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Cablegate: New Governor Stresses Economic Modernization

VZCZCXRO7593
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK
DE RUEHYG #0083 3501112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161112Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1398
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1042
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 0631
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 0621
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 1436

UNCLAS YEKATERINBURG 000083

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EUR/RUS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAIR EINV PGOV PREL RS CH
SUBJECT: NEW GOVERNOR STRESSES ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION

REF: YEKAT 77

Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) Newly appointed Sverdlovsk oblast governor Aleksandr
Misharin (see reftel) hosted a holiday toast for the Urals-based
diplomatic corps at the governor's residence on December 10.
For most of the foreign diplomats present, this was the first
face to face meeting with the new governor. The number of
consulates, trade representative offices, and honorary
consulates located in Yekaterinburg now exceeds 20. Noting that
the majority of diplomatic missions must rent premises in
Yekaterinburg, the governor offered to provide land to missions
willing to invest in building their own buildings as the Chinese
are reportedly planning.

2. (SBU) Misharin's presentation and subsequent interaction
with the assembled diplomats revealed his overriding focus on
revitalizing the region's economy and his interest in
stimulating foreign investment. Misharin noted that the
region's foreign trade turnover in 2009 stood at about US$ 7
billion, a 40% decline from 2008. Though the governor failed to
mention that the U.S. is the region's leading trade partner
according to the oblast ministry of Foreign and External
Economic Relations, he did note that France was the only country
with which trade increased during the year. After expressing
his appreciation for the cultural and educational contributions
of Yekaterinburg's diplomatic missions, the governor invited
more international trade delegations and business exhibitions in
the future, noting that construction of a new
convention/exhibition center would begin this year. Misharin
reiterated his goal of modernizing the regional economy along
the lines of President Medvedev's November address. To this
end, infrastructure projects, including a proposed high-speed
rail link between Yekaterinburg and Moscow, will get special
attention. Again, he mentioned the Chinese as potential
investors in this project.

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3. (SBU) When his turn came to propose a toast, the CG recalled
the fifteen year history of the Consulate General in
Yekaterinburg and highlighted the Boeing Corporation's $30
million investment in its joint venture with Russian titanium
giant VSMPO-Avismo in northern Sverdlovsk oblast as an example
of significant long-term business cooperation. In his response,
the governor proposed the establishment of a direct air
connection between Yekaterinburg and the United States.

4. (SBU) Though less spontaneous and gregarious than his
predecessor Eduard Rossel, the new governor appeared
well-briefed and was at ease interacting with the diplomatic
corps. New cabinet appointments are expected by the end of the
year.

SANDUSKY

© Scoop Media

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