As the Russian president visits his EU ally Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, we look at other leaders around the world who have embraced the divisive Vladimir Putin
Caracas is a major buyer of Russian weapons and has recognised breakaway pro-Russian territories such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia.
Moscow reciprocates by investing billions of dollars in Venezuelan oil projects.
Vladimir Putin once even gave Hugo Chavez a puppy.
After the Syriza party came to power in Greece in January, it quickly emerged that members had been in correspondence with Alexander Dugin, a Russian ultra-nationalist admired in some Kremlin circles who has called for a genocide of Ukrainians.
Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s new prime minister, has spoken against further sanctions on Russia over its backing for separatists in Ukraine, to Moscow’s delight.
Some observers suspected a Kremlin hand after it emerged in November that France’s right wing National Front party received a €9 million (£6.6m) loan from First Czech Russian Bank, which is owned by Roman Popov, a government-leaning oligarch.
Russia has also cultivated ties with a number of Right-wing or “insurgent” parties across Europe, including Independent Greeks in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Northern League in Italy, Ataka in Bulgaria and NPD in Germany.
There are no proven links between UKIP and Russia but Nigel Farage, the party’s leader, said in March last year that Mr Putin was the world leader he most admired “as an operator, not as a human being”.
Full article: How Vladimir Putin is building alliances around the world (The Telegraph)