Documents from the office of political strategists working on Yevgeny Prigogine show the strategy of Russian intervention in African politics - stir up anti-Western sentiment and reanimate old territorial disputes. But so far, three problems hinder Russian expansion - lack of professionalism, corruption and drunkenness.
The demonstrators silently carried placards demanding to rid Madagascar of French influence. In the 27-degree heat, a few dozen people marched through the streets of Antananarivo and stopped in front of the French embassy, where journalists began to film. The rally would have ended in silence if the high, tightly built man had not taken the initiative. He began chanting demands: Paris must return the Eparse Islands or “scattered islands” - the disputed territories located mainly in the Mozambique Channel. The islands themselves do not represent great value, but in the shelf zone near them there are mineral deposits: up to 12 billion barrels of oil and up to 5 billion cubic meters of gas, and the volume of contracts already concluded for exploration and production is $ 300 million.
The man who led the crowd in front of the embassy was not even a citizen of Madagascar. This is Kemi Seba, whom supporters call a Pan-Africanist, and journalists and researchers - a black racist and anti-Semite. A day before the demonstration, he spoke at the “Islands of Hope” conference at the Hotel “Asia and Africa” in Antananarivo. “France, down with our territory, you have no right to be here. Africans trust Russia more than America or France! - He shouted from the podium. - We do not need permission from the West to reclaim the land that we rightfully own. Freedom of Africa or death! We will win". This conference, as the Project found out, was organized by Russian political technologists who worked for Yevgeny Prigogine, and they paid the demonstrators in front of the French embassy. They themselves have collaborated with Seb since at least the middle of 2018.
To coordinate the African expansion, political technologists Prigogine established a center in St. Petersburg or a “back office”, as they call it. Only there worked a few dozen people, and in 20 African countries there are visiting teams.
Prigogine’s participation in African politics has long ceased to be a secret. But the scale of his plans became clear only now, when the “Project” managed to get acquainted with the internal documentation of the “back-office” of the African project - an informal analytical center attached to the “Kremlin chef”.
Experts connected with Prigogine are not familiar with the first year. So, in 2015, Mikhail Invest's regional director Mikhail Potepkin (second from left), who later signed the gold mining agreement with the Sudanese government, head of St. Petersburg back office Peter Bychkov (sixth from left) and his colleague Yaroslav Ignatovsky (eighth from left).
Experts connected with Prigogine are not familiar with the first year. So, in 2015, Mikhail Invest's regional director Mikhail Potepkin (second from left), who later signed the gold mining agreement with the Sudanese government, head of St. Petersburg back office Peter Bychkov (sixth from left) and his colleague Yaroslav Ignatovsky (eighth from left). Photo source: Facebook
Constantly in the "back office" 10-15 employees, but their number often changes, they recruit new people for various projects. They mainly work remotely or from rented apartments. The back office is headed by the political consultant Peter Bychkov.
The list of countries where Prigogine has interests includes 39 countries, at least 20 political consultants work. Probably, interest in Africa was reflected even in official statistics. Since 2017, the number of Russians who have left for African countries has increased significantly - more than one and a half times.
“Field” employees in these countries keep a direct connection with Prigogine: the majority have telephones that allow the restaurateur to call each of his subordinates (they call them “closed phones”). Phone numbers are in order - from the number "1", which is assigned to Prigogine, to at least the number "700". Political technologists mainly use Telegram to communicate with each other and with local residents.
Each country has its own action plan, but the most elaborate part of the strategy concerns the former French colonies in Africa and is linked to Kemi Seb.
Kemi Seba is mentioned in back-office documents entitled “Pan-African Project”. It is assumed that he could become the leader of the "gray" association of African countries.
The main principle of Russian foreign policy on the continent - “African problems - is an African solution”: countries should solve their problems themselves without Western intervention. 37-year-old Seba is the best fit for this formula: the son of immigrants from Benin, who grew up in France, and then returned to Africa. In the press, Seb was more than once called an anti-Semite, a “black racist” and a supporter of Kemetism — a reconstructed polytheistic religion that extols the role of the black population in the development of civilization on the planet. His organization “Tribe Ka” (Tribu Ka) almost made a pogrom against Jews in Paris, after which it was dissolved by the decision of the French government. Soon, Seba joined the New Black Panthers party - anti-imperialists, Islamists and Pan-Africanists.
Seb and his current movement, Urpanaf, opposing the “French neo-colonialism and imperialism”, are mentioned in the so-called “Pan-African project” of political strategists Prigogine. It is assumed that a “gray” association of African countries or an “African empire” will be formed on the continent. To do this, political consultants should help their candidates to win elections in several states, so that they then recognize the power of one leader. The role of such a leader, at least in French-speaking Africa, claims Seb. In an interview with the BBC, Seba said that the “fight against the cancer of Western imperialism together with Russia makes us stronger” without mentioning the “Pan-African Project”.
Union of African States
“Pan-African project” provides for the creation of regional offices of the Kemi Seb movement throughout the continent, according to the information on the website of the movement
Today Urpanaf is represented in 12 countries.
The “Pan-African Project” provides for the creation of regional offices of the Kemi Seb Movement throughout the continent, today Urpanaf is represented in 12 countries.
Political technologists began working with Seb soon after he visited Moscow in December 2017 at the invitation of political analyst Alexander Dugin, famous for his conspiracy theories. Seba was pleased with the meeting: he recognized Dugin as the most influential thinker to whom the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin personally listened, and promised problems to African leaders who cooperate with Western countries. Cooperation with political consultants was beneficial for Seb: he received not only a platform for a speech, but also money for participating in a conference.
Pan African Project
The key ways of dealing with the French influence on the continent, invented by political technologists Prigogine, is the incitement of territorial disputes and the fight against the African franc zone.
The West has lost the right to divide people into full citizens and those whose life is insignificant, and teach other countries life, - this is how political scientists' documents justify the struggle of African countries with the "old colonial power - France." One of the priorities for the people of Prigogine is work in the states where elections will be held in the next two years. Ways of struggle - criticism of neocolonialism and the African franc zone "as a tool for the economic colonial enslavement of African countries." In this direction, Seb has already succeeded: he has been fighting with the franc since at least 2017; in August, he publicly burned in Dakar a denomination of five thousand African francs (slightly less than eight euros), for which he was sent from Senegal.
The second direction is work in countries where there are territorial problems, and in fact - the intensification of the struggle for the disputed lands. This Seba engaged in Madagascar, where he participated in a conference on the fate of the islands of Eparse. On the trip he was accompanied by a Russian-speaking girl, to whom the Malagasy activists reported on the preparations for the event and with whom the people associated with Prigogine worked closely.
The organization of this conference and even the meeting of foreign guests were carried out by Russian political consultants who worked at the St. Petersburg "back office" - Roman Pozdnyakov and Andrey Kramar. They also organized an economic forum in Antananarivo in August 2018, which was also attended by Seb.
Pozdnyakov and Kramar, who have been on the island since May 2018, also oversaw the Pastor project - helping the founder of the Malagasy Church of the Apocalypse, Andre Christian Maiola, to fight for the presidency. Political technologists were carrying out the cases “Fighting the bubonic plague,” “Good deeds / miracles of the pastor,” “Distributing rice through the network of the Church of the Apocalypse,” but they all failed, and the pastor scored less than one and a half percent of the vote. After the conference on the fate of Eparse Islands, Pozdnyakova and Kramar were expelled from the country by the decision of local authorities for interfering in the election race.
The Afric was the official organizer of the conference in Madagascar. Afric is a small publication that covers African politics. The name of the organization is an acronym for the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation. Representatives of the association in Africa include an employee of the St. Petersburg "back office" Yulia Afanasyev and her acquaintance, a native of Cameroon and a graduate of the Belgorod University of Technology Mikael Cheuva. In Russia, Afanasyev also runs the “Center for Socio-Cultural Initiatives”, among whose co-founders is the head of the “back office” Bychkov.
Observers from the Association of Afric, close to the "Kremlin chef", attended the elections in at least two other countries - in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe, where in the summer of 2018 after the 30-year rule of Robert Mugabe they first elected president. The victory was won by the candidate of the ruling party, Emmerson Mnangagva, while the opposition declared that Russia had interfered in the elections. Although the new head of state rejects these suspicions, political strategists associated with Prigogine allegedly participated in the election campaign.
Roman Pozdnyakov is the head of the trade union of workers of medium and small business of the self-proclaimed DNR, his wife is headed by the DNR Election Commission.
Andrei Kramar, in the recent past, is a special water treatment operator at the Smolensk NPP, a member of United Russia, a deputy of the Desnogorsk City Council and an old friend of one of the leaders of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, an MMM fan in eastern Ukraine. When an acquaintance of Pushilin was detained in India on a financial pyramid in India, it was Kramar who went to rescue him. Now Kramar is the first deputy head of the Donetsk Republic movement.
The “project” was able to prove the work of political technologists Prigogine in several other countries mentioned in the internal correspondence of the “back office”. So, they are negotiating with representatives of the Islamist group, which stormed the capital of the Central African Republic.
In each country where there are people of the “Kremlin chef”, the tasks and scope of work are very different. In some countries, military mercenaries play a leading role, in others - only political technologists or observers are present (as in the DRC and Zimbabwe described above), in the third - in addition to those and others, the restaurateur already has business interests.
In early January 2019, national security adviser to the President of the Central African Republic Valery Zakharov arrived in Rwanda, and the PMC commander Dmitry Utkin, better known by his call sign Wagner, was to fly with him, but at the last moment his trip was postponed. And in Chad and Benin, the people of Prigogine interact with politicians who are close to the armed Muslim group Séléka. So, in Benin on negotiations with the former president of the CAR Michel Dzhotodiya, who maintained contact with the "Seleka", flew Africanist Yevgeny Kopot and translator Dmitry Syty. Soot, with whom the "Project" met in Moscow, where he works as a lecturer at Moscow State Pedagogical University, claims that he was engaged in scientific research in Africa.
Political technologists are accompanied everywhere by armed people associated with the “Wagner Group” or with the Russian special services.
Political technologists are accompanied everywhere by armed people associated with the “Wagner Group” or with the Russian special services. For example, in Madagascar, the protection of one of the presidential candidates was handled by a man named Konstantin (in the photo on the right behind the candidate, wearing glasses and a baseball cap), whom the other members of the group called the colonel. Source: Photo courtesy of the "Project" interlocutor.
In South Africa, political consultants plan to support the ruling party in the May 8, 2019 elections. In Zambia, they are engaged only in sociological research, since elections are scheduled only for 2021. In February-March 2019, experts conducted 12 focus groups, the results were sad for the current president, Edgar Lungu: respondents described him as “pitiful”, “weak leader” and as “alcoholic”.
Finally, in Cameroon, political consultants did not meet with understanding. In 2018, they met with representatives of President Paul Biya and offered him their services in information support for his election campaign, and then on “neutralizing protest sentiments both in the streets and in the information space,” but this message remained unanswered. At the same time, at least since the end of 2017, Prigogine’s structures have been delivering equipment of unknown purpose to the country on ships.
The cost of projects in only one African country is approximately $ 15 million. Several accountants were responsible for the distribution of money, one of whom works as an assistant entrepreneur associated with Prigogine.
Working in Africa is expensive. At the disposal of the “Project” there are documents that make it possible to more fully assess investments in the presidential campaign in Madagascar and in payment for mercenaries in the CAR: based on these figures, it can be assumed that the entire African adventure costs, probably, several times more.
Political scientists conducted double-entry bookkeeping: they reported on one expenses to the “back-office”, but in reality they spent a smaller amount. The difference supposedly should have been used to bribe politicians, but not all the money reached the candidates. In total, in 2018, structures associated with the “Kremlin chef” could spend on political technologists only in Madagascar approximately $ 15 million.
In Russia, at least two specialists were engaged in accounting. One of them, Valeria Darovskaya, was responsible for accounting in the back office. The second accountant, Yana, helped political technologists to get money at the cash desk in the center of Moscow near Taganskaya Square: if the experts were not given a salary for some reason, they had to call her and ask for help.
The phone, through which Yana could be contacted, belongs to Yana Galkina. In addition, Galkina - Assistant Alexander Kuzin; He worked in structures related to Prigogine, and still collaborates with a restaurateur.
Prigogine’s expansion is accompanied by Moscow’s growing interest in events on the continent, and officials and political consultants meet at the same events dedicated to Africa.
Prigogine is at the forefront of Russian politics in Africa, but official Moscow is no less interested in events on the continent and in the same countries where subordinate restaurateurs work. For example, Russia will hold a summit on Africa in Sochi in late October, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin recently met with ambassadors of African countries, and Eri Radzaunanarimpianin, President of Madagascar, who was run by political strategists Prigogine’s, last spring met at the Moscow forum. Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Sergei Belokonev.
Since 2018, Russia has concluded eight different agreements with the countries in which Prigogine’s people work. Of these documents, four are related to military cooperation.
Prigogine co-ordinates his actions in foreign policy with Putin, a high-ranking federal politician is convinced. Coordination proceeds at a lower level — with the Africa Department of the Foreign Ministry: for example, diplomats accepted the former President of Madagascar in Moscow at an economic conference, where political consultants were also present. Interaction is being built with the Ministry of Defense. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov negatively answered the “Project” questions about whether Putin knows about Prigogine’s activity in Africa and whether the businessman coordinates his actions with the Kremlin. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Project that she didn’t know anything about it.
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Work in many of the countries listed is ongoing. However, despite the high costs, large-scale plans and a significant number of political consultants working on African projects, the effectiveness of the entire campaign is now low. This is understood by the people of Prigogine themselves, who report from Madagascar to St. Petersburg about the problems. The reasons are poor coordination with the Russian office, embezzlement of the allocated money and low qualifications of employees recruited mainly from former members of the Nashi movement. A separate item of complaints was drunkenness of employees.