06MOSCOW12631, VOLGOGRAD: INTERESTED IN INCREASED ACADEMIC AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12631 2006-11-27 09:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8790
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2631/01 3310925
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270925Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5443
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 3599
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1788
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2039
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 4514

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 012631 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
USDOC FOR 4231/ITA/MACK/RISD/JBROUGHER/MEDWARDS 
USDA FAS FOR OCBD/FOSTER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON EINV PGOV EAGR SOCR PINR RS
SUBJECT: VOLGOGRAD: INTERESTED IN INCREASED ACADEMIC AND 
BUSINESS TIES WITH THE U.S. 
 
 
MOSCOW 00012631  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1.  (U) Sensitive But Unclassified.  Not for internet 
distribution. Propriety Information. 
 
2.  (SBU)  SUMMARY: During Ambassador Burns' November 16-17 
trip to Volgograd, government, business and civil society 
representatives emphasized their desire to see stronger 
academic and business cooperation with the U.S.   The 
Ambassador met with acting governor Khabanov, exchanged views 
with students and business leaders, participated in a 
wreath-laying ceremony in honor of the World War II defenders 
of Stalingrad, and toured a farm financed through a USG 
co-operative program. 
. 
----------------------- 
BRING US YOUR BUSINESS 
----------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU//PR) Acting Volgograd Oblast Governor Oleg Khabanov 
briefed the Ambassador on Volgograd's economic potential. 
Khabanov said the petro-chemical and agricultural industries 
were ripe for foreign investment.  Local official would also 
like to see greater trade and investment in the 
transportation and telecommunications sectors.   Khabanov 
mentioned that the oblast was in the process of concluding a 
contract with Cargill to build an edible-oil extraction 
plant, and had just entered negotiations with John Deere. 
Khabanov emphasized Volgograd's strategic location as a 
transportation hub on the Volga River with rapidly developing 
infrastructure and an international airport.  The Ambassador 
outlined how Volgograd should benefit from Russia's WTO 
accession, especially in agriculture, petro-chemicals and 
metallurgy.  In closing, Khabanov talked about conversations 
he had with German officials about establishing a German 
consulate in Volgograd and alluded to his desire to see a 
greater USG official presence in the area. 
 
4.  (SBU)  While the governor emphasized big business, local 
business leaders told the Ambassador during an open forum at 
the USG-funded American Corners that they wanted more contact 
with the U.S. for small- and medium-sized enterprises.  Many 
participants were alumni of USG-supported business exchange 
programs and spoke at length of the positive impact of their 
time in the U.S.  However, they decried the ever diminishing 
number of business exchange programs. Two successful 
entrepreneurs related how their experiences in the U.S. had 
led directly to partnerships with U.S. firms and added that 
Volgograd businesses were very interested in programs for 
Russian-American business cooperation on a micro level. 
. 
-------------------------- 
AND ACADEMIC PROGRAMS TOO 
-------------------------- 
 
5.  (SBU)  Students at open forums at both the American 
Center and at Volgograd State University (VSU) emphasized the 
need for more contact with their American counterparts. 
Rector Oleg Inshakov mentioned several programs that VSU had 
directly established with U.S. universities.  Some students 
stressed how poorly Russians and Americans understood each 
other's cultures.  The Ambassador explained that ordinary 
American's interest in Russia was increasing after a long 
post-perestroika decline and attributed this to Russia's 
return to the world stage as an economic power and recent 
entry into the WTO. 
. 
------------------------- 
A SUCCESSFUL COOPERATIVE 
------------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU)  Gennadiy Nikulin, Chairman of the Volgograd rural 
credit cooperative "Sodruzhevstvo," led the Ambassador on a 
tour of a pig farm belonging to one of his co-op members. 
Nikulin emphasized that the co-op's initial funding, through 
food aid monetization in 1998, was decisive in the co-op's 
success -- at that time these USG funds were the lone source 
of finances available.  Sodruzhevstvo currently receives 
funding through the Rural Credit Cooperative Development Fund 
(RCCDF), a Russian NGO established in 1997 and jointly funded 
by USDA and USAID.  Since the initial USG financing, RCCDF 
has secured financing from Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, 
and from other contracts with local and federal authorities. 
Total support now exceeds USD 2.5 billion, and the RCCDF, the 
 
MOSCOW 00012631  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
first co-op of its kind and most successful in the country, 
is now used as a model by the Ministry of Agriculture. 
. 
-------- 
COMMENT 
-------- 
 
7. (SBU)  Throughout the visit the city's strong sense of 
history and pride, as well as the desire to increase 
cooperation with the U.S. academically and at all levels of 
business was evident.  The successful USG financing of the 
cooperative pig farm project demonstrates the posit
ive impact 
that even minimal interaction can exert on Volgograd and its 
residents.  Despite its reputation as the center of Russia's 
"Red Belt" (pro-communist area), Volgograd's representatives 
seem genuinely interested in further cooperation with the U.S. 
BURNS

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