Our journey to Russia began in Moscow. It took weeks to lock down the date and time of the most important interview of our trip, President Dmitry Medvedev. What a huge score!
Every detail of our exclusive interviewwas planned in advance. We were asked to go to his residence outside of the city, in Barviha.
Our interview was four in the afternoon on Monday, June 1st. We were onsite way in advance to set up. The President’s security team has a routine that they do, much like those when we interview our president here in the U.S.
We entered the interview room through the back of the house (you can see a nice lake from the backyard). The grounds were well kept, very secure of course. The room where we did the interview was quite dark, mostly furniture made of dark wood and a big fireplace, nevertheless it felt very presidential.
The room next to the interview room was where the two interpreters were set up. They were crucial since the interpreter’s voice was a key component to the interview. We brought in two cameras. Russian Television had three, totaling five. The room was big yet it was packed, five cameramen, two audio engineers, myself and my colleague plus the countless number of people from the offices of the Kremlin. I’d say there were about twenty of us behind the camera.
Maria sat down early to focus for the interview. She was so in the zone she was surprised when President Medvedev walked in the door. The President was very light on his feet, not surrounded by his staff or security. President Medvedev was so very charismatic, greeting all of us with a nod and smile and quickly sat down the chair.
President Medvedev was all business and ready to start interview right away. The interview went on for about forty-five minutes. Then, he and Maria went outside for a walk around the grounds of his residence and the fountain. They shook hands and he got in his motorcade and left.
Our live coverage began on Tuesday, June 2nd after our interview with President Medvedev. Maria did live shots all day on CNBC and MSNBC. At 11PM Moscow Time, 3PM ET it was time for “Closing Bell”.We broadcasted live from Red Square. What a picture perfect evening!!! Two hours of live coverage without a hitch! Our five man (person) band led by Maria Bartiromo that included myself, Yontan, Mitya and Alexey.
We headed to St. Petersburg to get ready for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forumthat kicked off on Thursday June 4th.
Maria was invited to moderate the key plenary session, one with President Medvedev, Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 69th Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumiand Professor Robert Mundell of Columbia. It was out of this world.
Of course Maria wasn’t done yet! She moderated a second panel later on in the day called “Anti-Crisis Programs: Scale and Limits of Gov’t Intervention in the Context of Market Economy”. A-listers included, Elvira Nabiullina, Minister for Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Lord Mervyn Davies, Minster for Trade and Investment in UK, Citi’s CEO Vikram Pandit, one of the richest oligarchs in Russia – Mikhail Prokhorovand Dr. Dieter Zetsche(aka Dr. Z in the Mercedes commercials), Chairman of Damiler, among others.
We did four more interviews from the conference and live reports throughout out the day. What a busy conference!