New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Chapter 4: Russian Standard Commentary: Roustam Tariko and Russian Standard
4. Russian Standard Emanuela Carboncini was, as she recalled, ‘pretty desperate’. She had many clients who wanted to come to Moscow, but she could not ﬁnd anywhere for them to stay. It was late 1988, when the developments of perestroika and glasnost were opening Russia to Westerners. Her company, Business Tour, specialized in booking hotel rooms in Moscow for Italian businesspeople. However, there were only four hotels in Moscow that were allowed to have foreign guests, and Emanuela was having great difﬁculty working with the slow, bureaucratic, corrupt and unresponsive ofﬁcial Intourist booking agency. She met and discussed her problem with many Russian representatives of the newly emerging travel cooperatives. They all proposed to show her clients ‘the beautiful sights in Russia’, but none of them were willing to take on the challenge of ﬁnding them rooms. One day a young man, Roustam Tariko, came into her ofﬁce. He worked for a small cooperative that provided transportation services to foreigners. Emanuela recalled, Right from the ﬁrst, I saw something very intelligent in his face. I said to him, ‘If you want to make money, help me with one simple thing. Get me access to decent hotel rooms in Moscow. If you can do this, you will be very rich. Go to the Rossia Hotel, for example. They have 4000 rooms; I can’t believe that there aren’t at least two or three for me!’ Tariko agreed to help Emanuela ﬁnd a way to circumvent the laborious Intourist...
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