Russian Reaction to Chavez’s Death

By Slava Tsukerman

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, in power for 14 years, died March 5th from cancer at the age of fifty-eight.

Russian media covered this event as the most important news in the world.

Openly anti–American, Hugo Chávez was one of the very few World leaders, who completely supported Putin’s foreign politics.

 

A theory is widely discussed In Russian media that Hugo Chávez’s death “could have been artificially provoked by CIA agents. Two leaders of the Russian parliamentary parties publicly supported this idea.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov demanded an international investigation of the death of the president of Venezuela. Zyuganov asks audience of TV channel Russia-24: “How could it happen that the six leaders of Latin American countries that opposed the policy of the United States, trying to create an independent and sovereign powerful block, suddenly get the same disease at the same time which killed Chavez?”
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Liberal Democrats’ leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky also did not rule out the artificial origin of the Chavez’s disease:

“You can not, by the way, disregard what Chavez himself repeatedly said – that all these are tricks of the U.S. secret services, artificially provoking the disease. Same thing happened with the presidents of the other Latin American countries. There is no epidemic of cancer in Latin American countries except where authorities have anti-American views.”

Deputy Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Senate Valery Shnyakin told reporters: “In recent years Russia and Venezuela have made ​​great arrangements, particular in the sphere of military-technical cooperation, but, because it was not supported by the Russian military presence in the region, our position could be under threat”.

The senator said that it was desirable to consolidate the Russian presence in the region following the example of the United States “which is not shy about placing military bases” in the former Warsaw Pact countries.

“If we put military bases in Venezuela, the forecast would be more favorable; but now our influence in the region is in question,” said Valery Shnyakin.  “Now Russia faces the important task to protect our presence and economic interests  in the Latin American region.”

Russian companies are involved in five projects for the extraction of oil in Venezuela. The largest of these is the development of field block Junin-6 in the Orinoco oil belt with a total planned investment of $ 20 billion. Venezuela is also one of the leading partners of the Russian Federation in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.

Russians do not believe that the interests of the Russian oil companies in Venezuela will be unaffected by a possible change of government in that country after the death of Hugo Chavez.  According to the survey conducted by the agency “Prime”, 75.9% of respondents believe that the interest may be affected.

Several proposals were made by the representatives of the Communist Party in different regions of Russia including Moscow  to re-name city streets in honor of Hugo Chavez. The authors of the proposals stressed the Venezuelan leader maintained a close relationship with President Vladimir Putin and was “a friend of the Russian people.”

“I think he was a great friend and partner of Russia, and he deserve to be honored”, said Duma member Duma Vadim Soloviev. The initiative will be discussed at their next meetings.

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Updated: March 8, 2013 — 9:26 pm
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