Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to meet with his Uruguayan counterpart Francisco Bustillo in Moscow today. Under President
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to meet with his Uruguayan counterpart Francisco Bustillo in Moscow today.
Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has long sought to expand its economic and political influence over Latin America by building bilateral relations, increasing trade and investment ties and projecting military power. Moscow has particularly targeted countries in political transition; for example, it has responded to the crisis in Venezuela through disinformation campaigns and military arms deals in support of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
Similarly, Moscow has sought to capitalise on political upheaval and economic downturn in Uruguay. In November 2018, Uruguayans elected the country’s first conservative government in 15 years in response to a sluggish economy, increased costs of living and high crime. Since the election, Uruguay has experienced only a little over 5,000 COVID-19 cases and less than 100 deaths but, like its regional neighbours, has suffered from the global economic slowdown induced by the pandemic.
Therefore, expect Moscow to continue to take advantage of likeminded conservative governance and economic instability by offering Montevideo in the short- to medium- term financial support, bilateral trade deals in agriculture and infrastructure investment proposals.