Monday, October 27, 2008

The Russians are in town for a holiday, and ahem, 'business' Comrad

In what I interpret as a sign of the sort of increased wasta the Russians have these days, the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, actually got an audience with HM.

OK, it sounds like HM just stopped by and said hello, but still something very indicative of the sort of political power this guy has back home. He is far more than just an ordinary Mayor. And ordinary Mayors don't generally get to meet HM.

Putin & Luzhkov

Mr. Luzhkov is certainly a pretty interesting guy. Mayor of Moscow since 1992, he managed to escape being too close to Yeltsin, and he certainly knows a thing or two about improving the efficiency of a hopeless socialist bureaucracy (see his San Jose University profile). I hope the Omani representatives do learn a thing or two from him about how changing people's incentives effect behaviour and how to get things done. But perhaps not so much on how the extensive system of corruption and kick-backs seems to work very very well in Moscow... (see this biography)

Times of Oman
HM gives audience to Moscow mayor
ONA Monday, October 27, 2008
MANAH — His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said gave an audience to Yuri Luzhkov, mayor of Moscow, yesterday at Hisn Al Shomoukh in the wilayat of Manah.

They discussed aspects of cooperation between the Sultanate and the Russian Federation, in addition to matters of common concern.

The audience was attended by Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, minister of the Diwan of Royal Court; Sergey Ivanov, Russian Federation ambassador to the Sultanate, and the delegation accompanying the guest.

They then went on to have a pow-wow with the Governor for Muscat and the Wali of Seeb et al, so Oman's representatives dropped down to the regional level as one would expect, and they discussed urban issues, undoubtably including opportunities for contracts, etc. But it sounds more like an excuse for a bit of a tax-payer funded holiday from the Mayor, and a search for foreign investment with few strings attached (hotel investments anyone?).

Funny how visits of this type tend not to happen too much in say June or July...

Luzhkov these days is a big supporter of the Putin-style Russian nationalism, and a non-smoking tee-total conservative. He banned the Moscow Gay Pride Parade (calling it 'Satanic'), supported the Russian seperatists in South Ossetia, and has acted against minorities, and I'm sure he's not a very big fan of Islam. You'll see the web is full of accusations of some pretty serious (and successful) nest feathering on his part, especially from massive construction projects and real estate deals, eg: see NYTimes, so he'll probably feel quite at home here in Muscat!

I'd certainly be wanting some serious forensic accountants to keep a very close eye on any investments involving Mr Mayor if it was somebody else 'investing' my money... Are there any bright, young, entrepreneurial Omani out there who speak Russian? You may want to drop your CV by the Muscat Governer's office - see the last line in the exerpt below!
Sultanate, Russia to strengthen cooperation
ONA Monday, October 27, 2008
MUSCAT — An official session of talks was held between Oman and Russia here yesterday.

The Omani side at the meeting was led by Sayyid Al Mutassim bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, minister of state and governor of Muscat; and the Russian side was led by Yuri Luzhkov, mayor of Moscow.

At the outset of the meeting, Mutassim welcomed the guest and his accompanying delegation wishing them a good stay in the Sultanate. He reviewed the growing relations between the two countries, thanks to the support and directives of both countries’ leaderships.

On his turn, the mayor expressed his delight on visiting the Sultanate and being able to acquaint himself with the development witnessed by the Sultanate, its historical landmarks, expressing his country’s keenness to develop its relations with the Sultanate in political, economic and cultural fields. The talk also covered a number of topics related to cooperation between the governorate of Muscat and Moscow, in terms of exchanging expertise and coordination in related fields. The mayor invited Mutassim to visit Russia and he accepted the invitation. ....

1 comment:

  1. I confirm that the man is a bigot, a xenophobe and a staunch anti-islamist.


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