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Putin Heads to Latin America to Boost Ties

Published: July 11, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • The Kremlin said that a number of economic agreements are expected to be signed at the BRICS summit, including on establishing the BRICS Development Bank and Currency Reserve Pool.
    Photo: Kremlin.ru

President Vladimir Putin is to embark on a five-day visit to Cuba, Argentina and Brazil on Friday in an effort to strengthen Russia's ties with its Latin American partners amid political spats with the West.

Putin will first meet with Cuban President Raul Castro to discuss the extension of economic ties between the countries, before heading to Argentina and Brazil for bilateral talks and to attend the BRICS summit and the World Cup final.

Although Russia has fostered warm ties with Latin America since the Soviet era, Putin's visit has taken on more significance given Russia's fallout with the West over the annexation of Crimea and conflict in Ukraine.

"Putin's visit to Latin America in the current international context is a demonstration that Russia is seeing the world more broadly," said Boris Martynov, deputy head of research at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Latin America. "This visit shows the desire to create a multi-civilization world order."

In an address to Russia's ambassadors to foreign countries earlier this month, Putin said that "the unipolar world order had not come into being" and that nontraditional centers of power had been gaining influence on the international stage.

"Peoples and countries are raising their voices in favor of self-determination and civilizational and cultural identity, which conflicts with the attempts by certain countries to maintain their domination in the military sphere, in politics, finance, the economy and in ideology," he said in an apparent reference to Western countries.

Putin's visit follows Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's tour of Cuba, Nicaragua, Peru and Chile in May, at the height of clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Lavrov's visit was interpreted as an effort to court a region that has traditionally been viewed as the U.S.'s backyard amid a seemingly intractable dispute with the West.

Harking back to the strong ties between the region and the Soviet Union, two days ahead of Putin's arrival in Cuba, Russia's Federation Council ratified an agreement canceling 90 percent of Cuba's $35.2 billion debt to the Soviet Union, a deal Martynov said paved the way for "a world of possibilities" in the countries' bilateral relations. Putin will also visit with Fidel Castro, the 87-year-old legendary leader of the Cuban revolution who played a key role in forging his country's ties with the Soviet Union and with modern Russia.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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