But Russ Dallen, head of Caracas Capital Markets brokerage, cautioned that it was too early to know for sure whether the move was intended to bolster Maduro.

“We don’t know whether the new state entity is a cemetery corporation, where companies go to die, or whether the Russians are simply doing it to take Rosneft, which is their crown jewel and provides a large portion of Russia’s income, out of the way of sanctions and Putin will use the new company to continue to help Maduro,” he said.