Logically Bulletin: Russia amplifies anti-France narratives following coups in Niger, Gabon
Logically identified Russian Telegram channels spreading anti-France narratives following coups in Niger and Gabon this summer. The research has been covered by The Guardian.
Background: On 26 July 2023 and 30 August 2023, two military coups took place in Niger and Gabon, respectively. President Mohamed Bazoum and President Ali Bongo were deposed and replaced by military juntas. Logically monitored a group of 45 pro-Russian Telegram channels for responses following the coups.
Analysis: Logically identified significant overlap in narratives about coups in both Niger and Gabon, namely:
- There is widespread support for the coup
- The coup is indicative of wider disdain for France in the region
- Pushing France out is in the best interest of the country
- Logically identified a 6,645.45% increase in content about Niger across these channels from the month prior to the coup relative to the month after.
- A post1 from a Russian Telegram channel with more than 825k subscribers amplified claims that French broadcasting had been cut off and that the Bongo government was propped up by France. It has received more than 313k views as of reporting.
- A post2 from a Russian Telegram channel with more than 604k subscribers amplified a statement from French President Emmanuel Macron about France’s willingness to join an ECOWAS intervention in Niger and claimed that following Prigozhin’s death, France had no one to fear in the region. It has received more than 328k views as of reporting.
- A post3 from a Russian Telegram channel with more than 1.1m subscribers claimed Gabon was opening up a “second front” with France. It has received more than 477k views as of reporting.
- A post4 from a Russian Telegram channel with more than 130k subscribers starts with the headline “France loses another colony in Africa”. It has received more than 378k views as of reporting.
- This is part of a broader trend where military coups are being framed by pro-Russian accounts, particularly those affiliated with PMC Wagner, as being a response to French colonial legacy. Each instance has gained significant cross-platform traction.
- Russian influence has grown significantly in places like Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Central African Republic prior to this year, and recent developments in Niger and Gabon will see that influence expanded.
- PMC Wagner has been directly involved in many countries’ domestic affairs in the Sahel, and what role they will play following the death of Evgeniy Prigozhin remains unclear. Pro-Wagner channels vocally supported coups in both Niger and Gabon and amplified anti-French narratives.
This report uses proprietary tools including Logically’s AI-powered threat intelligence platform, Logically Intelligence®, as well as a curated list of 45 pro-Russian Telegram channels, with connections to either the Russian state or PMC Wagner.
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