Russia–Venezuela relations

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Russia–Venezuela relations
Map indicating locations of Russia and Venezuela


President Maduro meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran, Iran on November 2015.

Russia–Venezuela relations are complicated because Russia presently recognizes a president of Venezuela who is not universally recognized as such. Venezuela has been one of Russia's most important trading and military allies in Latin America (after Brazil), making a strong bond in the bilateral relations between the two nations.


The Soviet Union had established diplomatic relations with Venezuela on March 3, 1945 (severed on June 13, 1952, and then restored on April 16, 1970).[why?]

Chávez era[edit]

Under President Hugo Chávez, Venezuela has enjoyed warm relations with Russia. Much of this is through the sale of military equipment; since 2005, Venezuela has purchased more than $4 billion worth of arms from Russia.[1] In September 2008, Russia sent Tupolev Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela to carry out training flights.[2] In November 2008, both countries held a joint naval exercise in the Caribbean.[3] Following Chavez's two visits to Moscow in July and September 2008, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin arrived in Venezuela to pave the way for a third meeting within five months between their two presidents.

In November 2008, Venezuela and Russia discussed 46 potential cooperation agreements during an Intergovernmental Commission. Venezuelan Vice President Ramón Carrizales and Sechin reviewed a series of initiatives that Chavez and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev would sign later in the month. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro added to aggressive foreign policy initiatives sought by Chavez in saying that "the unipolar world is collapsing and finishing in all aspects, and the alliance with Russia is part of that effort to build a multipolar world." The two countries discussed the creation of a bi-national investment bank, the opening of a direct air route between Caracas and Moscow, the building of an aluminum plant, the construction of a gas platform off the Venezuelan coast, plans for automobile production, and Venezuela's acquisition of Russian planes and ships. While the two countries also reached agreements on the development of outer space and the use of nuclear energy. Maduro added that the two countries "will develop all what has to do with technology and satellite in the space," while still continuing to work at using nuclear energy with peaceful means to generate alternative energy.[4]

Venezuela sought to develop mines at its largest gold deposits with help from Russia. Venezuelan Mining Minister, Rodolfo Sanz, told a Russian delegation that a memorandum of understanding would be signed with the Russian-owned Rusoro to operate the Las Cristinas and Brisas mine projects with the Venezuelan government. The former, one of Latin America's largest gold projects, was under contract to Canada's Crystallex, which had waited in vain for years for an environmental license to start mining. The minister, however, said the government was taking control of the mine to start work in 2009.[5]

Further ties were in the offing when Chavez said an agreement for the Humberto Fernandez Moran Nuclear Facility would be signed upon Russian President Medvedev's visit to Venezuela accompanied by a Russian fleet of warships in mid-November 2008. Chavez also revealed that Russian nuclear technicians were already at work in Venezuela.[6]

As a Russian flotilla, including the nuclear-powered warship Peter the Great, was on its way to the Caribbean for naval exercises with Venezuela, analysts saw the move as a geopolitical response to US support for Georgia following the 2008 South Ossetia War. Russian fighter jets have also been sold to Venezuela, while Caracas bought 100,000 AK-103 assault rifles to replace outdated FN FAL rifles for its military. However, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov downplayed the relevance of such moves "It looks like everyone has been accustomed for a long time to our warships being in naval bases and our warplanes in hangars, and thinking it will be like that forever," Ryabkov stated.[7]

In September 2009 Russia approved a $2 billion loan to Venezuela.[8]

2010 by agreement between the Fund of Housing at the mayor of Moscow and the Ministry of Housing Venezuela Russian contractors taking part in the "Great Housing Mission" for the construction of a typical panel housing. According to, built about 10 thousand apartments in tenement houses. The project involves not only the construction of housing and infrastructure, but also the organization of nine joint ventures for the production of building materials.[9]

In October, 2010, Chavez visited Russia where he signed a deal to build Venezuela's first nuclear power plant as well as buy $1.6 billion worth of oil assets.[10]

On 6 October 2011, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin rushed to Caracas to get Chavez to commit to a $4 billion loan to purchase Russian weapons.[11] And for 2011, Venezuela was the top customer for Russia's arms for ground forces.[12]

Maduro era[edit]

Hugo Chávez died in March 2013. A special presidential election was held in April, which was won by Chávez's Vice President, Nicolás Maduro.

In July 2017, during the crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, in an article of Russia's Military-Industrial Courier, a journal popular with military officers of the Russian Armed Forces, in the event of a Venezuelan civil war, it was recommended that the Russian government provide military intelligence to the Bolivarian government, establish alliances with ALBA and to assist proxy leftist militant forces, such as colectivos, to maintain the Bolivarian government's power.[13]

Maduro was reelected for a second term in May 2018, but the result was denounced as fraudulent by most neighboring countries and the United States. Russia, however, recognized the elections and Russian president Vladimir Putin congratulated Maduro.[14]

In December 2018, Russia sent two Tupolev Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela. These jets are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The Russian and Venezuelan militaries later conducted joint military exercises.[15]

In January 2019, the majority opposition National Assembly declared that Maduro's reelection was invalid and declared its president, Juan Guaidó, to be acting president of the Venezuela. The United States, Canada, Brazil and several Latin American countries recognized Guaidó as interim president. Russia, however, continued to support Maduro.[16] A month later, Russia, along with China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for new presidential elections in Venezuela.[17]

Resident diplomatic missions[edit]

Embassy of Venezuela in Moscow
  • Russia has an embassy in Caracas.
  • Venezuela has an embassy in Moscow.

See also[edit]

  • "The Return of the Bear? Russian Military Engagement in Latin America: The Case of Brazil". Military Review. Dall'Agnol, A. C.; Zabolotsky, B. P.; Mielnieczuk, F. (2018).
  • Russians in Venezuela


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2012-03-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "BBC NEWS - World - Americas - Russian bombers land in Venezuela". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Venezuela, Russia discuss 46 cooperation projects_English_Xinhua". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Removed: news agency feed article". the Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Latin American Herald Tribune - Chavez Says Venezuela and Russia Will Build a Nuclear Reactor in Oil-Rich Zulia". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ "Russia lends Chavez $2bn for arms". Al Jazeera English. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  9. ^ "Россия и Венесуэла: от золота и нефти до танков и орхидей". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Chavez signs nuclear deal in Russia". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Russia to lend Venezuela $4 bln to pay for arms deals." RIA Novosti, 7 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Venezuela ranked top importer of Russian arms." RIA Novosti, 27 December 2011.
  13. ^ Beckhusen, Robert (30 July 2017). "How Russia Could Intervene in a Venezuelan Civil War". The National Interest. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Venezuela election: Fourteen ambassadors recalled after Maduro win". 22 May 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  15. ^ DeYoung, Karen; Faiola, Anthony (24 December 2018). "In Venezuela, Russia pockets key energy assets in exchange for cash bailouts". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Guaido vs Maduro: Who backs Venezuela's two presidents?". CNBC. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  17. ^ Wainer, David (28 February 2019). "Russia, China Veto UN Resolution Seeking Venezuela Elections". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 March 2019.

External links[edit]