Today Pervyi Kanal on Russian TV headlined Russia and Africa to celebrate a massive summit with African leaders and hangers on you had no idea that is taking place, apparently courtesy of the Russian taxpayer, in Sochi, on the Black Sea: a favourite wintering hole for Stalin where he is reputed to have wiped out the mosquito. It has great beaches but swarms of jellyfish. Wow! Africa, the TV news reader enthuses, with the aid of a large map. What a big place. It represents the future. “Not just our future. The world’s future.” Blah, blah, blah… One of Africa’s main problems, military conflict, is reported to be due to problems of economic growth and, apparently, it is here Russia can help. Really? What about helping the Russian economy first?
Here we go again, following in the shallow footsteps of Britain’s now disgraced former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who effectively turned the World Service of the BBC into the African Service of the BBC. But did it make any difference to the British economy? Not noticeably so. Did it make the slightest difference to Africa? No. Did Blair do anything to get rid of the hated dictatorship of Robert Mugabe who looted Zimbabwe, what was once Rhodesia? Not that anyone ever noticed. Will it make any difference to the Russian economy? It is difficult to see exactly how, or the Americans would be there on the front line, engaged in innumerable civil wars. Africa: 54 states and the kind of place presidents get elected for life. No wonder the Chinese are already there. Is the massive airlift capability of the once Soviet air force still available? It will be called on soon, if it is; as sure enough military support will be called upon to protect inward Russian private investment. Just at the time the country needs to focus on domestic needs above all, the government has the urge to plunge into another venture fraught with uncertainty.
Commentary in Nezavisimaya gazeta is almost as bilious as my own:
Кремль собрался в Африку опять
РФ обещает экономическое развитие жителям Черного континента