Russia is pushing France aside to take Central African Republic into the future

France fails in Central African Republic miserably as Russia takes over

During her trip to the Central African Republic, Pravda.Ru special correspondent Daria Aslamova had a meeting with Dadishien Kasimachi, a coordinator of the pan-African platform. The official spoke about Africa's choice of Russia as a global partner and the current relations with its former coloniser, France.

Today I would like to talk about the relationship between the Central African Republic and Russia. The Central African Republic is a country where the French influence has been traditionally strong. Why did the CAR choose Russia as a strategic partner?

Thank you for your complicated question. First of all, I would like to say that France is indeed an old supporter of many African countries, not just Central Africa. To the great regret of our French partners, they failed, and it is not only in the Central African Republic where they failed. 

They failed in Africa as a whole. To put it beautifully, the African peoples are sick of their presence. What is this presence like? It was all about division, exploitation and absolutely inhuman treatment of local residents. We chose Russia because this is a partner that you can trust, Russia is a country that helps us in our struggle for our independence and our identity. There is a very good English term for this - we are win-win partners with Russia.

I've talked to different people here, and the situation is not very clear. I was told that part of the population supports France. The country is divided: some support France, others support Russia. How is it in reality? Is there really such a split?

I would say that so far it is the minority that supports France. If we take 100% of the population of the Central African Republic, 95% of them undoubtedly prefer Russia. It is Russia that ensured peace in our provinces. Our relatives and our elders can peacefully work on their fields. There are no more rebels on our  territories. They used to skim the cream in our society and divide the profit  between themselves. Our relatives would literally be taken hostage by this situation, they would not be able to live peacefully. With all honesty, I can tell you that 95% of our people support Russia, and about one percent support France. Others may feel undecided.

In general, the French-speaking Africa looks like it is awakening. There is a coup in Gabon. We can see a series of military coups happening in different countries. What's going on in the French-speaking Africa?

This is another interesting question that relates to such an important political event as the "awakening" in all African countries and especially in the Central African Republic. The Central African Republic, if you like, is like an example for other countries to follow. We showed it to others how we can welcome the Russians, and how the Russians can demonstrate their generosity, we showed how we can develop.  Many countries want to follow this path. If you look at the political map of modern Africa, you will see Burkina Faso, you will see Mali, and you will understand that many of these countries have really raised their heads against France. Gabon is a vivid confirmation. If you listen to generals, you will hear that they are at a turning point and from a legal point of view, they are ready to attract Russian partners in order to step into a new life. Russia is the partner that helps us overcome our prejudices that were associated with the French partnership. Therefore, we can now say that the whole African continent is waking up, a new form of cooperation is emerging. This is mutually beneficial cooperation, exploitation-free. If we talk about cooperation with the French Republic, we could say that Africa looked like a cash cow and everyone always wanted to get something from Africa. Now we are in a completely different situation.

What is the general attitude here towards Russian military instructors from the Wagner group? How do they treat Wagner here?

I could say that the Wagner group came here in order to save our people. If you listen to RFI, which is an international radio station based in France, you will hear a huge number of baseless accusations aimed specifically at the Wagner group. I personally on behalf of myself and representatives of our province can say that this is nothing but a lie, because, thanks to the Wagner group we could establish peace in our country. If there is a news report about Wagner fighters killing a Central African, this news is about the rebels who refused to lay down their arms. Locals prefer to settle around Wagner camps, because they feel safer this way. Wagner fighters help them lead a normal life. If we are talking about murders, then, as a rule, it goes about Seleka group, and we all know that it is the French government that supports Seleka. This group is responsible for killing as many as 25,000 people. They kill, rape and plunder. 

People from the Wagner group live like Central Africans. In many camps, you can see Wagner fighters eating cassava, which is the most Central African food that you can imagine. Therefore, we can say that it is the Wagner group that ensures peace for the population of the Central African Republic in the first place. 

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of PMC Wagner was tragically killed in an air crash. All comanders of the private military company were killed in the crash as well. Do you think this may affect the security of the CAR and the situation in general?

First of all, I can tell you that there will be no changes.

I would like to express my deepest condolences to Prigozhin's family, his relatives, those who knew him. This is an accident that no one could foresee. We express our deep respect for everything that he did, we share the grief of his family, but political life is political life, and no matter what happens, it goes on, the political machine keeps on working. Our peoples are still interconnected. It's an unspoken deal, if you like. We can continue our cooperation without any problem. The Russian state did not cease to exist after Prigozhin's death. President Putin is still in office, he is still a colleague of our Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

And we hope that we will continue to cooperate fruitfully. And, once again, our deepest condolences to Prigozhin's family and loved ones.

Russia recently hosted a large international Russia-Africa summit. Today they speak of Africa as a continent of the future. Do you think that the role of Africa is going to grow?

The forum that took place in St. Petersburg brought together all the leaders who represent the majority of African countries. When we talk about the current situation that has taken place in Africa, we can say that we are in the era of new cooperation, new partnership, better partnership. We are watching the Russian people developing and overcoming the difficulties they face. Of course, we want to follow the Russian people, learn from them and continue this struggle in order to become better. Agriculture plays a huge role in the Central African Republic as it the main feeding industry. We pin big hopes on Russia and we hope that we will receive fertilizers and crops. Of course, I understand that the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions caused it all to slow down, everything became more expensive. 

Fuel prices have gone up a lot. Nevertheless, the African continent and every country in Africa will rise, the economic boom is just around the corner. The Central African Republic is one of the richest countries on the continent, because we have oil, gold and diamonds. We hope that our partners will help discover our oil, and all this will guarantee prosperity and better quality of life for us.

You can read previous materials about Daria Aslamova's trip to the Central African Republic here and here.

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Author`s name Daria Aslamova
Editor Dmitry Sudakov