07MOSCOW1931, AMBASSADOR’S VISIT TO TVER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1931 2007-04-26 14:43 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8171
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1931/01 1161443
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261443Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9729
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 4029
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 2080
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2401

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001931 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PINR ECON EINV RS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S VISIT TO TVER 
 
MOSCOW 00001931  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY:  Tver Governor Dmitriy Zelenin is a 
businessman turned politician who integrates a Western 
business outlook in his style of government.  During the 
Ambassador's visit to Tver Oblast on April 20, Zelenin 
outlined his priorities and described the future for economic 
development and public services delivery in the region. The 
Ambassador later addressed students at Tver State University. 
 END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------- 
An Entrepreneur as Governor 
--------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Governor Zelenin is a member of the new generation 
of Russian leaders.  From his post-university software 
startup in 1989, he worked his way into banking, 
manufacturing, investment (as General Director of Interros) 
and ultimately onto the Norilsk Nickel Board of Governors. 
He turned to politics in 2003 when he was elected Governor of 
Tver and joined the United Russia party. 
 
3. (SBU) In his meeting with the Ambassador, Zelenin focused 
almost exclusively on economics and public services in Tver 
Oblast.  Although he mentioned the familiar regional 
complaint that Moscow provides insufficient resources for 
infrastructure and social needs, Zelenin offered a more 
business-oriented solution, suggesting the focus should be to 
develop Tver's internal resources and attract greater Russian 
and international investment.  He said Tver's development 
problems were rooted in the transportation bottleneck. 
Tver's poor road infrastructure and inadequate airport made 
it difficult and expensive to export goods from the region 
and to get businessmen and tourists to visit.  These 
deficiencies squander Tver's greatest natural advantage: its 
location between Moscow and St. Petersburg. 
 
-------------------- 
The New Jersey Model 
-------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Zelenin said Tver's proximity to Moscow, coupled 
with lower property and labor costs than Moscow, positions 
Tver to draw investment for manufacturing and distribution, 
much as New Jersey has drawn economic advantage from its 
proximity to New York City.  The Governor's office has an 
active foreign investment marketing program, and Tver has 
already secured significant foreign investment, such as a USD 
20 million German automobile distribution center, a USD 40 
million Georgia-Pacific paper manufacturing plant, and a USD 
123 million Chinese glass manufacturing plant. 
 
5. (SBU) Tver Oblast is a large, sparsely populated region -- 
it has an area greater than Austria and only 1.5 million 
people, a third of whom live in the capital.  As the 
neighboring Moscow Oblast becomes more congested and land 
prices rise, Tver Oblast is drawing Muscovites to build 
dachas and to vacation around its more than 600 lakes. 
Zelenin has encouraged this trend and has been actively 
promoting tourism and outdoor sports.   While he briefly 
discussed agricultural development, which he described as 
"more productive than average for Russia," he claimed that no 
more funding was forthcoming from the federal government for 
this national priority project. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
Social Development via Economic Development 
------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Zelenin said Tver's sparse population and rural 
character make it difficult to ensure the full range of 
public services.  Education and healthcare were hampered by a 
shortage of teachers and doctors.  Zelenin said that he seeks 
to change the mentality of the people towards self-reliance 
and away from seeking paternalistic government handouts.  His 
plan to improve services was to improve overall economic 
conditions and to keep young adults (who require fewer 
services on average) in the region through better job 
opportunities.  Zelenin said that he was actively promoting 
small business incubators and technology service providers 
such as computer call centers and software development 
businesses. 
 
--------------------- 
Tver State University 
--------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) The Ambassador later spoke with about 200 students 
at Tver State University.  The questions from the students 
 
MOSCOW 00001931  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
focused on social issues and education.  In a turnabout from 
the usual questions about how they could study in the United 
States, they asked why there were not more American students 
in Russia. They also pressed the Ambassador on whether 
globalization was really best for Russia.  Their questions 
revealed a polite skepticism of the United States and a 
curiosity about American motives for Jackson-Vanik and the 
recent report on Supporting Human Rights and Democracy. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (SBU) Zelenin is different from most Russian politici
ans 
because his governing style is influenced by his success as a 
businessman.  He is not expecting the center to solve his 
problems but is instead trying to leverage the inherent 
advantages of his region for greater economic development. 
BURNS

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