RELATED LONDON: Fighter jets and nuclear submarines for milk! The extraordinary offer was made by Russia to New Zealand in 1993, a new book has claimed. After the collapse of the Soviet Union , Russia was struggling to pay the $100 million it owed New Zealand for a range of imported dairy products, Guardian reported. In a meeting with Russian officials to chalk out payment terms, Jim Bolger, then New Zealand prime minister, was left “absolutely stunned” to be offered a nuclear submarine and two MiG fighter jets in lieu of money, according to Clive Lind, the author of the book, ” Till the Cows Came Home “. Lind, who interviewed Bolger and former New Zealand Dairy Board chairman Dryden Spring, who was also present at the meeting, said the offer had been made by Alexander Shokhin, then deputy prime minister of Russia. “The Russians were trying to come up with lines of credit before Shokhin mentioned there were other funding arrangements,” Lind was quoted by the daily as saying. “He pointed out that MiG jets were highly desirable and that they also had surplus tanks to offer. Jim Bolger had to explain that he wasn’t in the market for second-hand tanks,” Lind added. Perhaps most remarkably, Shokhin then offered a nuclear submarine to wipe out Russia’s debt. Noting that New Zealand was a staunchly non-nuclear-powered country, he suggested hooking the vessel up to the national grid and using it as a power plant for a coastal city, the report said. “Bolger recalled the reaction he would have got if he returned to a nuclear-free New Zealand and told people that he hadn’t got any money for them but had secured a nuclear submarine instead,” Lind said.

(F) is counting on new sport-utility vehicles to revive sales in Russia after a contraction in demand for sedans propelled a delivery drop, the head of the U.S. carmakers European operations said. Ford, which makes the Focus compact and mid-sized Mondeo at a plant in Russias Leningrad region, posted a 19 percent plunge in nine-month sales in the country, more than double the 7 percent industrywide drop in the period, according to Association of European Businesses figures . The companys local joint venture with OAO Sollers outlined plans yesterday to build the EcoSport SUV and Edge crossover next year. Its been a very quick shift from the vehicles which were successful historically, such as the Focus, Stephen Odell, president of Fords European, Middle Eastern and African business, said in an interview in Moscow late yesterday. The segment which is growing in Russia is sport-utility vehicles. Its fashionable to have SUVs. The partnership between Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford and Sollers took over the U.S. companys car plant in Vsevolozsk and builds models including the Explorer SUV and Kuga crossover in Elabuga in the Russian republic of Tatarstan. The Edge will be produced at another plant in Naberezhnye Chelny, also in Tatarstan, the companies said yesterday. Balanced Strategy Ford operates under a 50-50 joint venture because we thought it was important to have balanced equity and balanced growth in the business, Odell said. With the addition of the EcoSport and the Edge, an offroader between the full-size Explorer and more compact Kuga, well have a complete portfolio of products in the growing SUV segment, actually way faster than you wouldve thought wed be able to respond, Odell said. Russias car market will probably amount to about 2.8 million vehicles this year, versus projections exceeding 3 million units at the beginning of the year, Odell said, declining to specify forecasts for Ford. Russias gross domestic product expansion slowed to 1.2 percent in the second quarter from 3.4 percent last year. GDP may not grow as fast as you like, but its still a strong economy, Odell said.

Russia Foils Plot to Attack Chemical Arms Facility

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