What is Russia’s strategy towards Venezuela?

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MOSCOW – Apr 2, 2019 @ 21:37 – Although the Americans have failed to overthrow the Nicolas Maduro administration, Washington still has plenty of resources to deal with the undesirable president. Russia, for its part, continues to support the legitimate Venezuelan government. Russian political scientist Gevorg Mirzayan explained what lies behind Russian policy in Venezuela.

In his article for Expert magazine, Gevorg Mirzayan stresses that the US strategy in Venezuela is based on exploring the errors of the economic policy of the Venezuelan authorities, which are possibly aggravated by certain actions of the American saboteurs.

Mirzayan revealed that it is not so important to know what caused the blackout – the lack of investment in infrastructure or the actions of hackers or shooters – it has already done a great deal of damage to the country’s economy. According to several data, each blackout day costs 200 million dollars for the Venezuelan economy.

In addition, to achieve its goal, the US uses international pressure and unilateral sanctions, for example, US companies are prohibited from trading Venezuelan oil (a significant part of Venezuelan oil is supplied to the US and could be refined only in special refineries in the USA). The Venezuelan economy is weak, depends on imports and has practically no sources of external financial aid.

Meanwhile, Russia, while “does not plan to finance Maduro’s government, it pretends to be ready to defend it,” the analyst said. Recently, two An-124 and Il-62 aircraft from the Russian Armed Forces arrived in Caracas, in addition to about a hundred military personnel and 35 tons of cargo.

Moscow has stated that they are Russian military specialists who are in Venezuela legally to participate in the maintenance of Russian military equipment previously supplied to that country.

However, Washington dramatized the situation. The Americans accused Russia of “reckless escalation” of the situation. The Organization of American States supported the US, calling the Russian military “an instrument of repressive intimidation” and criticized Moscow for cooperating with a “usurping regime.” As the author recalls, US President Donald Trump even stated that “Russia must leave” Venezuela, adding that all options are being evaluated.
But what is the purpose of Russia’s policy towards Venezuela? Mirzayan says it is not a question of saving Maduro’s government.

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“The minimum program is to strengthen Russia’s prestige in Third World countries,” he said. “The program is to force the United States to review Russian-American relations.”

For Mirzayan, by shielding Venezuela from a perceived threat of intervention, Russia is trying to gain political points in Third World countries and demonstrate that it does not abandon its partners, even if they are almost ten thousand kilometers from Moscow.

“In addition, showing its readiness to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, the Kremlin can show Washington that it has limited resources, as well as that certain countries can act ‘in the backyards’ of others,” said the political scientist.

Possibly, this step will make the US more cautious in its actions in the neighboring countries of Russia, for example in Ukraine. The analyst recalled the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962 made Washington revise its decision on the installation of nuclear weapons in Turkey.

At the same time, Mirzayan points out that the actions of current US President Donald Trump are out of line with common logic and behavioral patterns. Trump acts asymmetrically, thinking only of the result – not so much the overthrow of Maduro as the demonstration to all Latin American countries of who is a real owner in the region.

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