On July 3, 2019, the President of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values (FPNV), Alexander Malkevich, took the floor at the Moscow State Pedagogical University (MPGU) at an interdepartmental scientific seminar on “color revolutions”. The report expanded on “color revolutions” as a technology for changing political regimes in Africa.
As part of his speech, Alexander Malkevich not only presented a historical background, but also highlighted the latest attempts of “color coups” in the African countries. In particular, the events in Sudan, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and others.
The expert also identified the risks of developing new centers of “color revolutions” in Africa. This is particularly likely in the case of Morocco. Nowadays, the Maghreb monarchy remains the only state in North Africa that has managed to avoid the “color revolution”. The country is most likely to become the first link in the protest chain of the new Arab Spring in 2021-2022. Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, Zimbabwe, Chad and a number of other states were also classified as a “risk group”.
Alexander Malkevich emphasized that the threat of a “color revolution” is also relevant for relatively prosperous African states such as South Africa. Those wishing to learn more about the current situation in South Africa were welcomed to attend a meeting of the African Discussion Club on July 10 dedicated to the anniversary of the state ruling party.
As part of his speech, the president of Foundation for the Protection of National Values has also discussed at length the recent indicators of protest moods in African countries. The activity of Western NPOs on the “black continent” was reviewed extensively. So as the activities of US government and its allies. Both were discussed in terms of promoting grant programs, and as a direct interference in the affairs of African states. Alexander Malkevich talked about the role of the United States in the election victory of the current leaders in several African states.
The full text of the report will soon be found on the FPNV website.
The talk generated a number of questions from the experts present, which led to a lively discussion. Within its framework, the president of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values was able to address a number of topics covered in the report to a great extent.
The audience was active in asking about the US strategic goals and tactics, as well as the contradictions in the behavior of American politicians. Those present were also keenly interested in the speaker’s opinion regarding China’s position on the “color revolutions” in Africa.
In response to questions raised, the president of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values pointed out that the actions of Western states aimed at inciting “color revolutions” in Africa often have the spirit of “If I can’t have you, no one will”. In response to China’s expanding presence in the traditional zones of influence of the United States and its allies, entire states of the “black continent” are being randomized due to “color revolutions”. At the same time, chaos brings benefits for Western countries in the long run. In its conditions, until the very last moment, it is impossible to determine what kind of political force the West actually bids on. It opens up scope for political manipulation and eliminates other efforts to stabilize the situation.
According to Alexander Malkevich, attempts to organize a “color revolution” or a classic military coup from outside can also serve as a warning to countries trying to stabilize the situation in the region. A recent attempt at an armed seizure of power in Ethiopia may well be a reaction of the West to Addis Ababa mediating negotiations between the government and the opposition.
China’s lack of acute reaction to the destruction of its interference into Africa raises questions. Perhaps, Malkevich pointed out, Beijing expected that after the “color revolutions” victory, the Western states would establish control over the sources of raw materials and their transportation routes, and left other segments of the affected states economy to China.
When asked why the United States often supports “color revolutions” that contradict their national interests, the expert pointed to the needed line between state and elites’ policy. The concept of deep state has real grounds. There is little coincidence that the majority of political science textbooks published in the West failed to mention democratic regimes. We are only referring to polyarchies – systems where real power belongs to the elites that, however, are forced to accomodate the citizens’s interests and follow formal democratic procedures. Establishment groups often have directly opposing interests. The contradictions between them are mirrored both in the foreign and domestic policies of the respective states.
Explaining the increased risk of further “color revolutions” in the Northern Africa, Alexander Malkevich highlighted that the organizers of color revolutions adhere to a systematic approach in solving problems and always complete their projects. A failed coup attempt will inevitably be followed by a new one, until the target has been reached. At the same time, simular methodological tools are used. They are only superficially adapted to the specifics of a particular country. The expert also drew attention to the common mistake made by the ruling elites in those countries that had the “color revolutions” – they sincerely believe in the tenacity of the assurance given by the West.
During the discussion, the conversation expectedly turned to the “color revolutions” in the post-Soviet space. Alexander Malkevich pointed out that Russia was, in fact, surrounded by a ring of countries that have gone through color revolutions. A number of post-Soviet states, such as Belarus and Azerbaijan, have managed to develop “immunity” to such threat, however, most of the former Soviet republics have poor resistance to it. For instance, Kyrgyzstan, a country where the third “color revolution” may well begin.
The cooperation between Russia and African countries was also discussed extensively. According to Alexander Malkevich, Moscow has the resources to influence the situation in Africa. Many members of African elites who once received higher education in Russia and the USSR have warm feelings for our country. There are also formal associations of former African students who later became major government officials, businessmen, or public figures. The older generation still remember the tangible assistance provided by the Soviet Union to Africa, and is really grateful for the support. Similarly, Africans have not forgotten that Russia is one of the few great powers that did not colonize Africa. At the same time, Russia is in dire need of what exactly African states are expecting from it.
In order to solicit a response, the President of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values invited the seminar participants to attend the upcoming meetings of the African Discussion Club. A meeting with the group of IGAD (the Intergovernmental Authority on Development) ambassadors, is also set for the club’s site. The latter is a trade and economic bloc, uniting 8 states – Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda.
Russian experts might offer solutions within a future “brainstorming” to some of the problems the African states are facing today.
“Africa is turning into a new geopolitical monster. There is no single Africa yet, but the watershed “Africa – the rest of the world” certainly exists.
Over the post-perestroika period, Russia not only lost its “entry point” to Africa, but also the whole institute for the operational study of social and political processes in Africa. Let respected Africanists not be offended, let universities that accept African students not be offended by what I am saying. All these enthusiastic actions or initiatives, or a drop in the ocean. In Africa, of course, Russia is remembered. An increasing number of officers from African countries received Soviet education. They recall Russia with nostalgia, they love our country, and it is a normal thing.
There are two reasons that explain our strategic backlog in interaction with Africa: (1) there was no interest in Africa from the Russian business side; 2) there are no government trends (requests) for work-related activities in Africa.
What does Russia want from Africa? What can Russia offer Africa? These issues should be approached very carefully. After all, Africa has changed, but the requests remained the same: “give us money.” My deep conviction is that one needs to invest exclusively in one’s own country. Therefore, we are offering the following: (1) a government model, (2) innovative technologies, if we have them, (3) joint ventures.
Africa is a terra incognita, where there are both points of interest for Russian business and opportunities for testing out new geopolitical initiatives. We just need to address this seriously, not looking back at the experience of our predecessors, with no regard for the other countries’ issues on the continent, thinking purely about the Russian interests and working further along these lines,”said Alexander Malkevich.