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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Mr Putin toasts the deal with China’s President Xi Jinping

RUSSIA-CHINA: A BIG PUSH FOR PARTNERSHIP Moscow has signed a 30-year $400bn deal to supply gas to China and a package of other contracts, including plans to develop a new airliner. Nikolai Gorshkov reports

P P.04



Auction records expected to tumble in the rush for masterpieces

Politics & Society Russia’s gratitude British Arctic Convoy veterans awarded top military medal P.02

Analysis Solzhenitsyn on the way to peace in Ukraine The writer predicted trouble and proposed a solution to the crisis P.06

resident Putin has done it again: he’s beaten President Obama at his own game. This time the name of the game is “pivot to Asia”. And while the US is stuck between Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Russia has swung smoothly to China. It took 10 years but the reward may be worth every minute of the wait, or rather hard work. It started in 2004 with negotiations to supply Russian gas to China. An understanding was reached some time ago, but the stumbling block was the price. President Putin, who witnessed the historic signing in Shanghai last Wednesday, said the Chinese were really tough negotiators. Konstantin Simonov, director of the National Energy Security Fund (NESF), said China understood the political importance of the gas contract to Russia and was haggling hard. Russia wanted to prove to its western partners that it has alternative markets for gas; but China was equally interested in the contract because it needs gas for its eastern industrial regions that can’t get enough of from Central Asia. Aware of the growing environmental and health costs of using cheap local coal, China is switching to cleaner gas to fire its industries and is poised to become the largest gas consumer in the world.

Game-changer for gas industry “Both countries’ interests have aligned in recent years”,says US-based global security think-tank Stratfor.“For China, the cost of importing liquefied natural gas is high, and its energy demands continue to grow. For Russia, the stability of demand from Europe – where Russia sends more than 80pc of its natural gas exports – has been a growing concern, especially as Russia and the West have sparred over Ukraine.” The Chinese national petrol and gas company CNPC denies it tried to take advantage of Russia’s difficulties with the EU to bring down the price of Russian gas. It named its price long before the current talk of western sanctions against Russia. But the timing of the deal has added to its significance. It may well be a game-changer in the history of the Russian/Soviet gas industry, traditionally pivoted towards Europe. More than a trillion cubic metres of Russian gas worth $400bn (£237bn) will flow in the opposite direction over the next 30 years. On the news of the deal, Gazprom shares rose nearly 2pc.

The agreed price was not disclosed but is believed to be on a par with what Western Europe pays. Because of the underdeveloped pipeline infrastructure in Siberia there will be an extra cost of building supply lines. The two countries will need to invest about $75bn (£45bn) in building this infrastructure. To some commentators, it’s a high price to pay for the diversification of Russia’s gas exports; to others it’s a perfect development opportunity for a neglected part of Russia. Other Russian offers to China include a stake in Gazprom’s Vladivostok liquefied natural gas terminal and more shares for CNPC in oil giant Rosneft. These deals, still to be agreed, would make China more than an export destination for Russian commodities, Stratfor analysts believe. But it’s not all about gas. During President Putin’s visit to China the countries signed a“fantastic package” of contracts, as Putin aide Yuri Ushakov put it. Many of those are about joint manufacturing of highly finished products, a first in Sino-Russian partnership. They include: •A $10bn project to develop a long-haul aircraft to compete with Boeing and Airbus; •A Great Wall Motors plant in central Russia to build 150,000 four-wheel drive vehicles a year; •A joint venture between Russian and Chinese petrochemical companies in Shanghai based on Russian technologies; •Building bridges and transport links across the Russian-Chinese border to cut travel distances for goods and people by hundreds of miles. To finance the projects, the countries have agreed to make more use of their national currencies rather than the dollar. China is already giving loans to Rosneft in roubles. According to Mr Putin, the overall volume of Sino-Russian deals to finance by 2020 is worth more than $200bn. So have western worries about Russia siding with China become a self-fulfilling prophesy? Sergei Luzyanin of the Moscow Institute of International Relations believes the deals enhance a new pivot of power in the world. China, he says, having adopted a neutral position on Ukraine, in effect supports Moscow. Professor Luzyanin calls this a “friendly neutrality” that makes western sanctions less of a problem. “But not for Western Europe”, argues Russian energy minister Aleksandr Novak.“Without Russian gas supplies, Europe would not be able to provide for its energy needs,” he says. Mr Novak

predicts that by 2020 Europe’s gas production will shrink by 20pc. Combined with the reduction in Russian gas supplies, this may significantly increase the price of gas for Europeans. Qatar is already shifting exports from Europe to Asia, where the price is much higher. And when producers in the US start exporting gas, they would be tempted to sell it to Asia, too. No one would be willing to subsidise gas for Europe. The energy deal does not mean Beijing and Moscow are aligned politically, say Stratfor analysts. But each country has a use for the other, and their partnership could help ensure domestic stability and enhance their positions in the world.

Threat of an ‘Asian Nato’

China’s ‘friendly neutrality’ over Ukraine makes western sanctions against Russia less of a problem

Prof Luzyanin believes China may eventually go from“friendly neutrality”towards more open support of Russia, but only if President Obama continues his policy of the containment of China in her territorial disputes with Japan and other neighbours. If this policy translates into some kind of “Asian Nato”, says Prof Luzyanin, China will be tempted to improve its strategic partnership with Russia. Prof Luzyanin does not expect a military alliance to be formed, but believes the Sino-Russian Partnership Treaty of 2001 may be upgraded to reflect the new realities. China’s ambitions go well beyond a strategic partnership with any one country. Its grandiose project of a new Silk Road involves dozens of countries en route from Europe to China. But with the impending withdrawal of western forces, Afghanistan could become the weakest link in this endeavour, says Prof Luzyanin, and China would need Russian help here as well. In 1972, President Nixon’s diplomacy coup in China was a game-changer in the international arena. President Obama’s pivot-to-Asia initiative was designed to repeat that achievement. Explaining President Obama’s pivot to Asia, American experts on the subject Kurt Campbell and Brian Andrews list a host of powers, well-established and emerging, which Washington is trying to engage in “building diplomatic, economic, people-to-people and security ties” in the Asia-Pacific Region. One country which is conspicuously absent from this list is Russia, a major Asia-Pacific power that has just become more pivotal to the future of the region. Will the US-Asian pivot work smoothly without it?

Read on RBTH.CO.UK: Russia’s energy minister: "We are all in the same boat"

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The price of divorce for oligarchs

Politics & Society P2_Tuesday, May 27,


Who fired the shots that shook Ukraine?

Khodorkovsky opposes new Russia sanctions Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has warned against further sanctions on Moscow for its role in Ukraine’s current crisis. In a BBC interview, he said Europe risked playing into the hands of nationalists trying to isolate Russia. Instead, he urged European Union leaders to help Ukraine become more stable, saying this could encourage change in Russia.Mr Khodorkovsky has taken a keen interest in the crisis since being freed from prison in December.

In the line of fire: a Maidan protester shows off spent cartridges, Kiev, February 20, 2014

Investigation Commission in Kiev rejects claims that Yanukovych police unit was to blame for killings that led to change of power

Russian journalists freed LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko have been freed from their detention in Ukraine, the television broadcaster reported. Details of their release have not been clarified, but both Mr Sidyakin and Mr Saichenko are now safely back in Moscow following their seven-day ordeal. The reporters were detained by Ukrainian servicemen on May 18 close to the Donetsk


After the shootings stopped, many observers saw about 20 people leave the building with automatic weapons

Parliamentary inquiry The most recent revelations about responsibility for the killings come from Ukrainian sources. Gennady Moskal, head of the Ukrainian parliamentary commission investigating the shootings on“Black Thursday”said the bullets found did not match firearms issued to the special anti-riot police unit Berkut, which unlike most police units, was allowed to carry lethal weapons. Mr Moskal also said there was no forensic evidence linking the mass killings in Kiev on February 20 to the Berkut. These announcements contradicted the “official” version of the victors in the confrontation. This version was made public days after the coup by the new prosecutor general of Ukraine, Oleg Makhnitsky, a member of the far right Svoboda party. Until 2004, this party was called the Social-National Party of Ukraine, with its echoes of the National Socialist German Workers’ – or Nazi – Party.

Mr Makhnitsky blamed MrYanukovych and police units for the shootings. Twelve policemen were arrested on charges of involvement in the killings. The former interior minister and former head of Ukraine’s security service fled, fearing arrest. In Russia, former security service chief AlexanderYakimenko testified that the shots were fired from the Kiev Symphony Hall, which had been occupied days before by Maidan activists headed by Social-National Party of Ukraine founder Andriy Parubiy, who is now head of Ukraine’s national security and defence council. In Mr Yakimenko’s words, the shots were aimed at policemen and Maidan activists. The casualties included policemen and activists, who all died of gunshot wounds.“When the shootings stopped, many observers saw a group of about 20 people leave the building,” Mr Yakimenko told the Russian media. “They were nicely dressed, with special bags for sniper rifles and AKM automatic weapons with optical devices.”

Leaked conversation After Kiev dismissed MrYakimenko’s testimony, a leaked recording of a conversation between the head of the European Union’s diplomatic service, Baroness Ashton, and Estonia’s Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, appeared to confirm it. “There is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers – it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new [ruling] coalition,” Mr Paet told Baroness

Ashton, citing evidence that “there were the same snipers killing people from both sides.” This version, in Mr Paet’s words, was confirmed by the fact that policemen and protesters were killed “by the same kind of bullets” and that “the new coalition does not want to investigate” this evidence. After the events on Maidan, many of the Berkut police left for the mainly Russian-speakng east and south of Ukraine, where they were hailed as heroes for defending an elected president. The new authorities in Kiev formally disbanded the Berkut on February 25, saying that officers had“discredited themselves completely before the people”.


Agreements between President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders on February 21, “guaranteed”by three foreign ministers of European Union countries, were quickly broken by the leaders of the Maidan (Independence Square) protests, which instead of a “division of power” won full control the next day. This continues to inflame passions in Ukraine and beyond. The deaths of Maidan activists and pro-Yanukovych policemen on the previous day had become a justification for what appeared to be a coup d’etat. “Yanukovych has blood on his hands!”tweeted Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt. This became a rallying cry for demonstrators in Kiev who attacked police using Molotov cocktails and small-calibre weapons with redoubled energy. On February 21, police units were withdrawn by Mr Yanukovych from the centre of Kiev within the framework of the EU agreements, clearing the way for Maidan activists to reach parliament and the presidential administration. Mr Bildt never expressed any interest later in numerous pieces of evidence that pointed to others, and not Yanukovych, as having “blood on their hands”.



Visa delays ruin holidays


Right Sector blamed Mr Paet confirmed the accuracy of the recording, but said it was possible that his words could be misunderstood. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, accused the Right Sector of involvement in the Maidan shootings. He said: “From these buildings the Right Sector did a lot of mischief, including organising the sniper shootings.” The new authorities in Ukraine have not commented on these accusations. Maybe they have nothing to say. But the government of Ukraine knows that it owes its power to the coup of February 22 and indirectly to the shootings. With so many unanswered questions, the truth about who was responsible for the killings remains far less clear cut than many commentators claim.

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Arctic Convoy veterans honoured Second World War Russia says 'Thank you' to the British sailors who made the ‘worst journey in the world’


It’s been a long time coming but, on May 9, 2014, 19 British veterans who served on the Arctic Convoys finally received their prestigious Ushakov medals from a grateful Russia. The Victory Day ceremony, on former convoy escort HMS Belfast in London, marked another step in the campaign to recognise the heroism and sacrifice of British sailors who manned 78 convoys that took millions of tons of supplies and munitions to Russia from 1941 to 1945. While convoy veterans of other nationalities received their medals years ago, the British Government proved slow to allow Russia to acknowledge the key role played by British sailors, until an agreement was reached in 2012 between Vladimir Putin and David Cameron. All surviving veterans will now be recognised with the highest Russian naval award, named after Admiral Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov (1745-1817), who never lost a battle – or a single ship – despite leading the fleet in 43 engagements. The Arctic Convoys, making what Winston Churchill called “the worst journey in the world”, normally from Loch Ewe in Scotland to Murmansk or Archangel, lost 85 merchant ships and 16 warships to attacks from the German navy and air force, while suffering the onslaught of Arctic ice and huge waves. On the eve of the presentation – made in the presence of British and Russia dignitaries by Russia’s chargé d’affaires Alexander Kramarenko – a group of British veterans plus a contingent of their Russian counterparts met and mingled in the

‘It was the most memorable day of my life’



Region city of Kramatorsk. They were then taken to Kiev for questioning and accused of working with “terrorists”. From the first days of their captivity, colleagues and friends of Mr Sidyakin and Mr Saichenko launched an online hashtag campaign, #saveourguys, to focus public opinion on the case. Signs, stickers and T-shirts with the hashtag were spotted across Russia.

Proud moment: Mr Erswell receives his award from Alexander Kramarenko As I enjoyed a restaurant meal with my former shipmate, after we had received our Ushakov medals, a man came up to our table. He shook our hands and said: “Thank you for what you did for my country during the war.” I replied: “My country owes the Russian people a huge debt for their sacrifice, without which we would all

be speaking German!” After he went back to his seat, we found he had paid for an extra drink for us. I went across to thank him and was introduced to his wife and two of her friends. I thought it was a really kind gesture. We bid farewell to his party and when we asked for the bill, the waitress said there was no charge. It had been

paid for by the gentleman who had just left! It was one of the highlights of our twoday trip to London. As veterans, we’ve always been treated as VIPs by the Russian people and the award of the Ushakov medal aboard HMS Belfast on Victory Day made it the most memorable day of my life. Charles Erswell

Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall. Here, in the underground headquarters of the British war effort, event organiser Tim Lewin donated two Russian awards, an Order of the Red Banner and a Soviet Victory Medal, along with the original crest of convoy escort HMS Ashanti, to the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum. The veterans then listened to speeches and watched a film of the “succeedat-all-costs” Pedestal convoy to Malta in August 1942, before reminiscing and remembering fallen comrades over dinner. While their political masters may have grown increasingly estranged over recent events in Crimea and Ukraine, the warmth and camaraderie between these men stood in sharp contrast. Austin Byrne, 92, sailed in Convoy PQ 13 as a gunner on SS Induna, which was torpedoed on March 30, 1942. He spent four days in a lifeboat in fearsome conditions before being rescued by a Russian ship. “A 16-year-old boy in the boat cried for his mum because he was freezing to death,” Mr Byrne recalled. “An American sailor, Russell Bennet, who was badly burnt, never cried, never moaned. “When we sighted land, he said, ‘Turn the ship boys so I can see it; put an oar in my hand so I can rock my body.’ He was a wonderful man. He died as well – and but for the Russians, I would be dead, too.” Also present and still cutting a striking figure in his heavily medalled uniform was Ivan Lytkin. Now 88, the Siberian faked his birth certificate in order to fight, and served behind enemy lines in military intelligence. Today, he sees it as his duty to remind his fellow countrymen and the rest of the world of the sacrifices involved in defeating fascism. Though he never sailed in the Arctic


Scan this code to read more Russian stories about the Second World War.


Hundreds of Russians have been unable to get refunds after they cancelled holidays in Britain because of delays in getting a visa. The Russian Union of Travel Industry said that following the appointment of a new management company for UK visa centres in

March, many tourists received visas only after their planned departure date. Some got their passports back up to three months later. Tour operators could not warn customers to defer travel because no information was provided about the likely issue date of visas.

New payment card hopes The international payment systems Visa and MasterCard want to create a Russian payment system operator, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. “They came to the government with a proposal for a way to mend relations over 18 months,” he said after meeting the two companies.

Convoys, he is particularly happy to help publicise this often-overlooked chapter of the war. Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Lytkin’s delivery was passionate and lyrical as he recalled a time “when Mother Earth was weeping with pain”. Central to his theme was the necessity never to forget. “Human memories are very complicated and when a single person loses his memory, it’s a tragedy for that person,” he reasoned. “But when a whole society loses its memories, there is no hope for mankind. Yet, while we are alive we will remember.” Echoing this theme was English veteran, Charles Erswell, who served on several convoys including PQ 18, the biggest of the war and one of the most vital, following as it did PQ 17, which lost 24 of its 35 merchant ships to enemy action As a gunner on HMS Milne, Mr Erswell, 90, experienced his share of horror, and remembers having to recover the name tags of the dead rescued from a sunken merchant ship. He also recalls another sinking on the same day. “It went down stern first, absolutely vertical,” he said. “There were about five or six lads climbing up the fo’c’sle as it was going down, and one managed to get to the bow. He was sat astride it, waving at us, calling out for us to help, but we couldn’t get there, it went down that quick.” Mr Erswell is under no illusions about the sacrifice made by Russia during the Second World War. “I think that we owe the Russian people a debt which we can never repay,” he said. “I know we did our little bit in helping them with our convoys, but every man, woman and child in Russia was involved in the war. They lost millions of people.” Although saddened by the fact that many of his friends died before they could be honoured (no Ushakovs will be awarded posthumously), Mr Erswell is adamant that he will enjoy the award fully. “Do you see these medals?” he asked, pointing to his well-decorated chest. “The Ushakov means more to me than all of these put together.”

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Business & Finance, May 27, 2014_P3

Russian restaurants prove a tasty proposition in London JULIA MALKIN SPECIAL TO RBTH

Arkady Novikov, Mikhail Zelman, the Ginza Project: several Russian restaurant businesses have set out to conquer London though, to date, only Ginza’s Mari Vanna has ventured into the realm of Russian food. The rest appeal to the notion that the spirit is the main Russian element required for a good business. Critics love or hate them but none of these Russian creations lacks appeal. They are widely talked about – and fully booked.


Eating out Reviews have been mixed but diners are willing to wait hours for a table

In just two months Burger & Lobster became the world’s largest buyer of Canadian lobster

Reviews and queues The fearless Novikov took over a space of almost 20,000sq ft in Mayfair to build his first London eating house. Behind the Novikov doors are three restaurants: Asian Room, Italian Room and Lounge. This expensive and ambitious project received a devastating review from The Guardian on its opening in 2011, but the queues continue and it makes about £25m a year. Novikov has opened two more venues – Rextail steakhouse, next to Novikov, and the Brompton Asian Brasserie in Chelsea. Mikhail Zelman has repeatedly pleased the critics, his first Goodman steakhouse being listed by Zagat among the best London steakhouses. According to Zelman, the secret to success is offering the right thing at the right time. When he started out,

Not feeling the pinch: Mikhail Zelman’s Burger & Lobster chain goes from strength to strength

the British meat market was relatively poor, so he imported higher quality meat from the US to offer better products to customers. The strategy paid off – Goodman now has three London locations, with more due to open. Zelman’s “mono-product” strategy led him to launch Burger & Lobster in 2012, a diner with only three dishes on the menu: burger, lobster and lobster roll. “Cooking just a few particular things we achieve absolute perfection of performance,” he says. Each dish costs about £20 and the waiting time can exceed two hours in the evenings. The urge to offer cheaper prices led Zelman to buy a share in a lobster company to get rid of dealers; he now trades with

himself directly. In just two months Burger & Lobster became the world’s largest buyer of Canadian lobster, and now sells more than 2,000 lobsters in five London restaurants daily, making the chain the UK’s main vendor of the delicacy. Russian restaurants are known for interior design. Ping Pong, a dim sum chain, unveiled a new £500,000 design when it opened its 10th site at the London Designer Outlet. Founded in 2005 by Igor Sagiryan and Kurt Zdesar, Ping Pong is the oldest and fastest growing Russian-owned chain in London, with two more cafés planned for 2014. Love for decor and detail also makes Mari Vanna, in Knightsbridge, stand out. Completely refurbished to recreate the atmosphere of a Moscow flat at the beginning of 20th century, it received the Best New Design award at the Time Out Eating and Drinking Awards in 2012. Mari Vanna has succeeded in an underoccupied niche of Russian fine dining in London, and had rave reviews from critics. Its cuisine attracts a non-Russian clientele, helping to raise the popularity of the Russian dining experience in Britain.

Classic car profits go into overdrive ALAMY/LEGION MEDIA

Bumper business: the GAZ M13 Chaika holds great appeal for foreign classic car enthusiasts

Motor trade Surging demand for characterful cars has offered big returns for canny investors in the past decade and the Russian market is no exception

Russian classic cars are popular with investors for several reasons. Many factories still produce parts, which makes them cheaper to restore, while collectors can acquire an interesting car by trading it for a western model that appeals to the Russian enthusiast. This sort of trade was taking place even during the Soviet era.

Volga, and GAZ M20 Pobeda – hold most appeal for foreign collectors. But the real collectibles are the luxury cars that transported Soviet government officials, such as ZIL, ZIS, and ZIM. Cars produced at the Likhachev and Stalin factories have the greatest appeal. Depending on the condition, year, and rarity of the model, they can fetch as much as 10 million roubles (£171,000). Some determined collectors now buy several new cars of a series that they believe will become classics of the future.

Meaningful investment

Exchange and Marx

According to the Knight Frank agency, investment in classic and vintage cars over the past 10 years has brought collectors returns of 430pc – more than any other luxury investment. So investors who spent £1m in 2004 achieved a return on average of £4.3m in 2014. A similar index by Coutts bank (which is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland) put the increase at 257pc since 2005. Investments in watches, by comparison, yielded 176pc over the same period, and jewels 163pc. Classic models produced in the Soviet Union – such as the GAZ M13 Chaika, GAZ M21

In addition to Soviet cars, western models are also popular with collectors in Russia; people usually buy these foreign brands on the internet. During the Soviet era, however, foreign classic cars could be obtained only by trading Soviet models for them. “My first classic car was a BMW 319 in the early Seventies,” says Stanislav Soloviev, president of the Rally Club of Classic Cars. To acquire the BMW, he had to give up the middle-class Soviet dream: a VAZ-2103, based on the Italian Fiat 124. After restoring the BMW, however, he was able to exchange it for a new Volga GAZ-24,




pc – the share Autovaz, the major domestic producer, has of Russia’s car market.


pc of Russians believe that a car is essential for them in their everyday life.


pc of the market is held by Toyota, the most popular foreign brand.


Atomic energy in focus at forum Nuclear power As demand for new stations rises, experts gather to discuss the industry’s future Moscow hosts the 6th International Forum ATOMEXPO 2014 from June 9-11, organised by the State Corporation for Atomic Energy. The theme of the plenary session will be Nuclear Energy – Conditions for Energy Stability. Forum

participants will analyse the main challenges and problems facing the nuclear industry, as well as discussing ways of developing further the world energy market. Among the main topics are: nuclear power plant construction financing


Power point: the forum will discuss the challenges facing the nuclear industry

projects; the competitiveness of nuclear energy in comparison with other forms of energy production; the planning and optimisation of generated electricity costs; and the final stage of the nuclear fuel cycle. According to forecasts by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), the number of nuclear power plants in the world will increase markedly over the next 30 years. Nuclear energy, say experts, can help to increase energy security, reduce the impact of fossil fuel prices, mitigate climate change, and make national economies more competitive. Attending the forum will be representatives of the IAEA, the OECD, the US Department of Energy, the Ministry of Energy of South Africa, the European Commission, as well as the heads of major energy companies around the world, including Areva, EDF Energy, NPCIL and others. To register for the forum and receive supplementary information, visit the event website at

which was the main executive car in mass production in the Soviet Union at the time.

The car market in Russia

Buyers and sellers “Today, if a car is older than 50 years, you don’t have to pay customs duties on it,”says automotive expert Maria Boiko. “But if it is newer than that, then there are many nuances. Duties are based on the age, tuning and size of the engine, and they can be up to 800,000 roubles (£13,750).” As a result, enthusiasts often prefer to restore cars that are already in Russia. Every collector in Russia has either a private or friendly workshop, and can order the necessary parts direct from the factory. Restoring a classic car, – for example, a GAZ-21 at the Antique Autos company – can take a year and cost at least 150,000 roubles (£2,600). A decent investment, as the average price of a finished car is about 1.5 million roubles (£26,000). Restoring a rare car, however, can cost 10 times as much, depending on whether the necessary parts are still manufactured. They are usually only available in limited editions. Despite the high return on investment, real collectors rarely sell the cars they buy. A collector can spend huge sums buying and restoring a car, then store it for years in his garage, taking it out for car exhibitions or auto runs perhaps once a year. It’s usually their children


who sell if they do not share their parents’ enthusiasm for maintaining classic cars in good working order. This doesn't mean that owners are unwilling to part with any model from their collections. But, as in Soviet times, you would have to tempt them with an offer of a vehicle that is at least as interesting as their own. Some can earn money by renting them out for weddings and photo sessions. In Moscow, agencies will rent you a car for about £60 an hour.



The cultural treasures of a nation on show and for sale Theodora Clarke

The latest Russian Art Week opens in London on May 30 and this year forms part of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014. For one week we will present a varied array of Russian exhibitions, concerts, ballet, and talks to the public. Our cultural programme takes place alongside Russian sales at London’s major auction houses: Bonhams, Christie’s, MacDougall’s and Sotheby’s. Russian Art Week has previously set many world records for Russian art at auction. More than £55m traded hands during the previous event last November, as collectors bought works by greats such as Falk, Roerich, Bakst, and Fabergé. The new Russian Art Week is also offering rare masterpieces and exquisite works of art. One of my highlights is the latest Roerich painting offered at Bonhams. The auction house will no doubt hope to follow the success of its sale of Roerich’s Kanchenjunga for £1.3m. This time, Bonhams is offering The Signal Fires of Peace, an early work by Roerich painted in Karelia in 1917-18. It also has a Fabergé figure of a bourgeoise (Meshchanka) (1913), part of a series of figures in national costume made out of minerals from Siberia and the Urals. Sotheby’s returned the largest overall sales figures in November with £24m and presented the first sale dedicated to Russian contemporary art. It is again offering some exceptional works: the avant-garde pioneer Mikhail Larionov’s Kneading Dough is a wonderful example of his Neo-Primitivist style, and was recorded in the listings of works by Goncharova and Larionov published in 1913 by Eli Eganbyuri. Also expected to be popular is Kazimir Malevich’s Head of a Peasant, Study for Peasant Funeral (1911). This stunning work was part of an exhibition at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung in 1927. When Malevich had to return to the Soviet Union before the exhibition closed, he left the works in the charge of the German architect Hugo Häring. This painting is believed to have been a gift to Häring and his wife. The star lots at Christie’s are Vasily Vereshchagin’s The Pearl Mosque at Agra, painted in the late 1870s to early 1880s, and a pair of porcelain vases. Estimated at £1-£1.5m, Vereshchagin’s intricately detailed view of the mosque interior has not appeared at auction for 95 years, and was last exhibited in New York in 1916. The vases, which were treated as canvases on which to showcase important paintings, often of the Imperial Hermitage, feature Boy Blowing Soap Bubbles by Alonso Miguel de Tobar, and Portrait of a Young Woman as Granida by Paulus Moreelse. Such vases were usually commissioned by the Emperor as important gifts for foreign royal families and diplomats. MacDougall’s, the Russian art specialist auction house, is presenting Pavel Kuznetsov’s Eastern City Bukhara, from the mid 1910s, and Robert Falk’s Boy with a Cap. All lots are available to the public to view at each auction house prior to the sales. With such exciting pieces on offer, there will be no shortage of drama at Russian Art Week as collectors bid to acquire the works. Outside the auction houses, Russian visual arts will be presented across London. Pushkin House explores cultural identity through the work of 13 contemporary artists working in Russia and the UK. GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design presents a reconstruction of the iconic Shabolovka Radio Tower by the model maker Henry Milner, and Somerset House showcases a retrospective of the Soviet artist Viktor Popkov. Outside London, Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire will display a collection of objects with Russian connections, and the John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton presents a show exploring Moscow Conceptualism. Theodora Clarke is the editor of Russian Art and Culture and director of Russian Art Week in London

One of the hottest Soviet painters today is Alexander Deneika, who injected innovative design into idealised depictions of workers and athletes



Records shattered as new riches fuel Russian boom Art market Nine Fabergé eggs – sold for $100m – came first, then prices soared

avant-garde master Pyotr Konchalovsky ahead of auction for £4.67m, more than quadruple the artist’s previous record. “What you could buy for £100,000 a few years ago is now £400,000 or £500,000,” says Rena Lavery, a London art consultant who represents clients that include the billionaire Andrei Filatov.“It makes my life as a buyer a bit more difficult now, because it’s harder to find something – and if you find something decent, you have to pay more for it.”


Bonhams achieved the world record for a Russian picture at a Russian art sale – Nikolai Roerich’s radiant 1931 Madonna Laboris, which sold for £7.9m

In 2004, Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg privately acquired the nine fabled Imperial Easter Eggs from the Forbes collection for more than $100m (£59m). According to Darin Bloomquist, head of the Russian objects department at Sotheby’s, the landmark sale ignited a Russian boom at auctions in the UK. “It’s really extraordinary,” he says. “We’re in the midst of a masterpiece market, where the best things attract enormous prices.” Since 2003, Sotheby’s has sold almost $1bn (£594m) of Russian art – almost 10 times the amount sold in the previous decade. Over the past five years, the number of bidders on art priced at over £500,000 has almost doubled, while Sotheby’s last Russian Pictures sale raised £20m, a record for the period. Russian art is also booming at other auction houses: over the past decade, Christie’s Russian art sales have shown annual growth of 35pc, while sales are up 24pc at MacDougall’s. What’s behind the boom? The answer is simple, says director William MacDougall: “New wealth in Russia.”

Returning home In the revolutionary era, Fabergés and other priceless art was smuggled out of Russia, an exodus of the country’s cultural heritage that continued in the Soviet period. Today, the majority of Russian art is sourced from private western collections, where it has resided for 70 years or more, and sold in London to Russian collectors, who bring it back home. “Thirty years ago, Russian art was bought by Western bargain hunters,” Mr MacDougall says.“Now, Russians have money and can travel again. They saw how cheap Russian art is abroad, so they started buying it, and prices started to rise.” A year ago in London, Bonhams achieved the world record for a Russian picture at a Russian art sale – Nikolai Roerich’s radiant 1931 Madonna Laboris, which sold for £7.9m. Sotheby’s recently sold a family portrait by

Modern tastes



billion pounds is the total value of Russian art sold at Sotheby’s since 2003.


million pounds is the record price for a Russian picture at a Russian art sale: Nikolai Roerich’s radiant 1931 Madonna Laboris.


pc is the annual growth in demand for Russian art offered for sale at Christie’s.

In the past, the staple of the Russian pictures market was the 19th century, the golden era of Russian realism. Now, however, attention is shifting to the 20th century.“Modernist works are what the market appears to be moving towards, away from the more established, traditional works of the Wanderers and Ilya Repin,” Sophie Law of Bonhams says. Sarah Mansfield, the head of the Russian art department at Christie’s in London, agrees. “If, five or 10 years ago, the top painting of the season was often a major 19th-century painting,” she says,“over the last few seasons Christie’s has witnessed some fantastic prices for the innovative, brightly coloured works of the 1910s by the Russian avant garde.” Among them are Ilya Mashkov’s Still Life with Fruit, which Christie’s recently sold for £4.77m, and Aristarkh Lentulov, whose Church in Alupka went for £2.1m. The sales were world records for both artists.

Realism wins new fans Perhaps the more surprising new development is growing interest in Soviet realist art, which is increasingly well represented at auction and in exhibitions such as Sotheby’s Soviet Sport show last winter. Billionaires Mr Filatov and Boris Ananiev are among the most avid new collectors of socialist realist works.“It’s the art of the time when I was born, of the time I lived through and studied,” Mr Ananiev says. According to Ms Lavery, one of the hottest Soviet painters today is Alexander Deneika, who injected innovative design into idealised depictions of workers and athletes. Deneika’s boldly geometric Young Designer is the brightest star of Sotheby’s forthcoming Russian Art Week auctions, where it is expected to fetch

£2-£3m. The rising popularity of Soviet themes also extends to porcelain, with a Stalin-era Pioneer with a Drum figurine projected to fetch up to £35,000. Meanwhile, Fabergé and other rare art objects remain popular, but buyers are now more shrewd.“In the current market, quality is key,” says Helen Culver Smith, of Christie’s Russian art department in London.

Royal connections “Collectors are discerning, seeking works with strong noble, royal or imperial provenance,” she says, citing a “magnificent” pair of vases by the Imperial Porcelain Factory that will appear at Christie’s Russian Art Week sale. A Sotheby’s auction of items that belonged to the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, and which recently resurfaced in Sweden, including a Fabergé cigarette case and cufflinks, brought in more than £7m, some seven times the estimate. The importance of imperial provenance extends to manuscripts, such as a 1769 imperial heraldry manuscript that fetched more than £205,000 last year at Christie’s in London. Among non-imperial items, large silver and enamel pieces that look “more Russian, more Slavic”are the major trend, Mr Bloomquist says, regularly fetching “fantastic prices” at auction houses. The vast majority of those buying Russian painting and porcelain in the UK are Russian, experts say, while westerners are generally more interested in the world-famous Fabergé. In some areas of painting, however, it’s more evenly balanced.

Kandinsky’s wide appeal “When it comes to the Russian avant garde, there’s no question that artists such as Natalia Goncharova, El Lissitzky and Wassily Kandinsky appeal to Western buyers as much as to Russian buyers,” says Frances Asquith, head of the Russian Pictures department at Sotheby’s. While the Russian economy has slumped this spring, auction houses and buyers anticipate that it will have little impact on the forthcoming auctions.“Russians are investing in their national culture,”Mr MacDougall says. “The tradition of major collectors is back.”




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Follow the cultural events of the Summer 2014 with



JULY 13th

DIAGHILEV GALA: a scene from COQ D’OR, POLOVTSIAN DANCES and Scheherazade

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JULY 15th-19th SWAN LAKE





Forty works of art, many of which have never been on public display in the UK before, are at the centre of an exhibition that aims to introduce the audience to the genius of Viktor Popkov (1932–1974). With its sublime portrayal of various themes – from industralisation to post-war desolation, this is an essential exhibition for anyone interested in understanding Soviet art.


Master of geometrism and father of the Suprematist movement, Malevich is known across the globe for his Black Square. But how many other paintings by the great avant-garde artist can you name? Expand your knowledge of Malevich’s career as a painter, printmaker and art theoretician.



National treasures: clockwise from left, Vereshchagin’s Transportation of the Wounded; porcelain vases; cigarette cases showing Tsar Alexander II, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna

From the classic Swan Lake to the Russian folklore legend of The Firebird, a spectacular season of The Mariinsky Ballet showcases some of the world’s most talented dancers. Combining the music of Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Stravinsky with the genius of celebrated Russian choreographers, this summer join a world of fantasy, drama and gravity-defying adventures.


Newcomer seeks a niche market members. The first are the major international auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Then MacDougall’s was founded by Catherine and William MacDougall in 2004 for the sole purpose of dealing Russian art; and there is the large, old building where Bonhams is housed, which contemporaneously chose to engage in dealing Russian art at individual auctions.

Auction houses Art dealer and collector Maxim Boxer has high hopes for his first sale but the competition is tough TATIANA MARKINA KOMMERSANT



Although Maxim Boxer’s name is largely unknown to the general public, it is familiar to anyone who deals on the antiques market. He began selling art when the Russian market was still in its infancy and was one of the founders of the legendary Moscow Alpha-Art auction in 1989. In 2001, Mr Boxer founded Ravenscourt Galleries. His name is well respected among art buyers, as he was born into a family of collectors who specialised in Russian and French paintings and graphic art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dictates of the market The first pre-auction exhibition will be held from May 29 to June 3 at the Erarta Contemporary Art Gallery in London, which promotes Russian contemporary art worldwide, and is next door to Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The first small auctions will be held there, comprising only about 40 lots. The new auction house has some stiff competition. The past decade was dominated by only four permanent London auction


The first auction is like a touchstone. After it, I’ll see if the niche I dreamt of is there, the one for really specific, domestic and Russian modern art. MAXIM BOXER

Sotheby’s looks east Despite the presence of Russian art dealers in London, Russian contemporary art has only been seriously dealt by Sotheby’s and MacDougall’s. The latter focuses on nonconformism and contemporary art, but this appears at its auctions rather randomly. Since the second half of the 20th century, Sotheby’s has been more active in the market: in 2007 and 2008, the auction house held pre-auction exhibitions in Moscow and then conducted specialised auctions in London. The economic crisis of 2008 put an end to this venture, but last year the auction house returned to the theme in another guise: it held its successful Modern East auctions, which mainly showcased the work of Ilya Kabakov. The major bidding records for Russian contemporary art were broken at the London-based Phillips auction house, when it was headed by Simon de Pury. Phillips did not push the dates of its Russian week auctions as a matter of principle, and they mixed Russian and western artists. Nevertheless, it was here that Russian buyers

paid £2.9m for the conceptual art of Ilya Kabakov and £1m for the work of Erik Bulatov in 2008. Phillips also traded in the contemporary art market of the emerging Bric economies in 2010-11, offering a steady outlet for Russian contemporary artists; but now trade with the Brics has deteriorated and Phillips only makes offers to a few Russian artists for their work. So, oddly enough, Maxim Boxer’s auction has a good chance to fill the vacant niche between competitors on the market with inexpensive and attractive modern art. In addition, Mr Boxer is placing an emphasis on “know-how” auctions, which is a curator’s auction united by a theme – this time around the subject of Russian Space Art. If all goes well, a second auction will be held in the autumn on the theme of Metaphysics in Russian Art. “I want to show the London audience something it has never seen before: the characteristics of contemporary Russian art,” says Mr Boxer. “The auctions that exist in London serve other purposes and therefore they are not able to pay much attention to affordable and not overly representative contemporary art, which has not yet made a name for itself in the global context. Nor do they offer items like those in our collection, which comprises interior art that is affordable and which in this case we still included as an element of the overall concept,” he adds. First published in Russian in Kommersant

The world’s most celebrated Russian dance partners, Natalia Osipova from the Royal Ballet in London and Ivan Vasiliev from the American Ballet Theatre, reunite in London for the Solo for Two performance, produced by Sergei Danilian.



Pick one of our platforms to highlight your business: Scan this code to read more about the history of Russian art as well as modern trends.




Literature Zakhar Prilepin’s ‘insane biography’ has led to comparisons with Tolstoy. His latest novel uncannily predicted recent events in Russia and Ukraine

A writer’s life: from soldier to political activist PHOEBE TAPLIN

Russia at the London Book Fair 2014


On the barricades While delivering a talk at Waterstones bookshop during the fair in Piccadilly, Prilepin summarised his life for his audience: “I am 38. I have written 10 books. I also work in political journalism and as a political activist. I have four children and care a lot about family issues.” “I am improving the demographic situation,” he added jokingly, saying his ideal was to live “in a small village,

The international book fair (London Book Fair 2014) was attended by more than 1,200 organisations from around the world. More than 220 events took place at the LBF-2014. Russia was


The London Book Fair, which took place in London in April, offered British fans of Russian authors the chance to meet Zakhar Prilepin, the current bad boy of Moscow's literary scene. With his shaved head, ripped jeans and leather jacket, Prilepin cuts a striking figure, and is often photographed in military gear, wielding a megaphone on a demonstration, or relaxing at the dacha with a guitar. He came to London to promote the English edition of his 2006 novel Sankya, a tale of young Russian revolutionaries in the post-Soviet space. The plot has uncannily predicted the real-life upheavals and opposition protests that have unfolded in Russia and Ukraine ever since, thus turning the author into a modern-day prophet. “Prilepin’s foresight would make Tolstoy and Dostoevsky burn with envy,” writes the anti-corruption activist and leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny in the foreword.

Bad boy: Prilepin worked for Russian special forces and later became a member of a banned radical party

His work is both quintessentially Russian and universal; he wants to move beyond the traditional view of Russia

with my children and dogs, with no internet connection and peace of mind.”

A social experiment The rural idyll is only part of the story. The internet is a central part of Prilepin’s life. He views blogging as “a social experiment” in which he provokes people in order to observe their reactions. What Mr Navalny calls his “insane biography” gives Prilepin an extraordinary

represented this year by several organisations and projects, among them the Read Russia international project, an initiative of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications.

overview. “For more than five years, I worked for the Russian special forces,” he says. “Later I became a political activist and worked for a while on the other side of the barricades, protesting against the political regime.” He was a member of a banned radical party and is now one of Russia’s best-known authors. Prilepin often intersperses stories of war and brutality with more intimate scenes. It is one of several aspects of his work, along with his youthful experience of fighting in the Caucasus, that has drawn comparisons with Leo Tolstoy. Prilepin himself seems to endorse the parallel. When asked about the subject of one of his novels, he replies: “I always think, ‘what would Tolstoy say if people asked him this about his novels?” Prilepin admires the literature of the early 20th century “Silver Age”: “I was captivated by the spirit of revolution and political turmoil. […] On some level, the civil war has never really ended in Russia.”

The aim of the project is to introduce an international readership to modern Russian literature. The project receives financial support from RosPechat and has been

presented at many book fairs around the world. The participation of Read Russia in the London Book Fair 2014 was part of the programme for the UK-Russia Year of Culture.

His new book, an 800-page tome, is set in the camps on the Solovetsky Islands in the 1920s. An earlier novel, Sin, which was published in English two years ago, also has autobiographical elements. Prilepin, like his namesake Zakharka in Sin, has worked as a security guard, a journalist and a military captain in Chechnya. And what proportion of Sankya is fiction? “62pc autobiography, 38pc fiction,” he jokingly told The Kompass, the RBTH online guide to the UK-Russia year of Culture. “Literature is more than truth. It is an absolute concentration of life.” His work is both quintessentially Russian and universal. He wants to move beyond the traditional view of Russia as “vodka, balalaikas and the red nuclear button”. Reeling off an international list of authors, Prilepin says they all deal with “small people and small problems […] People everywhere have the same problems, the same issues.”


A PROPHECY OF PAIN: SOLZHENITSYN FORETELLS THE FUTURE FOR UKRAINE The writer and Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn predicted the current situation in Ukraine almost half a century ago. In The Gulag Archipelago, the Nobel laureate wrote: “With Ukraine, things will get extremely painful.” Even during Soviet times, he prophetically did not rule out the idea that Ukraine may break away, although “a referendum may be required for each region”, given the Bolshevik way of lumping together lands that had never historically belonged to Ukraine.

small minority it embraces, for each minority contains, in turn, its own minority… In all cases local opinion must be identified and implemented. Therefore, all issues can be truly resolved only by the local population rather than in remote arguments in émigré circles, whose perceptions are distorted. ...I find this fierce intolerance in the discussion of the Russian-Ukrainian problem (fatal for both nations and beneficial only for their enemies) particularly painful because I myself am of mixed Russian-Ukrainian origin, grew up under the joint influence of both these cultures and never saw and do not see any antagonism between them. I have on numerous occasions written and spoken in public about Ukraine and its people, about the tragedy of the Ukrainian famine; I have many old friends in Ukraine; I have always known that Russians’ and Ukrainians’ suffering were of the same order of suffering caused by Communism. In my heart, there is no place for a Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and if, God forbid, things get to the extreme, I can say: never, under any circumstances, will either I or my sons join in a Russian-Ukrainian clash, no matter how some hotheads may be pushing us towards one.

The Gulag Archipelago, Part 5, Chapter 2

Published in Russkaya Mysl, June 18, 1981. In Russia, published for the first time in Zvezda magazine, No 12, 1993

Address to Ukrainians and Belarussians


… It pains me to write this as Ukraine and Russia are merged in my blood, in my heart, and in my thoughts. But extensive experience of friendly contacts with Ukrainians in the camps has shown me how much of a painful grudge they hold. Our generation will not escape from paying for the mistakes of our fathers. To stamp one’s foot and shout:“This is mine!” is the easiest option. It is far more difficult to say: “Those who want to live, live!” Surprising as it may be, the Marxist teaching prediction that nationalism is fading has not come true. On the contrary, in an age of nuclear research and cybernetics, it has for some reason flourished. And time is coming for us, whether we like it or not, to repay all the promissory notes of self-determination and independence; do it ourselves rather than wait to be burnt at the stake, drowned in a river or beheaded. We must prove whether we are a great nation not with the vastness of our territory or the number of peoples in our care but with the greatness of our deeds. And with the depth of ploughing what we shall have left after those lands that will not want to stay with us secede. With Ukraine, things will get extremely painful. But one has to understand the degree of tension they feel. As it has been impossible for centuries to resolve it, it is now down to us to show good sense. We must hand over the decision-making to them: federalists or separatists, whichever of them wins. Not to give in would be mad and cruel. The more lenient, patient, coherent we now are, the more hope there will be to restore unity in future. Let them live it, let them test it. They will soon understand that not all problems are resolved through separation. (Since in different regions of Ukraine there is a different proportion of those who consider themselves Ukrainians, those who consider themselves Russians and those who consider themselves neither, there will be many difficulties there. Maybe it

will be necessary to have a referendum in each region and then ensure preferential and delicate treatment of those who would want to leave. Not the whole of Ukraine in its current formal Soviet borders is indeed Ukraine. Some regions on the left bank [of the River Dnieper] clearly lean more towards Russia. As for Crimea, Khrushchev’s decision to hand it over to Ukraine was totally arbitrary. And what about Carpathian (Red) Ruthenia? That will serve as a test, too: while demanding justice for themselves, how just will the Ukrainians be to Carpathian Russians?) Written in 1968; published in 1974

The odds favour a peaceful solution Sir Tony Brenton SPECIAL TO RBTH

Ukraine’s fever may be breaking. Violence has fallen. A German-sponsored “national roundtable” is under way. Russia is demobilising its troops and reacting coolly to separatist demands. The first round of presidential elections took place last Sunday. For voters in the west of the country, separatism must be repressed and Ukraine’s links with the EU strengthened; for the east, there must be more provincial autonomy, and no early discussion of Nato membership. Much could still go wrong. Armed Ukrainian thugs under nobody’s real control are proliferating. Renewed violence could drag the Russians back in. It is not difficult to imagine a slide back towards civil war, Russian intervention, partition, and massive East/West confrontation. Whoever wins the election is going to need all the help they can get to rebuild Ukraine’s shattered national unity and wrecked economy. Nevertheless, now both sides have looked into the abyss, the odds favour a peaceful way out of the crisis. There will be loose ends. Everyone privately accepts that Crimea is now part of Russia – but the West will not formally recognise that fact any time soon. Russia is signalling that it cannot perpetually supply gas to Ukraine without being paid. And the West’s ineffectual programme of sanctions (accurately derided, even by leading Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky, as a mere boost for Russian nationalism) will confront the problem of all such programmes: how to


Russia Direct is a forum for experts and senior decision-makers from Russia and abroad to discuss, debate and understand the issues in geopolitical relations in a more informed and sophisticated way. SUBSCRIBE TO DOWNLOAD REPORTS FOR FREE >>

Russia thinks of itself as a European state, and has regularly sought to move closer to the West. Equally regularly it has been rebuffed

end them without losing face. It took the US Congress 21 years to finally repeal all of its Cold War sanctions. In the past few weeks, a mass of misunderstandings and resentments have come to a head. President Putin presented the annexation of Crimea as the inevitable “pushback” after a long series of western encroachments; Nato expansion, the Kosovo and Georgia wars, the “fascist” seizure of power in Ukraine itself. For the West, Russia’s illegal seizure of Crimea, despite its very specific historic circumstances, seems to have resurrected ancestral fears of the bear hungrily on the prowl again. Otherwise quite sane observers (Hillary Clinton, the Prince of Wales) have compared Putin to Hitler. British and US politicians have talked aggressively (if implausibly) of “isolating” Russia. Not many have kept their heads. The French and the Germans have, however, resisted the wilder extremes of Washington’s rhetoric. Perhaps recalling the similar role they played at the end of the Georgia war, they have kept the lines to Moscow open and worked for Ukrainian national reconciliation. If the political process indeed gains momentum, many will want to get back to business as before. Despite President Obama’s injunction that “Freedom is not for free” there is no sign that Nato members are contemplating raising their defence expenditure to the 2pc of GDP they are notionally committed to. Thoughts of reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas will come up against the market reality that it is the cheapest option – European demand is more likely to go up than down. Even the suggestion that Western investment in Russia will be hit looks questionable. Businessmen focus more on profits than

April 1981. Extract from a letter to the Toronto conference on Russian-Ukrainian relations, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute I totally agree that the Russian-Ukrainian problem is one of the major current issues and, certainly, of crucial importance to our peoples. Yet, it seems to me that the red-hot passion and the resultant sizzling temperatures are pernicious to that cause. …I have repeatedly stated and am reiterating here and now that no one can be retained by force, none of the antagonists should resort to coercion towards the other side or towards its own side, the people on the whole or any

Never will either I or my sons join in a RussianUkrainian clash, no matter how some hotheads may be pushing us towards one

To separate Ukraine today means to cut through millions of families and people: just consider how mixed the population is; there are whole regions [in Ukraine] with a predominantly Russian population; how many people there are who find it difficult to choose which of the two nationalities they belong to; how many people there are of mixed origin; how many mixed marriages there are (by the way, nobody has until now thought of them as mixed). In the thick of the general population, there is not a hint of any intolerance between Ukrainians and Russians. Of course, should the Ukrainian people really decide to secede, nobody would dare to try and keep them by force. But, this vastness is diverse and it is only the local population that can decide the fate of their locality, of their region, while each newly formed ethnic minority on that locality should be treated with the same non-violence. Written and published in 1990 in Rebuilding Russia First published in Russian in Rossiyskaya Gazeta


politics. If Putin wants western investment he needs to improve his country’s business climate, not give Crimea back. Nevertheless, the crisis has brought real costs in two ways. The first is geopolitical. Russia thinks of itself as a European state, and has regularly sought to move closer to the West. Equally regularly it has been rebuffed. The fault, no doubt, is on both sides; but the outcome is a Russia which talks increasingly of “looking East”. Indeed the great unremarked geopolitical story of the past quarter century has been the convergence of Russia and China. There are all sorts of complications to the relationship but there are also shared political attitudes, shared security concerns, and deep economic complementarity. The really big Russia news this week wasn’t Ukraine but the $400bn gas contract with China, opening the way to a huge new gas corridor across Siberia. Meanwhile, China has carefully avoided any criticism of Russia’s role in Ukraine. Continued western coldness can only push Russia deeper into a relationship with tomorrow’s superpower where shared suspicion of the West will be a major component. The second cost will be for Russian political reform. The growth of the Russian middle class, and Russia’s fast increasing interactions with its European neighbours, were gradually bringing forward the moment when European values – democracy, human rights, rule of law – were bound to spread to Russia. Despite the political clampdown, the big Moscow pro-democracy demonstrations of 2011/12 were a harbinger of what had to come. After Ukraine, however we are looking at a pricklier, more anti-Western, more nationalistic Russia, a large swathe of whose elite can no longer even visit the West. This must slow the democratic transition, maybe by decades. That is bad for Russia and bad for us.

It would be erroneous to interpret that an end to the Ukrainian crisis is in sight. A military operation in the east, conducted by poorly trained troops and with the support of paramilitary nationalist groups, cannot but cause anger among the population. The tragic events in Odessa will only make this anger worse. This is a powerful time bomb planted under Ukrainian statehood for generations to come. The prospects of that statehood were already unclear. After Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies were overthrown, Ukraine reaped all the possible evils of a revolution but not its only possible benefit: a change of the political elite. All the visible presidential candidates, including Yulia Tymoshenko, have a long history in Ukrainian power. At different times, all of them were perceived as the epitome of local corruption. Ukraine is doomed to a long political crisis with a further radicalisation of politics, with the factors of ethnicity, language and religion coming to the fore.

Tony Brenton is a writer and former diplomat. He was UK ambassador to Russia 2004-2008

Vasily Kashin is a researcher at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies

Poor legacy of the rich revolution Vasily Kashin Vedomosti



Turning the brain drain into brain gain?

Russia and the US enter a new space race

RD’s second quarterly of 2014 examines global workforce mobility and the increasing competition among countries for the best and brightest. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia became a net exporter of brainpower. Today, however, Russia has significant advantages that could help the country become a magnet for professionals from all over the world. This memo explores 10 strategies Russia might use to attract this international talent.

After the Cold War ended, there were great expectations that Moscow and Washington would start ambitious joint space exploration projects while reinforcing each other’s scientific and technical potential. Now, however, the future of joint projects is in jeopardy. Read this thoughtprovoking monthly memo to discover if there are any areas in which US-Russia space co-operation is strong enough to overcome mistrust.




We must keep calm and carry on trading

tions were a response to long-standing US policy in post-Soviet space. The Chinese do not want a confrontation with Washington to weaken Russia, as this would strengthen America. The US is perceived in Beijing as an inevitable strategic competitor in the near future. So, what are the specific motives for China’s rapprochement with Russia? First, it is a question of a global strategic balance. China sees its place in the world and the capabilities of other partners through the superpowers triangle: China, the US and Russia. The significance of each depends on its relationship with the others. And China believes one that loses touch with one of the other two is weaker and more dependent on the third. Second, there is the regional security. Pressure on Beijing from the US will continue to grow, as China’s neighbours feel increasingly insecure against the rising power of the Celestial Empire. Russia is the only country that borders China (along with the countries of Central Asia), with which China has no territorial disputes. The most important thing for China is to gain Russia’s support in these conflicts. This is unlikely – as Moscow will try to keep neutral on these issues, but Russia will not support the opposing sides. Third, we have the reliable power supply. China has traditionally relied on global markets but, given the overall growth of tensions in world and the region, Beijing is forced to think about the military-political component. Russia is the only source of raw materials, the supply of which, in case of serious deterioration of relations, cannot be blocked by the US Navy. Today, such a scenario seems unlikely

Fyodor Lukyanov

Alexander Yakovenko AMBASSADOR


ussia and the UK have always been active trading partners, but today that relationship is being tested. Ukraine is weighing heavily on the political dialogue and there are attempts to hamper our commitment to economic co-operation. This is not the right approach. Russian and British companies should continue to talk to each other and trade, helping to create jobs and develop larger markets and relationships with partners in other countries. Politics should not dictate to business. That is why the Russian government takes a very careful approach in its response to the sanctions that have been imposed on it with unseemly haste. We do not want the situation to get out of hand because of short-term political tactics, for that would have long-term adverse effects for the economies of many countries. It can be a very dangerous precedent in our globalised world, where issues of development, rather than those of geopolitics, are paramount. This is not to say that our governments do not play any role in this area of our ties, preferring a laissez-faire approach. On the contrary, in recent years the bilateral Intergovernmental Steering Committee on Trade and Investment has proved to be useful in easing some of the tensions arising from time to time because of regulatory or other imbalances and barriers. Other useful official bilateral channels include the Energy Dialogue, the Liaison Group on Moscow as an International Financial Centre and the Joint Commission on Science and Innovation. These bodies cover some of the key areas of our bilateral co-operation – energy, including nuclear, finance and high technology. Despite the clear advantages that these formats can bring to interested companies, the British Government has taken a back seat in terms of driving the agenda forward. But what is at stake? For now, our trade volume numbers seem to be keeping up – in the first three months of 2014 turnover stayed broadly flat compared to last year on the $5.5bn (£3.25bn) mark, with our exports to the UK growing some 5pc. In 2013 the UK remained the second most active foreign investor in terms of capital inflows ($18.9bn) and fifth in accumulated capital ($28bn). We remain committed to fostering active commercial links between our companies and their partners from Britain and other countries, whether in large or small projects. Leading companies such as BP and Shell, Mace and JCB, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline, EY and PwC are now household names in Russia, while the City of London continues to provide Russian companies and entrepreneurs with additional support in terms of financial and legal services. Similarly, among some of the larger Russian companies present in the UK are Gazprom, Lukoil, VTB Capital, Alfa Group, Sberbank and Volga-Dnepr. They represent not just billions of pounds in turnover, but thousands of jobs both here and in Russia. In difficult times like these, independent bilateral channels, free from political interference, have a special role to play: to keep calm and carry on. The Russo-British Chamber of Commerce is a good example. It remains determinedly apolitical in its activities, and that is exactly what its members need – a body that provides good advice while keeping a cool head. The annual RBCC Business Forum, to be held in London on June 4, will be a good platform to openly discuss the hopes and worries that the companies have, and to look into possible new opportunities and projects.

Keep in touch with the Russian Embassy in London: (Russian version)


What RBTH readers think about the hot topics. From russianow

Stephen Swartz on Solzhenitsyn’s warnings about Ukraine Well, anyone could’ve predicted that... all the way back to Boris Godunov!


John Reynolds on Russia’s contracts with China I’m sure the Chinese will be glad to help. They’re good at copying our stuff.


Pierre-Marie Augustine on the new Ukrainian authorities They say that oil should not be used as a weapon, but they think that water should be used as a weapon. Pathetic!!!


From an open letter to the RBTH editor Alexander Korobko on Prince Charles’s comparison of Putin with Hitler The fact is Russia lost 27 million people fighting the Nazis. The fact is, as no less an enemy of Hitler than Sir Winston Churchill acknowledged in his memoirs, “It was the Russians who tore the guts out of the German Army.” The comparison of Russia’s current leader, even if you dislike him, in any way to Hitler has tremendous potential for harm. History shows that our countries need to work together to defeat the greatest challenges, whether Napoleon or Hitler, or new challenges, such as terrorism, climate change, preserving the Arctic and Antarctic, peacefully exploring space and the search for peace in the Middle East.


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 Beyond the Headlines or Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Please send letters to the editor to


In a pre-election article published a little over two years ago,Vladimir Putin wrote that Russia wanted to harness the Chinese wind for its sails of development. Every sailor knows that in stormy weather, and the world is a stormy place today, controlling a sailing ship is incredibly difficult. But by working skilfully there is a chance of reaching one’s goal much faster. Vladimir Putin’s visit to China did not disappoint. With the background of a crisis in relations between Russia and the US, the trip has been interpreted as a search by Moscow for new strong partners. Russia long ago started talking about turning to Asia and the conflict over Ukraine has served as a catalyst. But the view that Moscow really needs this rapprochement and Beijing is only allowing Russia to come closer to use that country’s resources, is a simplification at best. China, no less than Russia, is interested in strengthening the foundation of its policy. China is concerned about world events; the Arab Spring was a wake-up call. In Beijing, this was seen as a dangerous example of how powerful external forces take advantage of the inability of states to ensure sustainable internal development: especially coming as Washington announced its new policy in Asia. Despite overtures to China, it was obvious that this policy was intended to restrain Beijing. Territorial disputes between China and its neighbours had been in a relatively dormant state but suddenly came alive, not only at a local level. During Putin’s visit to Shanghai, China’s relations withVietnam worsened – leading to the evacuation of Chinese citizens. Relations with Japan and the Philippines also became strained. On a recent trip to the Pacific, Barack Obama let it be known that in these territorial disputes the US was prepared to support its allies with all its resources. To this should be added the heated debate about the development model being pursued by China. The economy is slowing while continuous fast growth is considered the key to the stability of the political system and the power of the Communist Party. The third plenary session of the central committee of the CPC, held at the end of last year, acknowledged many internal problems. These were partly due to the overheating of the economy after more than three decades of constant growth and partly because a large part of society is lagging behind. As soon as President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he emphasised his desire to bring relations with Russia to a new level. Beijing is, of course, approaching the Ukraine crisis with caution. China, which has its own problems with internal separatism, is very nervous when it comes to any changes of borders. So Moscow should not count on direct support from Beijing. At the same time, China stressed that it understood the causes of the current situation and the fact that Russia’s ac-

but contemporary history has repeatedly demonstrated that anything is possible. Fourth, is the problem of global governance. The Ukrainian crisis has had an unexpected consequence. To put pressure on Russia, the US used its political leverage to intervene in the global markets. Russian banks were excluded from the international payment systems, rating agencies were manipulated, and pressure was put on international financial institutions. China has paid close attention to this – such measures may be applied against any country in a conflict with America. So China, like Russia, is interested in weakening the American monopoly in global economic affairs. Fifth, we have the new stimuli to development. China, like any export-orientated country, is constantly seeking new markets. Russia, until recently, has been reluctant to accept massive Chinese investment for fear of worsening the economic imbalance between the countries. Political rapprochement promotes such contacts, as was seen during Vladimir Putin’s visit. The Russian-Chinese partnership is not going to be a cakewalk. These two giant neighbours with rich imperial traditions are doomed to eventual friction and development of divergent interests. But this is natural. The key point is not the absence of conflicts but the ability to resolve them. Russia must to learn to compensate for its relative economic weakness with political skills and experience. In this area, Moscow is far ahead of Beijing. Fyodor Lukyanov is editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, Chairman of Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.



Beijing, like Moscow, is interested in weakening the American monopoly in global economic affairs


A lawyer makes the case for equine adventure and the minibus journey that ended in crocodile tears Tony Halpin RBTH

The long way home After 14 years as a high-flying finance lawyer in Russia, Michael Pugh is opting for a change of pace by deciding to ride his horse from Moscow to Transylvania. The Welshman embarks on his epic adventure next week, and expects to take three months to reach the Romanian town of Sigisoara with the aim of raising funds for the British Paralympic Association. He says that he was inspired to pack his saddle bags by the brilliant achievements of athletes competing at the Winter Paralympics in the Russian resort of Sochi in March. Mr Pugh will pass through some of Europe’s wildest and most beautiful scenery in what he has described as his “halfway home by horse” journey. Making his way across western Russia to Ukraine, he will pass through the Carpathian National Park, with a chance to see an impressive variety of wildlife including bison, bears and wolves. He plans to post news of his progress along the way on social media and on his website, and plans a big celebration party with friends and family when he finally arrives in Transylvania. A Russian lifestyle magazine also plans to publish an account of his adventures in the autumn. Admirers wonder if he risks an epic case


Moscow rising The cluster of skyscrapers that promised to transform Moscow’s image as an international financial centre may finally be nearing completion, 11 years late and at an estimated cost of $15bn (£9bn). The Moskva-City complex of 22 high-rise buildings was meant to be a glittering symbol of Russia’s rejection of Soviet Communism and embrace of capitalism. But, ironically, the project was brought to a halt by the global financial crisis in 2008 that almost brought the capitalist system to its knees. Now, the cranes are busy again and The Moscow Times reports that Moscow’s chief architect, Sergei Kuznetsov, is confident the whole complex will be completed by 2018. He said: “The project is in the home stretch, we do not have any reason to expect surprises.” So far, 11 towers have been built, with seven more under construction and another four on the drawing board. The completed buildings include Europe’s tallest skyscraper, the Mercury City Tower, rising 339 metres (1,112ft) above the Russian capital. The plan for the project has grown along with Russia’s economy. When it is finished, Moskva-City will offer 4.5 million


square metres (48.5 million sq ft) of commercial real estate, nearly double the original plan of 2.5 million square metres.

of saddle soreness, but Mr Pugh calls the horseback ride a “fun way to explore undiscovered Europe”. He has set up a Just Giving page to attract donations towards his goal of raising £10,000 for Paralympic sport.

A seatbelt is compulsory but legislators probably never intended them to protect crocodiles from accountants

A two-metre (6ft 6 in) long crocodile is recovering after an overweight accountant fell on it while they were travelling together in a minibus in northern Russia. The crocodile, named Fedya, which performs with the Soviet Circus, was apparently lying on a blanket on the floor of the minibus when the vehicle hit a pothole on the road from Murmansk to Severomorsk. The force of the jolt caused the 19-stone woman to tumble on to the reptile in what The Moscow Times called “an unfortunate series of events”. It was certainly unfortunate for Fedya, who was left in shock and vomiting for several hours after the freak encounter. Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that he was still too shook up to appear in a circus performance later that evening. After being checked by a vet, Fedya was found to have suffered no internal injuries. The circus accountant, who has not been named, also suffered shock and minor injuries. She was later reprimanded for failing to wear a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt is compulsory in Russia, but legislators probably never intended it as a safety measure to protect crocodiles from falling accountants. None of the reports explained why the crocodile was travelling in a minibus with the circus staff.



Sport P8_Tuesday, May 27,


Prodigy turned nearly man, AVB is pipped at post James Ellingworth

New wave: funding from state gas giant Gazprom is helping train sailing talent

Wind in her sails: Russia plots course for Olympic glory Sailing The Soviet collapse left the sport high and dry but a new generation is hoping to recapture past success

Russia was left isolated, Peter the Great’s ship becalmed, as sailing developed and other nations sped ahead. “Our sailors have been left on the sidelines by the rapid development of professional sailing, which can now be observed all over the world,” is the bald admission in the mission statement of one government-backed sailing project.“In the world sailing market we’re basically not converting the serious potential of Russian sailors, based on decades of successful Olympic experience.” However, there are now signs that the wind may be changing. The project quoted above is the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, which combines the wealth of Russia’s state gas company with the expertise and traditions of the St Petersburg Yacht Club to help train a new generation of competitive sailors. The numbers



Read more about the history of Soviet and Russian football teams at the World Cup.


Cast adrift by the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s competitive sailors have spent the past two decades trying to resurrect a tradition of nautical success. Now they could finally have the wind in their sails. Russia’s sailing history goes back to one man, Peter the Great, who travelled Europe to find ways to modernise the country. From the start, sailing was a major focus of Peter’s efforts as he tried to create the first real Russian navy and base it in his newly created capital of St Petersburg, on the formerly Swedish-ruled Baltic coast he had conquered. In 1698, he visited Deptford Dockyard in south-east London incognito to learn shipbuilding techniques and even served an apprenticeship with Dutch boatbuilders, learning the skills to pass on to his subjects. Even now, Russian nautical terms such as matros (seaman) and grot (mainsail) come from the Dutch language. That tradition was still going strong in 1912, when a team of Russians and Germans from St Petersburg won a bronze medal at the Stockholm Olympics.Their world as gentleman yachting enthusiasts was swept away by the Russian Revolution five years later, but the seeds of a competitive sailing tradition had been sown. Stalinist repression and the Second World War meant that yacht clubs were hardly a priority in the decades that followed, before Muscovites Timir Pinegin and Fyodor Shutkov won the first Olympic sailing medal for the Soviet Union in 1960, sailing their boat Tornado to gold in Melbourne. The Soviet Union was a respectable midlevel power in world sailing, amassing a further 11 medals before the country collapsed in 1991. Soviet-trained sailing veterans won newly independent Russia a couple more Olympic medals, but the last of them came in 1996, just as geography started to bite. Russia has a lot of coastline but much of it is frozen, home to military installations or otherwise unsuitable for sailing. Tallinn, which hosted the Olympic sailing when the Soviet Union staged the Moscow Olympics of 1980, was now the capital of independent Estonia, while Ukraine retained a strong talent pool of sailors in the post-Soviet world.


Synergy of skill and passion powers leading crew


Peter the Great visits the Netherlands to learn the art of shipbuilding.


Russia wins its first sailing medal with a bronze at the Stockholm Olympics.


The Moscow Olympics holds the sailing event off Tallinn, which is now Estonia’s capital.

Synergy is one of the top Russian crews and competes in the RC44 keelboat class. Founded by businessmen Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev, the team made its debut in 2010 and partners Russian sailors with American expertise

in the shape of coach Ed Baird and tactician Ed Reynolds. Synergy leads the field of 15 teams in the match race standings after the first two of this year’s five tour events, which took place in the British Virgin Islands and



involved are small – no more than a few dozen – but the project has done well to find talent from all over Russia, with sailors from St Petersburg, the southern Black Sea coast and even Vladivostok in the Far East. The Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge enters a boat in the championship tour of the RC44 class, a competition for a relatively new type of keelboat that does not yet have Olympic status, but is becoming the focus of Russia’s sailing revival. Besides Gazprom, three more Russian teams are in the competition: one of them, Synergy, currently leads the match race rankings after two championship rounds. In the main fleet race rankings, Synergy is third behind two British boats. With continued support and a little luck, these projects could put Russia back on course in the world of competitive sailing.


The wait for silverware goes on for Andre Villas-Boas. After disappointingly short spells in charge of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, the Portuguese coach is still looking for his first trophy since the Europa League win with Porto in 2011 that established him as a managerial prodigy, aged just 33. After his Spurs stint ended with a 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool in December, the man known as AVB had to wait three months before returning to management with the big-spending Russian club Zenit St Petersburg. At the time, it looked like a great chance to win an elusive trophy. Zenit were three points off the lead in the Russian Premier League, behind surprise leaders Lokomotiv Moscow, who looked likely to fall off the pace as the rigours of a full season took their toll on a relatively thin squad. It all started well as Zenit won their first six games under Villas-Boas and Lokomotiv started to run out of steam. No one, however, had reckoned on reigning champions CSKA Moscow. Nine points off the pace and all but out of the race in March, CSKA staged a remarkable comeback to finish the season with 10 straight wins and pip Zenit to the title by one point. It’s hard to blame Villas-Boas – had he arrived a week earlier, perhaps he could have averted Zenit’s 1-0 loss to CSKA, which, although it didn’t seem so at the time, turned out to be a title decider. CSKA deserve credit for recovering from a dreadful start to the season, including a Champions League campaign that ended in disgrace with two Uefa punishments for racist fan behaviour by the club’s supporters, including monkey chants aimed at Manchester City’s Yaya Touré. CSKA have few star names and struggle to match the spending power of Zenit, who are backed by state gas company Gazprom. Their main virtue is consistency: while other Russian teams tend to chop and change personnel, CSKA have put together a team who know and trust each other. Whereas Zenit axed Villas-Boas’s predecessor Luciano Spalletti while the club was second in the league, CSKA stuck by their manager Leonid Slutsky despite poor form. On the pitch, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has played with the same defenders for almost all of his career, and playmaker Alan Dzagoev is another long-term fixture. Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia has had several long-term injuries, but was trusted as the first-choice striker this season, scoring 18 goals in 22 league games. Both Zenit and CSKA have one big problem, however: thuggish behaviour by their fans. CSKA’s first home Champions League game of next season must be played in an empty stadium because of this season’s racist incidents, while Zenit have a two-game stadium ban in the Russian league after one of their fans attacked an opposition player. With Russia hosting the World Cup in 2018, a vibrant and competitive domestic league is important. But protecting players and fans from violence and racism must be the top priority.



Portugal. It currently sits in third place in the fleet race ranking. Synergy has steadily improved its position since entering the competition, rising from 12th place in its first two seasons to sixth in 2012, before finishing second in the

RC44 championship last year. The next stop will be Sotogrande in Spain, near Gibraltar, at the end of June. The championship then heads to Marstrand in Sweden in August before the final tour event in Muscat, Oman, in November.



Strikeball shooting-range, great military operation reconstructions, war nurse courses and a huge artillery exhibition

In 2014, in honour of the 100th anniversary of the First World War the theme of the festival will be the beginning of the twentieth century – the era of the First World War and of the revolutions. You will be able to see the first Russian cinematography, to take part in the work of the first underground printing office, to try outfits from various XIX-XX century fashion ateliers, to try and win over the local strongmen in national Russian combat tournaments, to buy vintage items in antique shops and to walk between the camps of the European army, becoming a witness of the famous battles of the First World War.

At the beginning of the summer on the embankments of the Moscow River the best historical clubs of the world will break camp, which deal with the reconstruction of the early XX century – The Victorian Military Society of 1837-1914 and the Great War Society (England), Association du Poilu de la Marne (France), 33rd Division (USA), Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (Germany) and Front-Line Eesti (Estonia).


PEACE Fashion shows with dresses from the beginning of the 20th century, a retro car exhibition, street cinema, picnic ‘a la russe’ and retro music band concerts

WAR Fans of military history will have the opportunity to see the ancient battle of armoured cars, to touch models of combat airplanes and field guns and to even be trained by experienced gunners. The highlight” of the festival will be the reconstruction of one of the key battles of World War I - the Brusilov Offensive.

PEACE Holiday guests will be able to see real power miracles of one of the most mysterious scientists of the XX century – Nikola Tesla. By the way, some believe that it was his experiments that contributed to the emergence of the so-called Tunguska explosion in Siberia, which is known as the Tunguska event.

Those who come to Moscow to witness the true Russian spirit will be able to visit a real street gipsy circus with a trained bear, with acrobats and jugglers.There is free admission to the festival

This event will be held with the assistance of the Moscow Committee for Tourism and the Hotel Industry and the City tourist portal

RBTH for The Telegraph #5  
RBTH for The Telegraph #5  

Russia and China: A big push for partnership