Posted 22 ноября 2022,, 11:38

Published 22 ноября 2022,, 11:38

Modified 25 декабря 2022,, 20:55

Updated 25 декабря 2022,, 20:55

Swiss joke: when new emigrants return to Russia

22 ноября 2022, 11:38
Андрей Мовчан
Western businessmen and financiers are very skeptical about the prospects of the Russian market.

Andrey Movchan, financial analyst

Friday. Negotiations with the Swiss; London, Victoria area, small office building; meeting room in the basement. On the table are coffee, Swiss chocolates, a decanter of whiskey, 4 glasses, 4 cups. At the table - a Russian-speaking lawyer, a specialist in litigation of very rich people from the CIS, who has long changed his name and surname to European ones, a Swiss portfolio manager managing 600 million francs, a Swiss investment banker - a specialist in building banking structures and your obedient servant. We talk about a potential JV, about new markets, about setting up a bank in Mauritius, about where to open new funds.

Pause. More whiskey is poured. Great speyside, 20 years old.

The investment banker leans back in his chair, takes a sip. Looks at me.

“I actually worked in Russia. In the 90s. Then everyone loved Russia very much. Do you want to tell a Swiss anecdote, I just heard it in Zurich?”

I lean back in my chair, sip my whiskey. Silence, I look at him.

“The son of white émigrés, Alexis, arrives in his Bentley to a car service to a familiar master in Zurich. He himself is an old banker, a suit, a handkerchief in his pocket. And the auto mechanic is Turkish, Mehmed, in clean overalls, almost like a watchmaker. While Alexis drinks coffee, Mehmed inspects the car. Alexis asks:

- Mehmed, how long will it take you this time?

- You know, Herr Alexis, last time the service took 3 hours. I think there is no particular reason for it to be longer or shorter this time.

Then Mehmed asks:

- Herr Alexis, you are Russian. In Russia, I heard the horror of what is happening: dictatorship, repression, ideology...

- Yes, Mehmed, everything is bad. But in the 90s we hoped so much, I myself went there to work, visited there 70 years after my parents fled from there. And now everything has returned from which they left then!

“Tell me, Herr Alexis, how long can this go on?”

“Well, Mehmed, last time…”

He rocks in his chair and smiles broadly. And Alexis, and Mehmed, and Russia are far away for him, how far is the war in the Congo or the problems of Venezuela - I won’t be surprised if he managed to work there and there. He looks like a capitalist from the Soviet films shot at the Riga film studio. He is a smart lawyer, quick and smart, cold and cynical. Did he think to offend me or just convey his attitude towards the Russian market? Rather, the second - he clearly wants to work with me.

I never knew there were jokes in Switzerland, and I guess I was right. Haven't heard anything less funny in a long time.