The New Face of Russia’s Relations with Brazil

Defense Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim, receives his counterpart from Russia, Sergei Shoigu, during bilateral meeting in Brasilia.

Defense Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim (L), receives his counterpart from Russia, Sergei Shoigu, to bilateral meeting at the Defense Ministry in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, on October 16, 2013. Shoigu’s visit included an attempt to win a $4 billion deal to supply 18 fighter jets.

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 2, No. 5, May 2014.

By Matthew Michaelides


Bilateral trade, high level personal communication, and military-technical relations between Russia and Brazil have all grown significantly over the past decade. Recent weapons sales to Brazil include a $150 million contract for MI-35 helicopters in 2009 and a 2012 deal for seven Ka-62 helicopters. Moreover, the Russian defense ministry has indicated its intention to increase Russian military capacity in Brazil and Latin America more broadly. This paper examines the causes for the increasing depth of Russian-Brazilian military-technical relations and concludes that informal patronage politics play an essential role in understanding Russian actions. A detailed analysis of contemporary Russian-Brazilian relations and existing theoretical perspectives is provided, as well as a thorough examination of recent Russian arms and equipment sales from the informal patronage politics perspective.


The Crimean crisis has brought with it a number of startling results. The ruble has plummeted, endangering current investments in the country, while prospective investments in Russia should be viewed as incredibly risky – although potentially very lucrative – given the volatile political climate. From a broader perspective, this all points in one direction: the political and financial stakes of an adequate reading of Russian foreign policy are higher than they have been in decades. Whether one is considering investing in Russia, in countries with which Russia does significant business, or in other countries in the post-soviet space, the ability to predict Putin’s next move is invaluable.

Unfortunately, existing theories don’t seem to help with this task. It is difficult to understand the Russian invasion of Crimea as being in Russia’s national interest; indeed, many experts have made just the opposite argument.[1] Arguments that emphasize the role of the collective memory of Russians of the Soviet Union’s glory days are slightly more convincing in this case, but still fail to address why Crimea spiraled out of control when they did.[2]

This paper addresses this debate about Russian foreign policy using the test case of Russian-Brazilian military-technical relations. Ultimately, I argue that informal political patronage networks are essential to a proper understanding of Russian actions in the Russian-Brazilian relationship. In this way, I put forward a new theory for understanding Russian foreign policy outputs towards Brazil that challenges the dominant theoretical perspectives.

While at present the Brazil relationship is not one of Russia’s strongest and most enduring partnerships, it should not be evaluated on the present alone. Indeed, over the past decade the social, political, and economic ties between Brazil and Russia have grown tremendously. Currently, the Russian-Brazilian relationship is the largest of any bilateral trade relationship between Russia and a Latin American country, and most experts expect that the volume of trade between the two countries to grow, particularly because of their joint membership in the BRIC coalition.[3] This strengthening in economic ties has also been accompanied by an increase in social ties, most notably in the flurry of presidential and prime-ministerial visits between the two countries since the early 2000s. In addition, military and technical cooperation have appeared to allow economic cooperation between the two countries to ease into what some have dubbed as more substantial “strategic” cooperation.[4] Indeed, in October 2005, Presidents Putin and Lula signed the bilateral Brazil-Russia Strategic Alliance agreement. Most recently, Brazil has been notable in its willingness to take a conciliatory tone on Russia’s breach of international law in Ukraine.[5] In late March, it abstained from UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262, which condemned the Russian seizure of Crimea.

Within this growing relationship, military-technical cooperation must be the most useful test-case for evaluating the determinants of Russian foreign policy. Unlike other areas of potential cooperation, military-strategic cooperation has the potential to be determined by economic interests, military-strategic interests, and/or informal patronage networks. Thus, evaluating the foreign policy relationship within a case in which all of these variables can have explanatory power ensures the validity of my results and protects against omitted variable bias.

The argument of this paper unfolds in four parts. First, I give a brief summary of Russian-Brazilian relations in the Putin era. Then, I examine the two dominant theoretical perspectives on Russian foreign policy towards Brazil, before outlining my own hypothesis and interpretations. Finally, I offer conclusions and projections about the future of the Russian-Brazilian relationship and Russian foreign policy at-large.

Russian-Brazilian Relations

More than anything else, Russian relations with Brazil in the Putin era have been characterized by trade and increasing amounts of it. While Russian-Brazilian relations can be traced back to the 19th century, it was not until 2001 that the two countries first reached $1 billion in annual bilateral trade.[6] Since then, trade growth has only continued, albeit with a drop following the worldwide financial crisis that, at $6.5 billion in bilateral trade, had nearly been recovered in 2011.[7] The vast majority of Brazilian exports to Russia – some 94% of the total – are agricultural, including beef and wheat.[8] Russian exports to Brazil, while more diverse than imports, are still about 65% fertilizers. Metals and high-tech machinery and equipment register significantly at 12% and 11% of the total, respectively.[9]

While the balance of trade clearly favors Brazil, given that Brazilian exports to Russia outnumber Russian exports to Brazil, the trade relationship still has the beneficial aspect of allowing Russia to export industrial products in exchange for primary, agricultural products.[10] This helps Russia support its coveted high-tech industries, including its defense and nuclear power sectors.

Until 2011, investment between the two countries did not appear to be growing with the high levels of bilateral trade. For example, in 2008, one of the best years for bilateral trade, total investment between the two countries (Russia in Brazil and Brazil in Russia) totaled less than $25 million.[11] Since then, however, a few important projects have boosted Brazilian-Russian investment. In 2011, Gazprom opened a representative office in Rio de Janeiro. Also in 2011, Russian billionaire Igor Zyuzin (owner of Russian steelmaker and coal producer OAO Mechel) arranged an $800 million joint venture with Brazilian iron producer Usina Siderurgica do Para.[12] TNK-BP and Brazilian HRT Participações em Petróleo are also jointly producing oil and gas from fields in the Amazon, and in 2011 Rosoboronexport engaged in talks with the Brazilian government about a joint venture to produce light-armor police vehicles (although it is unclear whether the project materialized).[13]

Along with this tremendous rise in trade and investment between the two states has come a sharp increase in high-level personal communication. The first presidential visit came in 2002 when Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso visited Russia. Under Lula da Silva, the vibrancy of exchange and interstate communication continued to grow, with especially important state visits occurring in 2004 and 2005. President Dilma Rousseff participated in two important visits including one with President Putin in Russia in December 2012 and another with Prime Minister Medvedev in Brasilia in February 2013. Furthermore, in October 2013 Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu led a Russian delegation to Brazil.

In this broader context of increasing bilateral trade and communication, military-technical cooperation has come to the fore in the relationship. While this relationship did not begin to grow as the general bilateral trade relationship, Russia has made large inroads on supplying military-technical equipment to Brazil since 2008. For instance, in 2009 Russia and Brazil signed a $150 million contract through which Russia would supply Brazil with twelve MI-35 helicopters.[14] Another seven Ka-62 helicopters were procured from the Russian corporation Russian Helicopters by Brazil’s Atlas Taxi Area Company in December 2012.[15] More recently, the two governments have discussed weapons agreements for the Russian Pantsir-1 air defense systems and fighter jets, in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games set in Rio de Janeiro.[16] The Pantsir-1 deal alone is estimated to be worth about $1 billion to the Russian side.[17]

The two governments have also been in talks for years about the possibility of building one or more Russian-built Brazilian nuclear plants.[18] The initial plan was scrapped in 2011 following the Fukushima disaster, as was the case for nuclear projects in many Latin American countries; however, more recently, Brazilian officials have announced their renewed interest in nuclear technology. In particular, a Brazilian state energy plan overseen by Eletrobras calls for the construction of four to eight nuclear plants by 2030 to complement the two active nuclear reactors, Angra-1 and Angra-2, and a third, Angra-3, that is under construction. Moreover, Electronuclear President Othon Luiz Pinheiro has publicly stated his belief that the Russian-built reactors would feature better safety mechanisms than those of the Fukushima plant, one of the chief concerns among many Latin American governments with building nuclear power plants.[19] And, in early 2014, concrete steps towards a Russian-built nuclear plant had been made when Rosatom announced that it planned to open an office in Rio de Janeiro, near Electronuclear.[20] Thus, going forward, it seems likely that Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation, will be contracted to build at least one of the reactors.

One point of contention in the military-technical complex between the two countries came in 2008. At the time, Lula da Silva had authorized a 53% increase in defense spending primarily to address domestic security threats, particularly those related to drug-trafficking in the Amazon and the protection of the newly-discovered offshore Tupi oil reserves.[21] These needs prompted the Brazilian Ministry of Defense to place the acquisition of nuclear-power submarines as a high priority. While Russia was among the first to place a bid for the project, they were ultimately unsuccessful, with the 2008 contract going to the French. According to then-Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, one notable reason for the failure of the negotiations with Russia was a perception that the Russians were “scared” of pursuing a nuclear technology transfer to the Brazilian side.[22] Since then, the issue of technology transfers – with Brazil demanding the transfers of information and production rights, while Russia has hesitated in many cases to comply – has continued to add some tension to the military-technical relationship between the two countries. Still, it is notable that other military-technological exchange between the two countries has grown dramatically even in the aftermath of the Brazilian-French deal and tension over technology transfers. In fact, according to Russian Technologies, weapons deliveries to Brazil from Russia from 2008-2012 totaled $306.7 million, a sharp increase over the total of less than $100 million from 2000-2010.[23]        

Theoretical Perspectives

There are two scholarly perspectives on contemporary Russian foreign policy towards Brazil. Of course, given the strength of the economic relationship between Russia and Brazil, both of these views assume the importance of trade and, to a lesser degree, investment. Where they differ lies in the role of these economic interactions in the broader Russian-Brazilian relationship.

The economic hypothesis of Russian foreign policy towards Brazil argues that the relationship is based on the Russian state’s interest in expanding trade abroad in all countries. From this perspective, Brazil is an important partner of the Russian state solely because of economic benefits of the relationship. The key argument in this hypothesis is that there is no underlying strategic basis for the economic relationship for a few reasons. First, it argues that the geographic distance between Brazil and Russia makes strategic considerations a far less significant part of the relationship between the two countries. As most analysts would point out, Russia’s core security interests lie in its near abroad. Thus there are few, if any, repercussions of Latin American regional security on Russian security. Second, as W. A. Sanchez points out in his assessment of Russian relations with Latin America, Russia is generally willing to sell weapons to any country that has the money to pay for them.[24] In this sense, weapons sales to Brazil do not occupy a special geostrategic position for the Russian state. This economic perspective on Russian foreign policy towards Brazil stresses that while military-technical trade may be part of the economic relationship, the motivations behind such trade are no different than they are for any other commodity.

The alternative geostrategic hypothesis, however, disputes the point that Russian economic interests in Latin American do not underlie a broader strategy towards the region.[25] Indeed, it suggests that these economic interests in Brazil, and in Latin America more generally, are a way for Russia to gain influence in the Latin American region, particularly at the expense of the United States. These theorists typically point to a lack of concrete and consistent U.S. policy towards Latin America throughout the first decade of the 21st century as an invitation to Russia to cultivate influence in the region.[26] In the Brazilian case, trade with Russia increased dramatically in the first few years of this period – from $1 billion in bilateral trade in 2001 to over $6.5 billion in 2008.[27]

The recent October 2013 visit by Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu to Brazil provides one example of how this perspective could work in practice. The diplomatic and trade mission included an attempt by the Russian defense industry to challenge a $4 billion deal that had almost been completed between Brazil and Boeing for 18 fighter jets. The opportunity to jump into the deal came as the deal between Boeing and the Brazilian government stalled under the revelations of extensive spying on Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff by the NSA.[28] In other words, the NSA’s spying gave the Russians an opportunity to encroach on traditional U.S. influence in the region. John C. K. Daly similarly argues that Russian-Brazilian nuclear relations have grown in recent years because of poor and unstructured U.S. foreign policy towards Latin American under President George W. Bush.[29] More recent evidence for this position has come in statements by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Russia intends to expand its permanent military bases into Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.[30] Thus, the geostrategic theory suggests that in these cases and others Russia has acted and will act opportunely to swipe influence from the United States in Brazil and in Latin America more generally. Rather than being the explicit goal of Russian foreign policy, trade is merely a tool for garnering influence in the Latin American region.

The Informal Politics Hypothesis

This paper finds that the above theoretical debate to a great degree misses the point: both hypotheses fail to account for the role of domestic politics in the determination of foreign policy. Given what scholars know about the importance of patronage politics in domestic policy-making, it is only logical for such a system to stretch into foreign policy decision-making as well.[31]

Take, for instance, the highly publicized long-term animosity between Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and head of Rosneft Igor Sechin. Each of these powerful Russians is intimately affiliated with a group of politically interested individuals: Medvedev is a key member in the Gazprom-affiliated St. Petersburg liberal faction, while Sechin is among the most dominant members of the siloviki, a group of individuals associated with the Russian security services and that support Gazprom rival Rosneft. The dislike of Medvedev and Sechin for one another is long-standing and emblematic of a deeper struggle for power between the two competing groups.

On one level, this tension has had immediate results in the domestic sphere. After becoming president in 2008, Medvedev publicly demoted Sechin from his position as deputy chief of staff to deputy prime minister. Then, in 2011 Medvedev’s government produced the passage of a law that would force Sechin to step down from his position as chairman of the Board of Directors at Rosneft. Since then, Sechin appears to have gained the upper hand in the competitions after, for example, Putin allowed him to acquire the board chairman position at Rosneftegaz. Thus, on the domestic level, one could argue quite easily that political and business appointments are intimately influenced by a system of patronage networks in which Medvedev and Sechin have found themselves at odds because of their affiliations in competing patronage groups.

At the same time, the informal patronage politics hypothesis is important, because it offers the theoretical framework for expanding the results of these political competitions to the international stage. For instance, in Iran, Putin’s recent favoring of Sechin over Medvedev has meant that Rosneft – and not Gazprom – was allowed to win a $2.9 billion purchase agreement of Itera Oil & Gas. And, broadly speaking, Russian foreign policy to Iran writ-large has reflected Iran’s role as a potential competitor of both Rosneft and Gazprom in the international oil and gas markets.[32] Similarly, Russian actions towards the Iranian nuclear energy program appear to have been derived more from the commercial interests of the elite Russians involved in the project.[33] In this sense, under the informal patronage politics theory, the ability of elite individuals in Russian government and business to gain financially is a key variable for understanding how Russian foreign policy is developed. Here, I build upon this framework for understanding Russian foreign policy in the Russian-Brazilian case.

Given the difficulty in drawing specific conclusions about the actions of top Russian officials behind closed doors, the informal patronage politics hypothesis uses other, more observable metrics to discern the influence of informal patronage networks on foreign policy outputs. To that end, three key predictions should be observed in Russia’s foreign policy-making.[34] Prediction (1) is that all interactions with other officials, even outside of the patronage network, will be perceived as planes of competition or network-building. Individuals in patron-client regimes will engage in ‘mirror-imaging,’ whereby they perceive that the political constraints that others face are similar to their own. Prediction (2) holds that the leaders of informal patronage networks will act aggressively in their foreign policy choices to signal their strength. Lastly, Prediction (3) is that foreign policy choices will shift along with changes in domestic coalitions and the economic incentives that leaders and their clients derive from particular foreign policy outputs. Below I explain the relevance of these predictions to the Russian-Brazilian case. Predictions (1) and (3) are of particular explanatory importance.

The most striking observation in the Russian-Brazilian case that fits the informal patronage politics hypothesis, specifically prediction (1), is the distinct policy shift in Russia’s weapons sales towards Brazil and other states since the emergence of Sergei Shoigu as Minister of Defense. The prior Russian Minister of Defense, Anatoliy Serdyukov, known for his unpopular reforms of the Russian military, very infrequently forayed into promotion of foreign military sales. Yet, after his resignation in November 2012 following charges of corruption and offending his father-in-law and very high-level Putin affiliate Viktor Zubkov by cheating on his wife, the new Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu has interestingly taken a very different role in marketing Russian weapons internationally. In a somewhat unprecedented fashion, Shoigu has just in the past year engaged in several trips abroad to foreign countries, including Brazil, Peru, Egypt, and Myanmar, to sell Russian weapons.[35] Serdyukov, in general, only engaged in weapons sales in high-profile cases, for example in the case of selling weapons to Bashar Al Assad’s government during the Syrian Civil War. This type of involvement can be seen as more traditional, in that it only consisted of intervention in weapons sales when they were relevant to national security. Thus, Shoigu’s role in Rosoboronexport’s mission of late constitutes perhaps the greatest level of involvement of the Ministry of Defense in weapons exports since Rosoboronexport was formally organized under the Ministry of Defense.[36]

At the same time, Shoigu’s leadership appears to have led to a decisive change in the way Russia has handled technology transfers to Brazil. Despite previous hesitation, 2013 saw a series of offers to Brazil by the Ministry of Defense to authorize the transfers. For instance, the February 2013 contract by which Russia will provide Brazil with Igla and Pantzir-C1 air defense systems includes a technology transfer component, permitting for the hardware to be manufactured in Brazil.[37] Later, in May, Rosoboronexport announced its willingness to export Su-35 fighter jets with a technology transfer, even despite its unwillingness to offer a technology transfer for the jets in 2008.[38] In October, Rosoboronexport reiterated its offer after the contract with Boeing for the fourth generation fighters stalled following revelations of NSA spying on Brazil. Understanding why these policy changes occurred requires an analysis of who caused the changes. It provokes the question, “why Sergei Shoigu?”

The choice of Sergei Shoigu as Minister of Defense is interesting for a few reasons. First, in his previous job as Minister of Emergency Situations, Shoigu was considered one of the most popular high-level officials at the cabinet level. Clearly, this represented a drastic shift in popularity from the despised Serdyukov. Second and most notably, however, Shoigu’s appointment is another glaring example of a continuing trend throughout Putin’s time in power: the encroachment of the siloviki on the highest levels of Russian government.[39] Unlike his predecessor, whose civilian background in the tax ministry was the subject of great outrage at the time of his appointment, Shoigu is a clear member of the siloviki. Moreover, Serdyukov’s position as a leader that was uniformly detested by members of the military and security services made him even less likely to act in the interests of certain silovik factions.

However, Shoigu is not just any member of the siloviki. Indeed, in Jørgen Straun’s 2007 report he notes that Shoigu constituted a “third tier” member of the siloviki, making him lower in rank than Putin magnates like Igor Sechin, Sergei Ivanov, and Sergei Chemezov.[40] This means that, especially given his newcomer status alongside these powerful individuals, Shoigu would be politically subservient to Chemezov, among others, and would need to cater to his interests.

This helps to explain the shift in Ministry of Defense policy towards states like Brazil in the realm of weapons sales. Shoigu appears to be putting his own energy and political capital into making these high-profile weapons deals for the benefit of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms-exporting monopoly, which is de-facto run by Sergei Chemezov. From this perspective, it would also make sense for Shoigu to be more willing than his predecessor to divulge military technology in the form of technology transfers, if doing so could increase the chances that Russia would get Brazilian weapons contracts. Chemezov’s personal influence has also been explored in the context of other international Russian weapons sales, and Brazil may just be another example of how his personal interests can be inflected into Russian state policy.[41]

The actions of the Russian side in the context of the issue of technology transfers also provide important evidence to fit prediction (1) of the informal patronage politics hypothesis. Indeed, the persistence by the Russian side in trying to make a deal with the Brazilian Air Force even after the Sukhoi jets had been excluded from the list of finalists demonstrates a classic case of “mirror-imaging.”[42] Different sets of internal and external power dynamics for the Brazilian Air Force and Rosoboronexport meant that the top officials at Rosoboronexports involved with the October 2013 announcement did not perceive the constraints that prevented the Brazilian Air Force from considering the Russian bid. The Russians did not understand that the Brazilian Air Force would have greatly damaged its credibility as an international arms purchaser were it to have accepted the Russian bid. Even considering the Sukhoi bid after it had already been eliminated from the running in October 2008 would have seriously threatened the agency’s legitimacy, particularly given that the Brazilian government indicated that it would not accept new bids for the project on multiple occasions prior to the October 2013 announcement.[43] Thus, even if the Brazilians did want to accept the bid, they could not be seen to completely ignore their promises. The option to contract with Rosoboronexport outside of the original Brazilian tender, suggested by some, would also not have been viewed well by the international community, even if it were not coupled with a delay or cancellation of the original tender.[44]

Furthermore, this type of responsibility to one’s business-partners and the international community can be viewed as quite foreign to Chemezov and his colleagues at Rosoboronexport.  In contrast to the Brazilian Air Force, Rosoboronexport is a classic example of a company with little accountability to anyone outside of a handful of powerful elites. Chemezov in particular has dominated the company for the past ten years and enjoys a cozy relationship with President Putin, which ultimately allows him great leeway in his decisions about the company’s future. This personalistic control of the company enables him to act without the same types of political constraints that faced the Brazilian Air Force. In this way, Chemezov would with great likelihood not have perceived that the Brazilian Air Force’s international business-partners would have power in determining the agency’s course of action.

On another level, the October 2013 announcement demonstrates how Chemezov’s perceptions of business culture can be inflected into Rosoboronexport policy. The announcement itself suggests that Chemezov and his associates believed that the procedural rules that the Brazilians had promulgated for the weapons procurement were negotiable. Thus, above all else, the announcement should be seen as an indicator of contempt for process. This type of policy resonates with how an individual at the top of Russian patronage politics like Chemezov approaches business. Given that business decisions within Russia are often made without complete adherence to strictly legalistic measures, we would expect executives like Chemezov to expect a similar level of flexibility with the law among Brazilian partners even when this was not the case. The October 2013 announcement confirms that this is exactly the case.

Conclusion and Discussion

This paper has argued for a new mode of analysis in the Russian-Brazilian case. Until now, the literature has focused exclusively on determining where Russian state interests lie; however, this question itself may be at fault. I offer a new interpretation: that Russian foreign policy towards Brazil is determined by the interactions of conflicting and opaque informal patronage networks that revolve around President Putin. In particular, a recent shift in the way weapons sales are orchestrated on behalf of the Russian state suggests that factors other than state self-interest are at play in Russia’s foreign policy towards Brazil. Neither the economic nor geostrategic hypotheses offer a useful explanation for the development of Russian policy on weapons sales and technology transfers.

Economic and geostrategic factors still offer explanatory power. Previous literature on informal patronage politics has demonstrated that foreign policy decisions based on the interests of the state or the ideological convictions of the leader can occur, so long as they do not harm the leader’s power, wealth and authority.[45] In other words, a strategy based on providing economic and geostrategic benefits to the state is not incompatible with the informal politics explanation unless favoring those factors detracts from the power and wealth of the leader. In this way, my explanation for Russian foreign policy towards Brazil permits alternate hypotheses to have explanatory power in some cases, given the constraints of a patronage variable.

Russian-Brazilian military-technical relations are more complicated than they may appear. While trade does constitute the largest and most visible part of the relationship, other factors – beyond the state’s ability to benefit from the economic relationship – are at play. Future scholarship on the Russian-Brazilian relationship must examine how these individual interests impact the primarily trade-based relationship between Russia and Brazil.

Matthew Michaelides is a student at Columbia University, where he studies political science and economics, with a focus on Latin America. Dr. Anders Corr provided editorial oversight for this article. JPR Status: working paper, archived May 30, 2014. 

[1]Interview with Kimberly Marten on NPR: “How Crimea’s Annexation Plays to Russians’ Soviet Nostalgia,” National Public Radio, March 25, 2014. Accessed March 30, 2014.

[2]Jeffrey Mankoff, Russian Foreign Policy: The Return of Great Power Politics, 2011.

[3]For example: Alexandra Koval, “Contemporary Perspectives and Trends in Russian-Brazilian Relations,” Russian Analytical Digest, 14 February 2011.

[4]Taken from President Lula’s remarks at the October 2005 meeting between Presidents Putin and Lula in Moscow.

[5]Oliver Steunkel, “Why Brazil has not criticized Russia over Crimea,” NOREF Policy Brief, May 2014.

[6]Alexandra Koval, “Contemporary Perspectives and Trends in Russian-Brazilian Relations,” Russian Analytical Digest, 14 February 2011.

[7]Russian State Federal Statistics Service

[8]Alexandra Koval, “Contemporary Perspectives and Trends in Russian-Brazilian Relations,” Russian Analytical Digest, 14 February 2011.

[9] Ibid.

[10]Russian State Federal Statistics Service Data

[11]Alexandra Koval, “Contemporary Perspectives and Trends in Russian-Brazilian Relations,” Russian Analytical Digest, 14 February 2011.

[12]“Russian Companies to Break into Brazilian Market,” Russia Briefing, November 8, 2011.

[13]“Russian Companies to Break into Brazilian Market,” Russia Briefing, November 8, 2011 ; “Russia aims for $9.5 billion arms sales,” UPI, May 3, 2011.

[14]“Russia to deliver attack helicopters to Brazil this year,” Ria Novosti, April 6, 2009.

[15]“Russian Helicopters to deliver first Ka-62 exports to Brazil,” Russian Helicopters, December 14, 2012.

[16]“Russia Close to Ink Air Defense Deal with Brazil – Minister,” Ria Novosti, October 20, 2013. ; Andrea Shalal-Esa and Tim Hepher, “Boeing executives upbeat about future of F/A-18 fighter,” Reuters, November 18, 2013.

[17]“Russia Close to Ink Air Defense Deal with Brazil – Minister,” Ria Novosti, October 20, 2013.

[18]John C. K. Daly, “Analysis: Brazilian-Russian nuclear ties,” UPI, December 3, 2008.

[19]Igor Alexeev, “Russia to Develop Nuclear Energy in BRICS Countries,” Strategic Culture Foundation, 23 August, 2013. ; Lecture by Former Chilean Finance Minister Andres Velasco, November 19, 2013.

[20]“Rosatom in Brazil by 2015,” Brasil Energy, February 14, 2014.

[21]Daly, John K.C.(2008). “Moscow loses Brazil submarine deal to Paris.” Eurasia Daily Monitor 5: 27.


[23]Lyuba Lulko, “Russia to sell its best air defense complexes to Brazil,” Pravda, February 5, 2013. and SIPRI data presented in E. Richard Downes, “Trust, Engagement, and Technology Transfer”: Underpinnings for U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation, Institute for National Strategic Studies (Strategic Forum No. 279), August 2012.

[24]W. A. Sanchez, “Russia and Latin America at the Dawn of the Twenty-first century,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 8: 4 (December 2010): 362-384.

[25]Stephen Blank, “Russia in Latin America: Geopolitical Games in the US’s Neighborhood,” Institut Français des relations internationales, April 2009.

[26]For example: John C. K. Daly, “Analysis: Brazilian-Russian nuclear ties,” UPI, December 3, 2008. ; and W. A. Sanchez, “Russia and Latin America at the Dawn of the Twenty-first century,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 8: 4 (December 2010): 362-384.

[27] W. A. Sanchez, “Russia and Latin America at the Dawn of the Twenty-first century,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 8: 4 (December 2010): 362-384.

[28]Andrea Shalal-Esa and Tim Hepher, “Boeing executives upbeat about future of F/A-18 fighter,” Reuters, November 18, 2013. The tender would ultimately go to Saab Gripen NG in December 2013.

[29]John C. K. Daly, “Analysis: Russian-Brazilian Nuclear Ties,” Space Daily, December 3, 2008.

[30]Andres Oppenheimer, “Putin Eyes Latin America,” The Fresno Bee, March 25, 2014.

[31]Kimberly Marten, “A New Explanation for Russian Foreign Policy: The Power of Informal Patronage Networks”, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 274, September 2013.

[32]Matthew Michaelides, “Petrol Patronage: How Crony Capitalism Affects Russia’s Relations with Iran,” Columbia Political Review (Fall 2013).

[33]Matthew Michaelides, “The Bushehr Delays: Did the Iranians Abandon Their Financial Obligations?,” Journal of Undergraduate International Studies (Fall 2013).

[34]Kimberly Marten, “Informal Political Networks: Foreign Policy Implications from the Russia Case,” unpublished paper prepared for delivery at the PONARS Eurasia Workshop, Washington, DC, March 2013.

[35]Brazil and Peru in October 2013, Myanmar in March 2013, Egypt in November 2013

[36]Stephen Blank, “Ivanov, Chemezov, and State Capture of the Russian Defense Sector,” Problems of Post-Communism (Jan/Feb 2008):49-60.

[37]Lyuba Lulko, “Russia to sell its best air defense complexes to Brazil,” Pravda, February 5, 2013.

[38]Ibid.; “Update 2 – Brazil, Russia plan to boost trade, investment,” Reuters, May 14, 2010. Some sources indicate that the Russians believed that they were offering an adequate technology transfer in October 2009 after already having been excluding from the list of finalists for the deal; however it is clear that the Brazilian Air Force and the Brazilian Minister of Defense did not agree. John C. K. Daly alludes to this controversy in his article: John C. K. Daly, “Moscow Loses Brazil Submarine Deal to Paris,” Eurasia Daily Monitor (5:27), February 12, 2008.

[39]Siloviki is a Russian word that refers to the members of the security services, including but not limited to those in the former KGB, the FSB, and the police.  

[40] Jørgen Straun, “Siloviki Versus Liberal-Technocrats: The Fight for Russia and its Foreign Policy,” Danish Institute for International Studies (2007:9).

[41]Matthew Michaelides, “Petrol Patronage: How Crony Capitalism Affects Russia’s Relations with Iran,” Columbia Political Review (Fall 2013).

[42]Kimberly Marten, “Informal Political Networks: Foreign Policy Implications from the Russia Case,” unpublished paper prepared for delivery at the PONARS Eurasia Workshop, Washington, DC, March 2013.

[43]Gareth Jennings, “Russia to offer fighter sales and development to Brazil,” IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, October 14, 2013.


[45]Kimberly Marten, “Informal Political Networks: Foreign Policy Implications from the Russia Case,” unpublished paper prepared for delivery at the PONARS Eurasia Workshop, Washington, DC, March 2013.