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Special supplement from Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Moscow, Russia) which takes sole responsibility for the contents. Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Culture Historical re-enactment clubs get their own park in Moscow.



Technology Despite challenges, Russia still has advanced technologies to sell.


International Syrian family finds refuge from the conflict in Moscow

Plans for a post-crisis eonomy

Shelter from the storm When conflict broke out in Syria, thousands of families fled and some of them ended up in Russia. RBTH interviews one such family.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev outlines what action the government plans to take to improve the prospects of the Russian economy post-crisis.



RBTH presents the basic thesis of Medvedev’s article, published in the business edition of Russia's daily Vedomosti on Sept. 27.

How did Russia deal with the financial crisis?


Yarob Rashid, a 39-year-old pharmacist, his wife Susannah Annazhi, and their three sons used to live in Afamia, a small town near Hama, in western Syria.Their move to Moscow was made possible thanks to Yarob's ability to speak Russian and the fact that his brother was living in Russia and managed to send them a visa invitation. Yarob Rashid’s family arrived in Moscow on January 26, 2013. They now live in an apartment thatYarob’s brother helped them to rent, and the children go to school. However, the memories of suffering are still vividly fresh in their minds. Yarob Rashid: When it all started, we were going to demonstrations, and they were like a festival: We were even taking children to them. No one stopped us. And, all of a sudden, arms appeared. I don't know from where. What for? We were told [it was] for the protection of civilians. No one was killed or arrested in our town until a motorcycle was blown up near a military post at the entrance to Al-Skelbia [20,000 inhabitants, Christians]. After that, the army set up a camp near our town. And quite unexpectedly for residents, Muslim Brotherhood militants began to shoot at the side of the camp every day. Residents of the populated areas pleaded with militants not to use their homes to fire at the army, but they did not listen to their pleas and outrage. Suddenly, the militants started to

that a shell hit this very room where we had been hiding from bullets. However, the war came to where we fled. When we again left that house where we were hiding, we rented an apartment in a safer area and then moved to Al-Skelbia.

The Bank of Russia moderately devalued its national currency and expanded the tools for refinancing commercial banks. This allowed it to preserve confidence in the ruble and to prevent a sharp outflow of deposits from the banking system. The government also substantially changed the structure of fiscal expenditure, increasing its funding priorities, which are crucial for economic recovery and preventing a sharp drop in domestic demand. Large firms were given extra credit and warranty support, allowing them to restructure old debts and avoid bankruptcy. Active programmes have been implemented to support employment and small businesses, including those in single-industry towns. In parallel with the implementation of the anti-crisis policy, we have continued to prioritise national projects: updating school systems, as well as primary and high-tech medical care. We have also indexed child benefit, helping us to maintain birth rates and prevent depopulation.



Yarob, Susannah and their children are now safe in Russia.

have a lot of money, fighters, weapons and vehicles: They became a real force. One day, I was at my pharmacy and an armed man came. I said to him: “You allegedly armed yourselves to protect civilians, but why do you use us as human shields, as you fire from houses where people live?”Of course, he did not an-

"A week after we had to leave our home a shell hit the very room where we had been hiding" Susannah Annazhi

swer me, but the next day an exchange of fire broke out between those firing from the houses and the army, and a 3-year-old child was killed. This child was the first civilian victim. Susannah Annazhi: Our house had an inside room and we used it as a refuge. When we had to leave our home, one week after


Society Many of the capital's Muslims choose to stay at home for Eid

Ethnic tensions spook migrants Public prayers to mark the beginning of the Islamic feast of Eid Al Adha were not as crowded as usual this year in Moscow. HOWARD AMOS RIA NOVOSTI

Special report

Ethnic violence in Moscow Nerves have been frayed among the city’s migrant population since an unsanctioned protest - sparked by the killing of 25-year oldYegor Shcherbakov in the southern Moscow neighbourhood of Biryulyovo on October 10 - spiralled out of control.


A violent nationalist rampage over the weekend of October 19-20 left the city’s migrant workers, many from mainly Muslim former Soviet nations, feeling uneasy. Speaking outside the Cathedral Mosque in central Moscow, Maksu Magdisyan, a crane operator from Armenia, said he knew of several fellow Muslims who had decided against attending prayers because they were scared.

“The imam warned us that there could be provocations,” Magdisyan said. Moscow police estimated that about 103,000 people had gathered in the morning sunshine for ritual prayers on the first day of festivities for Eid Al Adha, known in Russia by its Turkic name of Kurban Bairam. The crowd was nearly one third smaller than that which braved the rain last year.

Prayers for Eid Al Adha in Moscow were held under tight security.

For each metropolis

For each strip of taiga

For each supermodel

For each of you



In August, Russia officially became Europe’s top car market, following three years of growth above 10 per cent. P. 04

there is an off-the-beaten-track village.

there is a new techno-park.

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there is a CEO.

there is a Russia of your choice.




Shelter from the storm CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1


Ethnic tensions spook migrants Some Muslims had permission to pray in large groups revoked.

Long-standing tension

Religious groups in Russia

74% Orthodox Christians comprise the majority of the population

According to federal migration officials, 11.3 million foreigners entered Russia in the first six months of this year, including 3 million who work illegally. But the term “migrant” is often used to refer to Russian citizens from the North Caucasus region who have non-Slavic ethnic roots and cultural backMuslims are the biggest grounds. religious minority Frustration at demograph-


5% Atheists are still numerous

demonstrated outside the walls of the Kremlin and attacked people of non-Slavic appearance in the street after the murder of a Muscovite football fan. The ostensible trigger for the unrest was the detention and surprisingly quick release of a suspect in the killing, who hailed from the North Caucasus.

Biryulyovo fallout The authorities have focused much of their attention since the recent violence by targeting workers at the Biryulyovo vegetable warehouse, an apparent attempt to soothe local tensions. About 1,200 people were rounded up in a police raid at the site in what was described as a preventative check for “involvement in criminal activity.”A number of senior health officials and investigators say that in all probability the warehouse will be shut down permanently. Migrants across Moscow fear that the rigorous police checks could be stepped up after Biryulyovo. Anecdotal accounts of police extorting bribes, even from those carrying correct papers, are already commonplace. One group of Tajiks and Uzbeks who live and work on the eastern outskirts of Moscow took extra precautions during this

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Mobs: Unaware of nuance If the unrest shows anything, it is that crowds propelled by nationalist rage make no distinctions among the targets of their violence. An Uzbek migrant who makes his living trading scrap metal and asked that his name not be printed out of concern for job security said Central Asian migrants were suffering despite having no apparent link to the Biryulyovo events. “An Azeri kills a Russian, and for some reason we’re the ones who get blamed,” he said.

"When there were fireworks in Moscow, the children thought the war had begun again" -Susannah Annazhi

BRIEF New bill targets terrorists’ families

First sentence for Internet pirates

The families of convicted terrorists may have their assets seized if new proposals that have passed the first hearing in the Russian parliament become law. In late September, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced new anti-terrorism legislation to the lower chamber of parliament. Under the proposed amendments to existing law, the government will set up a system to check the origins of assets owned by“terrorists’ families and close relatives.” If the checks indicate that such assets have been acquired through terrorist activities, those assets will be confiscated and used to pay compensation to victims of terrorist attacks.

A married couple—Andrei and Nadezhda Lopukhov—have been handed down a four-year suspended sentence from a Moscow court, which convicted them of illegal distribution of torrent files and inflicting damage upon major film studios to the tune of $23 million. The prosecution sought a threeyear standard custodial sentence for the defendants, but ultimately the court took into account the couple’s small children—one of whom was born during the investigation—and a lack of other convictions. However, the Lopukhovs rejected the charges, citing in their defence the fact that using torrent files is common practice for millions of Russians.

Singh, Putin focus on trade, energy


Read next issue distibuted with Gulf News, November 29

year’s Eid Al Adha holiday. While their employer had originally given the green light for about 100 people to gather in a basement and hold an informal prayer meeting, permission was later suddenly revoked, the group’s foreman told RIA Novosti, in light of heightened scrutiny from the authorities postBiryulyovo. “So we broke up into groups and … read prayers in four or five rooms” in the dormitories and apartments where they live, said the foreman, who asked that his name not be printed out of fear for himself and the workers he oversees. “One wrong word and I’ll get deported that very day, that very minute, even though all my papers are in order,” he said.

The 14th annual Indo-Russian summit between visiting Indian Prime Minister and Russian PresidentVladimir Putin concluded in Moscow on October 21 with the sides agreeing to step up economic cooperation and move towards an economic partnership agreement with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. As expected the two failed to reach accord on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project’s 3rd and 4th units. The countries also discussed priority areas of bilateral cooperation and noted common positions on current international and regional issues. Both sides stressed their ongoing commitment to strengthening their special and privileged strategic partnership.


The suspected killer, identified as Orkhan Zeinalov, from Azerbaijan, was apprehended Tuesday by police special forces in a town 120 kilometres outside Moscow. On Sunday evening, nationalist protesters clashed with riot police and attacked Biryulyovo’s Pokrovsky vegetable warehouse, where many migrant labourers work. Video footage shows mobs of young men shouting “Go Russia” as they smash windows. Researchers writing for Russian news website said in an article this week that the number of Azerbaijanis living in Biryulyovo has earned the district the nickname “little Baku” – a reference to the former Soviet nation’s capital.

ic trends seen as threatening the native Russian population has sparked high-profile episodes of violence in recent years. A major undercurrent of the interethnic tensions lies in the widespread perception that the police and justice system are unable, or unwilling, to ensure law and order. The most significant recent wave of xenophobic unrest was in 2010, when thousands of football fans




Y.R.: Two of my friends started arguing with each other — one was in the Free Army, and the other was in the government army. As a result, one of them killed the other.The victim was from the Free Army. A brother of the man who was killed supported the Free Army: He was giving them some $6,000 every month. S.A.: They burned down the home of this brother, his dairy, his son's home and several retail shops, as well as the homes of five more of his close relatives. They even burned down the house of my uncle, who had nothing to do with this story at all, and his shop was burned down, too. They burned down my aunt's house and a pharmacy. Y.R.: This pharmacy was one of the biggest in the area of Hama. The baby food alone in it was worth $300,000. The owner of this pharmacy gave $70,000 to save it from being burned down. They took the money and still burned down the pharmacy. Then the pharmacists in the city decided to call a strike, to close their pharmacies for one day. I also closed my pharmacy but then was immediately warned [that] if I did not open my pharmacy, they would burn it down. This actually happened to other pharmacies: They broke the door and threw grenades inside, so everything was burned down. The situation was increasingly bad: Shells hit our house three times before we left and twice after we arrived in Russia. S.A.: They were shooting all the time. My children's fear and my fear for the children pushed me the most to flee. Until recently we were living in cramped circumstances—15 people in one room. [Looking at her middle son] He used to go to his grandfather’s house even when it was dark, but now he is afraid to go to the toilet alone—we have to wait for him at the door. He shudders from any sharp sound. When there were fireworks in Moscow, the chil-

dren thought that the war had begun again. Y.R.: We are not the only ones who fled. About 65 per cent of the residents have left our area. They've fled to Turkey or to other parts of Syria. Many people have no passports, no money. S.A.: Our city lost it all: There is no food, no water and no electric power. We started baking bread at home on the fire. We bought flour at a very high price. On one occasion, we lived with the children without a piece of bread for three days. It was very cold in the winter. One day, an intensive firefight started. We hid in the corridor of the house and sat down there on the stone floor. We were freezing, but it wasn't possible to take warm clothes from the rooms, because bullets were regularly hitting the windows. Ahmad [the eldest son]: We also spent nights in the corridor. Nasser [the middle son]: No, we lived in the corridor; we slept there and we ate there, too. I do not know anyone here...Why didn't I bring my friends Ibrahim, Mahmoud, Rashid here...? [The youngest son]: And I miss my uncle and grandfather. Y.R.: We'd love to go back, but this is not a feasible thing to do. So we have applied for refugee status. Now, the most important thing for me is to obtain a work permit. How will we be able to live without work? However, our situation is still a hundred times better than that of other people.



Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sees investment in science as a key to economic success.

How will small business be supported?





What is the government's forecast for GDP growth? Next year, we will have to make a total reduction in spending amounting to up to five per cent from the previously expected levels. However, a balanced budget and an absence of sharp fluctuations are more important. The growth rate of GDP in the current year is not likely to exceed two per cent. Note, for the

first time since 2009, it is lower than in the global economy as a whole.

What is needed in order to improve the efficiency of the Russian economy? 1. We need to improve the efficiency of the public sector and to encourage skilled workers to take retirement at a later age. 2. Entrepreneurial freedom and a healthy competitive environment are essential for modernisation and innovative development.

Revamp the education system with a focus on basic and applied science, and improve access and literacy in information and communication technologies.


Encourage economic development in the regions by giving local authorities the power to introduce tax breaks for new small businesses, especially in the manufacturing sector.


Expand financial support for small and medium-sized businesses through the funding of investment loans, which will be refinanced by the Bank of Russia.

1. The decision to increase immediate and mandatory insurance payments significantly will be reconsidered. Rates will increase gradually. 2. Benefits to small businesses in the information technology field will be extended starting from 2014. 3. We should allow the regions and local authorities to introduce tax breaks for new small businesses in certain areas of activity, especially in manufacturing. 4. Financial support for small and medium businesses will be expanded. Vnesheconombank will begin funding investment loans to small and medium-sized companies from the National Welfare Fund’s deposit. The Bank of Russia will be refinancing these securitised loans. 5. As part of the procurement of large, state-owned companies, quotas for the purchase of goods and services from small and medium-sized businesses should be defined.



Why the UAE is investing in Russia As the 5th International Economic Summit between Russia and the OIC countries brought together potential investors, businessmen and government officials, the undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade, Abdullah A. Al Saleh, spoke to RBTH about his country's investment policy towards Russia. WhatareyourthoughtsontheKazan summit and the results of this initiative? It is laudable that Russia is inviting Arab and Muslim countries to participate in development projects. This is a good signal, especially now when we are facing political difficulties regarding the conflict in Syria. We need these kinds of initiatives. We are seeing serious efforts on behalf of Tatarstan and Russia to attract investment from the Arab world. We are also seeing the development of infrastructure and regulations related to foreign direct investment. This will encourage investors from the UAE and other Arab states.There is a future for this market. What are the reasons for choosing Russia as a market for Emirati investment? We are looking for opportunities to diversify our investments, both geographically and sector-wise. We're also looking for markets where we see growth and stabil-


Plans for a post-crisis economy

3. We need to lead our education system to a new level of basic and applied science, return it to a leading position, and eliminate the digital divide. 4. We need a system of reproduction for commercially sought -after new technologies that increase productivity and improve environmental safety and convenience for consumers. 5. Duty on scientific equipment and materials should be abolished. 6. Our large companies and investors need to invest in science more actively, creating their own high schools. Gazprom, Lukoil, Rusal and Rosneft should run their own universities, or, at least, departments.


Abdullah A. Al Saleh

ity in economic, political and legal structures. I think Russia - and Tatarstan - have made huge progress in the last few years, and from an investor's point of view, this is a positive development. We are looking forward to [taking advantage of] the opportunities in your country. What are the most attractive sectors for investment here? Which of them are attracting UAE investment? Our companies are now focusing on a few major sectors: oil and gas and related services, real estate development, high-technology companies where we can make acquisitions or buy shares; transportation, telecommunications and renewable energy. Nikolai Surkov, RBTH

Investment Foreign companies to invest $950 million in Tatarstan following OIC meeting in Kazan

Islamic summit yields fresh ideas and new dialogue In October the capital of Tatarstan played host to the fifth economic summit of Russia and the countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC ) KazanSummit 2013. NIKOLAI SURKOV RBTH

This year's KazanSummit was attended by approximately 700 par-

ticipants from 43 countries, including the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. During the two-day event, aimed at developing trade and investment cooperation, the participants discussed various topics, including trade, investment, and Islamic finance. But the main idea of the forum was to debate the myths and stereotypes that prevent Ta-

tarstan and Russia from fully realising their investment potential. Another key theme at the summit was Islamic finance. Thomson Reuters presented a plan to set up a centre of Islamic finance in Tatarstan within the next five years. Speakers remarked that the main obstacles for the development of Islamic finance in Russia are the lack of professionals, a low

Finance Russian bank targets further growth in the region

VTB Capital builds presence in Gulf with landmark year VTB Capital - the strategic investment banking subsidiary of VTB Group, Russia's secondlargest financial institution - is continuing to expand its operations in the Middle East. YEKATERINA POKROVSKAYA SPECIAL TO RBTH

2013 has been an important year forVTB Capital in the Middle East. In May, Qatar Holding, an indirect subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority, became a major shareholder in VTB’s secondary public offering, investing about $500 million. Bank officials hope that having Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund on board will be a catalyst for futureVTB Capital investments and joint projects. The first quarter of 2013 saw the launch of a new equity financing product that has been thirdparty, independently, approved as Shariah sukuk bonds. This demonstrated VTB Capital’s ability to exceed the traditional expectations of a Russian investment bank.

“Our Multi-Product Sales and Origination platform continues to make inroads and this transaction demonstrates the team’s ability to source and distribute products within the region. In general, our equity sales and trading team in Dubai has been delivering solid results in what has not been an easy year for the markets”, said Makram Abboud, CEO Middle East & Africa forVTB Capital plc. Currently VTB Capital offers a full range of investment products including M&A, DCM, and ECM


500 Millions of US dollars invested by Qatar Holding, an indirect subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority, in VTB’s secondary public offering.

services. According to Abboud, in addition to executing third party approved Shariah-linked financing products, equity trading and research are the most frequent operations by VTB Capital in Dubai. VTB Capital is the only Russian bank that has a significant presence in the region, particularly in Dubai.“This advantage has led us to become the de facto go-to bank in the region for many potential clients wanting to invest into Russia and the CIS”, Abboud said. The most recent example isVTB Capital’s increasing ties to Angola, a country with which Russia has ties dating back to the 1970s. “As a bank originating from a BRIC country,VTB Capital understands emerging markets that have rapidly growing economies. Our presence in the Middle East and Africa gives us the opportunity to compete with other regional and international investment banks to provide services to corporate clients and institutions," said Abboud.

level of public awareness and limited demand, as well as the difficulty of adapting the rules of Islamic finance to the legislation of the Russian Federation. "The principles and mechanisms of Islamic banking are not provided for by the legislation of the Russian Federation," said Deputy Chairman of the Council of Federation Ilyas Umakhanov. "There-

fore we have decided to set up an ad hoc working group to work out amendments to the legislation in order to develop Islamic finance." Representatives of the Tatarstan government expressed confidence that the issue will be resolved in the near future, and the necessary conditions would be created. Three deals on investment in Kazan's hi-tech "smart" cities

worth $951 million were signed at the summit. The largest was an investment agreement between the Investment Development Agency of the Republic of Tatarstan and Tatarstan Gulf Investment Company to develop commercial real estate in Smart City Kazan with the participation of Qatari capital. The sum of this agreement exceeds $700 million.



Special Report

Kamaz survived the difficult transition from the USSR's command economy and is now thriving in Russia's free market

Russia's champion truck maker takes on the world During the dark days of Russia's post-Soviet economic depression, a Soviet truck company surprised many by scoring an international victory. FYODOR KIKTA





Kamaz’s “flying trucks” have had unprecedented success at the annual Dakar off-road rally. This year, they took first, second and third place in the truck category.




With an annual revenue of $4 billion, Kamaz, the largest truck producer in the region of the former Soviet Union, sells 46,000 trucks every year to domestic and international buyers.

re,” Daimler announced recently. Kamaz has been operating shared factories with Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok (MBTV) and Fuso Kamaz Trucks Rus (FKTR) since 2010, producing thousands of Mercedes-Benz Actros, Axor, and Atego and Fuso Canter vehicles.


A deal with Daimler allowed Kamaz to modernise its fleet, with its trucks now incorporating Cummins engines and car parts from ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Knorr-Bremse.

“Through our technological expertise and skill, we're helping Kamaz expand its strong position in the Russian market,” said Daimler’s Stefan E. Buchner. Kamaz plans to increase total sales of its own trucks to 80,000 a year, with a quarter of them ta-


The company plans to increase its total sales of Kamaz brand trucks to 80,000 a year, a quarter of which it plans to export. Annual earnings from these sales will be about $12 billion.

gged for export within the next seven years. “Kamaz will have every chance to offer American-quality trucks in a few years at a substantially cheaper price,”said Sergei Udalov, executive director of the Avtostat research agency.

Higher oil prices fuel automobile boom


It was 1996, and Kamaz, Russia’s best-known heavy truck manufacturer, stormed the prestigious Dakar rally, beating both Mercedes and Ford. It won again the following year, and the year after that. Soon Kamaz became the Lance Armstrong of Dakar (without the doping charges), taking first place 11 times since 1996 – a world record. And again this year, Kamaz’s “flying trucks”– a nickname they earned for their 160km/h leaps through the air – took first, second and third place at the rally. Kamaz is a rare animal in Russia: a Soviet brand that survived the transition from a command economy to the free market and is now thriving on the international stage. “Kamaz is Russia’s most-successful homegrown automotive story,” said Oleg Datskiv, general director of Russia’s leading online car store In 2008, Daimler bought a 10 per cent share in Kamaz (estimated at $250 million) as the firm began exporting to new markets in Latin America and Asia. And the company has now successfully positioned itself as a maker of more economical versions of classic four-wheelers in emerging economies. “The Kamaz brand is well known, not only in the [regions of the] former USSR, but in other markets showing dynamic growth, like India and Turkey,” said Nord Capital analyst Roman Tkachuk. “They have considerable potential to increase their market share in those countries, which they can do if this investment and technology from Daimler allows them to compete in quality against top heavy-truck producers.” The 2008 economic crisis had the knock-on effect of boosting the truck maker’s share of the domestic market (the largest in Europe) to a peak of 38.4 per cent from 28.1 per cent, as local firms switched to cheaper trucks in an effort to cut costs. According to Kamaz, Russia’s market for trucks in its own 14-to40-tonne segment grew by 17.1 per cent in 2012 to 117,000 units. Last year the company also exported 7,400 trucks, mostly to countries that were once part of the USSR, where it is the market leader. As Russian consumer preferences evolved from price to quality, Kamaz announced an ambitious $2 billion modernisation program, in conjunction with Daimler, to develop a new line of pricier, upmarket trucks, scheduled to hit dealerships in 2015 or 2016. Kamaz will also launch production of Daimler cabins and, eventually, engines. “In the future, [Daimler and Kamaz] plan to manufacture axles in Russia through a joint ventu-

Local car production shifts up a gear The manufacturing of car parts in Russia is booming, as global auto giants invest in Russia’s growing market. ANDREI SHKOLIN SPECIAL TO RBTH

While sales in the EU are in decline, Russia has overtaken Germany to become Europe’s largest car market. ANDREI SHKOLIN SPECIAL TO RBTH

Years of high oil prices have fuelled rising incomes in the world’s second-biggest crude exporter, unleashing an explosion in car ownership. In August, Russia officially became Europe’s top car market, following three years of growth above 10 per cent. Analysts caution that growth is expected to cool, but Russia’s car market – with just 250 cars per 1,000 people, compared with 750 per 1,000 in the US – is far from

saturated. Car ownership in Russia is still only about half as high as it is in Germany. Now, although Russia’s GDP growth has slowed since the financial crisis, oil is back at over $100 per barrel. Meanwhile, as Russian consumers continue to spend, international car makers are looking to Russia to help fatten their bottom lines as sales tumble elsewhere in Europe. A legacy of shoddy Soviet workcraftsmanship means that many Russians prefer to buy foreign brands when they can afford them. Indeed, sales of new cars under Russian brand names dropped from a peak in 2002 of 920,000 to 580,000 last year as Russians opted

for foreign models. Yet the share of cars made in Russia is rising, boosted by production from foreign companies such as Volkswagen and Ford. The number of domestically assembled foreign cars sold in Russia increased to 1.22 million in 2012, from 290,000 in 2007. Meanwhile, the number of imports rose more slowly over the same period, to 970,000 in 2012 from 750,000 imports in 2007. International auditor and consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that this year those figures will hit 1.33 million units manufactured domestically, along with 990,000 imports, creating a market worth $70 billion.

Every morning a giant cargo ship docks in Kaliningrad (Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave), carrying hundreds of BMWs assembled in the US. The engines, mirrors, bumpers and wheels, which have been removed in Germany, are put back on and the cars can then be stamped “made in Russia” and sold as non-imported goods in Europe’s largest car market. Yet the situation is set to change in ways that will make tactics like this obsolete. International car makers are bringing technology and manufacturing capabilities to Russia, lured by its $70 billion market and the country’s recent admission to the World Trade Organisation.

“The current goal is to localise the full cycle of car production – from windshields to engines – to Russia, and import the relevant technologies,”said Kirill Tachennikov, a Moscow-based UBS analyst. When Ford became the first international giant to set up a plant in Russia 11 years ago, it was making 25,000 cars a year almost entirely out of assembly kits. According to its agreement with the Russian government, however, by 2018 the factory will be making 600,000 vehicles a year – and sourcing 60 per cent of parts locally. Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan have followed Ford and are bound by similar agreements: 30 per cent of their Russian-made cars will be fitted with Russian engines by 2018. The car assemblers in Kaliningrad are not too worried: by 2020, the BMW parts they handle are likely to be locally made, and the finished products may even be destined for markets outside Russia.




Made in Russia Foreign interest in technology underlines country's place in the vanguard of innovation


Still on the cutting edge

Round-the-world expedition

Moscow sold more than $12 billion worth of weapons last year. However, the nation also exports technology for other countries to use in establishing manufacturing of their own.

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket


Russian-made RD-180 engines for medium-sized space rockets have triggered a large-scale investigation by US anti-trust authorities. Two US companies — United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Orbital Sciences — quarrelled over the right to purchase the engines powering the Antares rockets, which fly missions from Russia as part of NASA programmes. United Launch Alliance is suspected of illegally blocking its rival’s access to mission-critical components from RD Amross, a joint venture between the Russian company NPO Energomash and the American company Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The former manufactures the RD-180s, and the latter supplies them to ULA for use in their Atlas rocket carriers. Though Russia is often reproached for supplying products of allegedly poor quality, a dispute for access to Russian space technology between two major US aerospace firms shows that those allegations should be taken with a grain of salt. Despite what competitors have to say, it is obvious that interest in Russian technology comes not only from developing countries. France, for one, has expressed interest in Russian rocket technology. The French were among the



Neither the US-made PAC-3 Patriot anti-aircraft missile system, nor the future THАAD tactical missile defence system currently has such capabilities. Only now is the US working on a hi-tech, medium-range, surfaceto-air missile similar to the Russian one. Developed in cooperation with Italy and Germany, it is codenamed MEADS, for Medium

guided toward their targets using radio signals. This reduces the threat response time by almost six times. Westerndesigned models, on the other hand, require their launchers turned in the target’s direction. In addition, the Russian technology completely eliminates any “dead zones” in defence through which enemy missiles could penetrate.

first to order a vertical launch system for their ship-mounted, antiaircraft missile system Crotale Naval from the Russian PD Grushin Machine-Building Design Bureau. Thanks to Russian knowhow, the S-300/400 missiles, which serve as the basis for the French system, launch vertically from their containers and, once airborne, are

Extended Air Defence Missile Systems. South Korea, on the other hand, went to Russia directly and has already created its own anti-aircraft missile system, the Cheongung MSAM, featuring vertical missile launch. Among other examples of companies in the aviation industry borrowing Russian technology is the Italian М-346 Master combat training plane produced by Alenia Aeromacchi. The Italians obtained its design documentation from theYakovlev Design Bureau in the early 1990s as part of a debt settlement. Now there are two similar machines in the world — the Russian Yak-130 and its European clone, the М-346 Master. “Russian science and industry exist in a single global space these days,”saidVadim Kozyulin, a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences.“That’s why reinventing the wheel is silly, when it’s easier to just buy it, copy it, and use it as a basis for your own design. China, for instance, advanced its aviation industry by 25 years by purchasing the Sukhoi-27 production technology from us. The Chinese already have a fifthgeneration fighter.” Whatever the case, the above examples demonstrate that the military and technical potential of Russian firms is not so far behind the United States or Europe. There are areas where Moscow is ready to borrow technology (such as optics or electronics), but there are also areas where it is prepared to share its expertise with foreign colleagues.

Biologist Alexander Semyonov and his team plan to sail 35,000 nautical miles around the world in three years, executing hundreds of dives to study oceanic creatures and relating their findings to the world. The Aquatilis is the first Russian round-theworld expedition dedicated to studying marine life. Alexander Semyonov, the project’s organiser, is head of the diving service of the White Sea Biological Station of Lomonosov Moscow State University; he is also a renowned underwater photographer. Semyonov has been writing a popular science blog on marine research for seven years, showing people the unusual and beautiful creatures that populate our amazing world.

Russia constructs 'Hadron' collider The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), located in the city of Dubna near Moscow, is building the Nuclotron-based Ion Collider (NICA) facility. Russian scientists will use it to study the processes of nuclear matter formation that occurred during the creation of the universe, and unravel the secret of its birth. “We’ve identified two basic directions.The first, of course, deals with abstract science. That primarily entails research on the high density of nuclear matter… The second direction is applied research. We’ll put nuclear medicine at the forefront”,said Grigory Trubnikov, deputy chief engineer at JINR.

Energy Russia is preparing to build a series of the most advanced nuclear power plants around the globe

Leading the world into the next nuclear age SPECIAL TO RBTH

Several countries in the Middle East looking to diversify their energy sectors are interested in collaborating with Russian firms. Various companies worldwide are eyeing the UAE with keen interest, since the country is planning to build a complex of nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 16 GW. Recall that on August 21 of this year, an agreement between the UAE and Russia on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes came into force. The deal is comprehensive and covers all aspects of nuclear power — from uranium mining, enrichment, and nuclear fuel fabrication to construction of "turnkey" nuclear power plants, training, and joint scientific research. Prior to that, Russia's Tekhsnabexport and ENEC (Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation) concluded a contract on the supply of enriched uranium for the UAE's first nuclear power plant. The contract runs for 15 years, and the first deliveries are slated for 2014. The prospects for further coop-


28 Nuclear power units are being built or prepared for construction by Rosatom or under its supervision.


Number of nuclear power units being built abroad in countries including India, China, Turkey, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Belarus and Ukraine.

Many countries, including the UAE, are keen to benefit from Russia's nuclear expertise.

clear power plant to be built near the Zarqa industrial zone. The results of the tender are currently pending approval by the country's parliament. "The Russian bid in Jordan has passed the first two rounds of the tender," noted Rosatom official spokesperson Sergei Novikov. "This bears witness to the very hitech nature of our proposal." According to Novikov, the project differs by its level of complexity. The company is not only building a nuclear power plant, but also preparing to supply it with nuclear fuel for its full life-cycle. Later, when the plant's operational period ends, it will also assist in the decommissioning process. Another important factor is that Rosatom possesses its own scientific, educational, and training base, enabling it to provide practical assistance in training national personnel to the standard required. Incidentally, students from Jordan are currently studying at the National Research Nuclear University, part of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Safety is key for coastal nuclear plants



eration in the field of nuclear energy were recently discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. A second potential partner for Russia is Jordan. There, the Russians face competition from AREVA-Mitsubishi, a French-Japanese consortium. By no later than the end of this year, Russia's NIAEPAtomstroyexport is hoping to receive the final details regarding a tender for the construction of a generating unit for the first nu-

The Kudankulam project uses proven technologies, components and systems, and heeds the design, manufacturing, and operational experience of other VVER plants. As the tropical ocean waters are home to vast amounts of marine vegetation, shellfish and fauna, the hydraulic structures of Kudankulam NPP are extensive, featuring the very latest fish protection systems. Given India's hot climate and developed agriculture, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India has decided not to use water from local lakes. Instead, the NPP features a specially designed seawater desalination system to serve the station.


As the post-Fukushima hiatus in the development of national nuclear programmes nears its end, we are witnessing a new upsurge in this hi-tech market.

Innovative solution for Kudankulam

In terms of engineering and construction, the Tianwan NPP in China and the Kudankulam NPP in India differ fundamentally from the "Fukushima generation." One undisputed advantage of Russia's nuclear plant projects is the harmonious combination of active safety systems with new technical solutions based on "passive" protection principles. Such measu-

res have already been implemented in the construction of the first two power units at Kudankulam, which under the "severe core damage frequency" criterion can be best approximated to fourth-generation projects. Moreover, the Kudankulam project takes the specifics of the region into full account and has been designed accordingly.

"Given the present set of circumstances, Rosatom has a good chance of beating the competition," said Alexander Pasechnik, an expert at Russia's National Energy Security Foundation. "In terms of both seismicity and safety, Russia'sVVER [water-water power reactor] projects satisfy all the necessary parameters, including those set by the IAEA in line with the post-Fukushima requirements." Currently, 28 nuclear power units are being built or prepared for construction by Rosatom or under its direction — nine in Russia and 17 abroad: in Bangladesh, Belarus, Vietnam, India, China, Turkey, Ukraine, and elsewhere. In late September, work began on the foundation of the fourth unit of the Tianwan nuclear power plant (NPP) in China, next to two existing power units and one more under construction. On Oct. 2, Rosatom CEO Sergei Kirienko took part in the laying of the first stone at the site of Bangladesh's future Ruppur NPP, while a nuclear industry information centre opened in the capital Dhaka.


Theatre Acting gives Russia's hearing-impaired a creative voice


The most expressive performance of Viktor Tsoi’s song “Peremen” (“Change”)—a rebellious 1980s Russian youth anthem —is done in sign language. Dressed in black in front of a dark backdrop, a young man performs a translation of the song with flawless plasticity, giving the words substance. He is Alexei Znamensky, whose performance was filmed for the cult Russian movie by Sergei Loban, “Pyl’” (“Dust,” 2005). Now he is a local star, and one of the few people with impaired hearing to achieve such prominence. There are over 13 million deaf people in Russia, and for many of them acting is an opportunity to socialise and express themselves: Sign language comes right from the heart. The first Russian theatre troupe of deaf performers appeared in 1919 in Moscow. In the 1930s, the All-Russian Society of the Deaf organised a tour of deaf actors from Moscow to different cities of the Soviet Union. Plays by Gorky, Gogol and Schiller were staged in

mime and sign language. They were a huge success Only in 1948 did the first “audible” performance take place, with an announcer reading the text; this was a step to further popularise deaf theatre among audiences that were not hearing impaired. Troupes were mainly amateur until 1960, when the first deaf actors began to study at the Schukin Theatre Institute. In 1963, the Mimics and Gesture Theatre

There are over 13 million deaf people in Russia, and for many of them acting is an opportunity to express themselves. in Izmailovo, Moscow, was opened—the world's first professional theatre for deaf people. Through the Soviet years, this theatre made numerous successful tours at home and abroad, staging over a hundred plays through the 1990s. The State Specialised Institute of Arts in Moscow (established 1991) is the only institution of its kind in the world that trains students with disabilities. Almost all Russian professional actors with impaired hearing have studied here, including Alexei Znamensky. His first project,“Nedoslov,”began

New Moscow park brings battlefields of the past to life There are dozens of re-enactment clubs across the country with up to several hundred members. They are disciplined, coached and militarily trained, and can navigate the local terrain expertly. GALINA ZHIKHOREVA SPECIAL TO RBTH

which re-enactment was the best, the most accurate, the most spectacular, and to recruit people to our cause. This requires large sites, such as the Zhivaya Istoriya park,” said Alexei Novikov, the founder of the Shatun military history club, which participated in the Streletskaya Sloboda festival. “This will be a very interesting place: You could create a whole branch of event tourism here, with several events a month, changing the theme every year. Then regular spectators would attend and they could actually watch living history,” Novikov says. Re-enactment is an international trend. The British Jousting Association and the Swiss club, St. George’s Regiment’ (1988), are respected for their serious approach to history. In 1985, a professor of history and law at Sorbonne led the first Napoleonic re-enactments in France. In the US, the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism), which unites over 40,000 people and consists of rival teams, has existed since the 1960s.

They are not members of some secret organisation, but historical re-enactors: people who, in their spare time, recreate great battles of the past with striking realism. Now they are to have their own site for bringing history to life. A 260-acre area called the Zhivaya Istoriya (Living History) theme park in Moscow's Rumyantsevo district has been set aside for historical re-enactments. Ornamental buildings and forts will be built on the site, and trenches and embankments will be dug to re-enact military battles. The park's grand opening is scheduled for 2018, but the first event took place in August 2013— the Streletskaya Sloboda (Marksmen's Settlement) festival, organised by the Russian Military History Society. Several military history clubs from around the country that specialise in the “Time of Troubles”of the 17th century attended the event. The 700 participants represented cavalier, infantry and artillery forces. In the 1980s, re-enactments were the domain solely of eccentric history enthusiasts. Over time, however, the activity has begun to emerge from the underground, and the number of official military history clubs in Russia is growing. “Big re-enactments are organised so that we can meet people, and so we can compete to see Historical accuracy is vital for re-enactors.

10 visual symbols of the country

Russia has a long-standing tradition of deaf theatre - the first troupe was founded in 1919.

as an after-class studio, then developing into a work project with 16 actors and seven plays, touring Russia, the US and Canada. Znamensky is now focusing on the fledgling “Cinematograph” project. It only has five actors and four plays to date, but has promising perspectives.“With ‘Cinematograph,’ we often tour Russia,” Alexei told RBTH.“Following the initiatives of our producer, Irina Kucherenko, we get support from the Civic Chamber and Culture Department of Russia and from the theatre’s friends.” There are several other deaf theatre troupes in Russia, but apart from the “Piano” theatre for deaf children in Nizhny Novgorod, which is affiliated to a boarding school for deaf children, none of these projects have their own stage; even the Moscow-based “Cinematograph” rehearses in rented premises. Yet this does not stop actors from creating and making progress.“With scripter Polina Sineva, we are planning on making a movie about a sign language interpreter. We are looking f o r a producer and investor; with them, we could start filming in about a year,” Znamensky says.

Russian operas take New York


For people with physical or intellectual disabilities, the art of theatre embodies the powerful mode of self-expression and social inclusion that they so desperately need.

History Special site opens for re-enactments

For the third year in a row, soprano Anna Netrebko opened the Metropolitan Opera season. This year she was singing the role of Tatiana in Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The opera was just the first of three Russian works the Met will perform this season. Onegin, which runs until Dec. 12, is followed by The Nose, by Dmitry Shostakovich, which is being performed just this month, and Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor, which will open in February. “Having Eugene Onegin, The Nose and Prince Igor in one season is very exciting. These are just three operas that happened to be very interesting”,said Met General Manager Peter Gelb.


An actor's life: the deaf take to the stage


The results of the Russia 10 multimedia contest have been announced. Ten landmarks out of 600 made the final cut. After a nationwide vote the following symbols were chosen: the Kolomna Kremlin, the Akhmad Kadyrov Heart of Chechnya Mosque, the Rostov Kremlin, the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin, the Pskov Kremlin (Krom), Peterhof, Mamayev Kurgan and the “Motherland Calls” sculpture, Kizhi, the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, and Lake Baikal. The organisers decided not to distribute final places among the top ten winners in order to emphasise their equal importance.



Education Lyceum that offers pupils a choice

Star Academy: A look inside Russia's top-ranked school passed an entrance exam were admitted. Two experimental classes have grown into a lyceum with 38 classes, seven specialities and 1,080 pupils — just ordinary children. The school hallway is lined with soft, low couches. The pupills sprawl out on them any way they want—sideways, with their feet up, whatever they prefer. “This is my third school, and it's like no other,”says Varya, from the 9B class.“There's a special atmosphere here. Teachers communicate with you one-on-one. They listen to you, look at you as if you are a strong individual,” she says. “You know, it's very hard to study here; it's tough because everybody is so progressive. At my

According to a rating drawn up in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Lyceum 1535 is the best school in Russia, with the country’s best academic results for the 2012-2013 academic year. YULIA GUTOVA SPECIAL TO RBTH

Lyceum 1535 in Moscow is no ordinary school. When lessons end, instead of a bell, pupils hear the song “Ya na solnyshke lezhu... Ya na solnyshke lezhu”(“I'm lying in the sun”). The song, from a famous cartoon, reflects the mood of those whose classes have just ended. “I think that it's just the way it was meant to be,”says the school’s principal, Tatyana Vorobyova, when asked the secret of the school.The school's story goes back to 1990, when the Institute of Asian and African Studies and the teaching staff of Boarding School №14 came up with the idea of creating a lyceum with an advanced curriculum in Chinese. It was decided to open a lyceum that would give students a choice. At first, two experimental classes were set up, in which children were able to choose to spend more time studying the subjects they found especially interesting. In 1991, the boarding school was reorganised into a lyceum. Students from all over Moscow came to be enrolled, but only those who



Only the cleverest children graduate from this school.

last school, my head hurt regularly. In the afternoons I wanted to leave as soon as possible; the hallways were always empty after classes. But at this school, I want to just stay, do my homework, hang around. I can't even explain why!” Lyceum №1535 cooperates with universities, and the seven specialities that any student can choose were created for collaboration with different university departments. The history/philology and socio-economic specialities both teach students what they will need in order to study at the Institute of Asian and African studies at Moscow State University. Social and humanitarian subjects are chosen so that children are able to study law, social sciences, or politics. New specialities are not unusual, since the school adapts to the outside world where its young scholars will study. Varya studies in a class with a humanities speciality. One of her favourite teachers is her physics teacher, Andrei Khotuntsev. “It's practically impossible to make children leave during their break,” Khotuntsev says. “They love discussing different subjects. But what can you do — school life is their life.”




Alexander Ivlev






n his recent New York Times op-ed on Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t explicitly question America’s credentials to claim exceptionalism, but that’s actually the core issue. One portion of Putin’s article that raised much stir in intellectual circles was the concluding part regarding American exceptionalism, where he wrote:“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.” Putin, however, did not explicitly question America’s credentials to claim exceptionalism, and that is actually the core issue. Take income inequality, for instance. In a recent CNNMoney panel on inequality, former US labour secretary and Berkeley professor Robert Reich made the shocking statement that the 400 richest people in the US have more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. This is not only about income inequality; it is also about lifespan inequality, education inequality. And the templates of inequality multiply rapidly when it comes to race relations in America. The fact remains that racial prejudice is rampant in American society. America’s self-esteem of being exceptional does not hold up to scrutiny. Homicide takes place in America at an average of 87 times per day. America holds, by far, the world record in the number of

wars fought and acts of aggression committed. It is the only country that has used nuclear weapons. All this would make America “exceptional”only in the most negative sense. Look at the consequences that have followed in the wake of policies pursued out of notions of exceptionalism. Much of the world

The belief in oneself as "exceptional" is always fraught with the danger of prompting oneself to excessive actions. believes that the US indulges in hypocrisy when it speaks of exceptionalism, and this has lowered America’s global prestige. Washington speaks of the application of“values”only selectively: There is one yardstick for Iran and another for Saudi Arabia; one response to Bahrain but a contrary response to Syria; an exacting standard for Gaza but seamless latitude for Israel’s acts of

two countries will ever become genuine practitioners of democracy by American standards. President Barack Obama’s claim that American ideals and principles make the country “different” and “exceptional” is a dangerous doctrine. The belief in oneself as “exceptional” is always fraught with the danger of prompting oneself to excessive actions. Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib are living memories of horrible crimes committed by the US downstream of actions undertaken on the pretext of exceptionalism. This is what makes the Syrian problem an issue of exceptional importance.

violence. And yet these are entities in the same region. US policies are increasingly compelling small countries with a heightened sense of vulnerability to devise strategic deterrents to ward off potential US aggression, which, in turn, has a negatively impact on the global security architecture. Meanwhile, the notion of exceptionalism has prompted the US to act outside international law and the UN Charter. This sets dangerous precedents and weakens the international organisation, which, despite its flaws, still remains the only available forum for fostering peace and development. The doctrine of US exceptionalism was badly exposed in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the prescriptive approach of the US failed to impress native populations rooted in tradition and culture. Ironically, the measure of success for the US interventions in these two countries has finally come to be seen today in terms of the efficacy with which the US is able to extricate its forces from the war zone without disarray and confusion. It is doubtful if these

M. K. Bhadrakumar is a former Indian diplomat, a commentator and an analyst on international affairs — especially on developments in Russia, Central Asia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the Middle East. He is a regular columnist for The Asia Times Online, Strategic Culture Foundation [Moscow], The Hindu and Deccan Herald, and

here is a growing recognition among the G20 countries of the invaluable role played by entrepreneurs in economic development, and indeed, many countries have introduced a range of programmes designed to help boost entrepreneurship. Here at Ernst &Young, we took the occasion of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg to examine how these efforts are progressing. We looked at all 20 countries in five different categories: access to funding; culture of entrepreneurship; tax and regulation; education and training; and coordinated support. I’d like to share some of our findings about the G20 host: Russia. Compared with past years, we are now seeing the Russian entrepreneurial community showing more energy. It is creating new associations, and we are seeing stronger activity in regional organisations. In short, things are improving. This is illustrated by indicators such as the time required to start a business and the number of hours spent on administrative and tax issues. We have also seen improvements in corporate governance and immigration law. Russia performs particularly well in the category we call “coordinated support,” ranking above any other G20 country in this area. This doesn’t mean Russia offers the highest-quality entrepreneurial support in the G20; it means that entrepreneurs in Russia were the most likely to report an improvement in support over the past three years. Russia has three major development institutions that are actively involved in investing state funds in entrepreneurship development: Russian Venture Company (RVC), Rusnano and Skolkovo Foundation. RVC makes investments



or much of the Syrian conflict, Russia has barred a united international response, stopping the UN from condemning atrocities and deflecting international pressure for reform. Russia has a vested interest in keeping Syria in its orbit. Syria provides a Mediterranean port and influence in the Middle East, and is part of Russia’s global energy strategy. But recent developments have shown that Russia can act as a catalyst for a diplomatic solution, precisely because of its proximity

to the Syrian regime. It remains to be seen whether the Syrian leadership will destroy its chemical weapons. But if the plan is implemented, there are hopes for a longer-term political solution, though fighting is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The Americans argue that the credible threat of military force was key to getting here. General Lord Dannatt argued similarly on the Telegraph’s pages that military force may be necessary to create an opening for a political solution. But the actual use of military force is problematic. Not only are the ends unclear, but many potential targets are within cities. Strikes are likely both to kill ci-


vilians and swell the number of refugees. They risk strengthening support for the regime and triggering regional attacks by militants. If strikes are too effective, a power vacuum could result, enabling the growth of more radical Islamist groups. What is lacking from the current debate is a vision for a postconflict Syria and how to get there. Western governments talk about Assad 'having to go’ and breaking up the Syria-Iran alliance. Apart from the problems of removing a leader who continues to enjoy the support of his armed forces and of a significant part of the population, an abrupt regime change is not in the interest of the Syrian



population or the West, particularly if chaos results, with possibly severe regional consequences. British Prime Minister David Cameron and others rightly decry the regime’s human rights abuses, although they gloss over the opposition’s abuses. But the right political response is a joined-up



strategy integrating military, diplomatic and development perspectives that creates space for local actors to find a sustainable solution, rather than the imposition of an unstable ‘solution’ suiting other states’ interests from outside. Any post-conflict Syria must accommodate the Alawi elite. If this

through private venture capital funds formed jointly with private investors. The number of these funds now stands at 12 (including two in a foreign jurisdiction), worth a total of $850 million. RVC’s share is over $500 million. By 2013, 139 innovation companies had been financed by RVC venture capital funds. Rusnano, created in 2007, has invested over $4 billion in more than 90 companies. The benchmark is $10 billion in sales proceeds for these firms using advanced technologies. The state-funded Skolkovo Foundation, formed three years ago to support the best innovation projects, has already provided tax preferences and grants to hundreds of new ventures. Of the 832 Skolkovo residents, 184 have received foundation grants worth a total of $300 million.

The government has just announced its support for a $200 million fund to invest in internet start-ups. About one in four entrepreneurs says access to business incubators has greatly improved over the past three years. The government has just announced its support for a $200 million fund to invest in internet start-ups (FRII). Currently, small-and-mediumsize enterprises (SMEs) account for roughly 20 per cent of new jobs in Russia. The President has clearly expressed his expectation that the government develop policies to help increase the SME share of GDP to 50 per cent. To achieve this, the right steps must be taken in order to improve the regulatory framework and the entrepreneurial environment in Russia. It is extremely important that the government listens to what businesses have to say. Alexander Ivlev is EY’s country managing partner for Russia.

elite is removed, Syria will suffer from many of the problems Iraq faced. Unless they see a political future, this elite may join a Shi’a alliance against any future order. However, both the ruling elite and Russia need to recognise that the current regime is unacceptable. What form a transitional order should take is a question to be resolved in multilateral talks involving all stakeholders, including all of Syria’s religious minorities and non-armed community groups. Regional actors need to be persuaded to back a solution, lest they become spoilers. Russia and the US need to work together to influence their respective allies on opposite sides of the conflict. And Russia needs reassurance that it will maintain influence in a postconflict Syria. Dr Jeroen Gunning is the director of the Durham Global Security Institute. His research focuses on politics in the Middle East and conflict studies.






Travel Russia's 'Third Capital' is a thriving Muslim hub in the heart of an Orthodox country


Meet Kazan, crossroads of civilisations and cultures

Golubtsi: Veggie take on an oldtime favourite


Stuffed cabbage rolls, called "golubtsi," are a popular dish in Russia. The name resembles the Russian word for pigeon — "golub." Apparently, in the 17th century, when French cuisine was gaining popularity in Russia, it was fashionable to eat pigeons prepared on an outdoor grill. Later on, the grill was used to prepare cabbage rolls called "fake pigeons”— and that’s where the name comes from. Traditionally, golubtsi are made with rice and mince, but a vegetarian version is also popular.


Ingredients (For 8-10 pieces) • 1 large cabbage • 7 oz. uncooked rice • 10.5 oz. mushrooms • 2 onions • 2-3 carrots • 7 oz. curd • 4 tomatoes • 2 cups vegetable stock • 2 tbsp. oil • salt, pepper • herbs for seasoning, to taste

How to get there By Air Aeroflot flies daily from Dubai to Kazan with a transfer at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. Or for a real Russian experience you can fly to Moscow and then take the train to Kazan.

Kazan's skyline is dominated by the minarets of the Qolsärif Mosque.

Flying the flag for Tatar cuisine

By Train An evening train from Kazansky Railway Station in Moscow takes about 12 hours but lets you sleep overnight and wake up in Kazan at 7 in the morning the next day.

The khan of Russian fast food has always been the “cheburek,” despite the machinations of foreign pretenders to that throne, such as hamburgers and döner kebabs. Chebureki, the most popular kind of Tatar food eaten in Russia, are pasties stuffed with tender minced meat (either lamb or veal) and broth, then fried in but-

ter. These pastries, which every Russian knows from a young age, are popular outside Russia too: in the 1950s, chebureks turned up in Finland under the name“lerstya.” They are still going strong there and are now regarded as a native Finnish staple dish. Although the humble cheburek flies the flag for Tatar cuisine in Russia, the most famous Tatar dish abroad has always been tartare — raw minced beefsteak, served with an egg yolk and tasty marinade sauce. In European cookbooks the recipe goes by the name of “tar-

tare,”though in Tatar recipe books, it is called“steak tartare”and loses none of its national character. National character in this case means quality: to avoid tartare becoming a health risk, there should be no heat involved in its preparation; all the ingredients must be fresh and of the highest quality. Dough-based delicacies are the signature dishes of Tatar cuisine. Tatar cuisine includes hundreds of different pies, pastries and other kinds of baked goods. Pastry foods accompany the Tatars from birth to death, and many of

the dishes have special ritual associations. Even the beloved Russian dish of stuffed goose turns up in Tatarstan in its own special form, baked in pastry. Meanwhile, on the shelves of Russian shops, chebureks have their own competitors in the form of “chak-chak” — a fried wheat-pastry dessert soaked in honey. However, the most cherished Tatar pie remains the“gubaidia,”a hearty pie (made with meat, of course) that graces the Tatar table on especially festive occasions.

Cheburek is a fried turnover with a minced meat filling and onions.

Tartare is raw minced beefsteak with egg yolk and marinade sauce.

Beshbarmak is boiled meat served with noodles and onion sauce.

Chak-Chak is made from deepfried balls of unleavened dough.

RBTH explores a selection of traditional foods and delicacies from the land of the Tatars. DMITRY BLINOV SPECIAL TO RBTH


Since Kazan celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005, the city has undergone a genuine renaissance. The Kazan mayor’s office even patented the brand name“Third Capital of Russia”for the nominal sum of 40,000 rubles (around $1,330) and secured this honorary position after Moscow and St. Petersburg. The city's raised profile has also brought it a number of prestigious events. From July 6-17 this year the city hosted the World Student Olympics, or Universiade, and from October 2-3 it held the 5th International Economic Summit of Russia and the OIC (the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) countries. Kazan will also be one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia. The city sits on the Volga River, about 965 kilometres east of Moscow. The city is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan – whose population is almost evenly split between the Muslim Tatar and Orthodox Russian communities. Kazan’s appeal is rooted in this mix of cultures, which is reflected in the city’s architecture and cultural offerings. Dominating the city skyline is the kremlin, Kazan’s ancient fortress, home to the spectacular Qolsärif Mosque as well as a Russian Orthodox cathedral – Tatarstan became part of Russia during the reign of Ivan IV (the Terrible), whose forces besieged the city in 1552. Beside the mosque, the Annunciation Cathedral is revered by Orthodox believers as the home of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, one of the holiest in Russian Orthodoxy, built between 1554-62. As well as the religious sites, the kremlin also features the Söyembikä Tower, which leans to one side. English-language tours are available. The Kazanka River joins the Volga at Kazan and gives a good view of the city’s modern face, including the Millennium Bridge, built in 2005 for the 1,000th anniversary of the city’s founding. Heading back into the city from the river, you see its Russian heritage. The Kazan Theatre of Opera and Ballet dominates Liberty Square, and closer to the city cen-



tre is the Kazan Federal University, near Bauman Street, a long pedestrian walk at the heart of the city. Here the souvenir shops alternate with restaurants, many offering Turkish cuisine – a testament to the ethnic ties between the Tatar and Turkic cultures.You’ll also find traditional Tatar dishes – the honey-coated fried dough known as chak-chak, served with tea, comes highly recommended. Across the Bulak canal is Kazan’s central market, which is not on the tourist trail but nonetheless shouldn’t be missed. The vendors are primarily Tatar or central Asian, and it’s a good starting point for exploring the Tatar district. If you have a day spare to take a short trip out of town. travellers are recommended to visit Sviyazhsk — a unique monastery and town on an island. Ivan the Terrible founded Sviyazhsk after taking Kazan: It became a strategically important point for the Russian army while it was subduing the Kazan Khanate. Today, Sviyazhsk boasts four monasteries and numerous Orthodox churches. The village is on an island that is linked to the shore by a causeway across which a road has been built. You can get there by bus or by any river transport from the Kazan riverboat station.

A cosmopolitan city where religions and cultures converge, Kazan has recently transformed itself into one of Russia's most popular tourist destinations.

Yelena Revinskaya

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Sauce preparation The simplest way to prepare the sauce is to take vegetable stock (stock cubes will also do), mix with water, curd, spices, and chopped fresh tomatoes or tomato paste. Pour this mixture onto your cabbage rolls and bring to a boil. The amount of sauce should cover 2/3 of the rolls. To serve, cut the rolls into several pieces and generously pour the sauce over the rolls. Sour cream is usually added to serve, but, in this recipe, the amount of curd in the sauce should be enough to achieve the necessary level of sourness. The non-vegetarian (read “original”) version of this dish is prepared with a mixture of rice, minced meat of choice (7 oz.), onion and spices. You can also add an egg to keep the mixture together. The cooking time will be longer than it is for vegetarian rolls, but simmering for 30 minutes should be sufficient.

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Preparation 1. Remove the cabbage leaves, cutting them from the stem one by one. It’s better to use a larger cabbage. Try not to damage the leaves. The thick part at the bottom of each leaf should be cut so that it will be possible to roll. These leaves should be blanched: Put them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until they become soft but not cooked. Remove from the water and put them aside. 2. Filling preparation: Fry the chopped onions and carrots; add the mushrooms and seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, masala, herbs). Mix with cooked rice. 3. Put 2-3 tablespoons of the filling on a cabbage leaf and make an envelope. Many recipes advise frying each roll on both sides. It doesn’t make a huge difference, so you can skip this step if desired. 4. The cabbage rolls should be simmered in the sauce until ready.


Russia beyond the headlines  

Special supplement from Rossiyskaya Gazeta distributed with Gulf News

Russia beyond the headlines  

Special supplement from Rossiyskaya Gazeta distributed with Gulf News