On January 24, a coup took place in Burkina Faso, becoming the 4th coup in West Africa in the last 2 years. Although there is still no certainty about what awaits Burkina Faso, everything is clear with the future of relations between Russia and this country – the coup, most likely, will not affect them, because Russian interests in this country are merely present.
The Russian Embassy in Burkina Faso has been closed since 1992, and trade turnover in 2020 amounted to only $10 million, with fuel supplies accounting for $4 million. Still, The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern about «the complication of the internal political situation in this African country friendly to Russia».
The only Russian-linked company operating in Burkina Faso is UK-registered gold miner Nordgold, 99% shares of which are under control of Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov. The company has been present in Burkina Faso since 2009 and by 2019 its investments, according to CEO Nikolai Zelensky, exceeded $1 billion. Nordgold extracts gold at the Bissa, Bouli and Taparko mines. Refined gold production in Burkina Faso in 2020, according to Nordgold’s annual report, amounted to 31% (321.6 thousand ounces) of the company’s total production, generating $568 mln in sales. However, analysis of previous coups in Guinea and Mali shows that foreign investors (whether Russian or not) are not threatened by regime change.
A number of Russian foreign policy experts expressed concern over the fate of the former Prime Minister, Lassina Zerbo, who was also arrested by the rebels. Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs Journal and Chairman of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, stated in his Telegram channel that «we are concerned about <…> the fate of Lassina Zerbo, a close friend of many Moscow foreign policy experts, who just a few weeks ago became prime minister». «May good luck be with him!» — he added.
Main image: AFP
Author: Vsevolod Sviridov