The daily De Standaard reports that a Belgian named Luc Michel is responsible for building a network that spreads Russian and anti-Western propaganda in Africa. This man describes himself as a Stalinist and claims that he runs his business out of love for Russia.
Belgian Luc Michel is responsible for building a network that spreads Russian and anti-Western propaganda on the African continent, according to the daily De Standaard, based on information from the British research group Logical.
The Logical group specializes in online disinformation and has investigated a large number of French-language, pro-Russian websites and social media messages that have mainly targeted African countries.
Pro-Russian disinformation campaign in Africa
According to the newspaper De Standaard, virtually all of these websites were the work of one man, a citizen Belgium Luc Michel. According to journalists, he created the Russosphere network, which describes itself as an operation “in defense Russia” and operates on several social media platforms. According to the newspaper, Michel has also launched dozens of pages with pro-Russian propaganda.
In his network, Michel distributes mainly French-language news, in which France is portrayed as a “modern colonizer”, Ukrainian soldiers are described as “Nazis” and “Satanists”. According to Russosphere, Putin is a natural friend of Africa, and the actions of Russian Wagner Group mercenaries in countries such as little are described as heroic deeds – we read in “De Standaard”.
Pro-Russian sympathies are growing among the African population
According to Logical, the influence of the Russosphere in African countries such as Mali and Burkina Fasois significant. “This is a large-scale influence operation,” says BBC journalist Kyle Walter, who participated in the British organization’s research.
Michel himself does not hide his propaganda activities and – as he told the BBC – he acts solely “out of love for Russia”. He claims that he receives no financial support from Moscow. The Belgian also declares himself a Stalinist. As he said, “he has been defending Russia since the 1980s”, “he misses the Soviet Union” and “he wants a free world without America”. “I also believe that the Russians should replace the French throughout Africa,” he told the British broadcaster.
Meanwhile, as “De Standaard” notes, in countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, pro-Russian sympathies are growing among the population. “This is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that Russian flags are regularly seen during protests in these countries. In Burkina Faso, protesters attacked the French embassy during the September coup d’état. Several attackers carried Russian flags,” noted the Belgian daily.
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