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Russia-Africa: Sergei Lavrov, Vladimir Putin’s global thinker

By Mathieu Olivier
Posted on Thursday, 23 December 2021 11:39

Russia’s foreign affairs minister Sergei Lavrov on 2 December 2021. © Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS/Si/SIPA

A tough and seasoned politician, Russia’s foreign affairs minister Sergei Lavrov is the face of Moscow's charm offensive in Africa, where Russia is tapping into anti-Western sentiment.

In the cool of the Russian capital, where temperatures rarely rise above 5 degrees in March, the Moscow Sisterhood stands in the misty sky.

The Stalinist skyscraper, one of seven built on the orders of the former Soviet leader to challenge the Western world, has 27 floors, 28 lifts and 2,000 offices. As the headquarters of the USSR’s diplomacy and then of the Russian Federation since 1953, the building dominates Smolensk Square with its sculpted mass and, 200 metres to the west, the Moskova River, which winds its way through the capital. This structure is Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov’s undisputed stronghold.

In March 2017, the foreign affairs minister had a West African meeting on his agenda. Russia had decided to make Africa a new space of conquest.