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.
Viewing cable 06MOSCOW4374, ZIMBABWEAN TRADE DELEGATION VISITS RUSSIA
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
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2016
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
¶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