Why Russia is a Geopolitical Winner in Mali’s Coup

On August 18, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was overthrown in a coup d’etat led by breakaway elements of the Malian Armed Forces. The United Nations (UN) swiftly condemned the coup, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) immediately halted trade relations with Mali. In the following days, reports proliferated about a covert alignment between Russia and Mali’s coup plotters. These reports were premised on the fact that two of the coup plotters, Malick Diaw and Sadio Camara, had returned to Mali days earlier from a training program at the Higher Military College in Moscow. Prominent Russian State Duma member Oleg Morozov refuted these allegations on August 22 by stating, “Any talk that Russia was somehow involved in the August coup looks ridiculous.”