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“They brought a suitcase with cash”: the main thing from the BBC investigation is about Russia’s interference in the elections in Madagascar

Political technologists, probably, on the order of Prigogine offered money to at least six candidates, the publication found out.

The BBC published an investigation film, from which it follows that Russian political consultants offered money to at least six presidential candidates in Madagascar – one of the poorest countries in Africa. Journalists have suggested that this work was led by businessman Yevgeny Prigogine, who is associated with the private military company “Wagner”.

Former presidential candidate Andre Mayol (right) with allegedly Russian political consultants – Roman, Andrei and Vladimir (left to center) Still from video of the church of the apocalypse, BBC

In March, Prigogine may be associated with the elections in Madagascar, said the“Project”. According to the newspaper, who arrived in the country in April 2018 – eight months before the elections – Russian political technologists were guarded by mercenaries from the Wagner PMC.

People Prigogine advise influential politicians in African countries, agreeing in exchange for a share in the extraction of natural resources, reported Bloomberg in 2018. In the case of Madagascar we are talking about vanilla, nickel, cobalt and uranium.

What the BBC found out

  • Dozens of political consultants who came from Russia stayed in Madagascar for about a year. They presented themselves as tourists or election observers. The Russians organized a coordinated operation and offered money to at least six candidates;
  • One of the favorite candidates, pastor and preacher of the church of the apocalypse Andre Mayol, admitted that he received campaign funding from the Russians. They stated that they had come as tourists, but one of them turned out to be connected with political circles, the other – a businessman, and the third engaged in diamonds.To the journalist’s question: “They brought a suitcase with millions of cash to your office?” – Maillol answered in the affirmative. In total, the politician received 17 thousand euros (more than 1.2 million rubles), not counting the payment of campaigning in the media;
  • The Russians supported eight to nine candidates in the presidential elections in Madagascar, Mayol said. Political technologists asked politicians in exchange for money to support the one who will eventually lead;
  • Former Prime Minister of Madagascar and presidential candidate Jean-Omer Bereziki said that the Russians asked him about the possibility of changing the mood of local residents with the “pro-Western”. According to Bereziki, the Russians promised him at least two million dollars (more than 130 million rubles);
  • One of the visiting political consultants was PR manager Maxim Shugaley, who previously led campaigns in Russia. He offered cash to one of the candidates;
  • The staff of election headquarters confirmed that the Russians tried not only to advise politicians, but also to control the campaign. Often local election campaign staff felt like “service providers”;
  • As noted by the BBC, the publication does not claim that Prigogine controlled political consultants during the elections in Madagascar, but assumes this on the basis of information in the media. There are no comments from the entrepreneur in the investigation;
  • Some students who participated in campaign rallies against “imperialism” and “Western interests” admitted that someone had offered them to pay for campaigns on actions;
  • With the emergence of a clear election leader, Russian political consultants have refused financial support for several candidates, including Mayol.;
  • The winner of the election, Andri Radzuelina, declared BBC that “he is not a candidate for any other country,” but represents the people of Madagascar.

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