Central African Republic and Russia

This posting is really about Putin’s expansionary policies, and using mercenaries to gain control of countries. Central African Republic serves as just one example.

The invasion of Ukraine shows the world that Russia under Putin has little respect for international law and conventions. There are many countries which are vulnerable to Russia’s control, and Putin will take advantage of any weakness to exert maximum control. In a previous post, I explained how the leader of Chechnya, Ramon Kadyron, is essentially Putin’s puppet, through channeling funds directly to him. Two of his wives own property in Moscow, worth about 8 million dollars. So, not only can Kadyron enrich himself from stealing from his own country, being Putin’s constant ally has enormous fringe benefiits.

Central African Republic is about the same size as France. Geographically, it is located above the equator, bordered by two larger countries to the north, Chad and Sudan, and to the south, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is a very poor country, ranked 188 of 189 countries, based on human development. It has an abundance of mineral wealth, including gold and diamonds.

Wikipedia: Central African Republic

Russia, I believe, sees an opportunity to dominate the country due to the geographic strategic importance and mineral wealth. Plus, in a way, they were invited in. Prime Minister Touadera welcomed the assistance of the Russia’s mercenary force, the Wagner Group, to secure the diamond mines from rebel groups shortly after his election in 2014. As reported by the New York Times, updated May 4, 2020:

“But Russia’s help comes at a cost. Its representatives have struck deals with the government to mine diamonds where the trade is legal — one of many signs that Russia’s push into the country is closely tied to the profits it can reap.

Russian operatives have even partnered with murderous rebels to obtain diamonds in areas where the trade is outlawed, cashing in on the very lawlessness they have been brought in to end, according to members of the Central African government, Western officials and some of the warlords themselves.”

Links to New York Times article: Gems, Warlords and Mercenaries: Russia’s Playbook in Central African Republic (originally published September 30, 2019)

Wikipedia, Wagner Group

The link above identifies the many countries where the Wagner Group mercenaries are deployed. The “Russian operatives” are members of Russia’s Wagner group. It is headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin.

“Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin[a] (Russian: Евге́ний Ви́кторович Приго́жин; born 1 June 1961) is a Russian oligarch[5] and close confidante of Russian president Vladimir Putin.[6] Prigozhin controls a network of companies including Wagner, a Russian state-backed mercenary group accused of war crimes in Africa, Syria, and Ukraine.

Further it is stated, “Prigozhin, his companies and associates face economic sanctions and criminal charges in the United States.” This is in connection to the Russian interference in US elections in 2016.

Per Wikipedia: Yevgeny Prigozhin

“In April 2022, during Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, it was reported that [Yevgeny] Prigozhin travelled to the Donbas to oversee personally Wagner Group’s campaign. He was pictured wearing military fatigues with Russian Duma member Vitaly Milonov who had travelled to the front line. In August 2022, Wagner Group began using billboards to recruit new members in Russia.

Former journalist and observer of the Group, Denis Korotkov said “It looks like they have decided that they will no longer try to hide their existence.”

Wow. Below is an AP photo of Yevgeny Prigozhin from 2016.

Wikipedia, Wagner Group

From Wikipedia, “Russian and some Western observers believe that the organization does not actually exist as a private military company but is in reality a disguised branch of the Russian MoD [Ministry of Defense] that ultimately reports to the Russian government.[133][134][135][136] The company shares bases with the Russian military,[137] is transported by Russian military aircraft,[138][139][140] and uses Russia’s military health care services.[141][142][143] The Russian state is also documented supporting the Wagner Group with passports.”

I left the reference numbers in, as these statements can all be verified. I believe CAR is going to be turned into another autocracy like Chechnya, subservient to Putin.

I also fear that Russia is using the Wagner group to gain control of Libya, through aiding Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. National elections seem to be continually postponed. Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, and now, more than a decade later, the country is divided.

See link: Libya Could Be Putin’s Trump Card

The US is offering 10 million dollars reward for information on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Any additional information will most likely complete the various connections among Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the Wagner Group and Russia’s chief intelligence office (GRU).

See State Department link: Rewards for Justice

Please read the State Department statement. The Mueller investigation was not fake and the US State Department is taking very seriously the threat that Russia is posing to free and fair elections in the US.

There are other ways to hit back. Mercenaries in Ukraine posted a photo of their group, and the Ukrainians were quick to identify their location, allowing them to direct a missile strike against them.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-16/ukraine-hits-wagner-group-base/101336834

So, the intervention of CAR by the Russians using a mercenary force is not an isolated incidence, but more of their overall game plan since at least 2014. Seeking help from Putin is make pact with the devil. It guarantees that the leaders will be rich, and not have to worry about re-election. In return, the government is just a puppet regime for Putin.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Ramzan Kadyrov – Russia’s well paid puppet leader in Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov – Russia’s leader of Chechnya

The dissolution of the USSR from November 1988 to December 1991 created 15 recognized new republics, including Russia and Ukraine. The only way to understand modern Russian history, is to start in 1985, with the election of Mikhail Gorbachev and his efforts to liberalize the USSR including free speech and the right to assembly. From 1986 to 1987, open protests to the Soviet rule occurred in Latvia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and other Republics. Independence occurred first in the Balkan states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). By 1988, Gorbachev was losing control in both the Baltic and Caucasus states. January 22, 1989 is independence day for Ukraine.

Chechnya independence from Russia and a more liberal government has failed. Today, Ramzan Kadyrov is Russia’s puppet leader in Chechnya. He fought on the side of Russia in the second Chechen war. He is currently a Lieutenant General in Russia’s military. He has become rich, with the help of Russia. He owns a Lamborghini Reventón, one of only 20 sold. He supports Putin, and sends Chechen military whenever Putin wants – to Syria, Georgia and now Ukraine. Kadyrov stated that his troops were not injured in Ukraine. It is very likely that many have died in combat.

Per Wikipedia:

“Kadyrov rules the Chechen Republic through despotism and repression. Over the years, he has come under criticism from international organisations for a wide array of human rights abuses under his watch, with Human Rights Watch calling the forced disappearances and torture so widespread they constituted crimes against humanity. During his tenure, he has advocated restricting the public lives of women, and led anti-gay purges in the Republic. Ramzan Kadyrov has been frequently accused of involvement in the kidnapping, assassination, and torture of human rights activists, critics, and their relatives, within both Chechnya as well as in other regions of the Russian Federation and abroad, through the political use of police and military forces. He publicly denies these accusations.”

How Ramzan Kadyrov came to power

Chechnya sought independence along with the other republics while Gorbachev was in power, but things went horribly wrong. Chechnya declared its independence in November 1991. Perhaps a bit too late, as Boris Yeltsin took office in July 1991 and was against Chechnya’s independence.

Ramzan Kadyrov fought with his father Akhmad, during the first Chechen war (1994 to August 1996) against Russia. They won independence with the peace treaty in 1997, during the time Boris Yeltsin was President.

Following their victory, Chechnya had a weak government, which failed to unite the country. They lapsed into a failed state. Chechen warlords had been steadily increasing abductions and raids into other parts of the Northern Caucasus. In place of the devastated economic structure, kidnapping emerged as the principal source of income countrywide, procuring over $200 million during the three-year independence of Chechnya. (See Wikipedia link)

Russia invaded Chechnya for a second time in August 1999. This began a 10 year war for control of Chechnya, largely conducted during Putin’s regime. The initial phase ended quickly with the direct rule of Chechnya in May 2000. According to Wikipedia:

But by the autumn of 1999, Akhmad Kadyrov – a leading figure in the resistance movement – decided to abandon the insurgency and offered his support to the Russian federal forces in the Second Chechen War. Aslan Maskhadov immediately fired him from the Chief Mufti chair, although this decree was never accepted by Akhmad Kadyrov, who abdicated himself a few months later due to his civilian chairman career. According to James Hughes, Akhmad Kadyrov’s U-turn may have been motivated partly by personal ambition and partly by a concern with the desperate condition of the Chechen population, and was also driven by a fear of the growing sectarian Wahhabi influence on the insurgency.[6]

Akhmad became Putin’s administrative leader in Chechnya during the time of the insurgency. In May 2004, he was assassinated by Chechen Islamists. His son, Ramzan, was too young to be president. The Ukrainian Constitution required the president to be at least 30 years old. In 2007, Ramzan became president.

Ramzan’s Wealth, paid for by Putin

Foreign aid is usually given to governments to help its people. In the case of Chechnya, it goes straight into Ramzan Kadyrov’s pocket. According to Wikipedia:

“The Russian Federation funnels money to the Kadyrov family. The distinction between the Chechen government and Kadyrov are blurred.[23] In 2015, Chechnya received around 57 billion roubles a year from Moscow (about £550m).[23] The family gets money through the Akhmad Kadyrov Fund, a non-transparent foundation headed by Kadyrov’s mother, Ayman.[23]

In 2011, the foundation (which describes itself as a charity) funded Kadyrov’s lavish 35-year birthday party, which featured celebrities such as Seal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vanessa-Mae and Hilary Swank.[261][23] Journalists have been targeted by Kadyrov’s regime for reporting on his opulence.[262]

Kadyrov is a noted collector of sports cars. He owns a Lamborghini Reventón, one of only 20 sold.[263][264] He is known for his extensive collection of Chechen daggers.[265][266] When journalist Marianna Maksimovskaya asked him where the money for the live-televised celebration was coming from, he reportedly laughed and said “Allah gives it to us”, before adding: “I don’t know, it comes from somewhere.” Kadyrov has also been linked to the ownership of a private jet.

Kadyrov’s family members own luxurious real estate in Moscow. Two of his wives own property valued at $8 million in total, which is more than twice Kadyrov’s declared salary since 2008.”

In Support of Putin’s War

His latest claim is that he is in Ukraine, fighting along side of the Russians. See link from the Guardian. Of course, he just wants to impress Putin, rather than do what is in the best interest for Ukraine. He will undoubtedly be sending more Chechens to fight along side the Russian troops.

I can only sympathize with the poor Chechens who have been sent to fight in Ukraine on the side of the invading army.

See much more information in the links provided below.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Al Jazeera: Chechen leader, a Putin ally, says his forces deployed to Ukraine

Wikipedia: Ramzan Kadyrov

Wikipedia: Akhmad Kadyrov

The Guardian: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says he is in Ukraine