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Don't mess with the Russians

by Alex Esterkin

A German company was involved in negotiations in Moscow trying to sell some 100 million dollars worth of manufacturing equipment to a Russian State corporation. Negotiations went smoothly but differences remained. So Martin Bayer himself, the CEO of the German Company, decided to come to Moscow to head the talks. Besides caring about his business, the CEO wanted to go to Russia to hunt bears.

Martin Bayer was one of the greatest hunters of our time (and the Russians knew about it). He went to safari more than hundred times and hunted lions, rhinos, crocodiles, he hunted polar bears in the North Pole and tigers in the rain forests of India. But he had never hunted Russian bears.

So the Russians decided to organize a bear hunt for Mr. Bayer to sweeten the talks. This wasn't a simple task. Some people in the west still believe that bears may be found and seen everywhere in Russian cities just like squirrels may be seen in our back yards. This is not true. The closest place one may find bears in the wild is maybe 2,500 miles away from Moscow. Nonetheless, a solution was quickly found. The Russian businessmen went to Moscow Circus and for $2,000 bought a very old bear. This bear used to amuse and amaze audiences in many countries for 30 years, but got and looked too old, had bald spots, and was retired.

"Be careful, the Russian bears are very aggressive, ferocious, and strong", they told to Mr. Bayer. "If compared to the Russian bears, your African lions are nothing more than harmless cats."

The bear was brought to a conservation forest 50 miles from Moscow and was left there. Mr. Bayer was told that bears were plentiful in that forest and that many cattle and even people had been eaten in the surrounding villages.

Meanwhile, an 18-year old female drove through the forest on a motorcycle and suddenly saw a bear (no bears had been seen in those places for 200 years). She was frightened, fell, left her helmet and her motorcycle and ran away.

Mr. Bayer was excited and ready to hunt. This could become the pinnacle of his extraordinary hunting experience. The next moment Mr. Bayer saw a bear in a helmet driving on a motorcycle through the forest in front of him. The bear had a happy expression on his face, as he was doing something he had been doing in the circus for 30 years: circling on a motorcycle...

Mr. Bayer lives in a private mental institution near Hamburg happily ever after. The manufacturing equipment was never sold to Russia. It was sold to Iraq instead.

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