Shortly before getting knocked out in the finals of the World Cup by Germany over the weekend, Argentina got some welcome news from Vladimir Putin: Rosatom, Russia’s state corporation that regulates nuclear power within the country, will help pay for the construction of two nuclear power plants. Reuters:
[Russia’s energy minister] Novak said Rosatom could offer “comfortable” financial terms to Latin America’s No. 3 economy, which has struggled to advance its nuclear energy program and lure foreign investors deterred by a raft of punishing capital and import controls.“Rosatom is actively working here… and has already handed over its technical and commercial offer to our (Argentine) colleagues,” Novak told reporters after talks between Putin and his Argentine counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez.
Putin, who is on a tour of South America, trying to shore up something like a loose coalition of the disgruntled, didn’t stop there. The nuclear agreement with Argentina was part of a broader deal which among other things provided for increased “media cooperation“:
Nikolai Nikiforov, the Russian Federation’s Communication Minister, signed an interservice agreement on mass-media cooperation, which includes round-the-clock broadcasting of the RT [RussiaToday] channel to Argentinians. “for the first time, the Spanish-language version [of the channel] will be broadcast and available at the touch of a button to the audience in a Latin American country,” Putin said at a press conference.
It’s easy to mock RT as ham-fisted PR masquerading as news, but it’s only the most visible arm of a sophisticated propaganda machine that has caught most Western leaders completely by surprise. With that kind of high-quality propaganda streaming into Argentina full time, Putin certainly hopes Buenos Aires will repeat its recent performance at the U.N. Security Council, when it abstained from condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea.