Ruslan Trad is the author of 'The Murder of a Revolution' and co-author of 'The Russian Invisible Armies'. His journalistic work is focused on PMCs, Syria, and conflict zones
In-depth: Over the last decade, through corruption and underhand dealings, gold has provided brutal men – both local and foreign – with the financial means to start wars.
Analysis: Since its intervention in Syria in 2015, Russia has turned its attention to sub-Saharan and Central Africa, seeking to access the region's diamond and gold mines and challenge its geopolitical opponents.
Analysis: The arrival of Russian mercenaries changed the war in Libya, with the Wagner group key to cementing Moscow's influence in the country.
Analysis: The speed of both the withdrawal of US forces and the Taliban offensive will cause geopolitical shifts, and Iran is watching with concern.
Analysis: Libya's proxy conflict has emerged as a key theatre for mercenary activity, with foreign fighters unlikely to leave anytime soon.
Analysis: Uncertainty in Chad following Idriss Deby's sudden death represents an opportunity for Russia to expand its interests in West and Central Africa.
Analysis: Moscow's role in Syria is often referenced through its military intervention, but the Kremlin is also using soft power tactics to shape a future elite and establish lasting influence.
Analysis: In an era of increasingly privatised warfare, Russia is spearheading the use of mercenaries to expand its influence.
Analysis: Conflict dynamics in both Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh are part of a broad field of confrontation between Moscow and Ankara, stretching from North Africa to the Caucasus.