Founded in 2014 to aid pro-Russian forces in Ukrainian Donbas, the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group has grown into a global network advancing Russian interests. But not only that. The Blood Gold Report, an analysis by independent researchers across countries and think tanks, finds that in countries where Russian mercenaries gain a foothold, they replicate Putin’s vertical of power – including seizing control of the media.
This dynamic is clear in three African nations where Wagner Group has entrenched itself and is siphoning resources: the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan, and Mali. In each case, Wagner follows a four-part playbook to secure control – suppressing opposition, spreading disinformation, attacking press freedom, and terrorizing civilians. The goal is dependence on Wagner while distracting the West by creating instability.
Security expert Omar Ashour of the Doha Institute explained to Euromaidan Press that Russians target authoritarian-leaning countries and leaders, as well as military coup plotters exhibiting aggressive tendencies, when seeking foreign partners.