Diplomatic missions were signed on October 18, 1979, between Nicaragua and the Soviet Union a few months after the Sandinista revolution. Russia is sole successor to the Soviet Union, so ties have naturally continued with Russia since the Belavezha Accords. Russia has an embassy in Managua. Nicaragua has an embassy in Moscow.
Relations with Sandinistas
During the 1980s, the Soviet Union provided full political, economic, military, and diplomatic support to the left wing government of Nicaragua. This was not only a reaction to the Contra resistance movement but a full-fledged alliance with Soviet Union, which provided free credit, economic subsidies and heavy weapon grants. The Nicaraguans got at no cost armaments such as heavily armed MI-24 attack helicopters (Hinds), and Mi-17 transport helicopters.
Nicaragua voted consistently for Communist causes during the 1980s. Cuban army and political delegates, subsidized by Russian money, were permanently staffed in Nicaragua, making the country a member of the Communist block. After Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega returned to power in 2007 Russia took over the patron role for Nicaragua Nicaragua was the second country after Russia to recognize the disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In September 2008, perhaps in response to Nicaragua's support over the breakaway Georgian territories, Russia offered to strengthen ties with Nicaragua and to provide aid to Nicaragua to help rebuild areas damaged by hurricanes.
In December 2008, Russian warships visited Nicaragua at the invitation of president Daniel Ortega, although Wilfredo Navarro of the opposition Constitutionalist Liberal Party said that without parliamentary approval the naval visit would be a breach of the Constitution. During the visit, Russian officials donated about $200,000 worth of generators and computers to hospitals, police, and the army.
Shortly after, on December 18, 2008, Russia and Nicaragua concluded several bilateral agreements after talks between presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Daniel Ortega in Moscow, including Memorandums of understanding between the countries' agriculture ministries, and between the Russian Federal Space Agency and Nicaragua's Telecommunications and Postal Service Institute. Russian support has become more important to Nicaragua following withdrawal in late 2008 of US and European aid due to concerns about electoral fraud and handling of human rights and democracy. In April 2009, Nicaragua dropped the requirement for Russian tourists to obtain visas.
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Speculation is rife that the new Russian satellite site on the lip of the Laguna de Nejapa crater will be a spy facility, even though Nicaraguan officials have said it will be used for GLONASS, Russia’s equivalent of GPS.
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