News | July 2, 2023

The Wagner Group in Africa: Russia’s Quasi-State Agent of Influence

By Dr. Elena Pokalova Journal

Russia’s Wagner Group has attracted a lot of attention in connection to its actions in Ukraine. The group’s activities in Africa are less publicized. At the same time, Wagner has made substantial inroads in many countries of the African continent. This article focuses on the case studies of Libya, the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan, and Mali and analyzes the nature of Wagner’s activities there. Dr. Elena Pokalova demonstrates that Wagner’s service portfolio is much more extensive than that of traditional private military companies (PMCs) or private security companies (PSCs). The article illuminates Wagner’s influence campaigns that the group has carried out on behalf of the Russian government to advance Russia’s position in strategic competition with the West. Further, the article shows how Wagner’s services have expanded to parallel the many activities traditionally performed by state institutions while allowing the Russian state to deny involvement. She argues that Wagner’s Africa profile qualifies the group to be approached as a quasi-state agent of influence.

The article can be accessed here.