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Satellites are really taking off in the ‘secret’ city of Zheleznogorsk
Unearth hidden gems on a three-day tour of Moscow
Church art treasures given all clear by Russian physicist
Culture ruslan sukhushin
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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Legislation President outlines his plan to introduce e-petitions for the creation of popular new laws
News in Brief
Power to the people
Russia claims it will beat Kyoto target Russia says it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25pc compared with 1990 levels by 2020, exceeding the target of 6pc set by the Kyoyo Protocol. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia wanted to be part of a future global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, on the condition that it involved all of the world’s economies. Mr Medvedev told the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil that he supported an energy-efficient green economy but warned against bureaucratising the transition to the “green growth” model. He also stressed the importance of establishing mechanisms to share best practices and technologies through “green development” and said the UN should play a leading role. Russia’s emissions in 2009 compared to 1990 fell by 35.6pc. China, India and the United States, the world’s three biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, are not bound by Kyoto, but have pledged to sign a new deal to take effect after 2020, when their voluntary emission reduction goals expire. Ria-Novosti
Parliament would consider proposed laws backed by 100,000 digital signatures under plans endorsed by President Vladimir Putin. ekaterina zabrovskaya, ben aris special to russia now
Tsoi remembered with tribute gigs
Analysts following last week’s St Petersburg International Economic Forum conceded that while PresidentVladimir Putin talked tough on international issues, he also offered concessions on the domestic front. Mr Putin repeated his call for the G20 to take the lead in global affairs. He said the Brics countries were ready to contribute $75bn (£48bn) to the IMF (with $10bn from Russia) but in doing so, they should have more say in the organisation. Russia was willing to invite foreign investment“even into our strategic sectors”,but that for this investment to happen, there must be some quid pro quo.“Russian companies that wanted to invest in other countries have faced a wall and seen artificial pretexts that prevented this investment,” Mr Putin said. “This is far from being a partnership.” He also emphasised the need for “accountability” – making an implicit criticism of the poor governance in the United States that led to the global financial crisis. “We must end the petty populism of the politicians and the unrestrained fiscal speculation, as it is dangerous,” he said. The greatest surprise, however, came at the president’s initiative on the domestic front, as Mr Putin endorsed a proposal that he had previously discussed on nation-
Net gain: Mr Putin talked tough on foreign policy at the Forum but surprised observers by backing e-petitions
al television to give legal weight to proposals for legislation that attract more than 100,000 digital signatures. If put into action, the State Duma, the country’s lower house of parliament, would have to consider the citizens’ proposals. Under the current constitution, the power to initiate
legislation belongs only to the president, both chambers of the Federal Assembly, the Government and regional legislative bodies. In addition, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Higher Arbitration Court have the right of legislative initiative on issues within their jurisdiction.
Gennadiy Seleznyov, Speaker of the State Duma from 1996 to 2003, welcomed the initiative, saying it was “good and promising”, and that it demonstrated the president’s commitment to the need to develop civil society in Russia. “Any fundamental legislative initiative has to pass
through parliamentary hearings before being submitted to the State Duma,” he said. “It would be very valuable for a Duma committee to be able to report that a certain law was proposed by ordinary citizens over the internet with more than 100,000 signatures, so it should be considered carefully.”
But not everyone agreed. Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of the liberal opposition party Yabloko, did not believe the initiative would bring about substantial change. “The Duma will just examine the initiative and send it to the trash bin,” he said. “There continued on PAGE 2
Syria Foreign minister speaks out over helicopter controversy
The Russian ship MV Alaed was carrying overhauled disassembled helicopters to Syria and not new gunships as was claimed by western media, Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister, said on Sunday. “We are not going to make any excuses because we did not breach anything. We violated neither international law, nor UN Security Council resolutions nor our national legislation on export control, which is one of the tightest in the world,”Mr Lavrov said in an interview on Russian TV in response to reports that the Russian ship was carrying armaments and ammunition to Syria. “We supply armaments under contracts, which imply
sion of the ‘8’,” said military expertVictor Litovkin.“Specialists are well aware that Mi-8/17 helicopters are firstly transport aircraft… They are not delivered abroad, and this is even more true of refurbished aircraft, with installed weapons. “They can be made into military helicopters on the spot: it is possible to install a machine gun or cartridges for unguided missiles. But this is the decision and responsibility of the buyer of the equipment.” Speaking in an radio interview, Mr Lavrov said that, as the helicopters were being delivered disassembled, they needed to be rebuilt, which takes around three months. “Sources saying the Russians have delivered helicopters which were used against demonstrators, are completely wrong – it is a position conjured up to create fear and put Russia in a bad light,” he said.
The Syrian military forces currently have 33 Mi-24 attack helicopters and more than 80 multipurpose Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. “Attack helicopters were supplied to Syria during the Soviet times. The last shipments of the Russian helicopters to Syria date back to the beginning of the Nineties,”said editor-in-chief of Export Vooruzheny (Armaments Exports), Andrei Frolov. Helicopters repaired The White House’s information might refer to “shipments to Syria of some Syrian Mi-24 or Mi-17 helicopters after they underwent repair works in Russia,”Mikhail Barabanov, editor-in-chief of the Moscow Defence Brief, told RIA Novosti. The Pentagon has said
In this issue opinion
Cleaning the slate
the purchase by Syria of primarily defensive anti-aircraft means from us, which may be needed only in case of an external aggression against the Syrian state,”Mr Lavrov continued. “The contract was signed for the overhaul of Sovietera helicopters, which were delivered to Russia and repaired and these helicopters were transported back to Syria in a knock-down condition,” he said. The helicopters became the centre of a diplomatic row last week, when Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, claimed Russia was supplying weapons that would be used to massacre civilian protesters. Mr Lavrov reiterated on Thursday that the helicopters were overhauled under a contract signed in 2008. “The fact of the matter is that Syria has around 100 Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters, the latter being a perfected ver-
Arshavin sorry for Euro 2012 failure The captain of Russia’s football team, Andrei Arshavin, has apologised to fans for the team’s poor performance in Euro 2012, which saw Russia fail to progress beyond the group stage after losing 1-0 to unfancied Greece in their last match.“The result has upset us, and of course the fans. We understand this,”the Arsenal star said in a TV interview. “I, as team captain, on behalf of the players and myself, would like to apologise for the result.”Arshavin had been criticised after he reportedly told fans: “It’s not our problem we didn’t meet your expectations. It’s your problem.” The Moscow News
Lavrov: no excuses because we did nothing wrong The helicopters recently refurbished by Russia and delivered back to Syria are used for transportation, Russian experts claim.
Events were held across Russia last week to mark what would have been the 50th birthday of Viktor Tsoi, former leader of the cult Soviet rock band Kino. They included a concert in Moscow featuring covers of his songs. Tsoi died in a car crash in 1990, aged 28. Kino, part of the Leningrad underground rock scene, crafted a New Wave-influenced sound with lyrics that were often critical of the Soviet Union.
it is not aware of specific reports of helicopters being delivered, but claimed that the Syrian government was using
helicopter gunships to attack people. see opinion, page 6
Versatile: the Mi-8 is a multipurpose helicopter
Why Britain and Russia can be friendly again TURN TO PAGE 6
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Regional development Smaller towns and cities reap the benefit as companies flee capital in search of cheaper rents and labour
Exodus from Moscow a boost for regions As businesses relocate, staff are sensing opportunities for a better quality of life away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
Migration from the capital
Don augue eget arcu blandit sollicitudin. Nulla ante m.
ally like living here. Everything here is for people, unlike in Moscow. So I have settled down in Sobinka.” Business relocation is a growing trend according to human resources analysts, Maria Portnyagina, Olga Filina ogoniok magazine who say more and more manEven during the morning agerial staff are opting to rush hour, it now takes Mus- leave the capital with their covite Tatyana Gladysheva employers. The traditional only five minutes to get to golden rule of white-collar work from her city centre employment in Russia – the apartment. And for her lunch closer to Moscow, the better break she takes a stroll in – is rapidly becoming obsothe woods for fresh air. Ms lete. In 2006, according to Gladysheva has relocated surveys by the recruitment from Moscow to Sobinka, 100 portal Superjob.ru, only 15pc miles east of the capital, of Muscovites would have along with her employer, the been willing to move to a new city for a new job; but in May Bolshevik Candy Factory. “I like the new location,” 2012, 24pc of upper and midsays Ms Gladysheva, a pro- dle management workers duction manager.“The Klyaz- were willing to relocate. “Many companies leave ma River runs through Sobinka, and the countryside is Moscow to save on adminisa delight.You can go outside trative costs, and the employyour house in the summer, ees are forced to migrate have grilled shashlyk [shish along with the business,”says kebabs] and feast your eyes Natalya Grishakova from on your flowerbeds. Nearby Malakut HR Research and Vladimir has all the trap- Solutions. “Industrial companies pings of civilisation: cinemas, theatres, cafés, restaurants began moving out of Moscow a long time ago. It makes and clubs.” The entire factory made sense to relocate the adminthe move out of the capital, istrative divisions closer to both production units and the production units,” says managerial staff. With Ms Yelena Chernenko, director Gladysheva’s professional of the Analysis and Consultskills, she could have found ing Centre at the Real Estate work elsewhere in Moscow Economics Department of but she wanted a new life. the Russian Academy of the “I don’t regret it. Of course, National Economy and Civil senior management helped: Service. “To achieve effective manthey offered me an interesting position along with hous- agement in the regions, you ing, plus travel expenses in need qualified managers, so case I want to visit Moscow,” Moscow’s oversaturation she says.“But I was still nerv- with executive personnel is ous, naturally. It was scary: gradually declining,” she new challenges, a new place adds. “It’s sufficient to leave just a showroom in the capand people I didn’t know. “Initially I planned to ital where customers can see come only for one year. But samples of products.” Nearly all major and methen things got interesting: the factory is growing, we’re dium-sized Moscow compamaking new products, and nies have relocated some dipeople are learning things. visions outside the capital. Finally, I realised that I re- In Tver, which has a popula-
russian academy of the national
Malakut Human Resources Research
economy and civil service
Industrial companies began moving out of Moscow a long time ago. It makes sense to relocate the administrative divisions closer to the production units.”
Many companies are leaving Moscow to save on administrative costs, and the employees are forced to migrate alone with the business.”
tion of more than 400,000, Moscow-based companies have opened a total of 14 call centres, each with the capacity to employ more than 1,000 people. “This is one of the most widespread types of business migration to the regions,” says Natalya Zubarevich, director of the regional studies programme at the Independent Institute for Social Policy. “The process makes obvious sense: labour costs and office rentals are cheaper outside Moscow. So eve-
Elections New laws make old guard vulnerable to challenge by new generation of activists
Regional polls become latest battleground Independent and opposition candidates target regional and gubernatorial elections as bureaucrats face loss of control at local level. igor vyuzhny
special to rn
Irregular Guy: a masked demonstrator takes to the streets
position when Just Russia candidate Oleg Shein was shown to be in the lead by exit polls. However, after the votes were counted he was declared to be the loser. In protest, Mr Shein went on a hunger strike for weeks, saying the vote had been rigged. A team of prominent opposition leaders, including Alexei Navalny and Ilya Yashin, and dozens of activists, supported his cause. In response to some opposition demands, before leaving office President Dmitry Medvedev passed a bill reintroducing direct elections of governors, reversing the decision made by Vladimir Putin in 2005 to have governors nominated from the federal centre and confirmed by local parliaments. Other changes to electoral law have
made it easier for opposition parties to become registered and for opposition candidates to get on ballots. Yet critics have called these moves half measures, saying
Voters will now have to pay more attention when choosing a candidate in regional elections bureaucrats still have powerful tools for controlling access to regional governments. For example, in order to run for governor, independent candidates need to collect more than 5pc of the signatures of municipal deputies or heads of municipal councils – a difficult task if the party of power still controls
the local councils. Nevertheless, opposition activists are taking up the gauntlet.“Rallies and marches are not enough – people get bored and want something specific. They need to hear declarations that everyone is going to the regional polls,” says Valery Khomyakov, another political analyst. These efforts will come to a head in the autumn, when several Russian regions go to the polls to elect governors under the new law. Dmitry Gudkov, a Duma deputy from Just Russia, has said that the opposition party will nominate its first candidate to run for mayor of Krasnoyarsk. The Republican Party, which was established in 1990, banned in 2007, and reregistered in April, is getting ready to challenge United
Russia. Party leaderVladimir Ryzhkov says his members are planning to test the new election laws in Novgorod, Blagoveshchensk, Amur, Bryansk and Belgorod. Moscow and St Petersburg are likely to see the most heated battles for city-council seats. “The Moscow City Duma campaign is critical for the opposition, because enhancement of their representation in the Moscow government could become a real political goal for angry citizens,” says political analyst Mikhail Remizov. So far, the federal authorities are not acting to discourage the increasing political activism. Some experts believe the authorities may even welcome new blood in the local bureaucracies.“The mopping up of the governor corps is a result of the previous appointees not living up to expectations and failing to gain prestige locally,” says Vyacheslav Pozgalev, governor of theVolgograd Region from 1996 until 2011. Political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky, who was an adviser to the presidential administration until April last year, also believes that the authorities are content to let the opposition challenge old-guard bureaucrats, since the ideology of gaining control of independent politicians by tightening regulations has exhausted itself. Despite the excitement surrounding the changes in Russia’s electoral politics, the new competitiveness places a burden on both ordinary voters and opposition candidates.Voters will now have to pay more attention when choosing a candidate to support in regional elections, and candidates will have to be prepared to deal with real local problems. “It is on the basis of the local councils that Russia’s civil society can emerge, when people with differing viewpoints have to work out a concerted position in order to govern their area together,” says Mr Dryagin.
rybody who is in a position to relocate right now is doing it. The result is that our call centres are in Tver and our “offshore” programming is done in Nizhny Novgorod or Voronezh.” The relocation of companies from the capital to the regions also makes the regions more attractive. Ms Gladysheva recalls that when she first arrived in Sobinka in 2009, there were hardly any foreign cars or children in the playgrounds.“I remember the empty sandboxes, and
very few people on the streets,” she says.“But now I feel like the city is coming to life, and you have mothers out walking with children in strollers. A lot of jobs have opened up, providing new prospects for career growth, and the road infrastructure has improved.” The other trump card that enhances the attractiveness of working outside Moscow is that housing is more affordable.“When we had our office in Moscow, a lot of our executives and managers
were renting,” says Oxana Rogova, an employee of the kitchen furnishings company Blum. “After 2007, when we moved to the Domodedovo district, they could buy their own apartments in the Moscow suburbs.” For more and more Russians, the idea of living outside the capital is becoming increasingly attractive. And the more difficult the infrastructure and social services situation becomes in Moscow, the more advantageous life in the regions appears.
People power is Putin’s net pledge Continued from page 1
are a lot of initiatives coming from opposition parties, but [the ruling party] United Russia buries them. This [law] won’t change anything.” He said the announcement was “purely a PR stunt”. Maria Lipman, an expert on society and regional programmes at the Carnegie Centre in Moscow, was also sceptical: “New forms of public participation in politics are taking place at a time when traditional mechanisms like parliament are not working,” she said. “In Russia, democratic institutions have been emasculated and the system of checks and balances in the constitution doesn’t work. Before searching for new mechanisms, it would be better to improve those already provided by the constitution.” Boris Makarenko of the Centre for Political Technologies in Moscow added: “It’s very easy to gather signatures under populist slogans. An initiative to restore the death penalty gathers a million signatures – easy.” Mr Makarenko warned that every attempt to collect signatures would probably be accompanied by an internet PR campaign which could make political parties hostage to popular, but irresponsible mandates. “If there are broad initiatives in society, parties should
compete for the right to be the first to present them to the State Duma,” he said. Mr Seleznyov disagreed, saying that only issues that Russians truly cared about would cross the threshold. “Gathering 100,000 signatures on the internet isn’t that easy,” he said. “Not all
Most laws that make it to parliament this way would concern family issues, such as mortgages and taxes laws seem that interesting to most people.” Most laws that made it to parliament this way would concern family issues, such as mortgages, taxes and environmental protection. The Russian president also said in his S t Pe t e r s b u rg speech that existing capacity in the economy had been exhausted and Russia needed substantial investment to create new jobs. Mr Putin repeat-
ed his previous promises to boost the share of hi-tech industry in the economy, as well as to move Russia up the World Bank’s “Doing Business” index from its current position of 120th to 20th. He then rattled off a list of changes he planned to make this rise happen. Former regional governor Boris Titov was appointed as the ombudsman for business, and has been tasked with making sure doing business in Russia becomes easier. More radically, Mr Putin promised a new rule that will prevent the budget from being set on the basis of the oil price forecast. Currently, if the price of oil rises, the Duma has more money to spend, but Mr Putin suggested that the oil price prediction would be capped, saying that any “windfall” revenues from higher oi l pri ces would be channelled into the government’s various reserve funds.
Working it out: Mr Putin also talked about job creation
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During the regional elections in October 2011, most ordinary voters had very little interest in who was running. As a rule, regional posts were won by getting the approval of local and federal bureaucrats – who wanted to keep their critics as far from office as possible. But within a few months, the political situation was transformed and both independent and opposition candidates began campaigns to win seats in local government elections. “The emergence of opposition movements in the country destroyed the bureaucratic monopoly on forming local governments in Russia,”says political scientist Vadim Dryagin. Having found itself at the forefront of civil protest, Moscow was the first city in which candidates from outside the party of power won positions in district administrations. Despite municipal councils having limited authority, the opposition hailed the victories of the independent and opposition candidates – many of whom had never been engaged in politics before – who were elected to the local bodies. The struggle for the local administrations then spread from Moscow to the regions. Much to the surprise of many observers, United Russia candidates were defeated in mayoral elections inYaroslavl and Tolyatti. In Astrakhan, it looked like another victory would be won for the op-
Time to reflect: Tatyana Gladysheva enjoys the more relaxed pace of life in Sobinka, where her journey to work takes five minutes
most read Pundits question the growth of political parties http://rbth.ru/15759
Politics & Society
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Lenin Yet another proposal to inter the revolutionary leader has reopened the debate on rewriting the nation’s history
The noble struggle of 1812 has lessons for us today Alexander Yakovenko
History man: the Bolshevik leader’s embalmed body is on public display in Lenin’s Mausoleum in Red Square – but for how much longer?
Should we bury our past? The culture minister has been accused of political opportunism by calling for symbols of the Communist past to be removed.
approaches it, the situation seems impossible. Leave Lenin and you anger the progressive urbanites; bury him, and you anger the Kremlin’s most loyal support base. Nearly 50pc of Russians, according to a recent Levada Centre poll, think the Bolshevik played a positive role in Russian history. Which is why Mr Medinsky’s comments were bound to provoke
dan poleschuk russia profile
Tampering with historical memory in Russia has always been a dangerous pastime. So when newly installed culture minister Vladimir Medinsky recently proposed to finally buryVladimir Lenin’s embalmed body and rename Moscow’s streets to honour tsarist rather than Soviet figures, his comments naturally caused a stir. To bury or not to bury Lenin? It’s a question that has arisen time and again since the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the Soviet elite traded its crimson lapel pins and Communist Party memberships for European-tailored suits and business cards. Each post-Soviet leader has shied away from making a final call on the issue, for fear of either discouraging his constituency or even sparking serious unrest in society. And no matter how one
Leave Lenin, and you anger the urbanites; bury him, and you anger the Kremlin’s loyal supporters controversy. His proposals to not only kick Lenin out of his imposing stone Mausoleum, but also to rename a handful of the capital’s streets to honour members of the last tsarist family, led critics and supporters of the initiative to speak out. Mr Medinsky justified his idea by pitching it as a stepping stone of sorts. “Maybe, indeed, many things in our life would symbolically
change for the better after this,” he told the Echo of Moscow radio station. Perhaps Mr Medinsky hopes Russia will come to terms with what both avowed Communists and ordinary pensioners today still seem to prefer not to remember: that the Soviet regime, and Lenin in particular, had their unattractive sides. Mr Medinsky proposed renaming a Moscow metro station named after Pyotr Voikov, a Soviet revolutionary who took part in the execution of the royal family in 1918. He also suggested turning Lenin’s mausoleum into a museum with expensive entrance fees. Some, however, see ulterior motives. Observers point to the convenient timing against the backdrop of growing social and political unrest.“Forcing a debate on Lenin’s corpse is one of those ‘cards’ – designed to both split the opposition (many of whom are Communists), and spark a national debate on what is an essentially meaningless topic in contemporary Russian politics,” Russian columnist Andrew Ryvkin
wrote in The Guardian on June 15. He added: “The debate around Lenin’s interment… at a time of political turmoil and ongoing protests is designed to distract the Russian public.” Regardless of the motives, Lenin’s body remains a touchy subject in a Russia endowed with memories of both glory and suffering, of inspiration and humiliation. For example, when President Boris Yeltsin attempted to bury Lenin, nothing came of it because he faced a formidable electoral challenge from the Communists and their supporters in the Nineties amid his own democratic failings. In his first presidency, Vladimir Putin only lightly touched on the topic, preferring to garner broad popular support using both Soviet and Imperial Russian symbolism. According to sociologist Alexei Levenson, a senior researcher at the Levada Centre, the Soviet collapse presented Russians with the opportunity to finally study and advocate their own takes on history – a freedom which
still deeply affects society. “Now you can present tsarist history, Soviet history, or democratic history, and nobody can prevent you from doing that,” he said. “But there is a kind of competition among the different pictures of the past.” He added, however, that this competition has been hijacked by the Kremlin in an attempt to present its own
“The confrontation over this issue is what really matters, because everyone understands who you are insulting when you take Lenin out, and who will be OK with it,” he said. “This is a purely political subject.” Still, some observers hope Mr Medinsky’s suggestion might help to finally push Russians beyond the past. Writing for the Echo of Moscow website, journalist and author Andrei Yegorov took Mr Medinsky’s proposal at face value – though he expressed a dose of scepticism that Mr Medinsky’s efforts would differ from previous attempts. “As long as we live in a capital whose streets are named after suicide bombers and murderers of the royal family, the new Russia cannot tread through the bloody dust of the 20th century. Except I’m afraid words will remain words and we’ll keep walking through the streets of murderers and terrorists. I hope Medinsky will stand by his words – we’ll see what they are worth.”
The debate around Lenin’s interment at a time of ongoing protests is designed to distract the public version of history. The appointment of Mr Medinsky, whose research is seen as Kremlin-friendly and who has been accused of whitewashing Russian history, is a prime example. The extent to which the authorities have used history, Mr Levenson said, has made people “sick and tired of the symbolic or pseudosymbolic actions”that actually achieve very little.
Protests Amnesty International report paints a bleak picture of Russia’s record on gay rights
The rocky road to civil freedom Marina Darmaros
Police broke up a gay rights rally in Moscow last month, arresting about 40 people, after clashes between protesters and Orthodox Church activists. The arrests at the unauthorised rally on May 27 came three days after Amnesty International’s 2011 annual report criticised Russia’s record on gay rights, saying: “LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights activists faced harassment and attacks. Attempted pride marches and LGBT rights pickets in Moscow and St Petersburg were banned and promptly dispersed.” But Vladimir Lukin, official commissioner of human rights in Russia, said there had been few violations of gay rights in the country: “This issue is very complex. As Russia’s human rights commissioner, I must say that we receive few complaints regarding rights violations of sexual minorities.” Russia also came under fire in the US State Department’s annual human rights report,
End of protest: the unauthorised gay rights rally in Moscow last month was dispersed by police
published on May 25. It said that, according to gay activists in Russia, “the majority of LGBT persons hide their orientation due to fear of losing their jobs or homes, as well as the threat of violence”. There has also been international criticism of a law approved in St Petersburg this year that prohibits“promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transsexualism to minors”. Similar laws have been passed in several other cities. Gay rights activists say that the legislation could be used to crack down on any
public demonstration of homosexuality – from art to Gay Pride parades. Mr Lukin denies that the law violates gay rights.“I do not think the publicity of sexual preferences is acceptable,” he said. [But] if the Constitutional Court decides that the law goes against the constitution, then I would be against that law. Any legislation gives rise to criticism, it is healthy.” The Amnesty International report also criticised Russia for“frequently violating” the right to freedom of assembly“in the context of po-
litical, environmental, social and other protests.” But it highlighted the growth of civil society movements in Russia following the parliamentary elections in December, noting the importance of “civil and political freedoms” and a falling off in the population’s demand for the“stability promised by Medvedev and Putin.” The fact that the Russian authorities allowed the street protests to take place was not seen as progress on human rights by Amnesty International. It noted that there were continued restrictions
on the freedom of assembly and that many of the demonstrators had been detained and arrested. The report was also critical of freedom of the press in Russia. While it acknowledged the influence of online media and minor print media outlets which, unlike Russian television, criticise the government, it said that opposition journalists continue to face threats, which are very rarely investigated fully by the authorities. Another problem reported by Amnesty International is the delay in implementing promised reforms. According to the report, in 2011 no progress was made in the fight against corruption or in attempts to modernise the criminal justice system. The report also said that “members of religious minorities faced persecution”;“torture remained widely reported despite superficial police reforms”; and “the situation in the North Caucasus remained volatile”,with serious human rights abuses there. Mr Lukin conceded that Amnesty International’s view of 190 countries was objective. He added:“At least, I was satisfied to know that of all of the countries analysed by Amnesty, only 21 imposed the death penalty last year.”
The years of struggle
• 1993 Homosexuality is decriminalised under President Boris Yeltsin. Gay people can now serve in the army.
• 2010 The first legal Gay Pride protest held in St Petersburg after years of gay marches being broken up violently.
Russia’s human rights commissioner challenges report’s conclusions over ‘complex issue’ of gay rights violations.
• 2012 A law banning “promotion” of homosexuality to minors is adopted in cities including St Petersburg.
f you walk past the Russian embassy in Bayswater Road, London, you can see the sculpture of an eagle on a double column at Orme Square. Not everybody knows that it is a memorial to the RussoBritish efforts in the war against Napoleon. It was erected in June 1814 when Londoners enthusiastically greeted Russian Emperor Alexander I and his military commanders Field Marshal Barclay de Tolly and Cossack General Platov. Their visit marked the allied victory over Napoleon’s forces (though the final French defeat at Waterloo was still a year away). The story began 200 years ago, when on June 24, 1812 Napoleon’s 600,000-strong Grand Armée crossed Russia’s western border. The 1812 campaign, named the Patriotic War by the Russians, is known to the British mainly through Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which recounts how the seemingly invincible Corsican tasted defeat. Initially outnumbered by the French, the two Russian armies retreated, avoiding major battles. They eventually joined forces at Smolensk, where Field Marshal Kutuzov took command over the Russian forces. The bloodiest battle was fought on September 7 at Borodino, a little more than 60 miles west of Moscow. The Russians consider it their victory although the Russian army had to retreat after a battle that was inconclusive in the military sense. Tolstoy was right when he wrote that at Borodino “the Russians won a moral victory”.Both armies suffered crippling damage, two out of three casualties were killed by cannon fire, and Kutuzov let Napoleon enter Moscow, which was soon ravaged by fire. Meanwhile, the Russian army was gathering forces, the militia and guerrillas made life unbearable for theinvaders, and in October Napoleon fled Moscow. The rump of the Grand Armée was defeated in a series of engagements, the last of them being the disastrous crossing of the Berezina River. Before the end of the year, several thousand demoralised French soldiers were expelled from Russia, and in 1813 Alexander I led the European coalition to restore peace, stability and the balance of power in Europe, which was crucial for Russia’s development. Thus, the road to Waterloo began at Borodino. Aside from diplomatic and military co-ordination of the war effort, we have a lot of other common legacies to celebrate. For example, Russia’s war minister and army commander Michael Barclay de Tolly, as his name suggests, came from a Scottish family. And the most magnificent monument of the war, the Military Gallery in the Winter Palace, comprising more than 300 images of Russian commanders of the period, was the work of the acclaimed British painter George Dawe. His work earned him more fame in Russia than in his native England. Portraits of Alexander I by British artists are also kept in Windsor and Apsley House. It is especially significant to me that, here in London, I can shake hands with descendants of Russian soldiers and statesmen who won the crucial victory in 1812. One of them is Dominic Lieven, author of the brilliant Russia Against Napoleon and descendant of one of my predecessors, Prince Christopher von Lieven, who was in London between 1812 and 1834. The 200-year anniversa-
Leisure: Why a beating in a banya is good for you The benefits of a traditional Russian steam bath
ry of the war against Napoleon is a reminder that Russia and the United Kingdom were allies in 1812, confronting together common challenges, each doing its bit in the opposite extremes of the continent, and putting aside the mutual distrust, which was rife, like in some other periods of our history. Still, the leaders of 1812 were able to make the right decisions, prioritising what was most important and what was secondary. We waged a just war to defend our countries’ sovereignty, not against the French nation but against the aggression personified by Napoleon. Emperor Alexander I made an enormous effort to establish the Concert of Europe – which was the United Nations of its day – and urged Europe’s monarchs to treat their peoples and each other in a Christian way, for he believed that ties of brotherly love were stronger than coercion by force of arms or law. He also made a desperate attempt in 1812 to mediate between the then warring nations of Britain and the United States to ensure that the forces of important allies were not distracted by overseas conflicts. Russia invested a lot in this principled foreign policy though the late 19th century was not an age of idealism. Thus, we saw the unnecessary Crimean War, which paved the way for German unification as a Greater Prus-
Russia and the UK were allies in 1812, confronting common challenges; putting aside mutual distrust
For Russia, the war was a cause of liberation for all Europe and shaped our patriotism sia and the countdown to the First World War. Perhaps Britain should once more look at the lessons of 1812-1815, now that all of us in the Euro-Atlantic area share common threats and challenges. In a twist of history, we have been able to heal the discords with the French (as we did later with the Germans) and now Moscow and Paris enjoy a high degree of mutual trust and co-operation. For Russia, the Patriotic War of 1812 was more than another armed conflict. It was an unprecedented cause of liberation for the whole of Europe, and it gave rise to a social and political awakening for Russian society. It shaped Russian patriotic sentiment and pride, and gave us a greater awareness of our Europeanness, of our national stakes in the peace and unity of Europe, which Fyodor Dostoevsky would later call “European nostalgia of the Russian soul”. To commemorate the anniversary, our embassy, together with the Russian community in the UK and our British friends, has prepared a series of commemorative events. In a symbolic gesture, the first of them was the performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with gunfire by HMS Belfast on Victory Day, May 9. In this way, the famous light cruiser, which led Arctic convoys in the Second World War when our nations struck an alliance again, resonated with much earlier common glory and sacrifice. I am sure the spirit of 1812 will live on. AlexanderYakovenko is Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom. He was previously Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Follow him on Twitter: @Amb_Yakovenko
ISSU T X E N
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Technology Renewed investment is attracting a new generation of aerospace experts to Soviet-era Zheleznogorsk
Closed Siberian city opens up the world of communications
We need hi-tech demand at home Andrei Bunich
SPECIAL TO Rn
In a setting straight out of a Cold War novel, designers and engineers are creating some of the world’s most advanced satellite systems. Elena Shipilova special to rn
On the southern fringe of the Siberian taiga, on the banks of the Yenisei River, lies the city of Zheleznogorsk. Founded in 1950 as a centre for plutonium production, it isn’t a place people move to. They can’t: even locals need permission to leave and return to the city. Going through the fence that surrounds the city is like crossing a time warp into the Fifties Soviet Union. There are wide avenues flanked by five-storey apartment blocks; in the centre of town stands the Rodina [Motherland] cinema and the main entrance to Information Satellite Systems – Reshetnev (ISS), the factory that, before the days
On the face of it: the ISS complex in Zheleznogorsk
Friends and relatives of those living in the city have to be vetted by security before they can visit of perestroika, developed the ground-breaking Kosmos and Molniya systems. At the beginning of the 21st century, the city gained a new lease of life, thanks largely to the programme to develop the Glonass satellite navigation system, the Russian answer to the American GPS (Global Positioning System). “In the 1960s, the whole Soviet Union dreamed of space. It was considered an honour to work in [the] industry and was very prestigious,” says Vladimir Khalimanovich, now a director at ISS. He moved to Zheleznogorsk 47 years ago from the central Russian city of Kazan. At that time, nearly every student dreamed of the opportunity to move to a place like Zheleznogorsk, because it was thought that only the crème de la crème were recruited to closed cities. The prestige was one of the things that helped make the difficulties of living in a closed city worth the trouble. For example, friends and relatives of those living in the city had to be vetted by the security services before being allowed to visit. “That procedure applies today, too,” says ISS engineer Yelena Prosvirina.“At first it’s inconvenient to have to ask per-
Flying on solar-powered wings It costs about $50m (£32m) to build one satellite, and another $50m (launch cost plus 20pc) for insurance. One small error can result in disaster, so a huge number of tests are done at each stage of construction. One of the most spectacular trials is the unfurling of the wings – the
solar batteries – of the satellite. “The preparations can take several days; operations begin only when staff have checked everything multiple times and the client’s representatives have switched on their video cameras,” says Sergei Apenko, chief designer for electrical design and testing at ISS.
cations system. Later, contracts were signed with Ukraine and Kazakhstan. “Every year we take part in four or five tenders, of which we win one. One international contract a year is enough for us. That’s all we can handle at the moment,” says Mr Khalimanovich. Today, about 40 satellites are in production at any one time, including secret military systems, Glonass satellites, and telecommunications and geodetic satellites for Russian operators. The increase in orders has enabled the factory to increase its workforce again. Today, some 8,500 people work at ISS, of whom the majority are young. Newly minted engineers from the
aviation universities in Kazan, Tomsk and Moscow are again drawn to Zheleznogorsk, but this time the attraction is not prestige, but money. Salaries at ISS are about twice the national average for new graduates. ISS also has a programme that allows students in their final year of study to get on-thejob training with pay. “ISS is an excellent place for training staff. If we could, we would buy up the majority of its specialists,”says the manager of a Moscow company involved in satellite construction who wished to remain anonymous. The influx of new employees has benefited the town of Zheleznogorsk in other ways. New housing complex-
es are being constructed where young engineers can buy apartments under favourable terms.“The company covers half the interest,” says ISS employee Kristina Uspenskaya. However, the facilities in the city are still inadequate: the town has a population of almost 100,000, yet there are only a few cafés, one restaurant, one nightclub and one expensive cinema. This lack of amenities is easy to explain.“It’s difficult to start a business in a closed city,”says Mrs Uspenskaya.“The process requires many agreements, so there’s no competition.” For a night out, she and her husband drive the 40 miles to Krasnoyarsk, as it’s a lot cheaper there.
We are not the only ones. Indeed, other development institutions began to support the commercial industry before we did. They include the Russian Venture Company and Rusnano.Vnesheconombank is actively investing in major projects, too.
Are Russian businessmen lukewarm about investing in the space industry? Russia has virtually no legislation governing commercial activities in space. The federal law on space activities was passed in 1993 and remains basically a framework law. Private interests simply do not understand
what rules to play by in this area, and businessmen are afraid to invest in the sector as a result of this lack of understanding. And there are many restrictions in this highly specialised field, such as on the use of high-resolution space photographs and on obtaining licences for space activities.
ruslan sukhushin (3)
Soviet-era status symbol
Two heads: Vladimir Khalimanovich and Yelena Prosvirina
Testing, testing: an ISS employee checks a Telkom-3 satellite, built as part of a contract for Telkom Indonesia
– the annual operating budget of International Satellite Systems. Two thirds is funded by the state and the rest comes from private contracts. Up to 40 satellites are in production at any one time.
people work at ISS, many of them recent graduates from well respected aviation universities. The high salaries make up for the challenges of living in a closed city.
mission every time, but you soon get used to it.” During the Soviet era, there were other benefits to living in a closed city. For example, certain types of food that were unavailable in ordinary Soviet cities could be bought in the closed ones. But unlike the residency restrictions, this privilege changed with the fall of the Soviet system. In the Nineties, the residents of Zheleznogorsk, like Russians anywhere else, were plunged overnight into the harsh conditions of capitalism. Like the majority of Russian enterprises, ISS lost the lion’s share of its state financing. The factory continued quietly building satellites for military purposes, but there
were few new projects and the factory’s workforce of more than 8,000 was cut almost in half. In the 2000s, however, the government began to invest in reviving and developing the Glonass satellite navigation system. Today, the state provides two-thirds of ISS’s annual operating budget of 20 billion roubles (£400m); the rest comes from commercial orders.
A new capitalist reality
ISS began winning international contracts in 2008. That year, Israeli satellite operator Space-Communication Ltd ordered the AMOS-5 satellite. Then, in 2009, Telkom Indonesia signed up for the Telkom-3 telecommuni-
Questions & Answers
Plenty of space for private Skolkovo’s Sergei Zhukov discusses Russia’s expanding space industry as it receives more funding and develops new technologies.
virtually no private sector in our space industry, whereas the world trend is toward ever more confident involvement of the private sector. Besides, there is an international division of labour in hi-tech sectors. Russia should form alliances with worldleading producers.
special to rn
Why has the role of outer space in global politics increased in recent decades? The world economy is becoming more and more dependent on the intensity of space activities. The market for space technology production and services is variously estimated at between $300bn (£190bn) and $400bn (£255bn) a year. It has several segments, the biggest being satellite communications and telecommunications, navigation and distance Earth sensing. Russia’s share in these segments is less than 1pc. In the production of satellites, our share is 7-10pc. Our share in orbiting payloads is traditionally high – 33 to 40pc – but that segment is still very small.
Urban spaceman: Mr Zhukov heads the space technology cluster at Skolkovo
What prevents Russia from increasing its share of the world space market? On the one hand, state financing of space activities in Russia has more than tripled in the past five years and is still growing. The new space strategy is widely discussed. On the other hand, there is
Has the United States taken the lead in world space activities because of the development of its private sector? The US today is the only country that pursues virtually all types of space activity. And no wonder: if one combines their civilian and military budgets, the sum is sure to exceed the total spending by the rest of the world on space activities. As for development of the private segment, the US policy adheres to a strict division of responsibility: study of the solar system, including planets and asteroids, is the business of the state, whereas developing near-Earth space is
the domain of private companies. And you should remember that the giant contractors of the US space agency today, be it Boeing, Lockheed Martin or Orbital, are all private enterprises. They ensure America’s technological lead. Are there any domestically made breakthrough products in the pipeline? That’s a tough question. Russian energy and engine technologies have a good chance, by which I mean rocket engines and space nuclear plants. I do not rule out some less spectacular but important technical solutions in the field of small space platforms and elements of on-board service systems. The Skolkovo project is working on these developments. Are there others willing to support private initiatives in Russia apart from Skolkovo?
Glonass: a business heading in the right direction Glonass – an acronym for Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, or global navigation satellite system – was developed in the Seventies and Eighties. It was designed as a replacement for an earlier navigational system that required hours of observation to fix a position, making it completely unsuitable for naviga-
tional purposes. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Glonass system went into a state of decline because of budgetary constraints until Vladimir Putin made its restoration a top government priority early in his first presidency. By 2012, Glonass had achieved full coverage of the planet’s surface via 24 functioning satellites.
More than $4.7bn (£3bn) has been spent on the project over the past decade – one third of the total budget of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. According to online publication thenextweb.com, Glonass now provides better accuracy than GPS in some parts of the northern hemisphere due to the positioning of its satellites.
ecently, Russia’s efforts in developing a hi-tech production industry have focused on two different strategies: cultivating scientists and businesspeople willing to develop innovative products; and on providing sources of credit (through investment banks, business angels and venture capital) for those individuals and companies. Unfortunately these efforts ignore the most critical element needed for success: the end users who benefit from hi-tech production. At the Skolkovo Innovation Summit, I heard the same question again and again from managers: what specific market are these products being developed for? Is there already a strong demand from Russian industry to use innovative products in modernising production and improving efficiency? Of course, success stories already exist in cases where there is definitely a demand, and a robust market. For example, Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, has done remarkably well honing its unique technology to the needs of the Cyrillic alphabet and Russia’s exploding base of internet users (which became the largest in Europe this year). The company has also successfully addressed problems of everyday Russian city dwellers via itsYandex maps and traffic services (www.yandex.ru/maps) which it claims are superior to those offered by Google for the Russian market. These factors have not only helped Yandex maintain its leading posi-
Existing state policies are directed at creating products for western markets… a longterm strategy is needed to generate domestic demand for innovation tion in Russia but also prompted a record-breaking IPO last year on New York’s Nasdaq exchange. To cultivate more success stories like this, the Russian state needs to send out a strong signal that it is willing to implement a long-term restructuring of the economy, via tax breaks, fighting inflation and other business-friendly policies, within a 10- to 15-year time frame that would encourage value-added production. Additional funding for universities, business incubators and venture funds would then bolster those policies. One of the greatest faults of existing state policies is that they are directed at creating products for western markets. While some successes have been achieved by Russian innovators (notably, Kaspersky AntiVirus software, which exports around 80pc of its production), I’m convinced that a long-term strategy is needed for weaning Russia’s economy off raw materials and also to generate domestic demand for innovation. Skolkovo’s Technopark may be an efficient vehicle for generating demand by providing both favourable business conditions for innovators and linking them with both domestic and international companies interested in modernising production. I hope more broad, nationally significant efforts at stimulating this demand will follow suit. Andrei Bunich is a prominent Russian economist and regular commentator for Kommersant FM and o t h e r Ru s s i a n m e d i a outlets.
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Energy Rosatom seeks approval for reactor technology
Russia takes first step in bid to build UK nuclear plants Alexander yEmelyanenkov special to rn
Rosatom, the state atomic energy corporation, is holding consultations over its possible involvement in the British nuclear programme, according to deputy director general Kirill Komarov. He was speaking on the sidelines of Atomexpo-2012, a nuclear power trade fair in Moscow, attended by 1,300 company heads and specialists from 53 countries. Analysts believe Rosatom plans to begin a trial in which nuclear fuel will be exported to western nuclear power plants using pressurised water reactors (PWRs). The pilot batch of square crosssection fuel assemblies (unlike the hexagonal fuel assemblies traditionally used in Russia and at nuclear plants of Russian design abroad) will be delivered as early as 2013 to Sweden’s Ringhals-3 plant. On the Russian specialised atomic energy portal Nuclear.Ru, Mr Komarov said the UK government “has approved several sites as suitable for new nuclear build”,
in order to obtain licences for the construction ofVVER reactors in the UK. It plans to apply later to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for certification of theVVER design. Approval by the British and American regulatory authorities will help promote VVER reactor technologies overseas, Mr Laaksonen believes. Rosatom head Sergey Kiriyenko confirmed Rosatom’s interest in the British energy market, specifically in the Horizon Nuclear Power project. Established as a joint venture between Germanowned RWE and E.ON, Horizon was granted exclusive rights to build new nuclear plants at Wylfa in North Wales and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. Horizon had originally planned a combined capacity of 6,000 MWe (megawatt electrical) by 2025. However, following strategic reviews in March this year, the two parent companies withdrew from the project (worth an estimated £15bn), citing Germany’s intention to phase out its nuclear energy projects, high costs at Horizon and lengthy construction terms. According to unofficial sources, Chinese atomic energy corporations have also been considering the possi-
and that some have been acquired by international consortiums.The remaining sites, he says, are available to “carry out your own projects provided they meet the British requirements”. Russian exporters might encounter some difficulties, however, because the UK’s licence requirements for nuclear projects are different to those of Europe. Russian
Russia wishes to reach a whole new level of bilateral relations in the atomic energy sector technologies would need to be licensed according to British Standards for the UK to adopt them. Jukka Laaksonen, vicepresident of ZAO Rusatom Overseas (Rosatom’s subsidiary set up to promote Russian nuclear technology abroad) announced at Atomexpo-2012 that Rosatom would apply to the British and US supervisory agencies to have its VVER PWR reactor technologies certified with them. According to Nuclear.Ru, he said Rosatom plans to complete standard generic design assessment procedures within five years,
Modernisation is the cure for ‘Dutch disease’
The Sizewell B nuclear power plant is a recipient of nuclear fuel from Rosatom
Igor Shuvalov Kirill Komarov First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
Rosatom deputy head
The Russian nuclear power sector can effectively address energy issues, such as the depletion of fossil fuels, not only domestically but in many countries.
Everyone knows that Russia sells natural gas, oil, aluminium and other metals. Nuclear energy is our chance to develop a truly competitive product for the world.
bility of buying into Horizon. Mr Kiriyenko said: “We are considering this possibility and we have serious partners. However, when we approach a new market, we have to be aware whether we will be helpful and efficient, whether they [will] welcome us and whether we are ready for this work ourselves.” Rosatom has worked for the British market for a few years, supplying nuclear fuel, produced in association with France’s Areva, to Sizewell B in Suffolk. Russia also supplies enriched uranium to
Britain, where it is processed into nuclear fuel. Rosatom’s subsidiary, Nukem Technologies, has long provided nuclear decommissioning services in the UK. It is natural for Russia to wish to build on this experience and to reach a new level of bilateral relations in the atomic energy sector. The Russian nuclear administration believes that broader collaboration at the company level would benefit both countries.The first step in the process was made last year, when a memorandum of un-
Chinese bids on the horizon Competition for acquisition of the sites in the Horizon Nuclear Power project to build new nuclear power facilities at Wylfa, Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn, South Gloucestershire, is hotting up. Apart from Rosatom, the chief contenders are two consortiums, both incorporating Chinese companies. The first includes China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company and the Toshiba Corporation; the second is led by the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation Ltd. The deadline for bids set by the German energy companies E.ON and RWE is this month.
derstanding between Rosatom and the Rolls-Royce group was signed in the presence of then President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Publishing A huge increase in electronic downloads, both legal and illegal, is having a big effect on traditional book sales
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Sales of e-books in Russia are rocketing. Increasing twelvefold in the past three years, sales in 2011 totalled 135m roubles (£2.6m). However, these are dwarfed by the high number of illegal downloads, which account for as much as 90pc of the e-book market. In Britain, illegal downloads make up only 29pc of the market, according to Entertainment Media Research. The federal press and mass communications agency, Rospechat, claims sales lost to piracy in Russia add up to several billion roubles a year. Part of the problem, ac-
cording to Rospechat, is that more than 100,000 titles are on offer through illegal downloading sites while only 60,000 titles are available from legal suppliers. In a recent interview with gazeta.ru, Mikhail Kotomin, editor-in-chief of independent Moscow publishing house Ad Marginem, said that success in legal sales of e-books in Russia can be achieved only if the leader in online print-book sales, ozon.ru, joins forces with the retailers of legal electronic books and sells both formats side by side: “E-books would be presented not by the authors but by their publishers. Then, even small, independent publishers like Ad Marginem would have direct access to the market and could bypass monopolised distribution.” Persuading people to pay for e-books may be an up-
Pirates plunder e-book market The publishing industry faces a tough challenge in fighting the illegal downloading of books, which is limiting the sales of print and e-books.
On the rise: the challenge is to develop the legal market for increasingly popular e-books
hill struggle. In a Levada Centre poll, 79pc of respondents said they only downloaded books that were available free; 18pc said that they paid for licensed versions only when the text they needed was not available
other commodities when their prices are high and when an economy is fully inspecIAl to rn tegrated into the global trade ny country trying system. That is, it’s almost to diversify will impossible to achieve this always face major through purely administrachallenges if it tive or similar measures. What can be done, and tries to do so when commodity prices are high. In has to be done, is to achieve such an environment, re- non-price competitiveness turn on capital in the com- through processes of modermodity sectors will typical- nisation. For these particuly be much higher than lar processes, high commoelsewhere in the economy, dity prices can in fact be a causing capital to drift very positive force as they away from manufacturing produce the ample cash flows sectors towards commodi- that are essential to finance ty production and trading. such efforts. However, if the conditions This de-industrialisation is known as “Dutch disease” are not right then the money and was named after a si- earned by selling commodimilar trend noted in the ties at a time of high and riNetherlands after natural sing prices will not be returgas was discovered in the ned to Russia, and therefore cannot be used to contribuNorth Sea. Russia has experienced te to the government’s mothe full effects of this well- dernisation and diversificaknown syndrome. The go- tion agenda. This brings us vernment made every effort to prevent, or at the very least to slow, the decline in other sectors of the econo- It’s hard to achieve my brought about by the diversification loss of capital. The main through purely technique used was the imposition of extremely high administrative mineral resource extraction measures taxes and export tariffs on the oil sector. back, once again, to the same This worked for a short crossroads and subsequent period, but became far less dilemma: the investment clisuccessful when the go- mate has to be improved and vernment started increasing structural bottlenecks need social spending significant- to be resolved, in order for ly in the run-up to the 2007- investments to come into 08 election. Higher spen- Russia and for the diversifiding resulted in higher cation and modernisation inflation, which put vastly agenda to be achieved. increased wage pressures The government clearly on the non-resource orien- understands this dilemma, tated private sector, drama- as its recent economic reform tically eroding its compe- agenda demonstrates. Howetitiveness. The government ver, assuming it succeeds in attempted to protect this improving the investment clipart of the private sector mate and luring Russian caby the use of customs ta- pital back home, money will riffs but now that Russia is still not provide the full sofinally joining the WTO and lution to the problem. Haaccepting the free-trade ving the technology and maprinciples incumbent upon n a g e r i a l e x p e r t i s e i s it, it has to scale back this crucially important for motype of protection. dernisation, and this is where The conclusion that we foreign investors will contican draw from this is that nue to play a vital role. it is almost impossible to achieve effective and suc- Alexey Moiseev is head of cessful economic diversifi- macroeconomic analysis at cation away from oil or VTB Capital, London. Alexey Moiseev
The nuclear energy giant is to apply for a licence in the hope of winning contracts to build power stations in North Wales and Gloucestershire.
free; and a mere 0.4pc said that they regularly paid for legal content. E-books, whether sold or illegally downloaded, have had an impact on sales of printed books. Even firstrate writers and literary
prize-winners now have to fight for large print runs. Books by science-fiction/ fantasy author Sergey Lukyanenko are sold in both print and electronic formats. For his latest bestseller, New Watch, he received a total of $10,000 (£6,400) from sales on a print run of 120,000 copies.“Writers whose books are released on smaller print runs of 12,000 stand to make only $1,000 for a year’s work,” he wrote in his blog. Yet a print run of 12,000 copies in Russia today is considered very good.“In order to receive a worthy sum for one’s e-books, the author must be wildly popular,” Mr Lukyanenko added. Publishers believe that the only way out is to develop the legal market for e-books. To do this, the number of quality digital titles must be increased and their prices
lowered. Also, the procedure for buying e-books must be made clearer and more convenient. Fighting piracy and the violation of copyright is a very challenging task, because most pirate sites are registered abroad and are therefore outside Russia’s jurisdiction. Sergei Anurev, general director of e-book seller LitRes, predicts that if Russia’s e-book market continues to grow at the current rate, the share of legal sales will reach 3bn roubles (£58m) – 5pc of the current book market – by 2015-17. Although the price of e-book readers is steadily dropping, Vladimir Chichirin, brand-director of publisher Eksmo, says that Russia, unlike the US, will not see explosive growth in the e-book market:“We don’t have the base for it; we don’t have our own Amazon.”
GLOBAL RUSSIA BUSINESS CALENDAR The 4th International Innovation Forum: Interra september 14-15 novosibirsk
Interra is one of the most attractive inter-regional and international events in Russia for showcasing innovative developments and demonstrating how they could solve problems in the economy and the social sphere. In 2012, the theme of the Forum will be “Innovations for life”. Its participants, experts and guests will turn their attention to innovative projects and ideas that could improve quality of life. ›› interra-forum.com
apec russia 2012 ceo summmit september 7-8 vladivostok
Russia is host of the 2012 Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) CEO Summit which fosters economic ties in the Asia Pacific Region. This year’s theme is “Addressing Challenges, Expanding Possibilities” promoting modernisation and innovative economic development, primarily in Siberia and the Russian Far East. ›› apec2012ceosummit.ru/en
Find more in the Global Calendar
Business conference This year’s event for investors in the city that will host the 2014 Winter Olympics looks set to build on the great success of its predecessor
Sochi Forum: a driver of economic modernisation
press photo (2)
The essential forum for all Russia-focused investors The 11th annual Sochi International Investment Forum will take place on September 20-23, 2012. In 2011, the Forum attracted 548 participants from 47 countries, resulting in 105 accords being signed, amounting to €11.4bn (£9.2bn) in investment. ›› forumkuban.com
Russia Beyond the Headlines is a media partner of the Forum
At last year’s Sochi Forum, then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised delegates that Russia would completely recover from the economic crisis in 2012 and predicted that it would be easier for it to cope with economic problems than for more developed nations because of their inflexible economic systems. “It is obvious that the recent leaders are losing ground and can no longer serve as examples of a bal-
anced economic policy, something they only recently were teaching us,” Mr Putin said. “The debt crisis in Europe and the United States is aggravated by their economies being virtually on the verge of recession. There is still no clarity regarding their recovery, which is unfortunate for all of us, including for us in Russia.” “The consequences of the 2008 crisis were less severe for Russia than one might
have anticipated,” said Andrei Khazin, a professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. “This is because the reserves we created in advance helped to stabilise the economic situation and increase public expenditure, even as other countries were curtailing these programmes. We did not plunge so deep and we are also coping with the aftermath faster than the other countries.”
But not everyone shared Prof Khazin’s optimism. Ruslan Grinberg, director of the Institute of Economics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, warned that Russia remained too dependent on Western economies. “One has to bear in mind that, unfortunately, we are hostages to the state of affairs in other countries. Our well-being depends on their well-being. This is not a metaphor but a
direct link. Because, if economic growth slows down – and it has already slowed down, causing grave concern – we will immediately feel the effect because we depend on oil prices,” said Dr Grinberg. Platform for dialogue The Sochi International Investment Forum is one of three major economic forums held in Russia. Its main aim is to improve
the investment climate and establish ties between Russian regions and local and foreign businesses. In addition, it is a venue for many regions and enterprises to present their products and projects. Last year’s forum saw the unveiling of the stylish Marussia supercar, a private helicopter made in the Republic of Bashkortostan and a passenger ship made in Tatarstan.
Comment & Analysis
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we can agree on syria Yevgeny Shestakov
special to rn
o say Russia and Europe approach events in Syria differently is disingenuous and ignores key facts. Russia has never said it supported all the actions taken against the rebels by Damascus. Nor has it ever said it was providing the Assad regime with weapons that it might use against the opposition. But Russia has always admitted providing the Syrians with defensive arms under contracts signed and paid for long ago. Finally, the fact that Moscow has never made a settlement in Syria conditional on removal of its incumbent president does not mean Russia sees Bashir al-Assad as the only acceptable leader. More often than not, when Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict is reported, it is accused of doing something it has never done. Why is this? It could be due to the old Cold War stereotypes when the West came out for democracy and Moscow allegedly opposed it. But it also has something to do with geopolitical interests: Mitt Romney, US Republican presidential candidate, recently said Moscow was America’s No 1 geopolitical foe. Many in Europe also see Russia’s policy through the Nato gunsight. Yet are Russia’s and the West’s views on Syria as different as some would have us believe? Is Russia not expressing concern over the humanitarian situation in Syria? During talks in Damascus, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, insisted on unobstructed access for humanitarian relief and Red Cross representatives to areas hardest hit by the clashes. Eventually, access was ensured. Russia backed, with-
out reservation, the plan put forward by Kofi Annan, special representative of the UN and the Arab League, for a ceasefire and to normalise the humanitarian situation. Again on Moscow’s initiative, the UN Security Council increased substantially the strength of the UN observer mission and expanded its mandate. So it is unfair to say that Russia is indifferent to the humanitarian situation in Syria. Russian officials have repeatedly denied they are supplying the Syrian army with weapons for fighting the rebels. The US recently admitted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s claim that Russia had shipped new helicopter gunships to Damascus was wrong: the helicopters were refurbished ones owned by Syria.The ship car-
rying them headed back to Russia after its London insurer withdrew cover. Clinton made these statements to ratchet up pressure on Moscow. But she may have been serving the interests of American arms manufacturers.For who would buy arms from Russia if it could, under outside pressure, renounce
Russia believes an agreement on Syria is impossible without the participation of Iran in the talks its obligations to supply military hardware that has already been paid for. This is what the West is trying to induce Russia to do. Russia is not violating any
international resolutions. Discussions on the embargo imposed by some western countries on supplying arms to Assad were not held with Russia, and it did not sign an agreement. And the embargo bans supplying arms to the regime but not the opposition. Syrian TV shows seized trucks with arms destined for the rebels daily. Neither Saudi Arabia nor Qatar try to hide the fact that they supply weapons to Assad’s opponents. But do Saudi Arabia or Qatar produce their own weapons? No. So Assad’s enemies are fighting the Syrian army with western-made weapons.Yet, even in this situation, Russia, contrary to popular misconceptions, takes a guarded stand and is in no hurry to render large-scale assistance to Damascus, directly or
through third parties. Moscow is aware such assistance would not stop the bloodshed but merely increase tension in the region. “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” Gandhi once said. The situation in North Africa – Egypt, Tunisia and Libya – where political instability persists in the wake of the Arab Spring, makes Russia apprehensive about the consequences of a violent change of regime in Syria. Echoes of the Syrian showdown can already be heard in Lebanon, scene of armed clashes between religious groups, the Shias and Alawites on one side, and the
Sunnis on the other. Experts say the Syrian conflict, now often seen as a civil war, is to a large extent also inspired by religion. The toppling of Assad would lead to a massive confrontation on religious grounds. Moscow would like to avoid such a scenario. I think the West would, too. The fact Russia and the West have the shared goal of settling the Syrian situation peacefully, without outside interference, opens opportunities for dialogue. Moscow and Brussels see eye-to-eye on most points of the settlement issue, so there is no reason to quarrel. But Russia believes agreement on Syria’s future is impossible unless Shi’ite Iran takes part in the talks. Many western experts acknowledge Tehran’s role in the Syrian conflict and its influence on Damascus. In the context of the economic crisis, the two erstwhile partners, Moscow and the EU, stand to gain nothing from quarrelling over events in Syria. Given their common goal, they still have a chance of acting in concert and looking for ways out of the Syrian conflict together. One should bear in mind that the discussion on Syria between Russia and the West would decide not only the political fate of Assad but the shape of Russian-European relations at least for the six years of the Putin presidency. If the Syrian conflict provokes growing“cold confrontation”between Moscow and Brussels, it would amount to a gross miscalculation on the part of European politicians, who will have failed to find a common language with Russia in spite of the many positive prerequisites for it. Yevgeny Shestakov is editor of the international politicsdesk at Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
time to leave the past behind Fyodor Lukyanov
special to rn
ormer Prime Minister Tony Blair was the first foreign leader to develop an informal relationship with then newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the time, Blair was envied by other European politicians. In its time, the TNK-BP transaction was the biggest foreign investment in the Russian economy, with the blessing of both Putin and Blair.Yet it ended in a fiasco, with the countries’ relations deteriorating rapidly, reviving memories of the Cold War. There is hardly any other European nation that could evoke such controversial feelings in Russia as Britain. We have a tradition of political rivalry but share a tradition of intellectual attraction. There are many reasons for this, including bitter geopolitical rivalry in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Then there is the standoff between two types of empire – the world’s largest continental empire, spreading across much of Eurasia, and the biggest naval power. According to geopolitics experts, each of these models affects political psychology. Finally, the two countries have always had very different economic
ideologies: faith in free markets and trade established itself early in Britain but Russia has relied on the state sector and dirigisme. Yet the two nations have always been keenly interested in each other, whatever the political barriers. After the Cold War, the barriers seemed to collapse, with hundreds of thousands of Russians visiting Britain or moving there permanently. Even so, it is different with intergovernmental relations, which reached their nadir 15 years after the collapse of the USSR with the Litvinenko case. They have improved since but remain frosty – in contrast to Russia’s booming relations with Germany, France, Italy and other European countries. The departure of the Labour government two years ago made it possible to pretend the page had been turned. At least there is no personal enmity between Russia’s top politicians and members of David Cameron’s Coalition. Little can be done about the historical and cultural background; it will always be what it is. Yet it is possible to establish a more businesslike atmosphere – not because of bilateral ties but thanks to the overall European policy, which is changing before our eyes.Years ago, it seemed that the federalisation of Europe – a process
Letters from readers, guest columns and cartoons labelled “Comments”, “Viewpoint” or appearing on the “Opinion” and “Comment & Analysis” pages of this supplement are selected to represent a broad range of views and do not necessarily represent those of the editors of Russia Now or Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Please send letters to the editor to UK@rbth.ru
Britain always treated with suspicion – was inevitable. On the wave of the political achievements of the late 20th century, the EU tried to emerge as an integrated global player, big and influential. Russia, with its reliance on old bilateral ties, felt embarrassed in this situation. Yet the pan-European process suddenly reversed in the middle of the past decade. The expansion impeded effective decision-making and the pan-European constitution was blocked by sovereign nations’ unwillingness to renounce their freedom, while reluctance to send troops to war strained relations with the US, provoking further internal tension. The worsening of the immigration problem in several countries triggered a wave of xenophobia, running counter to “European values”. Finally, falling behind in the global economic competition provoked a desire to fence Europe off from the rest of the world – not the best economic recipe. As a result, the Lisbon Treaty, which was
called upon to strengthen the EU’s political position, weakened it. And the euro crisis quickly turned into a conceptual crisis of European integration, raising doubts about the entire project. Having realised that they could not achieve their political gains through pan-Eu-
Hardly any other European nation could evoke such controversial feelings in Russia as Britain ropean institutions, the countries with ambitions began to seek independent ways. Hence their desire to establish direct links with Russia – something Moscow has always wanted. And Britain may also join this trend, especially given that one priority announced by the current government from the start was to build closer ties with the emerging Bric nations. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin hopes that changes in
the EU will provide new opportunities for establishing special relations with individual European countries. Russia is changing, too. Following the Georgian war, the Kremlin and the White House decided that the potential of the policy of confrontation needed to restore Russia’s international status had been exhausted. What could be achieved by flexing muscles pumped up by doping with oil and gas has been achieved. Now, a more flexible and constructive approach is needed to attract partners. And the doping dosage has dropped, too. A marked improvement in Russia’s relations with Poland and Norway, lifting tensions with Ukraine, boosting ties with Sweden, along with Russia’s efforts to bolster ties with traditional partners are all aimed at creating a better environment for Russia. Moscow’s conceptual standoff with London is a symbol of the tough foreign policy that characterised Vladimir Putin’s second presidential term. But his third
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term will be different. He realises Russia is dependent on the global situation, in both economic and political terms. This dependence is increasing, while the country’s ability to affect the external environment is declining. All Moscow can do now is react. The most feasible approach is caution and moderation; but giving vent to his character, Putin tries to compensate for cautiousness with seeming resolve.Yet even his rhetoric fails to reach the impressive levels of the late 2000s. It lacks passion. Instead, there is a desire to reduce the potential for conflict wherever possible. Russia will not make big concessions to achieve this, but might show more flexibility. Which will give Russian-British relations a new chance, despite the long standoff. Even if these relations lack the impetus for improvement, the external situation will work for it. Fyodor Lukyanov is editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs.
protest is not dead Svetlana Babaeva
ndeterred by the new sanctions imposed by the government on offences at rallies, demonstrators once again took to the streets in Moscow on Russia Day, June 12. Their agenda remained the same – to voice their disapproval of the alleged election irregularities last December – but this time they were also showing their disapproval of the new law on sanctions for protesters. In early June, the Russian parliament passed new legislation that increased the penalties for offences during public protests from 2,000 roubles (£39) to 300,000 roubles (£5,800). The fines for violations by rally organisers could be as much as 600,000 roubles. Those deputies in the State Duma who opposed the passing of the proposed law walked out in protest during the parliamentary debates, but the votes of the pro-government United Russia deputies were enough to pass the bill. This law is a clear government reaction to the street activity that has increased in Russia’s big cities since December. The first protest, which was the largest since President Vladimir Putin first came to power in 2000, was a public outcry against alleged fraud during December’s State Duma election. This was followed by other protests, particularly on the eve of Putin’s inauguration in May, which ended with more than 400 people being detained. According to eyewitnesses, both sides acted tough: the police retaliated harshly against the actions of some violent provocateurs among the protesters, inciting greater tensions. The new law was drafted just after this protest, showing that the authorities are keen to resort to a policy of maintaining order, in some cases even at the expense of freedom of assembly. This is a clear signal to the public that the authorities consider these demonstrations to be violations of public order rather than a legitimate demand for political change. Protesters are, in fact, now seen by the authorities as street hooligans. However, according to some observers, these steps by the government may cause a further backlash, leading to larger protest actions in the autumn. A recent study conducted by Olga Kryshtanovskaya, head of the Centre of Studies of Class Rule at the Russian Academy of Sciences, shows that the core of the protesters is now broadening.The authorities should be more scrupulous in the steps they take, she says; the current civil unrest may not disappear so long as the underlying conditions persist. First among these conditions is the authorities’ domination in most areas of public life. This is the root cause of the inefficiency in public services which, in turn, causes economic and social dysfunctions. That’s why one of the key tasks forVladimir Putin’s new presidential term is to forge relationships with social groups that have made plain their discontent with the current course of government. The authorities’ ability and willingness to launch a broader public dialogue and to take into account different points of view presented on the civic stage could, to a certain extent, determine how successful Putin’s latest presidency will be. While the citizens of small regional towns with old Soviet industrial structures still firmly support President Putin’s form of stability, according to Lev Gudkov, a leading Russian sociologist and head of the independent Levada
Centre, the wealthy, more creative and educated big-city dwellers, particularly those residing in Moscow and St Petersburg, are calling for political reforms involving the judicial and electoral systems. This is the first time in more than a decade that such a visible demand for greater public involvement in governance has been seen. It is reasonably clear now that the existing social contract between society and the authorities, which was tacitly made in the early 2000s, now needs to be replaced by a different kind of agreement. The essence of this old understanding looked something like this:the authorities don’t pry into the private affairs of the public; and the public doesn’t pry into the political activities of their ruling classes. The situation seems to be changing now, as the more progressive elements in society demand dialogue with the authorities and more involvement in social and political life. Interestingly, this demand comes in an environment that itself arose from the first two terms of Putin’s presidency
A key task for Vladimir Putin’s new presidential term is to forge relationships with social groups that have made plain their discontent with the current course of government
A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Centre found that ‘following a winter of discontent, Russians are expressing an increased appetite for political freedom’ and the course that he decided to take then. During those years, a wealthy urban middle class emerged and took shape, and it is this group that took to the streets in the December protests. These voices of protest were able to rise and be heard largely by means of the new communication technologies that have expanded so rapidly in the digital age. According to the digital marketing agency ComScore, by the end of 2012,“The Russian internet audience continued to grow and surpass Germany as the largest online market in Europe.” This rapid surge in the use of the internet and social networks is one of the most important developments in Russian society in recent years, although the authorities are only just beginning to comprehend its full significance. Even with the new sanctions against street activity, the public is unlikely to be satisfied by demonstrating its political unrest in internet chatrooms. A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Centre found that “following a winter of discontent, Russians are expressing an increased appetite for political freedom. “Compared with just a few years ago, more Russians believe that voting gives people like themselves an opportunity to express their opinion about the country's governance... and greater numbers see freedom of the press and honest elections as very important.” The question remains whether the authorities are willing to concede to some or all of the public’s demands. Svetlana Babaeva is a senior news analyst at RIA Novosti news agency.
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Tourism For an authentic experience of the city’s rich heritage, leave the tourist trail and explore the treasures of the nation’s art, music and literature
Discover the hidden jewels of Moscow special to rn
The Kremlin and Red Square are the most famous landmarks of the Russian capital and should not be missed when sightseeing. But there is so much more to see in Moscow, and a trip off the beaten track can take you to the places that make Russia such a unique destination for art, architecture, literature, music and natural beauty. Penelope Vogler, who recently made her first trip to Russia, says of her five days in the city:“Moscow is an unforgettable experience; a rich mixture of awe-inspiring culture and fun. Even an underground journey is an adventure in Soviet art and history. I particularly loved the churches with their 360-degree, floor-to-ceiling colour in tiles, paintings and gold; the sweep of the river and the beauty of the parks in May. Tolstoy’s house, the galleries and palaces all put in place pieces of the historical and literary jigsaw that most of us in the West, don’t know about, but should.” So, for a true taste of Moscow’s culture, here are three itineraries that you can do yourself – each in a day.
Day 1: The art and architecture tour
Gitanjali Chaturvedi, who visited Moscow from India, recalls: “The one thing that is inseparable from Moscow is art; it’s everywhere.”Many visitors make a beeline for the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts with its fabulous collection of western European impressionist paintings, but why not sample some Russian art, too? The Tretyakov Gallery, in the picturesque Zamoskvorechye area, offers a crash-course in history and culture, from icons and im-
Putting history on the map: where to find the key sites
Day 2: Literary Moscow
A new metro station, Dostoevskaya, has murals showing scenes from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novels in shining black-and-white marble. Next door is his birthplace, the Mariinsky Hospital, where he spent his childhood in a wing for the poor. Two metro stops away, walk from Chekhovskaya along the boulevard, passing a statue of the poet Sergei Yesenin, to visit Maxim Gorky’s house. This free museum, in a remarkable art nouveau mansion, is opposite the church where Alex-
ander Pushkin got married. From the swirling marble staircase under a stainedglass chandelier in the form of a jelllyfish, to the dragon-
The galleries and palaces all put in place the pieces of the historical and literary jigsaw fly-shaped bronze door handles, almost every aspect of the decor was created by the architect Fyodor Shekhtel. At the far end of the road
is the pink townhouse museum of playwright Anton Chekhov; also close by is the pond where the opening scene of Mikhail Bulgakov’s surreal novel The Master and Margarita takes place. Café Margarita does a great business lunch, which includes a glass of wine and cherry vareniki (little dumplings lined with crisp sugar). Bulgakov’s apartment, also now a museum, is round the corner. The cultural centre in the same courtyard has a cosy café and runs tours of the area on a tram-style bus. Continue the theme of So-
Shine on, you brilliant sun of Russian poetry special to rn
Hailed as the father of Russian literature, Alexander Pushkin was born 213 years ago this month. He is as revered by Russians as Shakespeare is by the British but he is not as well known in the West as Russian literary giants like Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. This is because much of his work, including the novel Eugene Onegin, was written in verse, making effective translation much more difficult. Pushkin’s plays and stories have inspired operas, songs and ballets; it is rare to meet a Russian who cannot quote his poetry by heart. It is hardly surprising that every Russian town and village wants to claim a piece of Pushkin and hundreds of monuments are dedicated to the writer.
Life was to imitate the art of Eugene Onegin in which the hero duels with pistols in the snow
The nearby Bolshiye Vyazyomy estate has had many owners, including Boris Godunov, subject of one of PushMinutes of childhood An hour west of Moscow, near kin’s best-known plays. The Zakharovo, a monument ded- current house, with its lime icated to Pushkin as a child trees, was built by the Golitstands in a small orchard that syn family in the late 18th once belonged to his mater- century. Pushkin often stayed nal grandmother, Maria Han- here when it belonged to Nanibal. The young Pushkin talia Golitsyna, model for the spent several summers there, ancient countess in his story in the birch woods near the of madness and gambling, lake. He later wrote:“My Za- The Queen of Spades. Pushkin was forced to leave kharovo… reflected in the mirror of waters, with its fenc- this childhood idyll for his es, bridge and shady grove.” school at Tsarskoe Selo near He recalled“with what quiet St Petersburg when he was beauty, the minutes of child- 12. He built his reputation as hood flowed”.The statue shows a poet there and threw himthe poet as a boy, leaning on self into the literary and po-
about politics as he is about innovative art
Life was to imitate the art of Eugene Onegin in which the hero fights a duel, with pistols in the snow, against his friend Lensky, a poet whose frozen corpse is then loaded on to the sleigh in which they arrived.This was pretty much Pushkin’s fate, too. On a winter evening in 1837, Pushkin travelled by sleigh from
masha charnay special to rn
Married and happy
A duel to the death
Read more at Moscow travel site en.travel2moscow.com
celebrated moscow curator is as passionate
litical life of the city. However, his involvement in movements for social reform led to censorship and exile. He travelled through the Caucasus and Crimea and spent two years at his mother’s estate in Mikhailovskoe, enjoying “country life, Russian baths and strawberries”. In 1831, Pushkin married 17-year-old Natalia Goncharova in the church of the Grand Ascension in central Moscow.The wedding day was beset by“evil omens”(dropped wedding rings and blown-out candles).There is a small, gold statue of the couple under a dome outside the church and another, larger version opposite the flat on Arbat Street where they spent their first months of married life. Pushkin’s letters of the time suggest another briefly idyllic period:“I am married and happy,” he wrote. “My only wish is that nothing will change.” But after a few months in the same city as his mother-in-law, he returned to St Petersburg with his wife, saying:“I do not like Moscow life. You live here not as you want to live, but as old women want you to.”
Start inside Teatralnaya metro, where the ceiling is decorated with white and gold porcelain figures dancing and playing flutes and balalaikas. Come out of the station near the newly renovated Bolshoi Theatre and head for the pedestrianised,
Radicals taught the art world a lesson
© ria novosti
his grandmother’s lap, book in hand, gazing portentously into the distance. Pushkin’s great grandfather was the captured African prince, Abram Petrovich Hannibal, who became a Russian nobleman and general, and godson of the tsar. Pushkin later started to write a historical novel about Hannibal, translated as The Negro of Peter the Great. A marble column outside the 16th-century Transfiguration Church at Bolshiye Vyazyomy marks the grave of Pushkin’s brother, Nikolai, who died aged six. In a poem, Pushkin describes a visit to the graveyard,“where drowse the dead in solemn peace”.
Day 3: Musical haunts
café-lined, Kamergersky Pereulok, where the composer Sergei Prokofiev lived. Cross under Tverskaya Street to reach the Conservatory, heart of many of Moscow’s musical traditions. Pyotr Tchaikovsky taught here from 1866 when it was new, and wrote Swan Lake while he worked there. The railings around the statue of Tchaikovsky bear the notes from six of his works. Walk along Briusov Pereulok to No 7 – so many dancers and musicians lived there that there is almost more plaques than wall. Nearby are musical monuments and the Composers’ House. On Strasnoi Boulevard, at the top of the hill, are two more musical statues: Rachmaninov sits near the house where he once lived and, behind him, with his guitar strapped on his back, is singer and poetVladimirVysotsky, whose intense songs about love, war, politics, insanity and drunkenness won him many fans. Turning left, you reach the theatre-filled Hermitage Gardens, dominated by the curving bulk of the Novaya Opera. This urban oasis looks great in snow or blossom, with skating rinks in winter and outdoor concerts in summer. The Chaikhona No.1 café is a good place for tea. Just beyond the busy garden ring is the Glinka Museum of Musical Instruments, which houses everything from 13thcentury lyres to the first electronic music makers. The composer Mikhail Glinka is quoted just inside:“A nation creates music; we artists merely arrange it.” In the evening, sample some live Russian music and vodka at the intimate Nikitsky Gate Theatre’s Songs of Our Courtyard. Ms Vogler says: “I can’t imagine any other experience where I couldn’t understand a word that could have been such fantastic fun.”
Interview marat guelman
Literature The dramatic life and death of Alexander Pushkin
Pushkin is not appreciated fully in the West, where his virtues are lost in translation, but he is a literary hero in the land of his birth.
mosphere. In the drawing room, with its grand piano and bearskin rug, you can hear a recording of the writer’s voice, and see his bicycle parked near the study. The John Donne pub opposite does good food and beer.
viet era writers with an afternoon visit to Vladimir Mayakovsky’s apartment block, now a four-floor installation, symbolically reflecting the writer’s avantgarde ideas. The tiny room on the top floor where Mayakovsky lived is the centre of a revolutionary journey revealing the hope and despair of early 20th-century Russian history. Four metro stops away on Park Kultury, Leo Tolstoy’s wooden town house and shady garden in the old weavers’ district of Moscow have a totally different at-
National hero: Russians learn Pushkin’s verse by heart
Nevsky Prospekt to the Black River area of St Petersburg, then filled with woods and dachas, where Georges D’Anthès fatally wounded him in the stomach. The poet, then aged 37, had become convinced that D’Anthès was flirting with his wife and challenged the French cavalry officer to a duel. Pushkin’s death is all the more curious because a major theme in Eugene Onegin is the relationship between literature and real life. Pushkin’s dramatic death has inspired hundreds of poems, plays and paintings, one of which can be seen in Pushkin Museum on Prechistenka Street in Moscow. The picture portrays the duel, with the dying poet and the fur-lined troika. This storehouse of “Pushkinalia” includes exhibitions on each of Pushkin’s major works, plus much-amended manuscript pages covered in trademark doodles and sketches. In St Petersburg, Pushkin’s last home, where he lay dying for two days after the duel, is now a popular museum. It dis-
plays the poet’s death mask and last waistcoat, complete with fatal bullet hole. A granite obelisk marks the site of the duel.
‘Long will I be honoured’
One of the most significant monuments to Pushkin is the high bronze statue at the crossroads of Moscow’s Boulevard Ring and Tverskaya Street. The inscription below it reads:“Long will I be honoured by the people…”It was unveiled in 1880 to the accompaniment of speeches by the writers Dostoevsky and Turgenev. The statue is mentioned by many subsequent Russian writers. The“metal man on a plinth” makes a cameo appearance in Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita and has a crucial symbolic role in Tatyana Tolstaya’s dystopian novel Slynx. Turgenev declared at its unveiling that the statue would “announce to future generations our right to call ourselves a great nation, because this nation has given birth to such a man.”
How did you become known as both a gallery owner and a political consultant ? I became well-known in the Nineties when dealing art was my main occupation. Gallery ratings had just emerged and Guelman’s Contemporary Art Gallery was always first. Being a gallery owner was a novel concept then. I think in a lot of ways, I became a symbol. In 1996, I co-founded the Foundation for Effective Politics, along with [former presidential adviser] Gleb Pavlovsky. Then it was quite rare, but now it’s normal. You recently announced that you and Aidan Salakhova are closing your galleries, while an old art gallery, XL, will be transformed into a different format. What is happening to the Russian art market? In the past two years, the gallery has stopped making a profit. I can only speculate as to why, but I think the main issue is market conditions. Most wealthy people in Russia are either state bureaucrats or affiliated with the state and they’re not interested in revealing their income, so they don’t collect.When we looked at our list of clients – people who have bought our art from 1996 to 2008 – we saw that more than 80pc now live outside Russia. If such established galleries are closing, what about the others? They should take advantage of it. This is an opportunity for younger galleries to show the ambition and fervour that
NAtIONALITY: russian AGE: 51 studied: communications
Guelman’s Contemporary Art Gallery opened in Moscow in 1990. The space hosted both art and political discussions. In the late Nineties, Guelman became a political consultant and analyst. He co-founded the Foundation for Effective Politics in 1996 but left it in 2002.
perial portraits to poignant Russian landscapes and epic recreations of the past. Ms Chaturvedi says: “I spent a whole afternoon in the Tretyakov Gallery soaking in the art.” She remembers Repin’s depiction of Ivan the Terrible with his dying son, as well as “stunning landscapes – stormy seas, vast fields, spring flowers and meadows. A day at the Tretyakov is a good immersion in Russia.” The Classic restaurant has art-inspired decor and offers a great business lunch. To see ethereal works by Mikhail Nesterov in their original setting, walk round the corner to the Martha and Mary Convent. Alexei Shchusev, architect of Lenin’s tomb, designed the elegant art nouveau cathedral at the complex. Fans of 20th-century art should head for the New Tretyakov Gallery, with its modernist experiments and waterside sculpture garden full of Soviet heroes. In the afternoon, ride the metro out to Kolomenskoye Park (Kolomenskaya station) to enjoy some of the city’s finest architectural monuments. Among the clifftop apple orchards is the Unescolisted Church of the Ascension. Built in 1532 by Vasili III to celebrate the birth of his son, Ivan (who was to become“the Terrible”), its spire, one of the earliest built of stone rather than wood, rises from layers of arched gables and vaulted stairways. The surrounding park includes the sites of Stone Age villages and a huge reconstruction of a 17th-century imperial palace. The museum in the administrative building has an eclectic collection, including gilded holy gates and ceramic stoves by the Siberia-born artist, Mikhail Vrubel.You can also find Peter the Great’s log cabin, troika rides, boat trips and a row of wooden cafés serving grilled chicken and honey mead.
See the less well-known landmarks of Moscow on three off-the-beaten-track tours which bring its cultural history to life.
the more established galleries have lost. If they can find the kind of enthusiasm that we had in the Nineties, when we felt like we were ushering in a cultural revolution, and use their management skills, they could even do a better job. As director of the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, you want to turn Perm into a cultural capital. How much of that plan has been achieved? Around 10pc. We wanted to turn Perm, which is near the Urals, into a European city with a rich cultural life. However, there’s not enough drive for that yet. So, we have organised a festival called White Nights which runs for a month every year. The hope is that the concept will slowly gain a foothold. Do you see yourself as a liberal? I do, although I’ve never fought for political power or been part of the opposition. But I always say what I think. I present alternatives without
trying to change the whole system. I want to prove that things can work differently. Female punk band Pussy Riot’s controversial performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (which resulted in three of the band being sent to prison) was mainly seen as a political protest. What do you make of its artistic value? I refuse to debate the artistic value of their performance while the girls are still in prison. The important thing now is that they are released. Has the band’s performance made Russians more wary of contemporary art? Radicals perform a very important function. On December 10 (a day of protest in Moscow), artists realised that they were no longer the social avant-garde. Society proved that it was actually ahead of them, that it was more radical. It was a lesson to them, a reminder that they should resist being integrated into the system.
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Olympic special The artistic team has overcome injury to target gold, with the US seen as the main challenge
Russian gymnasts set the bar high for London 2012 10am: it lasts for two and a half hours. They then take a break, do some recovery exercises and have some personal time. Their second training session runs from 5pm to 7pm and is followed with a massage and more free time. They go to bed at 10.30pm. They don’t have a second training session on Thursdays, and Sunday is a day of rest. The Russian team secured their place in the London 2012 Games at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Tokyo last year. Head coach Andrei Rodionenko has announced three of the five team members for the London Games – Viktoria Komova, Aliya Mustafina
anna kozina special to rn
In the Soviet era, Russian training methods were seen as the best in the world and adopted by rival gymnastics teams as they prepared for the Olympics. But claims that the Soviet girls were treated cruelly to control their weight and growth tarnished the team’s reputation. Alexander Alexandrov, senior coach of the Russian women’s artistic gymnastics team, dismisses the allegations as myths.“Soviet gymnastics training targeted technical skills, while also making use of cutting-edge scientific findings in physiology, medicine and recuperation. And this is what we are trying to do now, drawing on expertise and experience above all, but bringing up-to-date techniques into play as well,” he says. “As for talk about how difficult it was to be part of the Soviet team, it should be mentioned that there were tougher training systems, for instance in Romania.” Indeed, the daily routine of today’s Russian female gymnasts at their training camp at Lake Krugloye is tough. With school already over for the summer, training for the London 2012 Olympics is in full swing. The athletes get up at 7.30am and after some warm-up exercises, they go out for a walk or a jog. Half an hour later, they have breakfast and their first training session begins at
It’s still difficult not to be nervous during competitions. Sometimes emotions are overwhelming and Anastasia Grishina. The other two will be confirmed by early July. Mustafina, 17, was the world artistic gymnastics champion in 2010. Komova, also 17, was the all-around runner-up of 2011, and 16-year-old Grishina, who has recently joined the adult gymnastics team, has also been in the spotlight in the international gymnastics world. Because of various injuries, the gymnasts are training hard to get back to perfect form in time for the Games. At the 2010 European Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Mustafina injured her knee as she landed after performing the vault.
“We are very happy that Aliya Mustafina is returning to the international arena,” Alexandrov says. “We want her not only to participate, but to perform at the level she had before the injury. “But not all at once. Rehabilitation takes time. We have to move slowly, one step at a time, in order to reach the best possible form before the Olympics.” Mustafina’s impressive stamina means that her rehabilitation is likely to be a success. She went to the World Championships in Japan shortly after her knee surgery to support the team, even though she could not compete on all apparatus. Mustafina wanted to attend not only to show support to her teammates, but to prepare herself for competition. “I’ve grown since [the 2010 competition], and I’ve put on some weight because weight always goes up when the training load eases off,” she says. “I no longer have the lightness I had when I was 16. Lightness meant that I could take it easy for a couple of days during training sessions and then do every element flawlessly on the third day. Now I need to do my best every day. “But gymnastics is my life. I am very used to working in the gym; I can’t live without it. This is why rehabilitation was not too tough for me – I had no psychological problems and I was not depressed. I yearned to return and had no doubts that I would succeed.” Komova has suffered with several tibiotarsal injuries. She has also grown an inch,
which causes her to brush against poles as she jumps off the uneven bars. But Komova is practically immune to the stress of competition. When she was 16, she unexpectedly became team leader when Mustafina withdrew from the 2011 World Championships. Then she found herself at the centre of
controversy when she lost the allaround title at the tournament to a US competitor by a mere 0.033 points. “I did my best to forget about that loss,”says Komova.“After all, why dwell upon it when I had other competitions to take part in? Of course, we discussed our shortcomings with the coach, our mistakes. We generally try to analyse such situations rather than let them frustrate us. It’s still difficult not to be nervous during competitions, though. Sometimes emotions are simply overwhelming. The World Championships were even harder for me than usual because I had missed a lot of events on account of my injury. “It is not even because of the fear of pain – we are used to pain. It is simply psychologically difficult to compete: you become afraid of falling down, of making mistakes. This is why we repeat each element a hundred times at each training session, which gives us confidence.” State coach Valentina Rodionenko drums the message into the girls: “We can’t afford to be equal to our com-
© alexandr wilf_ria novosti
The female gymnastics team are training hard at Lake Krugloye in the hope of following a tradition of Soviet success.
Grace under pressure: Viktoria Komova at the Tokyo World Championships in 2011. She will compete for Russia in London
Viktoria Komova Aliya Mustafina AGE: 17
weight (kg): 35.5
weight (kg): 48
height (cm): 154
height (cm): 160
HONOURS: The uneven bars are Komova’s favourite. She won gold on this apparatus in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore 2010, the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, the World Cup in Ghent, the Russian Cup (both 2011) and the European Championships in Brussels last month.
HONOURS: World champion in the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, in both team and all-around competitions, Mustafina also won European Championship team gold in Birmingham that year. In the 2010 Russian Cup, she took gold in everything except vault and balance beam.
family: Komova is the daughter of the 1985 world team champion and 1986 Goodwill Games all-around champion, Vera Kolesnikova. Her father, Alexander Komov, was also a gymnast.
family: Mustafina’s younger sister Nailya is a member of Russia’s junior gymnastics team. Her father, Farhad Mustafin, took bronze in GrecoRoman wrestling at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
petitors. We have to be headand-shoulders above them, otherwise the judges may bring us down.” Rodionenko considers the United States team to be the main threat to the Russians at the London Olympics. “Alexander Alexandrov named the four countries that are likely to compete for medals: the US, China, Romania and Russia. But I believe that the Americans are our main rivals. Only they can outperform us because they are good with vaults. But I can assure you, you will not be ashamed of us at the Olympics.” The rivalry within the Russian national team promises to be just as exciting to watch as the competition with other teams. They will compete against each other for the first time in London. “Mustafina and Komova are already the talk of the
town,”says Alexandrov.“Only talented, hard-working, outstanding gymnasts have a chance of becoming champions. Mustafina and Komova’s victories are already known worldwide, and new victories are expected of them, including Olympic medals.” Once the final line-up of the team is announced, the coaching staff will confirm the Olympic programme. The Romanians, who came first in the team competition at the 2012 European Championships, with Russia as the runner-up, already have their Olympic programme ready. Russian gymnasts will train until the Games at the Lake Krugloye camp, which features the same apparatus as the London venue. The team will then head to the UK on July 21, which allows a week for adaptation and acclimatisation in London.
Technology A Russian has developed a system he says can determine the age, origin and authenticity of paintings – but not all collectors want to know
The physicist on a mission to expose art forgeries Roman Maev’s passion for physics and painting could bring an end to the world’s estimated £3.8bn market for art forgeries.
tors, to render 3D images of paintings allows us to build mathematical models that accurately predict the decay of an ancient artwork,” he says. “Once we perfect this model, we’ll have a sort-of DNA that can be used to accurately determine whether a painting is a fake.”
Earlier this year Spike Bucklow of the Hamilton Kerr Institute at Cambridge led graduate students to a Norfolk church where paintings hidden in the early 16th century were recently rediscovered. Parishioners at St Mary’s, in North Elmham, squirreled the works away after Henry VIII broke with Rome, fearing they would fall victim to the iconoclasm in which much of England’s medieval religious art was destroyed. They were recently discovered, stashed under wooden benches, after researchers unearthed church documents describing the clandestine operation. Mr Bucklow knew of only one man with the technology capable of confirming the paintings’ authenticity: Roman Maev. Mr Maev, a Russian physicist based in Canada, has helped create diagnostic imaging that can be used to authenticate ancient art and expose forgeries. The Norfolk paintings were unlikely to have been
The real thing: the research team, with Mr Maev, second left, and Mr Bucklow, second right
forgeries, but Mr Maev was able to confirm they were indeed medieval, as believed. “We were able to visualise the most intricate details of the icons, which had been lost to civilisation for centuries,” Mr Maev says.
War on counterfeits
Mr Maev believes his techniques can revolutionise the world’s $40bn (£25.5bn) art market by exposing the 15pc of works that are forged. The FBI says $6bn is spent annually on misattributed or
stolen art. “Around 1,300 ‘Rembrandt’ paintings have been imported legally into the United States, but he only painted 400 [of them],” Mr Maev says, referring to data from the Rembrandt Research Project. “More than half of the Rembrandts in America are forgeries, but most owners – including museums – don’t want to know. The implications for the art world are huge. “Many people don’t know that artists used to offer their services on a sliding scale,”
he continued.“Namely, they would charge a certain price to draw a client’s face and have their students do the rest of the portrait. For a higher fee, they’d draw the entire body, and so on. Our technique allows museums to determine how much of their great paintings were actually done by the artist. “Applying techniques like acoustic microscopy and high-resolution ultrasound imaging, which were previously only used in hi-tech aerospace and defence sec-
cow’s Pushkin Museum in 2010, to test his idea.“We invited a top-notch restorer to our lab in Windsor to alter a painting and see if we could determine what he had changed,”he says.“Using various techniques, including thermal reflectography, shortwave infrared imaging and air-coupling ultrasound, we Marrying art with science were able to find every al“When I was a teenager I al- teration, including the fake ways loved art,” recalls Mr signature he had added.” Mr Maev then took his Maev of his Moscow childhood. “But in the Seventies, technology on the road, atwhen I was choosing what tending art conferences in to study in college, a famous countries including Italy, Soviet movie came out called England, Denmark and IsNine Days in OneYear about rael, and eventually found a group of young physicists partners interested in deterwho save the world. That’s mining whether their collecwhen I decided I wanted to tions were genuine.“We had to sign confidentiality agreebe one of them.” But Mr Maev’s passion for ments with wealthy collecart never wavered, even as tors. I would explain to them: his work took him to Wind- ‘I can’t tell you whether you sor in Canada in the Nine- own a real Rubens or not, but ties – when the infrastruc- I can say with great accurature for science in Russia cy whether the painting began to crumble.“I realised matches the time period, has the work I had done as a any obvious signs of forgery physicist, namely, analysing and adheres to the author’s glass, wood and practically signature or chosen colours any kind of solid, could be and materials present in all applied to the world of art,” his work,’” says Mr Maev. His method attracted the he explains. In 2007, Mr Maev received interest of Vienna’s newly a $200,000 (£128,000) grant opened Liechtenstein Musefrom the Canadian govern- um. “The owners wanted to ment, and $50,000 from Mos- prove that what they were
A life of their own One day not long after we announced that we were returning to Moscow, I called my dad. After exchanging the general pleasantries, it seemed that there was nothing more to say. There was silence on the phone.
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offering was unique,”he says. Mr Maev had just perfected a technique that allowed him to determine the geographical origins of an artwork. “They used to have artists’ guilds in practically every European country that determined what kind of pigments and varnish were used. By analysing these, we can determine the country where the painting was made. Soon, we should be able to pinpoint it to a single village.” After patenting his technique in the United States and 15 other countries, Mr Maev’s goal is to get the funding to establish a mobile lab he could take anywhere in the world. “Museums like mobile labs because they can keep their artwork in-house,” says Mr Maev.
And, as Mr Bucklow also points out:“It’s dangerous to have too much faith in any one particular type of information.” But not everyone wants to know if their paintings are fake. “Some collectors paid large sums to acquire rare paintings that now attract crowds. Nobody will benefit from their being labelled as fakes,” says Mr Maev. In Russia, there is already an interest in analysing the country’s leading artworks through Mr Maev’s technique. “But at the Ministry of Culture they told me this has to be done at state level,” he says. There is even a concern that there could be violence if wealthy collectors discover the real scale of the forgeries – and the forgers could turn against Mr Maev. Critics are sceptical While Russia may not be But Mr Maev has his detractors. “I am a little sceptical ready to draw a final verdict, about technical expertise,” Mr Maev is convinced that, says James Butterwick, Lon- properly implemented, his don collector, dealer and technology could beat the leading authority on Russian forgers. “If we’re able to art. “I have seen so many of complete the mathematical these (technical assessments) model and finalise our unattached to works of the Rus- derstanding of a painting’s sian avant-garde that are in- DNA, we will be way ahead accurate that I’ve little faith. of what the best forgers could There’s still nothing as good come up with,” he said. “At as certifiable provenance and least for another generation of collectors.” exhibition history.”
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