Russia now only has a couple of dozens of people left in Venezuela, down from the high of 1,000. Rosetec who handled the most people in Venezuela found that Maduro could no longer pay them and they have abandoned the country.
Russia is facing a tough time at home, thanks to the sanctions the US has imposed on them and they simply can’t afford to subsidize a dying regime. The pullout was swift over the past couple of months and losing their support is a huge blow to the Maduro regime. Things could easily snowball from here.
Russian state defense contractor Rostec, which has trained Venezuelan troops and advised on securing arms contracts, has cut its staff in Venezuela to just a few dozen, from about 1,000 at the height of cooperation between Moscow and Caracas several years ago, said a person close to the Russian defense ministry.
Russia has been among Maduro’s biggest international supporters, but the winding down of Rostec’s presence shows the limits of Russia’s reach in the South American country at a time when Moscow is facing economic difficulties—in part due to the impact of U.S. sanctions—at home. Venezuela has been one of Moscow’s largest customers in South America.
Rostec’s withdrawal of permanent and temporary employees is a major setback for Maduro, who has frequently touted assistance support from Russia and China as a sign that other global powers are willing to assist him in his bitter standoff against the U.S. Russian military support has been central to Mr. Maduro’s pledge to defend Venezuela from any foreign invasion.
His government’s inability to pay Rostec also reflects the economic calamity gripping the country. The Maduro government didn’t respond to a request for comment.