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Putin Ally Tells Russians ‘Not Wanted’ in Europe to Vacation in Africa

A close ally of Vladimir Putin has come up with a solution for Russians who have found their travel plans curtailed by restrictions due to Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine—go to Africa.

Dmitry Medvedev, who was president between 2008 and 2012, and is now deputy chairman of Russia’s Federation Council, made the comments during a forum in Moscow in which he said his country’s deepening ties with the continent made it an ideal vacation destination.

In September 2022, the European Union suspended the visa facilitation agreement with Russia which restricted, although did not ban, the entry of Russian citizens into Europe.

Russia’s neighbor Estonia went so far as to ban Russians with Estonian-issued Schengen visas from entering the country and the threat remains that other European countries will follow suit.

However, Medvedev said that Russian tourists should simply look further afield when considering holiday destinations. “You were just talking about Europeans who truthfully right now don’t really want to see us much,” he said in answer to an audience member’s question at the discussion platform “The Future of Russia.”

“We could be going to Africa for vacations among other places,” he said. “Naturally, travel around Russia but also go to Africa. They know how to give a warm welcome there.”

“This is absolutely true. I can confirm this by the memories that I have,” he added in the clip shared by Ukrainian internal affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko.

“So who wants to guess what happened to Medvedev in Africa?” wrote Gerashchenko next to the video.

Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, at the military-industrial corporation NPO Mashinostroyenia in Reutov, outside Moscow, on April 25, 2023. The ally of Vladimir Putin has touted Russia’s strong ties with Africa.YEKATERINA SHTUKINA/GETTY IMAGES

Over the course of the war in Ukraine, Putin has championed a pivot away from a Western-led world order towards one in which the so-called Global South takes more prominence. This was the messaging he pushed during the Russia-Africa summit held in July in St Petersburg.

However, the summit made headlines for the low turnout of leaders, with only 17 African heads of state out of 54 attending, less than half the 43 leaders who attended the first Russia-Africa summit in 2019.

One reason was believed to be Putin’s decision to pull out of the Black Sea Grain deal that allowed Ukraine to safely export from a war zone to Africa, which was heavily dependent on the food. Kenya described it as a “stab” in the back while Egypt, traditionally a Moscow ally, also condemned the move. African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat called for the revival of the deal.

Meanwhile, Medvedev used Wednesday’s event in Moscow to take aim at Africa’s colonizers who were “furious” that Russia has strengthened its ties with the continent.

“They want it to be the same as before,” Medvedev said, according to state news agency Tass, in referring to Western countries. “This causes a complete misunderstanding of the states of the African continent.”

Source : News Week