Russia's Peace Mediation in Africa: an Assessment

 
PIIS086919080012475-9-1
DOI10.31857/S086919080012475-9
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: Senior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; Associate Professor, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)
Affiliation:
Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameVostok. Afro-Aziatskie obshchestva: istoriia i sovremennost
EditionIssue 6
Pages96-106
Abstract

In recent years, Russia has become a major power broker in the Middle East, and is now aspiring to repeat the feat in neighbouring regions, and particularly in Africa. It was predominantly the use of hard power in Syria that propelled Russia to the current influential position in the region, yet the political, financial and security costs of the use of power politics are poised to grow, which necessitates the prioritization of the diplomatic dimension, with such conflict resolution instrument as peace mediation playing an increasingly prominent role. The success Russia has had with the Astana peace process for Syria naturally encourages it to offer its good offices to other countries in the region and beyond, including in Africa, which is particularly suffering from conflict.

In early 2019, Russia brokered the signing of the Khartoum Peace Agreement between the parties to the conflict in the Central African Republic. In early 2020, Moscow hosted Libya peace talks. The aim of the study is to evaluate the theoretical, practical and geopolitical underpinnings of mediation employed by Russia and assess its potential in Africa. The theme is particularly relevant due to the holding of the First Russia-Africa Summit in 2019, which accentuated security as one of the key areas of Moscow's cooperation with the continent.

Methodologically, the present work relies heavily on contemporary conflict resolution research. The study draws on a wide range of scholarly papers and documents of international organizations.

The present paper argues that peace mediation has become an important policy tool for Russia in Africa, and that it may also provide for strengthening Moscow's position as one of the key providers of security on the continent.

KeywordsAfrica, Russia, conflict resolution, directive mediation, biased mediator, Central African Republic, Libya, terrorism
AcknowledgmentThis article is prepared in the framework of the project of the Russian Science Foundation, No 19-18-00155
Received02.11.2020
Publication date11.12.2020
Number of characters45643
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1 RUSSIA'S PEACE MEDIATION IN AFRICA: AN ASSESSMENT1 1. This article is prepared in the framework of the project of the Russian Science Foundation, No 19-18-00155
2 © 2020 Sergey V. KOSTELYANETSa,b
3 a – Institute for African Studies, Moscow, Russia b – Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russia ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9983-9994; sergey.kostelyanyets@gmail.com ResearcherID: E-1646-2018 Scopus AuthorID: 57194130217
4 Abstract: In recent years, Russia has become a major power broker in the Middle East, and is now aspiring to repeat the feat in neighbouring regions, and particularly in Africa. It was predominantly the use of hard power in Syria that propelled Russia to the current influential position in the region, yet the political, financial and security costs of the use of power politics are poised to grow, which necessitates the prioritization of the diplomatic dimension, with such conflict resolution instrument as peace mediation playing an increasingly prominent role. The success Russia has had with the Astana peace process for Syria naturally encourages it to offer its good offices to other countries in the region and beyond, including in Africa, which is particularly suffering from conflict. In early 2019, Russia brokered the signing of the Khartoum Peace Agreement between the parties to the conflict in the Central African Republic. In early 2020, Moscow hosted Libya peace talks. The aim of the study is to evaluate the theoretical, practical and geopolitical underpinnings of mediation employed by Russia and assess its potential in Africa. The theme is particularly relevant due to the holding of the First Russia-Africa Summit in 2019, which accentuated security as one of the key areas of Moscow's cooperation with the continent. Methodologically, the present work relies heavily on contemporary conflict resolution research. The study draws on a wide range of scholarly papers and documents of international organizations. The present paper argues that peace mediation has become an important policy tool for Russia in Africa, and that it may also provide for strengthening Moscow's position as one of the key providers of security on the continent.
5 Keywords: Africa, Russia, conflict resolution, directive mediation, biased mediator, Central African Republic, Libya, terrorism РОССИЙСКОЕ ПОСРЕДНИЧЕСТВО В КОНФЛИКТАХ В АФРИКЕ
6 © 2020 С. В. КОСТЕЛЯНЕЦa,b
7 a – Институт Африки РАН, Москва b – Российский университет дружбы народов, Москва ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9983-9994; sergey.kostelyanyets@gmail.com
8 Резюме: В последние годы Россия заявила о себе как об амбициозном посреднике в конфликтах на Африканском континенте. В 2018–2019 гг. в Судане по инициативе российской стороны прошло несколько раундов переговоров между сторонами вооруженного конфликта в Центральноафриканской Республике (ЦАР), которые в известной мере предопределили подписание в феврале 2019 г. правительством ЦАР и лидерами вооруженной оппозиции мирного соглашения, прекратившего вооруженные столкновения. В свою очередь, в январе 2020 г. на переговорах в Москве Россия совместно с Турцией предприняла попытку примирения противоборствующих сторон гражданской войны в Ливии. В статье анализируется мирное посредничество Москвы в конфликте в ЦАР и проводятся теоретические и практические параллели с советским опытом посредничества в Африке и недавним российским в Сирии. В работе рассматриваются основные механизмы и участники разрешения конфликтов в современной Африке, оцениваются перспективы деятельности РФ в этом направлении. Показано, что современная российская модель посредничества в африканских конфликтах отражает исторический опыт, геополитические реалии, а также ограниченность ресурсов страны на текущем этапе ее развития. Утверждается, что Россия использует модель «директивной» медиации, которая предполагает активное влияние посредника на ход и цели переговоров посредством использования различных рычагов воздействия и инструментов поощрения. При этом Москва в африканских конфликтах выступает в качестве пристрастного посредника, что, впрочем, скорее способствует успеху переговоров, нежели их провалу. Основные принципы российской мирной дипломатии – мультилатерализм, прагматизм, гибкость, инклюзивность процессов, приоритетность военно-политической стабильности и др. – также находят  благодатную почву в Африке. Проведение в октябре 2019 г. первого саммита Россия-Африка в значительной степени отразило стремление Москвы утвердиться на геополитически и геоэкономически важном восходящем континенте. В этом контексте посреднические усилия России становятся важным инструментом укрепления политического влияния в Африке и налаживания дипломатического диалога с африканскими лидерами.

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