By Andrew Korybko
Russia’s publicly financed international media flagship RT earlier announced plans to open up its African hub in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, but the author suggested last week that “RT Should Consider Relocating Its Planned African Hub From Kenya To Ethiopia” after Nairobi voted against Moscow at the UNSC and most even most recently at the UN General Assembly too. Furthermore, Kenya’s $87 million exports to Russia are threatened by international shipping companies’ compliance with the US-led West’s unilateral sanctions against the Eurasian Great Power. Considering the fact that the EU just banned RT and that company shuttered its US hub last week ahead of what appeared to be its inevitable banning there too, there are credible reasons to suspect that Kenya will follow the lead of its joint US-UK senior partners in at the very least complicating RT’s operations in that country as well.
“Russia Must Urgently Devise & Implement An International Media Backup Plan” like the author suggested late last month, one which takes into account the newfound risk to its strategic communications policy. It must also bear in mind that the resignation of high-level staff such as former editor-in-chief of its Russian-language operations Maria Baronova hints that some of the company’s most important decisions in the past might have been compromised by unreliable but very influential individuals. Its plans to open up its African hub in Kenya might potentially have been one such decision that wasn’t made with the company’s best interests at heart. RT will most likely re-evaluate everything in light of recent events which is why now is the absolute best time for Ethiopian activists to raise Russia’s awareness of how much they’d appreciate it relocating the company’s African hub to Addis.
The author therefore proposes that impassioned individuals launch the #RT2Ethiopia social media campaign to this end. From his personal experience interacting with all manner of Russian society over his 8.5 years in the country, from faculty at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) that’s run by the Russian Foreign Ministry all the way down to “average Ivans” in his neighborhood, he realized that sometimes Russians need a gentle nudge in the right direction in order to do what’s needed in their best interests. The #RT2Ethiopia social media campaign aims to do precisely that through creative means that promote impassioned individuals’ desire to bring that global media company to the Ethiopian capital. Having been so impressed with the #NoMore global activist campaign, he’s convinced that the #RT2Ethiopia one will be similarly successful if folks also embrace it.
Here’s what everyone should do to show Russia how much Ethiopians want RT in Addis:
1. Promote The #RT2Ethiopia Hashtag In All Relevant Social Media Posts To Make It Go Viral
2. Share A Concise Appeal With The Hashtag On The Russian Embassy’s Facebook & Twitter Pages
3. Do the Same On RT Editor-In-Chief Margarita Simonyan’s Twitter Page And RT’s One Too
4. Consider Also Sharing Pictures Of Russian & Ethiopian Flags And/Or Of You Waving A Russian Flag
5. Make A Short 30-60 Second Video Asking RT To Relocate To Addis & Share It On Social Media Too
6. Email The Russian Embassy & RT With Your Concise Appeal Along With Pictures And/Or Video
7. Send Letters To The Russian Embassy In Addis (Students Should Take The Lead In This Respect)
8. Tag Other Ethiopian Activists, Influencers, Media, And Officials To Encourage Them To Join Too
All of this will hopefully convince RT that relocating its planned African hub to Addis is the best decision.
Russia and Ethiopia have been allies for nearly 150 years. The Eurasian Great Power has always very proudly stood with its Horn of Africa partner through good times and bad. Their historic strategic partnership continues to strengthen and Moscow played a major role in protecting Addis at the UN following the US-led West’s Hybrid War of Terror on that country via its TPLF proxies. RT also actively helped get the truth out about that conflict, therefore powerfully counteracting the infowar that was waged against Ethiopia. Military ties between the two are also solid and help ensure Ethiopia’s security against all threats, both domestic and foreign. It’s therefore only natural that RT relocates its planned African hub to Addis from Nairobi where it’ll be safe from Western meddling. Not doing so would place the country’s strategic communications policy across the continent in perpetual risk.
There are grand strategic reasons for RT to open its planned African hub in Ethiopia too. Russia and its historic ally from the Horn have always stood for peace, justice, and the sanctity of international law. They’ve proudly fought against Western imperialism all throughout their history too. As Ethiopia continues emerging as an African Great Power under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visionary leadership, it’s only natural that it’ll seek to further promote the pan-African and anti-imperialist ideals that it’s known for. Russia has always supported these principles, which perfectly align with it and Ethiopia’s values, so it follows that RT could help amplify Ethiopia’s related messages all across Africa if it set up shop in Addis. That city already hosts the African Union and is a hub of socio-political activity across the continent so Russia and Ethiopia’s shared vision could very easily be fulfilled through RT’s Addis hub.
On a closing note, the author is optimistic that Ethiopian activists will succeed in showing Russia how eagerly they want its flagship international media outlet to establish its continental hub in their capital. All that it’ll take for this dream to succeed is for the right decision makers in that country and company to realize the wisdom of relocating RT’s African office from Nairobi to Addis. That’s why the author encourages everyone to engage in the #RT2Ethiopia social media campaign according to the means that he suggested, which will eventually prompt the Russian government’s attention as well as that of Mrs. Simonyan. Upon that happening, Russian and Ethiopian diplomats can take care of the rest, including if the latter offered some incentives to their partners such as offering prime real estate to open up their office in and providing other forms of support. Without further ado, let’s get this campaign started!