22:14 GMT +322 June 2018
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    Russian communists want to rename subway in honor of Nicaragua

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    ST. PETERSBURG, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian communist group based in St. Petersburg wants a metro station in Russia's second-largest city to be named in honor of Nicaragua, a press release on their website said on Thursday.

    Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega began an official visit to Moscow, his first for 23 years, on Thursday to discuss trade and economic issues with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

    The Communists of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region press release said that one of three subway stations, due to be opened in the city on December 20, should be named "Nicaragua or Sandinista as a sign of Russia's recognition and serious intentions to return to Latin America."

    Nicaragua is the only country to have backed Russia in recognizing the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states following a brief Russian-Georgian conflict in August.

    "We communists are convinced that such a decision would get the full backing of people in Abkhazia and South Ossetia," the release went on to say.

    The group, a separate organization from the much larger Communist Party, want an announcement to be made on at least one of the stations before Ortega leaves Russia on Friday.

    Ortega, 63, enjoyed Soviet support in the 1980s after his Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in 1979. Ortega was elected president in 1985 and served until 1990. He returned to power after winning presidential elections in late 2006.

    The Kremlin has recently moved to rebuild old alliances with Cuba and Nicaragua and cultivate ties with new countries such as Venezuela as part of Russian efforts to expand its global influence.

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