On August 1, 2023, senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the State Duma, published an article titled "I Want To Warn Hotheads Against Looking For A 'Russian Trace' In Niger," in the Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. In the article, Slutsky stressed that a Western-sponsored military intervention in Niger would create the "First Continental War" in Africa.
He then added that while the West demands a return to democracy in Niger, it did not react to the "Ukrainian coup" in 2014. This position was also reiterated by Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Slutsky then stated that coup-supporters in Niger are "sympathetic" to Moscow because Russia became "a symbol and a key player in the fight against neocolonialism."
Following is senior Russian lawmaker Slutsky's article:
"It Is Not Difficult To Predict What Threat A Possible Military Intervention Would Create – Chaos, Bloodshed Or The First Continental War"
"The situation in Niger, where the military ousted President Mohamed Bazoum just as the Second Russia-Africa Summit was opening in St. Petersburg, has set much of the Black Continent in motion. And it is not about the fact of the coup, which Russia traditionally does not support, as well as any violent seizure of power, but about the reaction of the countries of the collective West as new metropoles that continue draining resources from the African subsoil by means of their puppet regimes.
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"Niger is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with a population of 25 million people. Until 1960, it was a colony of France. At the same time Niger has been and remains the seventh supplier of uranium to the world markets and the main source of this raw material for the needs of the energy sector of not only the Fifth Republic, but of the entire European Union.
"The first thing the putschists did was to declare a halt to gold and uranium shipments to France. Experts already fear that as a result of the change of power in Niger, French nuclear workers will have to reconsider the economic conditions of work in the country, which could lead to higher prices for nuclear fuel used at nuclear power plants."
"No One Has Canceled Double Standards"
"Paris, followed by Brussels, London, Washington and other Western capitals sharply condemned the military coup in Niger, demanding the restoration of Bazoum's presidential powers. Their position was shared by the sub-regional organization of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), imposing sanctions as well as freezing Niger's assets. The bloc, whose states are strongly influenced by France, simultaneously issued an ultimatum: if the power of the deposed president is not restored within the next week, the member states themselves will take all necessary steps, including the use of force. It is not difficult to predict what threat a possible military intervention would create – chaos, bloodshed or the First Continental War. In particular, the governments of Mali and Burkina Faso, which have sided with the new self-proclaimed authorities of Niger, are ready to regard such actions as a 'declaration of war.'
"If we look at all the steps taken by Western countries in response to the Ukrainian events of nine years ago, we'll see the absolutely opposite trends. But what did you expect to find out? After all, this is the famous [Western] hypocrisy, when the focus of interests of the metropole is not on the side of 'fighters for freedom and democracy,' as it was the case in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the very same Ukraine, but on the side of the 'power that is obedient to the metropole.' No one has canceled double standards."
What Is Happening In Niger Reflects "The Desire" Of African Countries To "Complete Liberation From The Burden Of Colonial Powers"
"Nevertheless, Russia has always maintained a consistent line against any coups: both in Ukraine, and in Niger, and in any other country and place in the world. Issues of power transition should be resolved only within the constitutional, legal framework and in a legitimate way. This is an axiom.
"Therefore, I would like to warn hotheads, including those among our 'non-partners' in the West, against attempts to look for a Russian trace in the events in Niamey. Even though the protesters appear to be sympathetic to our country, shouting 'Long live Russia, long live Putin' and waving Russian flags during their actions. All this is nothing more than symbolism.
"Russia is indeed becoming a symbol and a key player in the fight against neocolonialism. Continued attempts to establish Western dictate and to substitute rule by the strong for the rule of law are increasingly at odds with the national interests of countries outside the 'Golden Billion.' And what is happening in Niger to some extent reflects the desire of the population of many African countries for complete liberation from the burden of colonial powers. Here I would like to conclude by quoting Vladimir Putin from his speech at the Russia-Africa summit: 'The era of domination by one country or a group of countries is coming to an end. However, those who are used to their exceptionalism and monopoly in global affairs are resisting this.' This will be our cornerstone."