A highly controversial era in Venezuelan history has come to an end with the death of the flamboyant and very popular President Hugo Chavez. Russia has not wasted any time letting Venezuelans know that even in the absence of Chavez, Moscow will be standing firmly behind Venezuela now, in a move which is clearly countering desires by the U.S. government to overshadow the presence of other foreign interests in the region. On March 10, 2013, Alexander Bratersky has reported for the Moscow Times, Kremlin to Protect Venezuelan Interests Even If Opposition Wins.
Russian analysts and government officials have said even if Russian ties with Venezuela do not remain as close as under the late President Hugo Chavez, the Kremlin will be able to protect its interests even if the opposition wins. In a signal that it wants to maintain strong ties with the country's new leadership, Russia has raised the profile of its delegation sent for Chavez's funeral. Russian media has reported, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, who was the most senior Russian representative, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, were included in the delegation at the last minute.
Russia Beyond the Headlines has also reported on the issue of Russian relations with Venezuela in the post Chavez era, Russia will respect Venezuelan people's choice in presidential elections - Lavrov. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia is willing to build relations with any leader of Venezuela who is elected by the people and hopes that other countries will not interfere in political processes there. He is quoted as saying, "We will respect the Venezuelan people's choice and expect that all those building relations with Venezuela will support it and that no attempts will be made to influence this choice. We wish the Venezuelan people to make a choice meeting their aspirations and interests of strengthening our strategic partnership."