Brazil-Russia Military-Technical Cooperation: A Fruit of the Post-Cold War World Order

By Ionescu, Imanuela | Military Review, November/December 2018 | Go to article overview

Brazil-Russia Military-Technical Cooperation: A Fruit of the Post-Cold War World Order


Ionescu, Imanuela, Military Review


In the evolution of human civilization, the necessity for cooperation among groups to produce coalitions for mutual benefit has been a constant. However, the character of such cooperation, the variety of forms such cooperation takes, and the many differing end states stemming from cooperation among groups have always depended on a wide variety of internal and external factors with interlacing influences from both the past and present linked to influences anticipated from the future.

Assuming the existence of an underlying human imperative for employing cooperation between groups to achieve success in obtaining mutual ends, in this article, I will briefly examine the gradual emergence of the de facto "strategic and technological alliance" that exists between Russia and Brazil. In doing so, I will identify and highlight relevant events leading to the current cooperative relationship as much as the constraints of an article-length treatment allow. In developing this analysis, I have assumed that the basis and purpose for each country's interest in the other is not friendship but a desire of each to increase its own power to protect its political and economic interests.1

Background

I begin by providing a brief chronological overview of cooperation between the two nations followed by a more detailed description of salient events with analysis of the benefits derived from such instances of cooperation as they apply principally to the enhancement of Brazil's military power:2

* 1828: Russia and Brazil formalize diplomatic relations3

* 1828-1993: A low level of relations, mostly in commerce; interrupted during the Cold War until about 1991, after the end of the military regime in Brazil and the fall of the Soviet Union

* 1994-present: Cooperation becomes strategic-in political, military, and technical areas-but results do not meet declared purposes

Setting aside the many non-security-related initiatives focused on building better relations and cooperation during the epochs noted above, this article focuses on the development of military-technical cooperation between the two countries from the early 1990s through today. What has been set aside includes dialogue in a multilateral context in formal organizations such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), the Group of 20 (or the G20, an international forum for the government and central bank governors of nineteen nations and the European Union), and the UN.4

However, while not analyzed here, it is important to note that Brazil and Russia have offered each other support in many areas of mutual interest outside of military-technical cooperation. For example, Russia has supported Brazil's quest to obtain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, while Brazil has facilitated dialogue between Russia and members of Mercosur (a South American trade bloc established by the Treaty of Asunción in 1991 and Protocol of Ouro Preto in 1994). Brazil also passionately supported Russia's draft agreement posed at the UN to ban the deployment of weapons in space. Additionally, Russia and Brazil have old and strong bilateral commercial relations; for example, Russia is one of the largest importers of Brazilian beef.

History of Bilateral Relations between Brazil and Russia in the Military-Technical Domain

The increased emphasis on military-technical cooperation between Brazil and Russia was first raised formally in 1992 by Georgy E. Mamedov, the deputy chancellor of Russia. After a meeting between Mamedov and the Brazilian ambassador to Moscow, Sebastiao do Rego Barros, Barros noted in a follow-up confidential telegram, "I think I can say that I see a Russian effort that has not been demonstrated yet in the development of relations with our country"5 From 1992 to 1994, several rapport-focused events occurred across government entities that demonstrated Russian interest in Brazil:

* A Russian trade delegation visited Brazil and proposed, among other things, the opening of a Yak airplane assembly plant in Rio Grande do Sul (in southern Brazil). …

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