Maduro in Moscow for 70th Anniversary of V-Day: "Victory Belongs to the Soviet People"

The Venezuelan President travelled to Russia last week to participate in the celebrations. He also granted an exclusive interview to Russia Today, revealing his views on the current geopolitical conjuncture and vowing to personally erradicate shortages in Venezuela over the next 3 months.

By Lucas Koerner
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President Maduro and First Combatant Celia Flores carry roses to the grave of the unknown soldier in tribute to the millions who gave their lives in the war against Nazism (CorreodelOrinoco)
President Maduro and First Combatant Celia Flores carry roses to the grave of the unknown soldier in tribute to the millions who gave their lives in the war against Nazism (CorreodelOrinoco)

Caracas, May 11, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro joined 27 other world leaders in Moscow on Saturday for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary since the Allied victory over Nazi Germany that heralded the close of the Second World War in Europe.

Known as the "March of the Immortal Regiment", the ceremony saw over 12 million people march throughout Russia in honor of the 27 million Soviet citizens who lost their lives in the "Great Patriotic War" against Nazism. 

President Maduro expressed his gratitude to his Russian counterpart for the invitation and paid tribute to the immense sacrifices made by the Soviet people on behalf of humanity. 

"We come in name of the great Bolivarian motherland to give our historic recognition to the great Russian motherland [...] The victory belongs to the Red Army and the Soviet people."

"If it wasn't for the victory of Russia over Nazi Germany, there would be another history," he added, speaking upon his arrival in Moscow alongside First Combatant Cilia Flores on Friday.

The ceremony was headlined by a massive military parade featuring over 16,000 service members together with the most sophisticated military technology in the largest exhibition of Russian military might since the collapse of the USSR.

While attendees included China's Xi Xinping, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, South African President Jacob Zuma, Cuba's Raul Castro, UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon, as well as President Maduro, absent was President Obama and his German and British counterparts, who boycotted the ceremony over Moscow's alleged backing of anti-Kiev separatists. 

In the face of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, President Maduro reiterated his support for Vladmir Putin, alluding to the "threats" posed by Neo-Nazis, who now occupy key positions within the new Western-backed government in Kiev.

"I believe that the 70 year anniversary]should above all teach us that Nazi-Fascism was defeated in its worst expression, but remains alive [...] Now there are threats against Russia by groups that endorse the Hitlerite massacre and all of the madness of that era. There is still a great battle to fight," he declared.

The Venezuelan leader also warned of the rise of what he termed "neo-fascism" in Venezuela, alluding to 2014's violent opposition street mobilizations that sought to oust the democratically-elected president, resulting in the death of at least 43 people.

"There's been a neo-fascist outbreak, supported by the international Right. From Venezuela, we are controlling and defeating the neo-fascist outbreaks. With what? With justice, with democracy, with the advance of the revolution," he stated.

In this vein, according to the socialist president, the 70th anniversary of V-Day symbolizes "a commitment to continue fighting against neocolonialism, imperialism, and all forms of domination."   

During his visit, Maduro also held a meeting with UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon who praised the Venezuelan head of state's efforts to preserve peace in the South American nation amid rightwing destabilization and coup attempts.

The UN chief also requested Maduro's collaboration in bringing about a successful Climate Summit in Paris at the end of the year, according to an official presidential press release. 

Maduro to RT: Supply System to Be "Regularized in 3 Months"

While in Moscow, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited the headquarters of the state-run international news channel Russia Today, where he sat down for an exclusive, near hour long interview, discussing a range of issues, including U.S. sanctions against Russia, Venezuela-U.S. relations, and the Venezuelan economy.

70th anniversary of V-Day

"It's up to youth to take on the role of building another world, without empires, without threats of wars, without blockades, a world of respect among equals, that's the great message of the commemoration of 70 years since the great victory," remarked the Venezuelan leader.

Maduro went on to criticize the "pettiness" of European leaders who boycotted the ceremony over Ukraine, describing them as "working against themselves" in light of the over forty economic agreements signed between Russia and China over the weekend.

"Now the great route of trade, energy investment, of a new Eurasian financial, commercial and cultural world will be constructed from Moscow to Beijing [...] European leaders stand to lose the most from their pettiness."

"The United States always needs a threat"

Addressing the Executive Order issued on March 9th by the White House branding Venezuela a "national security threat", Maduro underscored how the region's "unanimous posture against the document,” evidenced most powerfully at last month's Summit of the Americas, made President Obama "realize that Venezuela isn't alone"

The socialist leader clarified that while his government was still "in the political, diplomatic, and legal struggle to repeal the [executive] decree", US aggression against Venezuela would nonetheless continue, because "sadly the United States always needs a threat" in order to justify its imperial aspirations.

"The United States was born from the vision to build an empire and they developed the thesis of manifest destiny, according to which we [Latin America] are supposedly its backyard."

Maduro later slammed the hypocrisy of Washington in accusing Venezuela of human rights violations, pointing to the overwhelming police violence faced by Black people throughout the US.

"We know everything that is happening to our Afro-American brothers [...] What would happen if in Venezuela there were to occur what has transpired in Baltimore or Detroit, in New York, where people have been murdered for the color of their skin? This is a grave violation of human rights, especially in our historic moment. "

"Cuba is a reference point of dignity, struggle, and 56 years of resistance"

With regard to the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Maduro emphasized that the socialist nation "won a new era of relations" with its northern neighbor by means of "56 years of resistance".

"We place all of our strength behind Cuba in this process to regularize relations with the United States," affirmed Maduro, adding, "We will work so that the U.S. learns to have a new type of relation with Cuba and with Latin America, one of respect and non-intervention."

"Economic war is the last front of attack available to the extreme Right"

In discussing the country's severe economic crisis triggered by a collapse in oil prices, President Maduro outlined the "anti-cyclical" measures taken by his government, including raising the minimum wage by 52% as well as fortifying social programs such as the Great Housing Mission, all with the aim of "protecting the workers", for whom unemployment is down to 5.4%.

The socialist leader attributed his country's chronic shortages of essential goods to what he termed an "economic war", which represents "the last front of attack available to the extreme Right linked to [US] imperial policy".

As part of the effort to alleviate shortages, Maduro highlighted his government's measures against hoarding and food smuggling, the latter having fallen by 40%.

"We've waged a tremendous battle against contraband [...] we've made a great effort in order that Venezuelans have their necessities met," he stated.

The Venezuelan leader further promised that the issue of shortages would be resolved within three months.

"In these upcoming three months (May, June, July), I have committed myself to stabilising and normalising the supply system, going over the heads of these capitalist groups who go about sabotaging the country's economy."

Opposition lacks a "project respecting the Constitution and recognizing the Revolution"

Maduro also expressed harsh criticisms of the Venezuelan opposition, which he accused of attempting to destablize the country and overthrow his democratically-elected government, pointing to the violent rightwing street barricades last year as well as the thwarted coup attempt this past February.

"Almost none of the [opposition] sectors have a project that really respects the Constitution recognizes the Revolution," the president explained.

"I have extended my hand but they walk the path of conspiracies, while we continue on the road of democracy, working for peace."