactors that were planned for the end of 2014, only five came online in 2018. However, those who do bow to pressure and agree to the construction of a nuclear power plant will soon discover that a Russian nuclear power plant is more than just an energy generator: it is more akin to a hybrid combination of a powerful embassy and a military base, complete with a sovereign guarantee to cover the loan finance.

In the months leading up to the summit, Russian officials met with almost all of their African counterparts. Each meeting would start with the story of the common history of the struggle for political and economic independence against the West. The ideological push from Russia is that western countries are out to exploit African nations, while Russia is a partner for development and an ally at the international level.

It would do well for African states to remember that Russia is a country where racism and homophobia in public discourse are rife. In September 2019, the CEO of Russian VTB bank Andrey Kostin addressed the Mozambican government saying:

“I hope our black friends in Mozambique are listening to this”. It begs the question: how will Putin’s revival of European fascist ideas associated with the fascist writer Ivan Ilyin and propagated by the highly influential Izborsk Club be reconciled with what it will take to build trust-based relationships with African leaders?

The Izborsk Club includes Putin confidantes like Alexander Dugin, Sergei Glazyev, Tikhon Shevkunov and founder Alexander Prokhanov. Prokhanov blames the Jews for the Holocaust and when he heard that a delegation of Russians had met President Barack Obama he moaned that it was “as if they had all been given a black teat, and they all suck at it with lust and mammalian smacking… In the end, I was humiliated by this.”

In Prokhanov’s eyes Europe is dying:

“The white race is perishing: gay marriages, pederasts rule the cities, women can’t find men.” This is the man who has accompanied Putin on radio shows and whose ideas shape Putin’s Eurasian expansionism.

What may bind Russians and Africans together would be strident nationalism and anti-West sentiment (especially with the likes of Trump and Johnson in power); but tensions may arise when Africans become aware of the white supremacist ideas that are core to the ideology that the Putin power elite likes to propagate within the Russian cultural-polity. Ironically, there is very little to distinguish between the ideologies propagated by Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Putin thought leader Alexander Prokhanov.

Russia is an active international player that was part of the G8 prior to its illegal annexation of Ukrainian Crimea. It has veto power in the UN Security Council and is a member of BRICS. The opportunity to strengthen its sphere of influence by courting 55 African countries’ allegiance is worth the effort of the mammoth undertaking of organising this summit. After all, those African nations hold 25% of votes in the UN.

In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and UN Resolution 68/262 was adopted on March 27 2014 (“Territorial integrity of Ukraine”), 18 African countries voted in support of the resolution. Only two countries, Sudan and Zimbabwe, supported the Russian position in 2014. On a similar vote in 2018, the total number rose to eight countries: Burundi, Chad, Comoro, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Uganda and South Africa.

As Russia sets out to reshape global geopolitics, African leaders should not forget that the Russian economy is struggling, with GDP growth that is predicted to be a mere 1.3% in 2019, averaging 0.32% over the period 2015 to 2019. The levels of poverty in some areas in Russia are comparable to those in many African countries. Racism, homophobia, a constricted civil society and curtailed human rights are all hallmarks of the Russian Federation under Putin. Africans should be under no illusion about who their suitor really is, especially those who value their democratic institutions and practices. DM 33

Dzvinka Kachur and Mark Swilling write for the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition Stellenbosch University.

Leaked documents reveal Russian effort to exert influence in Africa

 Illustration: Guardian Design

Exclusive: Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin leading push to turn continent into strategic hub, documents show by Luke Harding and Jason Burke

Tue 11 Jun 2019 12.30 BSTLast modified on Tue 11 Jun 2019 17.05 BST

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.

The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off “pro-western” uprisings, the documents say.

In 2018 the US special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” because of his Kremlin catering contracts. According to Mueller, his troll factory ran an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. The Wagner group – a private military contractor linked to Prigozhin – has supplied mercenaries to fight in Ukraine and Syria.

The documents show the scale of Prigozhin-linked recent operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub. Multiple firms linked to the oligarch, including Wagner, are known by employees as the “Company”. Its activities are coordinated with senior officials inside Russia’s foreign and defence ministries, the documents suggest.

 

 Yevgeny Prigozhin in Vladivostok in 2016. Photograph: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Putin showed little interest in Africa in the 2000s. But western sanctions imposed in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea have driven Moscow to seek new geopolitical friends and business opportunities.

Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say.

On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press spokesman, they will service Russian-made military equipment. So far Moscow has signed military cooperation deals with about 20 African states.

Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend. The aim is to foster political, economic and cultural cooperation.

The leaked documents were obtained by the Dossier Center, an investigative unit based in London. The centre is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman and exiled Kremlin critic.

Prigozhin has been approached for comment. He has previously denied any links to the troll factory and has said of Wagner that it does not exist. Putin has previously said that entities linked to Prigozhin do not constitute the Russian state.

 Congolese soldiers on patrol in Beni, North Kivu province, DRC. Russia says it sent specialists to the country last month. Photograph: Hugh Kinsella Cunningham/EPA

A map from December 2018 seen by the Guardian shows the level of cooperation between the “Company” and African governments, country by country. Symbols indicate military, political and economic ties, police training, media and humanitarian projects, and “rivalry with France”. Five is the highest level; one is the lowest.

The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.

Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”. The Kremlin has recently stepped up its ground operation in Libya. Last November the Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar travelled to Moscow and met the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. Prigozhin was spotted at the talks. Egypt is described as “traditionally supportive”.

The graphic gives an overview of “Company” activities and achievements. It claims credit in CAR for getting rid of politicians who are “orientated to France”, including national assembly representatives and the foreign minister. This appears to be Charles-Armel Doubane, sacked in December. It has “strengthened” the army and set up newspapers and a radio station. Russia is an “83% friend”, it says.

In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.

Another key territory is Sudan. Last year Russian specialists drew up a programme of political and economic reform, designed to keep President Omar al-Bashir in power. It included a plan to smear anti-government protesters, apparently copy-pasted from tactics used at home against the anti-Putin opposition. (One memo mistakenly says “Russia” instead of “Sudan”.)

One ploy was to use fake news and videos to portray demonstrators in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities as “anti-Islam”, “pro-Israel” and “pro-LGBT”. The government was told to increase the price of newsprint – to make it harder for critics to get their message out – and to discover “foreigners” at anti-government rallies.

In a leaked letter Prigozhin wrote to Bashir complaining that the president had not actually followed through on the advice. Prigozhin mentioned “lack of activity” by the Sudanese government and its “extremely cautious position”.

The military deposed Bashir in April in a coup. Last week Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters, killing over a hundred. The Russian advisers had urged Sudan’s military council to suppress the activists with “minimal but acceptable loss of life”, one former regime source told CNN.

 Sudan security forces are deployed around Khartoum’s army headquarters on 3 June. Photograph: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Moscow is keen to exploit a long-running territorial dispute in Comoros, the documents say. France directly controls one out of four of the Indian Ocean islands, Mayotte. In 2018 Prigozhin employees flew to Comoros via Belarus. Their objective was to test if “political technologies” might be used to inflame the row between Paris and the Comoros government.

Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon. Neither has so far happened.

A plan to revive “pan-African consciousness” appears closely modelled on the idea of Russkiy Mir, or Russian world. The concept has become fashionable under Putin and signifies Russian power and culture extended beyond current borders.

DOCUMENTS SUGGEST RUSSIAN PLAN TO SWAY SOUTH AFRICA ELECTION

One working paper is titled “African world”. It calls for a developing “African self-identity”. It recommends collecting a database of Africans living in the US and Europe, which might be used to groom “future leaders” and “agents of influence”. The eventual goal is a “loyal chain of representatives across African territory”, the March 2018 paper says.

More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings.

It is unclear how many Prigozhin initiatives have actually gone forward. There is evidence that media projects mentioned in the documents are now up and running – albeit with marginal impact. They include a website, Africa Daily Voice, with its HQ in Morocco, and a French-language news service, Afrique Panorama, based in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.

Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics. One policy paper, titled “Russian influence in Africa”, says Moscow needs to find “reliable partners among African states” and should establish military bases.

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