Short news, huge consequences. Ria.Ru reports (in Russian) that largest, gigantic, actually, Venezuelan tanker (320,000 tons) Ayacucho since June 1st is not really Ayacucho nor is Venezuelan anymore. It is now a bearer of Russian flag and is named… (cough, cough) Maxim Gorky. What do ya know!
As you may expect, stopping and arresting Venezuelan (or, drum roll, Iranian) vessel is easy, the Russian one–there are some practical problems with that, because the whole “arrest” thing may end up at the UN Security Council level plus Russia can arrest something back, because Russia does have an actual navy which feels itself fairly comfortable around some choke points. If shit hits the fan, hopefully not, Russians may even sink a thing or two to make the point clear.
This is a classic example of practical geoeconomics conducted by a superpower. It is also a material manifestation of Russia’s main export which is political, and, by default, economic stability. Nothing really new about it, it is the nature of international relations in which everyone is free to choose a horse to bet on. Smaller, weaker nations look for bigger powerful suitors. As I said, security is an extremely hot commodity nowadays and only very few countries can offer it on the market. Only one will do it in good faith and compromise on price to make it affordable. Simple as that. Nothing personal, just business.