Summit Notebook

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AUDIO – Vimpelcom: At home in Vietnam

izosimov.jpgAs Russia’s acquisitive corporations have consolidated their positions at home, their ambitions have spread to other fast growing, often risky and untried emerging markets. First they hit the countries of the former Soviet Union, which many Russian businessmen still view as their backyard,  and more recently, have expanded in other emerging markets in Asia and Africa. Particularly hospitable have been the old Cold War allies of the Soviet Union, as Russian mobile phone operator Vimpelcom found when it made its first step in Asia by entering a joint venture in Vietnam.

“It was the real red carpet treatment,” Vimpelcom chief executive Alexander Izosimov said.  

 As part of its Cold War era hearts-and-minds campaign, Moscow welcomed thousands of foreign students who learned engineering, medicine, and at the same time, Russian language and culture.  The students of decades past now regularly meet Russian businessmen on their home turf.