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Argentina Opens New Chapter in Relations with Russia

Recent series of multi-billion dollar deals significantly strengthens ties between the two nations

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April 23, (Sputnik) - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's historic visit to Moscow led to multi-billion-dollar energy deals as well as mutual support for foreign policy regarding Malvinas (Falklands) Islands and Ukraine.

"The visit is important because it strengthens already existing ties between Russia and Argentina. Ties which already have a certain history," Hugo Alberto Dragonetti, a representative of the Argentine government for infrastructural projects told Sputnik.

The visit is also a challenge to the United States, which has long treated Latin America as its backyard. As it repositions itself in the region, new difficulties could emerge for countries that have sought to free themselves from neoliberal dogmas. The visit also opens new ties for cultural cooperation between Russia and Latin America. 

Opening Doors

According to Faiano Mielniczuk, director of the Audiplo Institute and former head of the BRICS Policy Center, the deal also shows that Argentina is looking for new allies as its confrontation with the United States looms.

"Kirchner's visit shows Argentina's rather clear-cut position, going to a confrontation in relations with the US. Argentina seeks new ties to resolve its economic problems," Mielniczuk told Sputnik.

Mielniczuk believes that Russia is interested in an alliance with Argentina because it has been contributing to the idea of a multipolar world since the 1990s. Russia has been seeking partners in both hemispheres and even Latin America, long considered the United States' "backyard."

"During the 1990s, countries in the Western Hemisphere approached the US, which preached economic liberalism, but in the 2000s this tendency began to change, above all because of the failure of these policies. Latin American countries opened for Russian influence," Mielniczuk said.

To Mielniczuk, the clearest example of that is Venezuela, which began military cooperation with Russia. In this sense there is a complementarity in the relationship between Russia and Latin America, which Russia knowingly approaches.

Diplomatic Games

The visit also revealed old sores within Latin American politics. As Argentina recovers from its economic and political crises, Brazil faces anti-government protests that have been compared to a "color revolution."

"The US' attempts to counter Russia and China's advancement in the Western Hemisphere consist of building good ties with countries which were earlier examples of anti-Americanism. The rapprochement between the US and Cuba happens in this context,"  Mielniczuk said.

For Brazil, things are slightly different, as the country seeks a closer relationship with the United States. Mielniczuk believes that it is going against the course set by President Lula Da Silva because it believes that closer economic ties with the US are needed to end the economic crisis. 

"In the case of Argentina, the tendency is opposite. But the question is whether such an international position would hurt regional organizations such as MERCOSUR, which require the agreement of Brazil and Argentina, Mielniczuk added.

Cultural Exchange

According to Lucrecia Cardoso, the President of the Argentina National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA), Russia and Argentina have many things in common, and the new agreements will improve relations even more.

"We believe that this visit has huge potential for the integration of our cultures. Of course, this is based on both countries' histories,"  Cardoso told Sputnik.

This year marks 130 years since the establishment of cultural relations between Russia and Argentina. The two countries are also increasing cooperation in film-making and a new Russian-Argentine co-production premieres on Thursday.

"Our countries have a lot in common and after the signing of the new agreements, the relations between our two countries will strengthen even more"

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