If Russia wants to be influential on the continent, African political and economic leaders should demand more of Moscow, not simply settle for the symbolic diplomatic engagements or agreements at which the Russian leadership excels.
Putin’s changing correlation of forces in Europe means NATO needs options to adapt, too.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has been slow to land in Nigeria. To explain why Russia’s vaccine diplomacy fell short, these domestic factors in Nigeria need to be taken into account.
Moscow’s use of Sputnik V as a key part of its COVID-19 diplomacy has only had limited success in showcasing Russia as a partner for Africa.
The challenge for Western policymakers is to avoid viewing Russian activism in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa through an exclusively zero-sum lens. The region’s political disarray, complexities, and especially the unpredictability of local rulers all present built-in buffers to Russian influence—as they do to all external players.
Russia has returned as a major actor in the Mediterranean. Yet a closer look at its economic tool kit in this region suggests concerns about Russian economic capabilities are likely overstated.