Nicolas Maduro and Vladimir Putin: United by oil, isolation | Europe| Information and present affairs from across the continent | DW

The information appeared to come back out of nowhere. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro introduced his “important working visit”with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Twitter.

It appears that evidently Putin is blissful to proceed to lend a serving to hand to Venezuela. Maduro’s go to comes because the nation’s economic system is spiraling and it’sincreasing isolated on the world stage. The president has been condemned for ordering violent measures towards the opposition and protesters. Putin acknowledged Maduro’s challenges: “We all know and perceive that the state of affairs in Venezuela remains to be troublesome.” And the Russian president praised his counterpart’s efforts to succeed in a “mutual understanding in society” and even warned that he condemns any try to “change the state of affairs [in Venezuela] with drive.” Putin is thought to have a pure mistrust for coups and widespread uprisings.

The Russian president’s gracious tone might sound stunning contemplating the monetary imbalance between the international locations. Forward of the assembly, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated the presidents would focus on the opportunity of financial aid for Venezuela. “That’s the reason Maduro is visiting,” he stated. Russia is a vital creditor for Venezuela. The authorities and the Russian oil big Rosneft have lent Venezuela a minimum of $17 billion (€15 billion) since 2006, in line with the information company Reuters. Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s chief govt, reportedly flew to Caracas in November to complain about delayed oil shipments which might be alleged to repay a lot of Venezuela’s debt.

A demonstrator jumps away from a jet of water released from a security vehicle during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. (Reuters/C. Barria)

Venezuelan authorities have been accused of utilizing extreme drive towards protesters

‘Advance Russia’s pursuits’

The timing reveals that Russia shouldn’t be merely serious about offering charity. Putin and Maduro had their tete-a-tete simply earlier than the OPEC meeting in Vienna, the place members will focus on chopping oil manufacturing to drive up international costs. Russia might be one of many international locations participating in extra talks on Friday, since it isn’t a member of OPEC. The Venezuelan and Russian economies are extremely depending on the value of oil.

Artur Demchuk, the deputy dean of the School of Political Science at Moscow State College, stated he thought that agreeing to an “motion plan” for chopping oil manufacturing was the principle issue for the talks in Moscow. Demchuk, whose analysis areas embrace Latin America, stated Russia and Venezuela would search to current a “united entrance” on the OPEC assembly, and pointed to the international locations’ traditionally shut political and financial ties, which significantly flourished below Maduro’s predecessor, President Hugo Chavez.

Alina Shcherbakova, an affiliate professor at the Larger College of Economics, even argues that Russia must protect the connection to get its approach within the oil market. “Venezuela is a member of Opec, and Russia is not,” she stated. “So, our talks with Venezuela will assure that Venezuela also can advance Russian pursuits.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez leans in to speak with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a meeting in Moscow in 2004 (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia-Venezuela relations have been additionally shut below Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez

Promoting Russian wheat

Bilateral commerce was clearly excessive on the agenda of this assembly for the Kremlin — and never simply relating to the oil trade. On the assembly, Putin identified that, after “going via troublesome instances previously few years,” commerce between Russia and Venezuela is again on the up. And, forward of the assembly, Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov particularly identified that agriculture is an “essential strand of our work collectively,” explaining that Russia exported 250,000 tons of wheat to Venezuela. 

Shcherbakova stated this association had advantages for either side. On the one hand, it is crucial for Venezuela’s meals safety to import Russian wheat. Additionally, she stated, “agriculture has develop into a precedence department for the Russian economic system.”

Russia’s new concentrate on agriculture has to do partly with the international sanctions imposed after the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. The Kremlin has reacted with countersanctions, which signifies that it now doesn’t import sure meals and agricultural merchandise from the international locations that initially sanctioned Russia. In consequence, Shcherbakova stated, the nation is on the lookout for new companions to replenish the misplaced items, however it is usually “attempting to realize a agency place as an exporter of meals on the worldwide market” as costs enhance worldwide.

“To have such a secure provide channel for our wheat [in Venezuela] is helpful for our economic system, particularly as a result of the significance of the agricultural sector is rising for Russia proper now,” Shcherbakova stated.

Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov. (Reuters/P. Rebrov)

Russia is remoted following its annexation of Crimea and tensions within the Sea of Azov

Remoted collectively

Although the international locations have long-standing ties, the partnership is all of the extra essential for Russia towards the backdrop of its rising international isolation. Venezuela, too, is below worldwide sanctions, which the Kremlin condemned this week.

The political scientist Demchuk known as Venezuela one among Russia’s “principal companions in Latin America.” And, with no signal that the sanctions might be dropped, he stated it remained all of the extra essential for Moscow to have the ability to have a long-term “strategic accomplice” in Venezuela — significantly on the worldwide stage. Demchuk stated Venezuela had “virtually all the time” supported Russia in votes earlier than the UN Basic Meeting and different worldwide organizations. Venezuela was additionally one of many few international locations to acknowledge the annexed Crimean Peninsula as a part of Russia and to acknowledge the Russia-supported breakaway areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia within the Caucasus.

Sanctions have pushed Russia to search for new companions in Asia, Africa and Latin America lately. And, although Venezuela’s home state of affairs is much from secure, Maduro is a accomplice Putin can rely on. In the long run, Demchuk stated, Russia may even look into organising navy services in Venezuela.

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