Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Russian Embassy, Georgetown, Guyana

Embassy Location:
The US Embassy is located at 100 Duke and Young Streets, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana. Visa applicants are required to use the Duke Street entrance of the Embassy.

The Embassy's "Drop Box" is also located at the Duke Street entrance. Documents may be dropped off between the hours of 8:00am to 4:00pm on working days only. Envelopes must be clearly labeled with the applicant's name and GEO case number if applicable. Sender's return address must also be clearly stated.


November 28, 1992, Seattle Times - AP, New Embassies In Guyana Monuments To Cold War -- Oversized U.S. And Russian Structures Testify To An Old Ideological Struggle, by Kevin Noblet, 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana - The huge U.S. and Russian embassies dominate this tiny South American country like whales beached by the Cold War's receding tide.

About a mile apart, they rise three stories and occupy a block each, dwarfing the wooden homes that typify this sleepy capital.

They seem out of proportion not only to this city, where foraging cattle sometimes stall traffic on Main Street, but to the country, which is the size of Idaho with a population of 750,000 that is steadily shrinking through emigration.

Both buildings are new, opened in 1991, but they were designed years ago, at the height of the ideological struggle between East and West.

Their size attests to Guyana's recent history as a hotly contested corner of the Americas, a laboratory for zealous socialist experiment and covert maneuvers by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Ambassador Mikhail Sobolev of Russia says he rattles around in his capacious headquarters, which he describes as "a relic of old times."

"The idea was to use it as a sort of regional embassy," he said.

"We don't need it as such now."


The embassy took three years to build and was inaugurated just in time for dissolution of the Soviet Union.

It was designed to be both the workplace and home for all staff members. The compound includes offices, the ambassador's residence, more than a dozen apartments, a swimming pool, sports facilities, a library and one of Georgetown's best theaters.

Sobolev said the top floors of the main office building remain unfinished because Russia, which took over Soviet foreign missions, is short of money. He wouldn't say how much the embassy cost to build, although he suggested the figure was about the same as for the U.S. Embassy. According to the State Department, that would be $17 million.

The ambassador said he has proposed that it be sold or rented and the mission moved to more modest quarters.

Designers of the U.S. Embassy tried to conform to the local architectural style, putting a louvered facade around the 40,000 feet of floor space and topping it with three boxy towers.

The result is a building without the bunker-like appearance of many other U.S. embassies.

Still, its size inspires humor.

When it opened in April 1991, Guyanese dubbed it "our God," as in the hymn quoting Martin Luther: "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing."

The new embassy dwarfs the old one, a rambling wood building that was "bugged" with termites and cockroaches.

Guyana was settled by the Dutch and ruled by Britain from 1796 until its independence in 1966.

During the Cold War, Guyana was a backwater of intrigue, a place where East and West mixed warily, where diplomats still wore linen suits and Panama hats.

Both sides competed with aid programs. The United States spent an estimated $8 million to $10 million a year, building roads and bridges. Cuba supplied technicians and doctors, the Soviets military helicopters and an airliner, which now are grounded for lack of parts.

Fearing a communist beachhead on the north coast of South America, the CIA maneuvered to keep a popular Guyanese Marxist, Cheddi Jagan, out of power.


It preferred Forbes Burnham, who governed until his death in 1985. Burnham proved equally radical, however, nationalizing British and U.S. businesses as he moved close to Cuba and the Soviet bloc.

The United States cut off aid in the early 1980s.

Some aid was renewed when Burnham's successor, Desmond Hoyte, began free-market reforms and reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in 1990. The U.S. budget for 1993 includes $1.3 million in development aid for Guyana.

In an ironic twist, the money will be welcomed by the new Prime Minister, Jagan, the man the United States helped freeze out for decades.

On Oct. 5, in response to pressure from the United States and other Western nations, Guyana held its first free election in decades. Jagan won easily.

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