An ill-advised agenda ensures chaos. That’s my take on Russia’s problem-solving ideas during the Russia-Africa Summit. The problems at hand, of course, are those created by Russia itself. Russian terrorists decided to keep on playing stupid games – as usual, they will win a lot of stupid prizes.
I gave myself some time to digest the delusional, ill-informed, and downright dangerous agenda Russia was pushing in St Petersburg, disguised as an “economic and humanitarian forum for peace and security”.
(I’ll pause for laughter here: terrorists talking about peace and security is laughable at the very least.)
This deliberate time for reflection was necessary before penning these words, as, honestly, a lot of blatant lies have come from Russia over the years, but these new ones take the cake. One can sum it up like this: Russia is fighting in Ukraine for the sake of freedom in Africa.
This will be our topic for today: the new level of delusion Putin is shopping around. I have no idea how it happened and what Russia was thinking, but deciding it’s normal to talk to African representatives and country leaders as if they are brainwashed Russian citizens is a) disrespectful and b) unacceptable. I literally gasped at some things they told delegations from Africa. Shocking, discourteous and, honestly, dangerous behaviour as they tried to make Africa complicit in their war crimes.
Let’s start with Russia’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Maria Zakharova. With all the aggressive, outlandish and downright ignorant statements she’s known for, one might think Zakharova is just another stand-up comic with a really bad taste in humour. Unfortunately, the woman holds one of the top positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the summit, Zakharova actually said, and I quote: “What are we fighting for? Don’t you see what our guys are giving their lives for? They literally give their lives so that the African continent and all people on our planet were free.”
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman thinks it’s appropriate to state that Russia launched unprovoked armed aggression and has been destroying cities, killing civilians, bombing grain silos and committing genocide against Ukraine for the sake of Africans and “all people on the planet”. The Russian murderous horde kills, rapes, destroys, steals and threatens food security all around the world so that African states will “be free”.
Of course, all Russian propaganda starts or is approved at the very top. And Putin has done his best to top Zakharova’s unhinged statements.
Russia’s president pretended he wasn’t responsible for the rapidly rising food prices and dwindling food security around the world. Whatever Putin says doesn’t matter. Look at what he and his followers are doing. They’ve sabotaged the grain deal; they are destroying Ukrainian ports so there is no way to transport the produce; they are attacking wheat and corn silos and storages with missiles and drones. They’ve heavily mined the Black Sea and are threatening to attack any ship going towards the Ukrainian shore. They’ve literally spent billions of dollars on missiles to destroy the Ukrainian agriculture that Africa is so heavily dependent on.
But now – now, they claim it’s all in the name of African freedom.
As nations around the world grapple with the challenges of feeding their populations and keeping food prices stable, Russia disseminates these false narratives that sow seeds of chaos and cause ripple effects that resonate far beyond national borders.
They also spend billions on destroying produce. In the same week, Putin bombed our ports and destroyed thousands of tonnes of wheat and corn, while offering scraps to chosen African countries to “fix” the problems he himself created.
Russia’s war on global food security is nothing new. Saying they are doing it for African freedom – that is very new. Trying to make African countries complicit in their barbaric war crimes – that is new.
Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s grain exports may cause starvation of up to 47 million people, and Putin was meeting presidents while doing everything he could to destabilise their countries. Since the agreement was signed last year, about 32 million-plus tonnes of Ukrainian maize, wheat and other grains have been exported. More than half of this grain was sent to developing countries, often as donations through the World Food Programme – a lot was distributed to drought-affected communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
And now, anyone who understands that the real problem was Russia all along, of course, is ringing the alarms. We’ve been telling the world for almost a decade now. If only the world would have listened. DM