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January 29, 2019 No.
7865

Russia In The World – Official Russian Reactions To The Venezuela Crisis – Russian FM Lavrov: The U.S. Interfered So Blatantly In Venezuela's Domestic Affairs That A Mueller-Type Commission Is Superfluous – Part I

On January 23, the Speaker of the Venezuelan Parliament and opposition leader Juan Guaido, 35 years old, declared himself president ad interim, during an opposition rally in Caracas. President Donald Trump, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro, Canada and several Latin American countries quickly recognized Guaido as acting head of state of Venezuela. EU countries (Spain, France, Germany and Britain) announced their readiness to recognize Guaido, unless elections are held within eight days.

In contrast, Russia, along with Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua and Turkey, accused the US of interference in Venezuela domestic affairs in gross violation of international law, stating that they continue to recognize the Maduro government as the sole legitimate government of Venezuela.

Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term on January 10, after being re-elected in the May 2018 elections. However, his re-election was considered illegitimate by the international community, as the elections were boycotted by the opposition and charges of vote rigging and fraud were rife.

A day before the swearing-in ceremony, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned "hotheads" in the US not to interfere in Venezuela's domestic policy:

"I view the attempts by the US to consolidate the anti-Chavez front [against Venezuela] from Latin American states with anxiety and concern, this is an alarming trend… Despite the harsh standoff, even the governments in Latin America, which have taken the most critical stance against Caracas, are excluding the option of military intervention into Venezuela's affairs. An attempt to use military force would be a catastrophic development...: "We warn 'hotheads' in Washington against such temptations."[1]

The Russian MFA commented on the swearing-in ceremony:

"On January 10, in Caracas, the swearing-in ceremony of Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela for the period 2019-2025 took place. The Russian delegation headed by Russia's Federation Council Deputy Speaker, Iliyas Umakhanov, attended the solemn event.

"It is worth remembering that Nicolas Maduro was elected for a new constitutional period during the presidential elections held on May 20, 2018 under unprecedented external pressure aimed at their prevention... in order to call into question the legitimacy of the popular will's manifestation. However, the elections highlighted the inconsistency of such hopes…

"The shameless policy of Washington that aims at unconstitutionally creating alternative government structures in Venezuela, attempts to recognize - while disregarding reality - some Venezuelan authorities as legitimate and others not... is an explicit attack against the sovereignty of Venezuela…"[2]

Maduro's reelection also received Russia's backing in word and deed at the highest level. On December 5, 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro held talks at Putin's Novo-Ogaryovo residence. During the meeting, Putin stressed that Russia condemns any attempts to change the situation by force in Venezuela. Maduro thanked Putin for his help and stated: "We have found the point that helps us survive and launch a rather full, comprehensive economic program that fully complies with the economic relations between Russia and Venezuela."[3]

Only a few days later, on December 10, 2018, two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers symbolically landed in Venezuela. The Russian defense ministry announced: "Two Tu-160 strategic bombers, an An-124 heavy military transport plane and an Il-62 long-haul plane of the Russian aerospace forces that took off from aerodromes in Russia have landed at the Maiquetia 'Simon Bolivar' International Airport of the Venezuelan capital city."[4]

Subsequently, the Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez divulged that the Russian warplanes that had arrived in Venezuela took part in joint flights with the Venezuelan air force.[5] The Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemsky voiced satisfaction that military-technical cooperation between the two countries is developing "very fruitfully."[6]

Below is an overview of Russian officials and policy makers' reactions to the Venezuela crisis:[7]


Vladimir Putin held talks with President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence on December 7, 2018. (Kremlin.ru, December 7, 2018)


(Kremlin.ru, December 7, 2018)

Kremlin Spokesperson Peskov: Maduro Is The Legitimate Head Of State Of Venezuela

On January 24, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responding to a question about the possibility that Russia would grant Maduro political asylum responded: "Mr. Maduro is the legitimate head of the state of Venezuela. Therefore such a question is out of place."

(Ria.ru, January 24, 2019)

Peskov also stated: "We consider the attempt to usurp supreme power in Venezuela to be contradictory and destructive to the foundations and principles of international law. This is the basis of our position."

(Ria.ru, January 24, 2019)

Peskov cautioned countries considering intervention: "We are attentively following the developments in Venezuela. We are very concerned about the statements that do not exclude some form of external interference, interference of third-party countries in the development of events, in the internal affairs of Venezuela. We consider such intervention inadmissible, capable of having extremely negative consequences. We consider words on use of force measures most dangerous."

(Ria.ru, January 24, 2019)

Putin's Phone Conversation With Maduro: The Internal Political Crisis Was Provoked From Outside The Country

On January 24, Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation with Maduro.

The Kremlin website reported: "The President of Russia expressed support for the legitimate Venezuelan authorities amid the worsening of the internal political crisis provoked from outside the country. He emphasized that destructive external interference is a gross violation of the fundamental norms of international law. He spoke in favor of searching for solutions within the constitutional framework and overcoming differences in Venezuelan society through peaceful dialogue.

"The President of Venezuela provided his assessment of the dangerous turn of events in his country in recent days and expressed gratitude for the principled stance taken by the Russian Federation.

"The presidents reaffirmed their shared desire to continue Russian-Venezuelan cooperation in a variety of areas."

(Kremlin.ru, January 24, 2019)

Russian MFA: We Urge The Sober-Minded Venezuelan Politicians Standing In Opposition To Maduro's Legitimate Government Not To Become Pawns In Other Players' Chess Game

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also commented:

"The events in Venezuela have reached a dangerous point.

"Failing to remove Nicolas Maduro, including physically, the extremist opponents of the legitimate government of Venezuela have opted for a highly confrontational scenario. The United States and several other countries in the region have recognized the opposition leader who has sworn himself in as Venezuela's interim president. This can only deepen the social divide in Venezuela, aggravate street protests, dramatically destabilize the Venezuelan political community and further escalate the conflict. The deliberate and obviously well-orchestrated creation of dual power and an alternative decision-making center in Venezuela is a direct path towards chaos and erosion of Venezuelan statehood. Several people have already died. We firmly condemn those who are pushing Venezuelan society into the abyss of violent civil discord.

"We regard Washington's unceremonious actions as yet another demonstration of its total disregard for the norms and principles of international law and an attempt to pose as the self-imposed master of another nation's future. The United States is clearly trying to apply a tried and tested regime change scenario in Venezuela.

"We are especially alarmed by the signals we have received from some capitals on the possibility of foreign military interference. We warn that such opportunism can have catastrophic consequences.

"We urge the sober-minded Venezuelan politicians standing in opposition to Nicolas Maduro's legitimate government not to become pawns in other players' chess game.

"We believe that political activity is only acceptable if it is pursued within the constitutional framework and in strict compliance with the national legislation. Of course, the people must be able to freely express their opinions, including through rallies, but only if they do so peacefully in a manner that will not provoke violence or, worse still, endanger public safety.

"Venezuelans alone have the right to determine their future. Any destructive foreign interference, especially amid the current tensions, is completely unacceptable. Incitement has nothing in common with a democratic process; it is a direct path towards lawlessness and violence.

"It is a mission of the international community to help promote understanding between the political opposition forces in Venezuela that respect national interests. We are ready to cooperate with all countries that share these views."

(Mid.ru, January 24, 2019)

Russian FM Lavrov: This Is Another Gross Interference In The Internal Affairs Of A Sovereign State

On January 24, during a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov answered a question about the situation in Venezuela:

Question: "On Wednesday, Juan Guaido, the former leader of the Venezuelan National Assembly, which had earlier been declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Venezuela, declared himself interim President. Several countries, the first of which was the United States, recognized Guaido as president within hours of the announcement. What is Russia's position on this matter? What would you say about such a prompt positive reaction by a number of countries?"

Sergey Lavrov: "… For this audience, I will say that this is another gross interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. As you may be aware, there has been more than one attempt to remove Nicolas Maduro from power, including by way of physical elimination.

"The fact that the United States and a number of other countries, primarily in that region, immediately recognized the self-proclaimed 'interim president,' is a telltale sign that they are directly involved in the artificial creation of a dual power situation, which is fraught with chaos and a major destabilization of the internal political situation.

"This is another confirmation of the fact that the United States, which is paranoid about someone interfering in its election process, without having any evidence on hand, has once again (this is not the first occurrence in recent months; it's that this time it is an extremely crude job in Venezuela) tried to act as the rulers of the destinies of other nations and interfered with their domestic affairs. There is no need to create any 'Mueller Commission' here.

"Of course, the signals that are coming from a number of capitals that an armed intervention from outside cannot be ruled out are of particular concern. We strongly urge abandoning such thoughts.

"We call upon the Venezuelan opposition, which, I hope, puts the country's national interests at the forefront, not to become pawns in someone else's very dirty and criminal game. It is imperative to stay within the constitutional framework and to respect the rights of the Venezuelans to determine their own future. The international community must help create proper conditions for a national dialogue, in which everyone is entitled to express their opinions. However, this should not be done in an atmosphere of violence or calls for the violent toppling of the legitimate government.

"In conjunction with other responsible states, we are ready to help create an environment where the Venezuelans will be able to start a dialogue based on their country's national interests."

(Mid.ru, January 24, 2019)

 

Russian MFA Spokesperson Zakharova: The West Disrespects International Law

During her visit to Algeria, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote in her Facebook account:

"The events in Venezuela clearly show how the progressive Western community really treats international law, sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, by manually changing the power there [in Venezuela]."

(Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, January 24, 2019)

In another post, Zakharova mocked French President Emmanuel Macron's support for the Venezuelan opposition against Maduro.

Zakharova wrote:

"Macron on the events in Venezuela: 'I salute the courage of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans marching for their freedom'

"The 'yellow vests' could become jealous - their President has never praised them even once."

(Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, January 24, 2019)

Russian MFA Spokesperson Zakharova Mocks Bolton's Typo On Twitter

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Zakharova on her FB account made fun of a typo made by US National Security Advisor John Bolton in his Twitter account, in which he misspelled Guaido's name as "Guiado", which in Spanish translates into "guided", "lead", "managed". Zakharova insinuated that it was not a mere typo, but a Freudian slip on Bolton's part.

Zakharova wrote:

"US National Security Advisor John Bolton, in his tweet regarding Venezuela, put the name of self-proclaimed 'president' of Venezuela Guaido as Guiado. There was no reason to pay attention to this typo, if one of the Spanish meanings of 'Guiado' would not be 'guided'."

(Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, January 28, 2019)


(Source: Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, January 28, 2019)

Zakharova was not finished with Bolton. On January 28, during a media briefing at the White House, National security adviser John Bolton appeared with a yellow pad with the handwritten words "5000 troops to Colombia".

Commenting on Bolton's note, Zakharova admonished the NSC chief in her Facebook account:

"John Bolton again. Following a presser on Venezuela, cameramen spotted a line in US National security adviser Bolton's notepad: '5000 troops to Columbia'.

"Many have hinted at a possibility of an American military intervention in Venezuela - it has been done by the US President and his administration officials with various degrees of shamelessness.

"The TV Channel NBC quoted three high ranking Pentagon officials saying that the US military command is not sending any troops to Columbia or Venezuela. According to NBC's sources, the US is not sending troops, military equipment or heavy armor to those countries. As always, there have been no official statements, but we still have hope. I will just remind that 'returning democracy to Venezuela', and if we call the things by their real name, the destabilization of the situation is being conducted from the Colombian territory.

"You might ask: what about non-interference in the domestic affairs of others- from cyber-security to elections - which is what the collective West has been so worried about in recent years. Nothing, this is how it is."

(Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, January 29, 2019)

Russian Deputy FM Ryabkov: To Resort To Military Power Would Be Catastrophic

In an interview with CNN, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called for dialogue to solve the crisis in Venezuela. Ryabkov said:

"Parties, opposition, the government in Venezuela should be given a chance to continue a dialogue. I know that situation is a dramatic one. But so what? Is it just because of this that others should go there and think of using military power? I think it would only deepen the crisis," Ryabkov said.

He also called on the international community to refrain from using force. Ryabkov stated: "We warn everyone not just the US but some others who may entertain these ideas from this type of action. The resort to military power would be catastrophic. It would be another huge blow to the international system. We face now a scenario that may lead to further bloodshed in Venezuela."

(Tass.com, January 25, 2019)

Russian PM Medvedev: Let's Imagine How The American People Would Respond To A Venezuelan-Style Change Of President In The US

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote in his Facebook page:

"Venezuela is experiencing the continuing breakdown of international law. Not only its norms, but also common sense are being ignored. It is obvious that Venezuela is in extreme distress. The responsibility rests with both the country's government, as well as those who impose sanctions against this nation.

"However, no one has the right to illegally remove from power the head of state who has just won an election, regardless of whether some countries or political forces like him as a person or not.

"We are witnessing as yet another head of state is being unconstitutionally 'elected' by the crowd out there in the streets, and a number of heads of state support this quasi government coup. They were very quick to respond, as if on cue.

"Let's imagine, just for an instant, how the American people would respond, for example, to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives declaring herself the new president against the backdrop of the budget crisis and government shutdown. What would be the reaction from the current US President, especially if this move was supported by the leadership of another country, for example Russia? But when it happens somewhere else, this is viewed as common practice, without any regard for propriety, international law, the sovereignty of other countries, and most importantly people's lives."

(Facebook.com/Dmitry.Medvedev, January 24, 2019)

Russia's Permanent Representative To The UN Nebenzia: 'We Are Advocating Any Dialogue That Might Resolve The Crisis

As the Venezuelan issue was discussed by the United Nations Security Council, Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, defended Russia's position at that body:

"Today in the UNSC we witnessed an attempt to abuse the prerogatives of the Council to legitimize the coup d'état in Venezuela. Venezuela is not on the agenda of UNSC, and it is not a threat to the international peace and security. The risks that exist are for Venezuela not from Venezuela. We made it clear in our statement.

"Secretary Pompeo in his statement said that there are only a few countries – Russia, Cuba, Iraq and Syria – who support Venezuela. That is not the case. You could see it during the meeting that the support to sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference according to UN Charter was overwhelming.

"The representatives of the EU countries were speaking in the Chamber about this absurd eight-day ultimatum.[8] I wonder, what genius invented that ridiculous formula. Why eight days? What is this deadline? This is not the way to resolve the crisis in Venezuela. We strongly object any external interference. What we need is to facilitate political process in Venezuela to resolve the crisis peacefully and to get country back to normal and peaceful condition."

Nebenzia then addressed the questions of the media:

Q: "Are you intending to protect Mr. Maduro in the case of military intervention or military action?"

A: "I don't think he needs our protection. He is the constitutional President. He has his army which is on the side of the Constitution and I think he is well protected."

Q: "Your Deputy Foreign Minister said that there is a possibility of bloodshed in Venezuela. Besides one of the questions the German Ambassador made to you is that you haven't answered about Venezuelan Government putting people in jail killing the protesters. What is your response to the Germans on that matter and could you explain the comments made by your Foreign Ministry."

A: "Violence is regrettable wherever it happens, but to stop it we need less incitement from the outside."

Q: "The US said that maybe they can use force in the case of any reaction against Guaido. If the military in Russia is planning to protect Maduro's regime…"

A: "These plans are completely unknown to me. If you have more information, then share it with me."

Q: "Are you preparing to use the military forces of Russia in the case of US use…"

A: "The US announced that there are all options on the table. Which is a hint to something more than what is happening now, this is dangerous in fact. If it evolves in to something more military it will be even more regrettable. We think that it should be avoided at any cost. We do not want to see any military intervention or confrontation and we want to avoid such scenario at any cost."

Q: "Has President Putin spoken to President Trump about Venezuela?"

A: "Not that I know."

Q: "Some countries may push at the UN to strip Maduro's Government off the UN."

A: "You cannot exclude anything, but there is only one legitimate government that credentials with the United Nations. To strip them of credentials cannot be done by designating another representative. He should be recognized not only by the Secretary-General to whom he presents credentials but, more importantly, by the General Assembly. We don't see any reasons for that because President Maduro's Government is legitimate, represented to the United Nations and that is the case today."

Q: "The dialogue would be the next step? We know that Uruguay and Mexico have suggested launching talks. Do you think that this process should be the way to go or you are advocating for the United Nations to try to use something else?"

A: "We are advocating any dialogue that might resolve the crisis. We welcome Mexico and Uruguay if offer serves that purpose. We said ourselves that if we are called for, we are ready to provide facilitation to calm the situation down and to bring about dialogue and understanding between the political forces in Venezuela."

(Russiaun.ru, January 26, 2019)


(Source: Twitter.com/RussiaUN?lang=en, January 26, 2019)

Russia's Position At The UNSC: The US Is Using Shameless And Aggressive Policies In Venezuela


Russian Ambassador to the Vassily Nebenzia (Source: Twitter.com/RussiaUN)

On January 26, The UN Security Council (UNSC) failed to reach an agreed wording for a joint statement, on the Venezuelan crisis.

During the UNSC meeting, Russian Ambassador to the UN Nebenzia strongly stressed that Russia cannot support the United States' positions and agenda in Venezuela.

Nebenzia noted in his speech: "Russia, unlike [the] US, does not have satellites. Venezuela is not our satellite. We do not use such terminology at all. We have never tried to force any country to act how we want, how we need it or how it is favorable for us."

Nebenzia added: "Shameless and aggressive actions by the United States and its allies aimed at overthrowing the legally elected president of Venezuela and carrying out a coup d'état in the country are the violations of all norms of International Law."

Nebenzia accused Maduro's opponents of incitement: "A number of countries ignore the sovereignty of Venezuela, imposing its solutions and denying its people the right to solve their own problems. They call upon the legitimate authorities to hand over power to the opposition. This is not a prevention. This is incitement."

Instead, Nebenzia championed dialogue: "We advocate any dialogue that might resolve the crisis in Venezuela. We welcome the offer made by Mexico and Uruguay if it serves that purpose. We said ourselves that if we are called for, we are ready to provide facilitation to calm the situation down."

(Twitter.com/RussiaUN, January 26, 2019)

Nebenzia charged that foreign powers and particularly the United States were exacerbating the situation in the country: "To resolve the crisis in Venezuela, we need to take a few steps. First, to stop foreign intervention. Second, to make every effort to launch intra-national dialogue and reconciliation. Third, to refrain from discriminatory economic measures against this country."

Nebenzia accused the US of single-mindedly attempting to discredit the Maduro government: "We strongly condemn those who are pushing Venezuelan society into the bloody civil strife. The US picture of the opposition of the 'Maduro regime' is far from reality. In spite of everything, the leader of Venezuela still enjoys the support of the population."

Nebenzia stated: "When an attempted coup d'état failed, the US began to destabilize the situation, including with the assistance of the Organization of American States [OAS], [and] some Venezuelan neighbors. Now we witness a culmination of these efforts timed to coincide with the inauguration of Venezuela's legitimate president...

"Washington has done everything in order to discredit the elections in Venezuela, cast a shadow on its authorities. There is evidence that opposition candidates were subjected to pressure so that they withdraw their candidatures and refuse to fight for the presidency."

Nebenzia stressed: "The US has not changed, and is not going to, their attitude towards Latin America as a zone of their exclusive interests, their 'backyard' where they can do everything they want without taking into account interests of the peoples living there."

Nebenzia mentioned: "We examine a typical case of what is called a threat to international peace and security created by the threat of use of force against a political independence of a state. Authors of the UN Charter included this warning there. But this book has not been opened in the US for a long time."

Nebenzia stressed: "This UNSC meeting was convened by the US for the sole purpose of continuing to destabilize the situation in Venezuela, imposing its own approaches and recipes to resolve its problems. This is another element of the US strategy of regime change in Venezuela."

During the UNSC session, Russian Ambassador Nebenzia also asked Secretary of State of the United States Michael Pompeo if the US is ready to use military force "against a sovereign state under a bogus pretext." "In this room we need a clear answer. Does Washington plan to once again violate the UN Charter?" Nebenzia said.

(Twitter.com/RussiaUN, January 26, 2019)

Following its discussion the UNSC, by a procedural vote of 9 in favor (Belgium, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, United Kingdom, United States) to 4 against (China, Equatorial Guinea, Russian Federation, South Africa), with 2 abstentions (Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia), adopted the Provisional Agenda on Venezuela despite Russia's objections.

(Un.org, January 26, 2019)


(Source: Twitter.com/RussiaUN, January 26, 2019)


(Source: Twitter.com/RussiaUN, January 26, 2019)


(Source: Twitter.com/RussiaUN, January 26, 2019)

Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative To The UN Polyansky: Nothing To Do With Democracy - A Mere Regime Change And Intrusion In Internal Affairs Of This Country

Nebenzia was seconded in the UN battle by his deputy Dmitry Polyansky, who tweeted: "After the meeting US intentions to overthrow legitimate government of #Venezuela with silent consent of its satellites has become crystal clear. Nothing to do with democracy - a mere regime change and intrusion in internal affairs of this country. #HandsoffVenezuela."

(Twitter.com/Dpol_un, January 26, 2019)

In another tweet Polyansky criticized the Latin American states that had sided with Washington: "If US wanted to illustrate by calling the #UNSC meeting on #Venezuela that Council and the whole world is bitterly divided on this issue, the goal is attained. Especially painful to see exposed lack of Latin American unity. A very awkward and unfortunate move #HandsoffVenezuela"

(Twitter.com/Dpol_un, January 26, 2019)

(Source: Twitter.com/Dpol_un, January 26, 2019)

Polyansky criticized the appointment of Elliott Abrams as US special envoy to Venezuela as symbolic and menacing: "There are many indications that the US has charged with new #Venezuela policy the person who planned and masterminded coup against Chavez in 2002. Any questions about real intentions of Washington in this crisis? #VenezuelaCoup #HandsoffVenezuela"

(Twitter.com/Dpol_un, January 26, 2019)


(Source: Twitter.com/Dpol_un, January 26, 2019)

Russian Permanent Mission To OSCE: The US Violated The Helsinki Final Act's Principle Of Non-Interference

Russian Permanent Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)  tweeted the following:

"We condemn attempts by #USA to topple legitimate government of #Venezuela. That's a blunt violation of Helsinki Final Act's principle of non-interference into internal affairs."

(Twitter.com/RF_OSCE, January 24, 2019)

Senator Kosachev: The US Is Responsible For Escalation Of Violence In Venezuela

The chairman of the Russian Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev warned: "Political confrontation can escalate into a civil war with grave consequences, the responsibility for this will be borne by the US and its allies."

(Ria.ru, January 24, 2019)

Kosachev also claimed that American intervention in Venezuela was part and parcel of its disastrous interventions elsewhere: "Washington is arrogantly meddling in other countries' affairs… They have done this in Middle Eastern countries such as Libya and Iraq. Now the same scenario is being played out in Venezuela."

(Tass.com, January 24, 2019)

Senator Pushkov: The US's Weak Point Is Venezuela's Popular Support For Maduro

Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov wrote in his Twitter account: "Venezuela's Parliament speaker and opposition leader declared himself the acting president, thus undermining Maduro's authority. In the US, the House Speaker and opposition leader blocks Trump's State of the Nation address, thus undermining Trump's authority. What an irony of modern politics."

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, January 23, 2019)

Pushkov wrote: "If in Washington they decided that with the appearance of a self-proclaimed head of state the current government would fall apart, then it miscalculated. Yet the US will not retreat so easily and will inflame the crisis. The US's weak spot is the support for Maduro by the country's population."

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, January 24, 2019)

Pushkov tweeted further: "Paraguay's president rushed to recognize a man, whose last name he barely knows, as Venezuela's president. Anyway, what's the difference? They've decided in Washington to appoint a guy as an acting president. US vice-president Pence has given him a call to inform him. Does it really matter what his name is?"

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, January 24, 2019)

Russian MP Slutsky: The US Hopes To Break Down A Latin American Strongholds Resisting The Concept Of Unipolar World

The chairman of the Russian State Duma's International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky said that US recognition of Venezuelan parliament speaker Juan Guaido as interim president constituted"flagrant interference into the internal affairs of another country and imposition of US hegemony."

Slutsky then added: "The US continues its policy of external pressure and interference into the affairs of sovereign states. Now it is Caracas's turn... It does not look like protecting democracy at all. This instead represents another forceful imposition of US hegemony and scrapping of unwanted regimes… Only the Venezuelan people should decide who will be the country's president, and they should decide it only via elections… As we know, on January 10 President Nicolas Maduro was inaugurated and became the legitimate head of state. However, the US continues to bet on the opposition leader with manic persistence as they believe he will replace Maduro and lead Venezuela on a pro-US course. Thus, the US hopes to break down one of the few remaining Latin American strongholds of resisting the concept of unipolar world."

(Tass.com, January 24, 2019)

MP Shamanov: Americans Have Once Again Shown Their True Colors

State Duma Defense Committee Chairman Vladimir Shamanov stated: "Thank God, there are some sensible leaders - in Mexico, Bolivia and Cuba - who expressed support for the elected president [Maduro] … However, the Americans have once again shown their true colors and they seek to achieve their goals by all means, stooping to anything."

(Tass.com, January 24, 2019)

Russia's MFA: Behind The EU Countries' Ultimatum, The US' Conducting Baton Is Clearly Visible

While the bulk of Russian attacks were concentrated at the Americans, the Europeans and Canada also came in for their share of criticism. Commenting on the 8-day ultimatum submitted to Maduro by the UK, France, Spain, and Germany, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented:

"The events relating Venezuela are arousing increasing concern.

"From a series of European capitals comes the information about the submission of ultimatums to the legitimate authorities of Caracas, to organize within a period of 8 days 'democratic, clean and transparent' elections. These demands are accompanied by the threat of recognizing the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the new head of state.

"It is striking that these releases have appeared several hours before the US convened discussion of the situation in Venezuela at the UN Security Council, that is, they have been synchronized and orchestrated. Behind all this, the 'conducting baton' of Washington is clearly visible.

"These events only exacerbate the internal political situation in Venezuela, a country with which we maintain friendly relations. From the outside the situation is being deliberately heated up, the most radical spirits are being encouraged. A cynical and overt meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign State continues. It is essential to put a stop to it.

"For our part, we confirm the willingness to facilitate the search for mutual understanding between the responsible political forces of Venezuela to reach a reciprocal understanding in order to guarantee peace and tranquility in the country, and to fulfill the pressing socio-economic tasks as soon as possible. We are ready to cooperate with other states that share this approach."

(Mid.ru, January 26, 2019)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova also criticized the ultimatum on her Facebook account:

"And here comes the chorus:

"SPAIN WILL RECOGNIZE GUAIDO AS PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA IF MADURO WILL NOT CALL ELECTIONS WITHIN EIGHT DAYS - THE PRIME MINISTER SAID

"FRANCE IS READY TO RECOGNIZE GUAIDO AS PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA IN CASE ELECTIONS IN THE COUNTRY WILL NOT BE CALLED WITHIN EIGHT DAYS - MACRON

"GERMANY IS READY TO RECOGNIZE GUAIDO AS THE HEAD OF VENEZUELA IF MADURO WILL NOT CALL ELECTIONS WITHIN 8 DAYS - THE CABINET OF GERMANY

"Statements are made not that are not only identical, but even simultaneous."

(Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, January 26, 2019)

Russian Embassy In Canada: The US Follows The Monroe Doctrine

While most of Russia's criticism was leveled at the United States, Canada and European countries also were targeted for their position on Venezuela. On January 26, the Russian Embassy in Canada commented on its Twitter account: "No outcry or condemnation of direct meddling into internal affairs of #Venezuela by aiding anti-government opposition. 'Quiet diplomacy' is actually part of #US efforts to overthrow legitimate foreign government in notorious Monroe Doctrine replay."

(Twitter.com/russianembassyc, January 26, 2019)


(Source: Twitter.com/russianembassyc, January 26, 2019)

State Duma Speaker Volodin: Facebook Acts Illegally

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin criticized Facebook for depriving Maduro's account of the blue checkmark verification icon, while allowing Guaido to have one:

"Facebook astonished everyone most of all. Facebook verified the president's official account, by placing a checkmark on the account of the parliament speaker. It all is surprising of course when such a large social media network that asserts its independence, acts utterly illegally, bending to Washington's will. Following Trump's statement, Facebook put a verification icon on the president of the parliament's account."

(Tass.com, January 24, 2019)


(Vk.com/politics_today)

 

 

[1] Tass.com, January 9, 2019.

[2] Mid.ru, January 11, 2019.

[3] Kremlin.ru, December 5, 2019.

[4] Tass.com, December 10, 2018.

[5] Tass.com, December 10, 2018.

[6] Tass.com, December 11, 2018.

[7] See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7832, Russian Expert Frolov: A Russian Military Base In Venezuela Does Not Make Any Sense, January 6, 2019.

MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6903, Russia's Support For The Venezuelan Regime – An Update, May 2, 2017.

MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6926, Russia To Become Second-Largest Foreign Owner Of U.S. Domestic Refineries, If Venezuela Defaults, May 16, 2017.

MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6906, Russia In The World – Russia-Latin America Relations, May 4, 2017.

[8] See Maduro rejects Europe ultimatum, Euronews.com, January 27, 2019.