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Public outrage as Algeria’s interim head of state appeared to “report back” to Putin

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A video of Abdelkader Bensalah appearing in a supplicating posture and as if “reporting back” to Vladimir Putin has gone viral in Algeria. Abdelkader Bensalah is seen struggling to speak confidently and minimises the size of the pro-democracy protests to “a few people”, at which point Vladimir Putin mockingly smirks. The meeting took place in the context of the “Russia-Africa” summit held in Sochi.

The Algiers Herald has learned from a government source that it is Sabri Boukadoum, the foreign minister, who wrote the head of state’s humiliating monologue.

“He spoke as if he was a Russian minister reporting back on his ministerial activities to Putin”, one Algerian commentator told the Algiers Herald.

“I asked to meet you to reassure you that the situation in Algeria is under control, and that we are able to overcome this situation,” Bensalah told the Russian president. He added “The media has exaggerated the reality of what is happening in Algeria… although it is true that some elements are out on the streets each week”.

In the video that has since gone viral, Vladimir Putin appears to mockingly smirk when the interim head of state puts forward the outrageous claim of everything being fine and under control in the North African country. When in reality, millions have been demonstrating weekly since February against an illegitimate regime keen on imposing a sham election for the 12th of December.

Between feelings of humiliation and anger, Algerians condemned the “weak diplomacy” of a “dying regime”.

“He represents only himself. He is illegitimate. His term expired in July”, stated one social media user, a sentiment echoed throughout the country.

Another stated, “They are not only shabby, but they are also pitiful! Crawling in front of Putin to ask for his recognition! he was nauseated! this has further strengthened the Hirak in the eyes of Putin !!!”.

In a post seen on social media, a doctored image of Abdelkader Bensalah bending over a desk is captioned “shortly after the meeting with Putin”.

Sabri Boukadoum’s mediocre diplomacy

It isn’t the first time Sabri Boukadoum’s diplomacy comes under fire, in June, the man whose style of diplomacy was described to the Algiers Herald as “a combination of prostitution and mediocrity” by his own advisers, flew to Saudi Arabia to negotiate a food aid package. A few days only after his visit, Saudi Arabia had donated 350 tons of dates. A humiliation for many Algerians, who not only produce better dates, but are supposed to be a resource-rich nation, at least on paper.

It should be recalled that Sabri Boukadoum’s department is also being sued in the U.K for a number of frauds, including failing to pay the minimum wage to an employee and cheating prestigious U.K universities for the benefit of the sons and daughters of regime members.


Article last updated on 26/10/2019 at 15:36.

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