Consul of Celestial Empire chooses a place in Kazan higher to the sky
Consulate of the People’s Republic of China is going to be located in Suvar Plaza tower
This Sunday, on 20 November, Prime Minister of Tatarstan Ildar Khalikov is due to pay a working visit to the People's Republic of China. Despite the closer contacts with China, it is still unknown where the embassy will be located. Realnoe Vremya found out the 'red dragon' won't erect a separate building but will be situated in the 'diplomatic' business centre. However, nobody knows when the new consul will move to his new office.
All the questions in Chinese only
This Sunday, on 20 November, Prime Minister of Tatarstan Ildar Khalikov is due to pay a working visit to the People's Republic of China. The opening of the Consulate of the People's Republic of China in Kazan was announced three weeks ago. But its location has not been named yet. In order to know where the 'secret' consulate is located, we talked to the Consulate of China in Moscow. However, we did not manage to find any information – a Chinese-speaking person picked up the phone. In answer to the question whether we could speak in Russian, the Moscow consulate also explained in Chinese.
Fortunately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation answered in Russian. The representative office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia in Kazan confirmed Realnoe Vremya that Mr Chen Wei was appointed as consul. They also told that the Chinese consulate would be located on 6, Spartakovskaya Street, which doesn't have a phone at the moment. Suvar Plaza shopping mall is situated there. The mall has several class A offices except a shopping space.
The very shopping mall doesn't have any plates about the exact location of the consulate. The security staff of the complex confirmed that, indeed, Chinese diplomats were moving to the business centre of the complex. But they could not tell where and when the move would finish.
Business centre for consuls
Director general of Suvar Estate Airat Tumakaev told Realnoe Vremya that the diplomats did not accommodate there because necessary preparation works were carried out at the moment. According to him, 'the rented space of the initial office of the consulate is 100 square metres'.
It is unknown why the consulate decided to rent an office, not erect a separate building. However, only the Turkish and Kazakhstani consulates can boast about their own buildings. The office of the Belarus Embassy shares a building with the regional administration of the Federal Service for Financial and Budget Supervision.
The Consulate of Hungary and Iran chose Suvar Plaza as their headquarters. Tumakaev explains such an attention to the centre by safety guarantees: 'High safety level of the facility, quality of its administration, realisation of modern and energy efficient engineering solutions are key requirements for location of diplomatic services'. But the Consulate of Iran had an unpleasant story in the very Suvar Plaza in 2011 – its office was flooded. Luckily, the 'wet case' did not worsen the diplomats' attitude to the business centre. And Kazan doesn't have a good choice of class A offices.
The Chinese start slowly
The story about the opening of the Consulate of the People's Republic of China only confirms the general opinion that negotiations with the Chinese are long and complicated. The Consulate of PRC in Kazan was mentioned a long time ago. In the early 2010s, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov told about the prospects of Kazan and mentioned that it was good to open several foreign consulates including Chinese. But the first messages about the consulate in Kazan appeared last summer. There were many contacts with Chinese regions at that moment.
In September, the Government of Russia charged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with exchanging corresponding notes after which the agreement on the opening of the consulate general in Russia was to come to effect.
The topic of the opening of the consulate arose in the media many times during the year. In September 2016, Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko, who had a business trip in the People's Republic of China, surprised journalists. She said that the realisation of the 'decision to open the consulate general of Russia in Wuhan and the consulate general of PRC in Kazan made at the high political level will depend on how soon the money on it would be expended'. 'The working process is under way now. Money is found. The location of the consulates is defined. Everything was in a working regime. We hope that the consulates in both Russia and China will appear as soon as these formal problems are solved.' Matvienko did not specify what for and who lacked the money.
It seems that the money was found in October. And on 31 October, Prime Minister of Tatarstan Ildar Khalikov received acting Consul General of the People's Republic of China Mr Chan Wai in Kazan. President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov met him two weeks later.