Russia says Zimbabwe is no more autocratic than the norm in Africa


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Two Russian foreign affairs counsellors told United States embassy officials that they did not see any reason why Russia should avoid contact with Zimbabwe because it was no more autocratic than “the norm in Africa”.

The officials were discussing the recent visit to Moscow by central bank governor Gideon Gono and Transport Minister Chris Mushohwe.

Gono and Mushohwe had gone to Russia to seek investment from the Russians.

Mikhail Gulyakin and Andrey Stolyarov said that during their trip Gono and Mushohwe had met their Russian counterparts central bank head Sergey Ignatiev and Transport Minister Igor Levitin.

Gono and Mushohwe had also met representatives of Ilyushin Finance to discuss the buying of five Ilyushin 96-400 planes but the Russian officials were sceptical about Zimbabwe’s ability to afford the planes.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06MOSCOW4374, ZIMBABWEAN TRADE DELEGATION VISITS RUSSIA

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06MOSCOW4374

2006-04-24 13:53

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2628

RR RUEHMR RUEHPA

DE RUEHMO #4374 1141353

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 241353Z APR 06

FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4754

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 004374

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2016

TAGS: PREL ETRD ZI RS

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN TRADE DELEGATION VISITS RUSSIA

 

 

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Kirk Augustine for reasons

1.4 (b, d).

 

1. (C) Poloff met with MFA Africa Department Counselors

Mikhail Gulyakin and Andrey Stolyarov April 21 to discuss the

April 3-13 visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg of Zimbabwean

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Transport Minister

Chris Mushohwe to promote Russian investment in Zimbabwe.

Gulyakin and Stolyarov characterized the visit as “mostly for

show” and said that few concrete results were achieved. They

said that the impetus for the trade delegation came

completely from the Zimbabwean side. After failing to secure

IMF loans last month, Governor Gono is coping with Zimbabwe’s

deep economic crisis by seeking investment from other

sources. Gulyakin and Stolyarov said that Russia’s USD 20

million in trade with Zimbabwe was unlikely to grow to rival

that of Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, China. Queried

about GOR policy toward Zimbabwean officials, they saw no

reason why Russia would avoid contact with a government that

was no more autocratic than “the norm in Africa.”

 

2. (C) While in Moscow, Governor Gono and Minister Mushohwe

met with their respective counterparts in the Russian

government, Central Bank Head Sergey Ignatiev and Transport

Minister Igor Levitin. Gulyakin and Stolyarov said Gono did

not raise the possibility of loans from Russia in his meeting

with Ignatiev since he knew that the GOR would not likely

find Zimbabwe creditworthy. Gono also met with Chamber of

Commerce and Industry Vice-President Georgiy Petrov.

Gulyakin and Stolyarov said that in each case the parties

signed memoranda of understanding that were of little

significance.

 

3. (C) Gono also met with representatives of the company

Tyazhpromeksport, a large industrial equipment exporter that

in the past has helped several African governments develop

industrial projects. Gulyakin and Stolyarov said

representatives of the company would pay a reciprocal visit

to Zimbabwe next month, but no concrete plans had formed.

Gono and Mushohwe met with representatives of Ilyushin

Finance to discuss buying five Ilyushin 96-400 planes.

Gulyakin and Stolyarov were skeptical of the GOZ’s ability to

afford the planes.

 

4. (C) COMMENT: Moscow’s interest in the trade delegation

was directly proportional to the dubious benefits of

investment in Zimbabwe. The GOZ’s courting of Russia

presumably reflects a perception that Russia remains a

willing partner to governments on unfavorable terms with the

West.

BURNS

(22 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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