Blog: Russia's president is a GM St Pete plant fan
Dave Leggett | 11 November 2008
I see Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev was at the GM Russia plant opening ceremony last week, along with the US ambassador to Russia. Medvedev may have made some icy remarks about the US recently, but it sounds like he appreciates investment by US companies in his country.
"This is a great example of investment cooperation between Russia and the United States," Medvedev said at the ceremony on Friday.
Medvedev - who hails from St Petersburg - was also at the groundbreaking ceremony for the plant two years ago, as first deputy prime minister.
"I was given a shovel as a souvenir, which I still keep at my dacha with other gardening tools," Medvedev said before inspecting the interior of a Chevy Captiva off the line.
Practical chap. Gets given a shovel at a groundbreaking ceremony and hangs on to it. I like the idea that it's got a great big GM logo on the handle, perhaps alongside a slick representation of the two nations' flags. It's certainly a lot more useful than a paperweight.
To be serious for a moment, economic ties like this one - a US car company investing in Russia, unthinkable not so long ago - are an important positive for the world's economy and the notion of human interdependence. Globalisation isn't all a force for good, but, on the day we remember those who have given their lives for their country in military service, it's perhaps worth remembering the positives it brings. People across the globe can feel closer, at least, our welfare and interests increasingly collectively intertwined. If Russia's president comes over all warm and fuzzy when he thinks of GM's St Pete plant and the rather magnificent shovel at his dacha, that's maybe a measure of how far we have come, even if the Cold War-like rhetoric still gets an airing on some days.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...