Op-Ed / / 04.08.22

Time Magazine Op-ed: “Putin’s Exploitation of Africa Could Help Him Evade Sanctions”

Note: This op-ed was originally published in TIME Magazine and was authored by The Sentry’s Co-Founders George Clooney and John Prendergast and Director of Illicit Finance Policy Justyna Gudzowska.


Since the invasion of Ukraine, an extraordinary coalition of allies is working together to isolate Russia economically, imposing sanctions and cutting off access to the global financial system. This campaign has shown success in degrading Russia’s economy. The Kremlin, however, may find a financial lifeline in an unlikely place—Africa. The more successful the economic war on Russia is, the more the Kremlin will rely on plundered African resources as a means of evading sanctions and keeping the Russian war machine going. To understand this danger, it is important to grasp the manner in which Moscow has planned for a moment like this.

Over the last few years, Vladimir Putin and his cronies have sought to project Russian power in corrupt but resource-rich African countries, exerting their influence through a shadowy mercenary force known as the Wagner Group. While this murderous outfit has itself been sanctioned by the U.S., the E.U., and the U.K., its membership and tactics remains shrouded in secrecy. What we do know is that Russia has used Wagner operatives to provide a security shield for African despots in exchange for access to precious natural resources…

Read the full op-ed in TIME Magazine