Russia and Latin America

  • Online
  • 14:00-15:30 BST

In our next Canning Conversation, Michael Stott and a group of experts provide an overview of Russian interests and activity in Latin America, and assess the motives behind Russia’s engagement in the region.

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. In particular, it will address the following questions:

  • What are Russia’s political and economic ambitions in Latin America?
  • What is driving its interest in the region?
  • How does Moscow’s relationship with Latin American countries vary throughout the region?
  • In what way has the war in Ukraine had an impact on Russia’s relations with Latin America?
  • What is the view from Latin America - Is Russia’s presence a welcome alternative, or a worrying development?
  • What is the perspective from the US, and UK/EU on Russia’s increasing interest in the region?
  • What role do Russian oligarchs play?
  • Which industrial sectors are a priority for Russia?
  • How is Russia engaging with Latin American mining and agricultural sectors, and what impact is this having on the environment?
  • Could a new “Pink Tide” deepen Russian connections further?
  • Are there any links between Russian and Chinese ambitions and activities in the region?


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)


Please contact us with any questions about this event.

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