Views of the liberal international order in sub-Saharan Africa: reactions to Russian aggression in Ukraine



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Tartu Ülikool


This thesis explores why and how sub-Saharan African states respond to revisionist challenges to, or contestation of, liberal international order (LIO). Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine since February 2022 represents a clear challenge to the norms established in the post-World War II and post-Cold War periods, as well as an attempt to mobilize global actors in opposition to LIO. In this thesis, I research three sub-Saharan African states’ responses to Russia’s actions by first determining my cases’ respective positions and fit within liberal international order and then observe how this leads to either condemnation, ambivalence or sympathy for contestation of LIO. Since I am looking at both Russia’s attempts to influence the international and the sub-Saharan African states’ responses to this, I incorporate power politics into my analysis. This approach enables me to explore the diverse set of methods and techniques that global actors use to both project various forms of influence internationally and to respond to such projection. Based on my analysis of three sub-Saharan states, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa, I conclude that fit within liberal international order, or lack thereof, does play a role in whether or not a state will demonstrate sympathy for the contestatory practices of a revisionist power.