Meeting of two presidents: Ivan Zhitenev, Streamer Electric AG, and Üli Maurer, Switzerland.29.11.2019
Mr. Zhitenev, why do you think you have been invited? What is so unique in Streamer?
There are Russian-Swiss projects successful in Russia or in Switzerland. Streamer, in turn, has a global reach: we scale up Russian know-hows via the Swiss company throughout the world.
Streamer Electric AG has been implementing projects in China, Columbia, Indonesia, and in Saudi Arabia.
Apart from the geographical expansion, we cooperate with the universities from Switzerland, Italy, Indonesia while playing a role of an integrator of innovations in the field of the lightning protection of power transmission lines.
What was the meeting dedicated to?
Mr. Maurer wanted to know about the activities and issues of the Swiss business in Russia and the Russian business in the territory of Switzerland. He wanted to see how companies from both countries interact with each other. This was the subject of the meeting with the businessmen.
Were there any other business representatives apart from you?
In addition to our company, a wine-grower from Switzerland working in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Director General of McDonald's in Russia Marc Carena who was born in Switzerland were attending the meeting. There were also representatives of ABB, UBS, Nestle, and other major companies.
How long did your conversation with President continue? What have you managed to discuss?
Each of us was given 3-4 minutes for a speech. My speech has sparked the interest of the other parties and it continued for about 10 minutes because Mr. Maurer was asking additional questions.
During my speech, I mentioned that we have lost scientific personnel from the Swiss company in favor of Australia. This was really on point because everybody knows the Australian rating system where the migration policy is very closely related to economics. This is what Switzerland lacks.
Using a special demo-box, I showed operation of the FIPRES.
ThermoMonitoring is our partner product developed and patented by chemist Lesivy; it is unique for the market of Russia and even the whole world.
One of the elements of the system is a sticker determining the temperature: when the threshold values (for instance, 70 degrees) are exceeded, the indicators change their color. The Ambassador showed his interest in this product – he began measuring temperature of the nearby hottest item, a cup of tea. The indicator was not actuated, as far as the temperature was insufficient. However, when boiling water was brought in, the experience was successful and the thermo indication was activated. This seemingly simple but interactive demonstration of function of the production is always more fascinating than just presentation of facts.
What are your impressions of doing business in Switzerland?
Switzerland has its intrinsic benefits and disadvantages. The benefit consists in the fact that the country is located in the center of Europe, however many regulations are well-designed and are respecting the business interests to a more degree than in other European countries. Due to this, Switzerland remains the economically advanced state. However, at present, we have to target not only the countries of Europe but the economics of Asia as well.
There is an area where Switzerland looses – the ratio of specialists creating intellectual property changes, more and more of them are localized in Asia, because it is easier and faster to gather an international team there.
That is why, in the coming 10-20 years, the Swiss should build more open economics and migration policy.
Were there conditions for networking at the meeting with Üli Maurer?
The atmosphere at the meeting with the top public official was very welcoming. He made a specific mention of 200 years of the warm relationship between our countries. Mr. Maurer emphasized that in critical periods of the history of Switzerland when its statehood was threatened, Russia came to rescue and helped preserve its sovereignty. This considerably facilitated developing Switzerland into a neutral state – and Switzerland gratefully remembers this.
During our conversation, a big Sennenhund-type dog entered the conference room. The dog was very kind and calm, it was interacting with the guests and everyone wanted to pat it. It turned out that this was the dog of Ambassador who was even giving it food from the table. When I wanted to take a selfie with the Sennenhund, Ambassador suggested me the dog's favorite treat to give it to the dog and to get a photo of us both very happy.
When Mr. Maurer was going to leave, I asked him to have a picture taken together. We decided it will implicitly serve for strengthening Russian-Swiss business.
I also presented a Streamer's branded bicycle kit to the head of Switzerland. It was apparent that it had been an unusual and pleasant gift adding a special vibe to our meeting – warm, free, and cheerful.
Presidents of what other countries would you like to meet?
I would like to meet the President of Russia. However, I was never thinking of this intentionally. Actually, this depends heavily on the person of the current president. For example, I think it would be useless to meet Donald Trump. He will be in a world of his own anyway and will not take heed of the partner in conversation. In fact, it would be interesting to hold a meeting with presidents of the USA, especially with some historical figures. I'd like to meet with the leaders of China, the Kingdom of Bhutan, and all European countries.
What is the President's mission in your opinion?
The mission of any president heavily depends on the country, its phase of development and constitutional system. Based on this, the head of the state may be a peace-maker or a reformist. The president's role is very diversified and it depends on the historical background rather than on the personality.
After communications with business representatives, Üli Maurer held two meetings with President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. In the course of negotiations, the issues of development of economic relations between Switzerland and Russia were also raised. Specifically, Üli Maurer offered Vladimir Putin establishing a coordination and consultation center for Swiss companies that with to approach the unfamiliar Russian market.