70 to 30

When Trump visited Moscow in 1987, he did some preliminary probing for a possible real estate deal but came back disappointed: the USSR had no private ownership of land at all and the dispute resolution procedure his Soviet counterparts proposed was curious:

They came up with a solution: “Mr. Trump, we form a committee with ten people, of which seven are Russian and three are your representatives, and all disputes will be resolved in this manner.” I thought to myself, Shit, seven to three – are we dealing in the world of the make-believe here or what?

Seven to three, or 70% to 30%: exactly the same ratio popped up 30 years later when Edward Luttwak discussed a possible farming deal with an “expert” in Vladivostok:

The “expert’ eventually made clear “that the only way that I could do this investment was by giving a 70% share to his friends.”

I’m not the kind of person to insert “some things never change” at every opportunity. Let’s say it’s an amusing coincidence.

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