Algerian Military Deepening Ties to Russia

“… [Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff] Kochavi’s visit to Morocco resulted in a series of technical and strategic agreements between the two armies and the two governments.….”

Russian-Algerian security cooperation has not been dampened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Last March, a high-level Russian military delegation visited Algiers, where the two sides agreed to hold join anti-terror military exercises in southern Algeria this November (see “Algeria Caught Between Neutrality and Strategic Relations with Russia,” OE Watch, Issue 5, 2022).  Following a visit to Algiers in May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke of “a new strategic cooperation document” that was being drafted to replace the 2001 agreement that currently guides Russian-Algerian relations.  In early June, the new director of Algeria’s Advanced Warfighting School led a group of officers on a tour of General Staff colleges in Russia (see “Algeria Inches Closer to Russia Amid Frosty Relations with Morocco and Spain,” OE Watch, Issue 7, 2022).  Also in May, as reported in the influential Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, a high-level Russian delegation led by Viktor Bondarev, the former head of the Russian Aerospace Forces who is now Chair of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security, visited Algiers to discuss military cooperation and developments in Ukraine.  In late June, the general director of the Russian defense export entity Rosoboronexport visited Algeria, where he met with top military leadership. 

Despite other Algerian sentiment, the Algerian military seems likely to deepen military ties with Russia.  Over the past decade, Algeria has invested a substantial percentage of its GDP in new weapons purchases, particularly from Russia.  In recent months, high oil prices and new demand for natural gas in Europe have provided Algeria with a revenue windfall, parts of which will likely be channeled toward importing advanced weaponry.  Morocco, in turn, is set to boost its own military expenditures and capabilities through a blossoming relationship with Israel.  The Algerian-Moroccan arms race of the past decade is poised to intensify in the coming years, in the shadow of growing geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.


“مسؤول روسي رفيع يبحث بالجزائر التعاون العسكري 

(High-level Russian official discusses military cooperation in Algeria),” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 17 May 2022.

Yesterday, a senior official in the Russian Federation Council discussed with local Algerian officials the ongoing war in Ukraine, the development of military cooperation between the two countries, and the previously announced joint military exercises scheduled in the Algerian desert in November.

“Lieutenant General Said Chanegriha, Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army receives in audience the General Director of the Russian company Rosoboronexport, Mr. Alexandre Mikhaeev,” People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria Ministry of National Defence (Algerian Defense Ministry), 28 June 2022.

The Lieutenant General Saïd Chanegriha, Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army, received in audience, this Tuesday 28th June 2022, at the headquarters of the People’s National Army, the General Director of the Russian company Rosoboronexport, Mr. Alexandre Mikhaeev.