Archive for September 19th, 2011

The Not So Diplomatic Russian Ambassador to Venezuela

September 19, 2011

Today, Tal Cual carries a letter his newspaper received from the Russian Ambassador to Venezuela which is as undiplomatic in all respects as one could possibly think. The letter shows Ambassador Zaemskiv must have gone to the same School of Diplomacy most Chavista diplomats have gone to, showing that Mr. Zaemskiy is not on top of his job, he does not even know the details of what he is complaining about, but at the same time he is trying to defend Russian technology, by blaming five helicopter crashes on the ability of the Venezuelan military to fly them. He seems to forget, his Government had a responsibility for technology transfer.

As Petkoff details in his reply to the Ambassador’s letter, his newspaper wrote an article saying that five Russian helicopters, four Mi-17 helicopters and an Mi-26 helicopter had crashed in the last four years. Well, the Ambassador felt somewhat insulted by this, writing to say that it was only three, but if you check Venezuelan papers you will see that the original article was indeed correct. In Russian, and using independent sources from Tal Cual: один, два, три and  четыре for the Mi 17 and один for the Mi 26, and not three Mi 17’s like the Ambassador wants us to believe , but a total of five magnificent Russian machines, that just crashed.

In his last sentence the Ambassador talks about saving Venezuelan lives with these machines. Well, Mr. Ambassador, each of these wonderful crappy things you make in Russia and sell to Venezuela is worth like US$ 15 million: Do you know how many lives could have been saved with those US$ 75 million (It is a little more, but I did not bother to find out how much the Mi 26 is worth)

So, save your crappy sob, sob for another day or your бабушка (babushka).

As Petkoff notes, he is being called a liar in no uncertain terms, based on just the number of crashes, which the Ambassador had wrong, something which I think was not something a diplomat does in foreign soil, even if it is to defend Russian technology and he had the details right. He might be better of just saying nothing. Don’t insult your host, even if your are mad. But after this faux pas, Ambassador Zaemskiv compounds his lack of manners and diplomacy by saying:

“After each accident, a detailed investigation was performed composed of both Venezuelan and Russian military (my comment: No guarantee right there!)…the results of these investigation accepted by both sides is that there were no irregularities in these reliable machines”

Read: The accidents were due to the unreliable Venezuelans, they could not run the trinkets we sold them.

Which may be true, but maybe, just maybe, the people were not trained well, the whole thing was rushed, badly implemented, badly sold. It’s the sale that matters in Russian capitalism. In its rush to make the sale, Russia sold Venezuela helicopters that Venezuela did not have the trained personnel to fly. But hey Mr. Zaemskiv, if they crash, maybe we will buy more! Nice for Russian capitalism, exploiting dumb militaristic Venezuelan socialism, no?

The truth is that his words would be a scandal anywhere except in Stebanish country. Chavez and the Venezuelan military love buying expensive, useless toys, wasting money on things they can’t run, but feel happy about having. Ambassador  Zaemskiv pretty much says so: they sold us crap that we can’t handle, and he seems quite happy about it.

Whether the machines are good or not is irrelevant, here is a picture:

the truth is Ambassador Zaemskiv, that your country sold us crap. That your country has been irresponsibly selling crap to Chavez and making deals to take advantage of Chavez is well know. If the machines were “fine” and “reliable” like you say, the helicopter providers (you!) were not, they did not provide the training, nor the manuals, nor the know-how, nor the technology transfer required when you sell such a sophisticated machine.

And yes, these equally irresponsible Venezuelans on the other side buying your Russian crap, without training, manuals and with the same irresponsible attitude that you have.

And I can’t help to wonder, who collected the “comision” (отдача) in this deal. Do you Ambassador Zaemskiv know? You must, you seem very defensive in your letter.

And please Ambassador, you can use the comments section if you want to, we would love to hear from you!

(And yes, Petkoff may have also gone overboard calling the Ambassador a communist and used to lying, but I guess he has a right to rant too!)