Russia’s State-Owned Defense Conglomerate, Rostec, to Provide “Comprehensive Security” for  Venezuela’s Power Infrastructure

On August 3, Russia’s TASS News Agency reported that the Russian state-owned enterprise and defense conglomerate, Rostec, signed an agreement with the National Electricity Corporation of Venezuela (Corpoelec) to implement joint projects to support the “comprehensive security” of Venezuela’s national power infrastructure.  The exact details of the agreement are unclear, but it represents only the latest in a trend of Russian involvement in Venezuela’s power sector, which has been subject to chronic power shortages since 2009.

Per the agreement, Rostec will jointly develop digital technologies, supply the required equipment and provide technical support to Corpoelec.  According to Russian media, Venezuela is interested in acquiring automated systems that support processes for emergency control, operational monitoring, and data flow management of the country’s electricity infrastructure.

In 2007, Venezuela’s power system was nationalized under state-run monopoly, CORPOELEC, and it has been underfunded and poorly managed ever since.  In 2019, for example, Venezuela grappled with a wave of massive power cuts across the country, including the capital city of Caracas.  While experts attributed the blackouts to dilapidated electricity facilities, the Russian and Venezuelan governments attributed them to a U.S cyberattack.

Despite Russia’s more than decade-long overtures toward helping fortify Venezuela’s electricity infrastructure, their involvement appears to have failed to produce significant results.  The recent agreement reportedly falls within the purview of a 2008 intergovernmental agreement for energy sector cooperation between Venezuela and Russia.  Subsequently, in 2010, Russia signed an agreement with Venezuela to build the country’s first nuclear power plant, although it appears that implementation of this project is still in limbo.