President Donald Trump fancies himself as a master deal maker — but longtime Russian business journalist Leonid Bershidsky reveals in a new Bloomberg column that Trump’s purported negotiating prowess got him absolutely nowhere when he tried to drive hard bargains in Russia.
In looking over the Trump Organization’s failed bid to build Trump Tower Moscow while Trump was running for president, Bershidsky says that it fits into a broad pattern of Trump trying to cut deals in Russia, but failing every step of the way.
“The story began in 1987, when Trump first visited Moscow, then the Soviet capital, and negotiated with bureaucrats from the State Foreign Tourism Committee who offered him an opportunity to build a luxury hotel in Moscow,” Bershidsky writes. “They offered a lease; he wanted ownership. The Soviets also offered to set up a dispute resolution committee consisting of seven Russians and three Trump representatives, a deal Trump didn’t like.”
In the mid-’90s, Trump once again tried to cut a deal in Russia, but he ultimately passed on a deal to renovate two hotels located near the Kremlin. He notes that subsequent Trump plans to license his brand to builders in Russia similarly fell flat.
“The Trump name has never been worth that much in Russia,” he writes. “Not even Aras Agalarov, the Azerbaijani-born billionaire who partnered with Trump to hold the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, ultimately wanted to do a deal, though the two discussed a tower just outside Moscow city limits, where Agalarov owns land. Moscow real estate was by then out of Trump’s reach.”