The Washington Post reports: Trump first visited Moscow in 1987 in an effort to make real estate deals. As he told it in a Playboy interview, two Russian fighter planes accompanied his jet to the airport, and he had insisted on having two Russian colonels fly with him. He stayed at the National Hotel, overlooking the Kremlin, and said that the Soviets wanted him to build two luxury hotels.The Soviet ambassador had visited Trump in New York City and said his daughter had “adored” Trump Tower and suggested a Moscow version, according to a Newsweek account of the visit published at the time. Trump visited a number of potential sites around Moscow.
Trump said he told Soviet officials that he did not know how to arrange financing because the government owned the land. Trump said he was told: “No problem, Mr. Trump. We will work out lease arrangements.”
Trump said he responded, “I want ownership, not leases.” The Soviets said they would create a committee of seven government representatives and three Trump associates to resolve problems.
Trump said in the 1990 interview that he was “very unimpressed” with the Soviet system, which he called “a disaster.” “What you will see there soon is a revolution,” he added. He said his “problem” with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was that he was “not a firm enough hand.”
Trump did not wind up making a deal, but he soon tried again.
In 1996, Trump sought to build luxury condominiums in Moscow, but the deal never happened. Trump tried again in 2005, signing a deal for a possible Trump building in a converted pencil factory, but this also failed to materialize.
The Trumps were undaunted. Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Russia six times in an 18-month period, starting around 2006, to try to make deals. His father seemed convinced it would happen.