It is likely that you have not missed the story about the Wagner group and its former leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who it is believed has died in his private jet when it fell to the ground in flames missing a wing, probably destroyed by one of Putin’s agents who planted a bomb in the landing bay. Another one of Putin’s enemies or competitors destroyed; removed to allow Putin to reign supreme as the tyrannical head of Russia.
The Wagner group is a private army. There are many such mercenary armies in Russia. They are normally owned and run by oligarchs and they support Putin. They keep him in power. And there are many other dictators around the world who want to take advantage of international instability. It is a business opportunity for these dictators.
Another description of the Wagner group would be a “private military company” (PMC). They are, after all, businesses with head offices and all the trappings of a company. The only problem is that they trade in death and destruction rather than commercially produced products.
The point is this: they are very active in Africa. The Wagner group was active in Africa and they were active and probably still are active with rebels in Libya and in supporting the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. Basher al-Assad is another dictator happy to use a PMC such as Wagner.
Wagner quickly branched out to become a business conglomerate in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is a virgin territory for exploitative individuals and organisations. African leaders are known to be corrupt and this makes them ideal partners for a PMC such as Wagner and other PMCs.
They offer the do the dirty work for dictators and in return they receive a healthy share of the national’s wealth which Wagner’s client is plundering from the nation in their role as a dictator.
And in plundering their nation’s wealth they will be chopping down trees and entire forests for commercial gain and they will be mining huge swathes of African landscape, once again for commercial gain. In short, they will be destroying the habitat of the iconic species that live on the African continent.
Once you destroy habitat you destroy the possibility of survival of the species. PMCs support the exploitation of animals for one. They do a lot of things to but this website is concerned with the human-animal relationship. And these private armies are very detrimental to animal welfare anywhere on the globe.
Russia can see plenty of advantages in the current disorder developing in the world. Michael Clarke writing for The Sunday Times today helps me in writing this short post. He tells me that the activities of these mercenary groups are not a new development as “In the 18th century the East India Company ran a large private army and vast economic conglomerate that shaped the future of a subcontinent.”
He adds that “Putin might have something similar in mind as he eyes Wagner’s operations in Africa.” Africa is being exploited by Russia and by China. China has been in Africa for a long time looking for precious metals and minerals to run their massive businesses to supply the world with products. All this is going to damage wildlife in Africa.
Private armies damage wildlife. That is the conclusion I have.