In October, the Russian government hosted the first Russia-Africa Summit. More than 40 African heads of state arrived in Sochi to “identify new areas and forms of cooperation,” as Vladimir Putin noted in his greeting to participants.
A week later, Facebook announced that it had removed three networks of pages and accounts engaged in a long-term influence operation spanning eight African countries. Facebook, which had proactively identified a majority of the pages, attributed this operation to companies run by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a man with close ties to Putin. Prigozhin is also the Russian oligarch U.S. authorities accused of bankrolling the Internet Research Agency — which the New York Times referred to as the “notorious Russian troll factory.”