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Mercenaries, Putin’s cook and "middle finger for the West" - the Russian "Tourist" in the heart of Africa

Russians in the Central African Republic. Photo:Anadolu


The World Daily | News Desk           MAY  28th   2021


The work of Russian propaganda praising the mission of "Russian war instructors" in the Central African Republic was viewed by over 10,000 people at the stadium in Bangui, CNN reported. They are mercenaries from the so-called Wagner group, linked to an oligarch called "Putin's cook".


The movie "The Tourist" opens with a flashback scene in which Russian mercenaries are heavily attacked by a group of Central African rebels. The rebels are depicted as a band of bandits emerging from the bush on motorbikes to shoot the local population and plunder police stations. In contrast, the Russians are shown as defenders of the country, outnumbered and fighting bravely against all odds.

After the classic war movie opening, the rebels seem to be winning: the film's protagonist, known only under the pseudonym "The Tourist", lies on the ground, giving the impression of being badly wounded. The action then spans a few days, giving viewers a picture of the actions of the Russians in the CAR, fending off rebel attacks with their local military partners, and thwarting their plan to storm Bangui and return former president Francois Bozize to power.

In the film glorifying the mission of the so-called military instructors in the Central African Republic (CAR), however, there is much more than loud blasts, big guns and beautiful shots of the African jungle. "In a very neat way, this film shows how the various strands of Russian influence on the African continent came together in a somewhat bizarre way," comments CNN in Friday's publication entitled "Russian Wagner mercenaries' African exploits immortalized on big screen." In the film, we also see soldiers arriving in the Russian Il-76 plane at the airport in Bangui, and we learn that the "instructors" have been changed many times in the country and abroad. 


The Russian "military instructors" are in fact part of the mercenary group Wagner, a secret military contractor who is possibly linked and financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch so close to the Kremlin that he is known in the media as "Putin's (President Vladimir) cook".

Rich in natural resources, but politically unstable, the CAR was one of the main theatres of action for the soldiers of the Wagner group. Rebel groups have been fighting there with the forces of President Faustin Archange-Touader and his government since the elections last December. Russia's air force has been delivering arms shipments and a group of "instructors" since January 2018 with the approval of the United Nations, which lifted the country's arms embargo. Earlier, a spokesman for the CAR government confirmed that there are currently 300 Russian "military instructors" in the country as part of their bilateral cooperation.


"Whitewashing the image of Wagner"

CNN reports that the identities of those who financially support "The Tourist" are as opaque as that of the Wagner group itself. The film's website does not give any details about who financed it, stating only that Tourist Film Group owns the copyright.

However, a studio called Paritet Media is mentioned in the opening credits of the film. Prigozhin's wife, Liubov Prigozhin, was listed as the owner of a company called Paritet, according to the St. Petersburg portal The Russian independent newspaper based in Latvia, which was recently dubbed a "foreign agent" by the Kremlin, spoke to three people associated with the film who said Prigozhin had financed the film, which one interviewee said was intended to "whitewash Wagner's image." The Russian section of the BBC reported that Paritet was registered in St. Petersburg in early February this year. In addition to the film about mercenaries in the Central African Republic, he also makes films about the events in the Ukrainian Donbas in 2014, as well as on the Crimea annexed by Russia. 


© The World Daily 2021 | News Desk

Source: CNN, BBC