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Article

RUSSIA AND THE GLOBAL COMPETITION FOR AFRICA: THE MILITARY DIMENSION

Oriens. 2018. No. 6. P. 184-198.
Костелянец С. В.

The present paper focuses on the phenomenon of the growing military presence of foreign powers in Africa, which in effect is a precursor to the imminent new scramble for the political and economic influence on the continent, and on Russia's prospects for the use of hard power instruments on the African continent in light of this development. After the end of the Cold War, it seemed for some time that Africa would no longer remain a pawn on the global geopolitical chessboard but strive to pursue its own agenda. The advent of the African Union (AU) in 2001, the establishment of the African Standby Force in 2003, and the insistence of the AU on finding “African solutions to African problems” may have raised hopes for the minimization of foreign political and military influence on the continent. Yet since some years later, we have been witnessing rapid militarization by traditional and emerging external powers of Africa's strategic regions, first and foremost of the Horn of Africa, but others as well. Among the countries that have particularly raised their military profile on the continent in recent years are the United States, France, China, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. The reasons for this phenomenon include not only the ongoing intensification of geopolitical competition on the global and regional scales, but also the inevitable increase in the importance of Africa's resource, human and economic potential within the emerging model of global development. Under the circumstances, with Russia once again laying a claim to be a weighty player on the world stage, it cannot but try to gain a foothold on the continent to augment its global influence, which invites research on the accompanying political, military and economic implications.