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Russia’s Rostec Pulls Plug on Maduro

Published: June 3, 2019
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Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Nicolás Maduro hasn’t paid Rostec, Russia’s state-controlled military contractor, for months, so the company is pulling the plug, according to the Wall Street Journal. That contractor has been providing vast military armaments and other materiel to Maduro’s regime, including Kalashnikov rifles, helicopters, tanks, and aerial defense systems. It has also, until recently, had about 1,000 technicians in place to train Venezuelan military personnel how to maintain that high-tech equipment. Now, said the Journal, that number has been reduced to just a few dozen.

U.S. sanctions, particularly on Maduro’s Central Bank of Venezuela, have made it all but impossible for the bank to sell off what remains of the country’s gold reserves to raise the cash to pay Rostec’s bills.

Wrote the Journal’s investigative reporter Thomas Grove: “A person close to the Russian government said Rostec weighed the political benefits of supporting Maduro against the regime’s growing economic liabilities, forcing the company to make a strategic decision on [its] ties with Caracas.” That person added: “They [Rostec] believe that the fight [to keep the Maduro regime functioning] is being lost.… Since the Venezuelans aren’t paying, why should Rostec stay there and foot the bill on its own?”

Rostec is also facing its own financial problems thanks to those same U.S. sanctions. Those sanctions have impacted pending deals with other countries as well as agreements with Maduro. Longstanding plans to build a Kalashnikov production facility in Venezuela have been canceled, along with other plans, as the company makes its exit. Kuwait has delayed its agreement to purchase T-90 tanks from Rostec while Indonesia has backed off on a deal to purchase Russian Su-35 fighters from the contractor. The Philippines announced that it was canceling plans to purchase a “package” of Russian arms and materiel from Rostec.



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