Canning Conversations

Russia and Latin America

with Michael Stott

Over the past two centuries, Russia’s relations with Latin America have been patchy. Priorities closer to home, and competition from other powerful states meant that Russian interest in the region remained limited for a most of the nineteenth century. With the exception of isolated - albeit significant - incidents, the Cold War saw little advancement in the USSR’s hemispheric relations with most of the region, and the years that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union remained uneventful as Russia had its own domestic priorities to attend to.

However, in recent years the mood music between Russia and many Latin American states beyond just Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, has changed significantly. The COVID-19 pandemic provided Moscow with an opportunity to provide Sputnik vaccines as part of its vaccine diplomacy charm offensive, and whilst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have been condemned by many states in Latin America, there were some noticeable abstainers from the region. This begs the question: What is the current state of play regarding Russia’s relations with Latin America and how is it likely to evolve in the coming years?

This event will provide an overview of Russian interests and activity in Latin America, and assess the motives behind Russia’s engagement in the region, taking into consideration its political and economic ambitions, defence and security matters, as well as the motives of Latin American states for fostering closer ties with Moscow.


Chair: Michael Stott

Latin America Editor, The Financial Times

Maximilian Hess

Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute

Sandra Weiss

International Politics and Society Journal

Oliver Stuenkel

Associate Professor, School of International Relations, Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV)

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