Russian delegation to help Venezuelan officials manage crisis economy

Venezuelan authorities are welcoming a team of Russian officials including representatives of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance. The guests are supposed to offer advice on fiscal and monetary topics in order to support Russia's strategic ally in its fight against the financial crisis.

Russia has sent a senior delegation to Venezuela to consult high-ranking government officials on a plan to stem the brutal economic collapse, according to Bloomberg. The delegation, which includes Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak, will ''provide assistance to Venezuela in developing measures to manage the economy in a crisis situation,'' said Andrey Lavrov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance. Russian officials also said that a Chinese delegation was visiting Caracas for talks on steadying the economy.

It is supposed that the Russian team will help local officials develop strategies to manage the economy in the current crisis conditions. On Monday, the delegation met with Vice President of Venezuela Delcy Rodríguez, Finance Minister Simón Zerpa and Central Bank President Calixto Ortega in Caracas. The officials were meant to discuss ways to rebuild the country's depleted reserves, cryptocurrency efforts and other fiscal and monetary topics.

Russia's delegation in Venezuela is headed by Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak. Photo: The Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

Besides, the delegation intended to meet with representatives of the major local oil and gas company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), to discuss its sales of foreign currency to the central bank. PDVSA is preparing to make a $949-million bond payment, which is backed by a majority stake in US-based Citgo Holding Inc. A non-payment on this bond would allow holders to lay claim to the valuable asset. Overall, Venezuela is behind on almost $7 billion in debt payments owed to investors, says Bloomberg.

Venezuela is undergoing a severe crisis amid US sanctions and low oil prices. Supporting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Russia provided a lifeline in the form of a $3,15-billion debt rescheduling last year. Currently, the Kremlin is offering technical assistance, although the possibility that Russia might provide more financial support couldn't be fully elaborated, according to Lavrov.

On Tuesday, the delegation met with President Nicolás Maduro. Earlier in October, it was announced that the Venezuelan president might visit Russia at the end of November.

By Anna Litvina