Posted by: Dark Defender | September 9, 2008

Russia showboats with Venezuela

Having recently gone ballistic over the presence of a US command ship and a couple of destroyers, the Russian’s have wasted no time in retaliating by dispatching a SAG (centered on the Peter the Great , flagship of the Northern Fleet) to Venezuela to show the world how powerful they are and how they are not afraid of those mean ole Americans.


The only problem is this move, far from confirming a return to the Superpower status it enjoyed during the cold war, to the contrary what is shows is how diminished Russian power is compared to the “glory days” of the Soviet Union.


Despite some supportive statements from Chavez, Venezuela has failed to recognize Ossetian or Abkhazian independence.  Indeed everyone in the world with the exception of Cold War ally Oretga who’s running Nicaragua again no one has followed the Russian lead in recognizing Ossetia or Abkhazia.


Why? Because its not worth it for them, Russia is not the Soviet Union.  It is only one nation, a large powerful nation to be sure but it lacks the “Bloc” the Soviet Union had.  It simply cannot compete with the economic power of the US, EU or China.  Further it cannot compete with the US military, the idea that the Russian fleet, even a SAG centered on the powerful (but aging poorly) Peter the Great is going to defend Venezuela’s coast from the US is a non-starter.  


Simply put this entire operation is simply propaganda for domestic consumption.  To Chavez flirting with Russia to annoy the US and shore up domestic support is a jolly good time, as it is in reverse for Putin.  But the reality is a true strategic partner between the two would be in neither’s interest, as it simply couldn’t be backed up if push came to shove.  Not only could Russia not defend Venezuela if it had to, but it wouldn’t even try because it knows it would fail horribly. 


Chavez knows this and thus will never sell his soul to Russia completely, if he had as say by recognizing Ossetia and Abkhazia it would alienate the EU, piss off China (who afterall is not terribly keen on what Russia is doing) and provide the US with a virtual casus belli which would at a minimum assist it in isolating Chavez and containing his influence in Latin America.


So the bottom line on the deployment, its entirely for domestic consumption.  Chavez gets to beat his chest and tell his people they are sticking it to the US from behind the child of the mighty Russians.   Putin meanwhile gets to continue strutting on the world stage and most importantly distract the Russian people from the mounting costs of the Georgian invasion.



  1. The closest Russian naval base is some 10,000 miles away and i doubt the Russians have much logistics ability given they struggled to field 20,000 troops for the invasion of Georgia.

    I think Russian ships dispatched to Venezuela are probably going to serve as ‘hostages’ in the event of any US-Russian confrontation.

    All in all, a foolish move by Russia but maybe necessary to further cultivate Chavez as an annoyance to the US.

  2. […] vs. IBD So I was reading IBD today and saw an article which directly contradicted my earlier post dismissing the Russian-Venezuelan naval exercise as sheer propaganda intended for domestic […]

  3. […] I have previousy pointed out Russia is not as powerful as they are acting, its a show to hide their weakness.  I would imagine […]

  4. […] the strain already put on the Russian fleet by operations off of Georgia and the exercise with Venezuela.  Further I really question the state of the Black Sea Fleet given they had to call on a Baltic […]

  5. […] Oh right me.  Ive posted on how this was a symbolic political move rather than a military one, not once, but […]

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