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RussianMind â„–1 (26), Spring 2013, www.RussianMind.com

Russians and PaRties... What do the British say? MoscoW nightlife: 8 Places not to Be Missed the fast life and slow death of BoRis BeRezovsky PRevieW: Russian aRt Week in london


Contents

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the fast life and slow death of BoRis BeRezovsky

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PRevieW: Russian aRt Week in london Russians and PaRties... What do the British say? MoscoW nightlife: 8 Places not to Be Missed

rm team

Russian Parties – A Reflection of the

The Fast Life and Slow Death of Boris Berezovsky

Russian Banking Enters a New Phase

acting editor Olga Kudriavtseva layout www.design2pro.ru A.D. – Mikhail Kurov Designer – Ala Costash managing Director Azamat Sultanov Deputy managing Director Daria Alyukova advertising Olga Sokolova

14 Dr Charles Tannock MEP: “Dialogue not Demonisation”

it Director Oleksii Vyshnikov sub editor Julia Gobert Distribution Ekaterina Musatova in print: Mark Hollingsworth, Ben Aris, Richard Royal, Stanislav Komarov, Ekaterina Poroshina, Theodora Clarke, Richard Bloss, Ecaterina Kilian, Alexander Malkov. contacts: editorial staff: olga@russianmind.com general enquiries: info@russianmind.com Distribution: musatova@russianmind.com advertising: olga.sokolova@russianmind.com address: 40 Langham Street, London W1W 7AS United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 207 637 1374

www.RussianMind.com

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Direct Dialogue between the ukraine and the uk

The Most important Russian Holidays

26 Buranovskiye Babushki: “The Best Party is when the Family Comes Together

30 grigory Leps: “i often Shout at Myself”

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Contents

34 James Blair: Passionate about Music 38

Preview: Russian Art Week in London 44

46 Russians and Parties... What do the British Say?

Party Tips from Maria Shatalova

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48 When the Night Sets in We Begin

52 i was a Potato oligarch

Exploring the uk: Hartwell House & Spa Hotel

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RM guide

Hello to Foreign Russia: the Top 10 Locations

â„– 1 (26) Spring 2013

RM Diary – RussianMind Club Event

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www.RussianMind.com


Editor

Russian Parties – A Reflection of the National Spirit

R

ussians are distinguished by their social, financial or cultural levels, political views and religious beliefs but the passion for party has been attributed to every Russian person, becoming the common national trait of their character. There is even a phrase “party like Russians”, which means joyful partying and of course from dusk till dawn! Very often Russians feel offended with such a perception, saying that they are not like that. Moreover, more and more Russians adopt Western traditions and holidays, considering that Western is better than native Russian.

www.RussianMind.com

However I believe that to celebrate in Russian style is a great idea. Russians by nature are very open, joyful and hospitable people. When Russians celebrate something, they put into the party a piece of their soul and a Russian soul knows no limits. One can say it is rudeness, others would agree that it is senseless hedonism, however I would call it a passion for life, openness and cheerfulness. For some foreigners it is difficult to understand the ability of Russians to celebrate like it’s the last time in their life. In the Western world traditions, behaviour and mentality are different and people control their emotions and feelings. At the same time, the opposites attract and Europeans are fascinated

by this Russian freedom of emotional expression. Very many of them gladly attend Russian parties and truly enjoy them and come back again and again. Russians choose the way to party according to their possibilities and preferences. Some party on yachts, in private luxurious clubs or modern bars, others gather at home for so called “kitchen talks”. Whatever is the “wrap” of the party, all of those people feel happy in a similar way. In these circumstances people, who are from different backgrounds, financial and cultural levels represent one nation, which likes to party and definitely knows how to do it! This issue of RussianMind is devoted to Russians and Partying: the observation of the most important Russian holidays (p.22); interview with Buranovskiye Babushki, who represented Russia on Eurovision with the song “Party for Everybody” (p.26); the British view on Russian celebration (p.50) and the inside on the entertainments of modern Muscovites (p.52). Enjoy the issue and party on! Best Olga Kudriavtseva Acting Editor

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Politics

The Fast Life and Slow Death of Boris Berezovsky By Mark Hollingsworth

â„– 1 (26) Spring 2013

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www.RussianMind.com


Politics

W

hen I first heard from Russian contacts that Boris Berezovsky had died on that cold fateful Saturday afternoon, I was sceptical. There has been so much hostility in Russia to the Oligarch, most of it justified, that there has been as much misinformation as accurate reporting about his life. But when his death was confirmed I was not that shocked. I already knew that he was engulfed by a financial crisis and I had evidence that he was selling off assets. I also knew that he had been spending a lot of time on his own at his country house near Ascot, Berkshire, depressed, alone and accompanied only by his bodyguard. This was very unusual behaviour for Berezovsksy. Here was a man with a huge ego who thrived on activity and an insatiable appetite for life, people and a delusionary obsession with overthrowing President Putin and retained his fantasy about launching a coup in Russia. And so when I was asked whether he was murdered, these were the only reasons why I thought this could be possible, apart from the obvious reason that he had many enemies. But so far the overwhelming evidence is that he did commit suicide, a verdict which I share at the moment. After all, he was virtually bankrupt. While he had money stashed away in secret accounts in the Baltic International Bank in Riga and some assets offshore in BVI companies, he had overwhelming debts. The most revealing evidence was that he was forced to dismiss 90 per cent of his personal staff which was a humiliation for someone who thrived on the appearance of power, status and wealth. He was a hopeless businessman and had been reliant on his late business partner, Badri Patarkshishvili, and so he had no idea how to make money. www.RussianMind.com

Also, his political campaign against Putin had failed and the Kremlin was still pursuing him for money they claim he had stolen from the Russian state in the 1990s, notably from Aeroflot. And in recent weeks he was devastated by the lawsuit by his most recent partner, Yelena Gorbunova, which left him alone and powerless. By early 2013, Berezovsky had lost the three pillars of his life that he held most dear - his wealth, political power and family. For the Oligarch, it was a humiliation and so he could see no way back. He was staring into the abyss and saw no escape. That is why I believe he took his own life. Whatever you think about Berezovsky, there is no doubt that he lived a remarkable life. And that is why I have given permission for RussianMind to publish extracts from my book Londongrad about his fast life which ended in a slow death. Boris Abramovich Berezovsky was born in Moscow in January 1946 to a Jewish family. Berezovsky’s family were not members of the Communist Party and his upbringing was modest and for a time – when his father was unemployed for two years – he experienced poverty. ‘I wasn’t a member of the political elite,’ he later said. ‘I am a Jew. There were massive limitations. I understand that perfectly well’, he told an audience of journalists at London’s Frontline Club in London in June 2007. A mathematics whizz kid, Berezovsky graduated with honours from Moscow State University. In early 1969 he joined the Institute of Control Sciences, where he gained a PhD and worked for more than twenty years. Intelligent, precocious, and energetic, he is also remembered for being intensely ambitious. ‘He always raised the bar to the highest notch and went for it’, a close colleague recalled. ‘He was always in motion, always racing 7

towards the goal, never knowing or fearing obstacles … His mind was always restless, his emotions ever changing, and he often lost interest in what he had started’. Another friend from this period said, ‘He has this attitude which he has maintained all his life – never stop attacking’. In 1991 Berezovsky left academia and was appointed a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an achievement he remains proud of to this day. He later boasted that there were only eight hundred members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and that even Leonid Brezhnev had wanted to be among that number. Perestroika offered him escape from his straitened circumstances. His first scheme involved selling software he had developed to the State Committee on Science and Technology. ‘We convinced them that it was a good product, and we sold tens of thousands of copies of this software. And those were the first millions of roubles that we earned, and a million roubles was a whole lot’, he told his audience at the Frontline Club. In 1989 Berezovsky turned to the automobile industry. ‘They stopped paying my salary, so I started a business’, he recalled. ‘Every Russian had two wishes – for an apartment and a car. The women generally had the last say on the apartment; so I went into cars’. Initially, this involved selling second-hand Mercedes imported from East Germany. Then, taking advantage of the new freedom to travel, he went to West Germany. There he bought a used Mercedes, drove it back through almost non-existent customs, and sold it for three times what he had paid for it. But the real source of Berezovsky’s early wealth came from exploiting his connections, gained through his academic work, with the Soviet № 1 (26) Spring 2013


Politics

Union’s largest car manufacturer and producer of the Lada, the AvtoVaz factory based in the industrial city of Togliatti. Off the back of his friendship with the factory’s Director, Vladimir Kadannikov, Berezovsky founded a company called LogoVaz, which took over responsibility for selling the Ladas. The effect was to separate production from sales in a way that maximized the profits from the business for Berezovsky and his partners. It was perfectly legal and it was a strategy widely deployed by directors of state companies and the new entrepreneurs at the time. Berezovsky also went on to establish the country’s first chain of № 1 (26) Spring 2013

dealerships for Mercedes, Fiat, and Volvo, which he later referred to as ‘a complete service, with workshops, showrooms, and credit facilities. Really, we created the country’s car market. There was no market then; people won cars in lotteries or for being “best worker” or they applied and stayed on a waiting list for years’. The dealership chain was created at a time when the automobile industry was rife with organised crime and protection rackets. Berezovsky’s Moscow dealership was targeted by Chechen gangs, which also controlled the production lines at AvtoVaz. Berezovsky, at times personally a target of the gangs, has 8

always denied any mafia connection. In September 1993 his LogoVaz car parks were attacked three times and his showrooms bombed with grenades. When his Mercedes 600 sedan was blown up nine months later, with Berezovsky in the back and his chauffeur killed, LogoVaz issued a statement blaming ‘forces in society that are actively trying, by barbarically criminal means, to keep civilian entrepreneurship from developing in this country’. By 1993 Berezovsky had already built an extensive business empire. One of his new enterprises was the All-Russian Automobile Alliance. Owned by various companies www.RussianMind.com


Politics but headed by Berezovsky, ARAA promised the production of a ‘people’s car’, to be produced by AvtoVaz in collaboration with General Motors in the United States. On the back of a huge advertising campaign, it offered bonds in the scheme and the promise of cheaper cars, cash redemption, and a free lottery once the new production line was up and running. Wooed by the ‘get-rich quick’ promise, more than 100,000 Russians bought $50 million of shares in the project. But when General Motors backed out of the scheme and it collapsed, thousands lost their money. By 1995 AvtoVaz had terminated the LogoVaz contract. The ambitious oligarch turned his attention from cars to planes, lobbying to install his business associates in key managerial positions in the stateowned airline, Aeroflot. Thanks to his growing influence at the Kremlin, he ensured that two of his intermediary companies based in Switzerland – Andava and Forus – provided Aeroflot with financial services. This gave Berezovsky huge influence over the company.

Yeltsin’s personal bank account in London, explaining that this was income from the book. By the end of 1994, Yeltsin’s account already had a balance of about $3 million’. A grateful Yeltsin ensured that Berezovsky became part of the Kremlin inner circle. Already a multi-millionaire, he was now well placed to benefit from the next wave of state sell-offs. In December 1994 Yeltsin signed a decree that handed over a 49 per cent stake in ORT, the main state-owned television station and broadcaster of Channel One, primarily to Berezovsky, without the auction required by law. The remaining 51 per cent remained in state hands. Berezovsky paid a mere $320,000 for the station. As most Russians get their news from the television, this also provided Berezovsky with a vital propaganda base for dealing with the Kremlin.

But perhaps Berezovsky’s biggest prize was in oil. In December 1995 he acquired a claim, via the ‘loans for shares’ scheme, to the state-owned oil conglomerate Sibneft (Siberian Oil) – then Russia’s sixth-largest oil company – for a cut price of $100 million, a tiny fraction of its true value. The deal was done with two associates. One was his closest business partner, the ruthlessly sharp Arkady ‘Badri’ Patarkatsishvili, the other was the then unknown Roman Abramovich, twenty years younger than Berezovsky but canny enough to find $50 million for a 50 per cent stake. It was from this moment that Abramovich, at first under his mentor’s tutelage but then through his own business acumen, manipulated his way to a billion dollar fortune founded on cunning negotiating skills and political patronage. It was a relationship that Berezovsky would later bitterly regret…

Much of Berezovsky’s business ascendancy was based on his Kremlin connections and personal friendship with President Yeltsin. Berezovsky’s relationship with Yeltsin was cemented by his shrewd offer to finance the publication of the President’s second volume of memoirs, Notes of a President, in 1994, arranging for royalties to be paid into a Barclays bank account in London. According to one account, before long, the President was complaining that the royalties were too low. ‘They [the ghostwriter, ValentinYumashev, and Berezovsky] understood that they had to fix their mistake’, claimed General Aleksandr Korzhakov, former KGB officer and Yeltsin’s closest friend and one-time bodyguard. ‘They started filling www.RussianMind.com

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Economics

Russian Banking Enters a New Phase By Ben Aris Things have changed in Russia's banking secToR since The cRisis and life has goT a loT TougheR foR The commeRcial banks. gone aRe The heady days wheRe banking capiTal was gRowing by 40% a yeaR oR moRe and TheRe was plenTy of cash foR eveRyone To expand. since The 2008 global cRisis, The secToR's gRowTh has slowed To half ThaT RaTe (and even sloweR in moscow), while The big sTaTe-owned banks have goT TheiR acT TogeTheR and aRe now pRoviding sTeRn compeTiTion To The smalleR commeRcial banks. buT by combining a focus on qualiTy, seRvice and seeking ouT pRofiTable niches, The besT of The commeRcial banks aRe RecoveRing fasT and aRe opTimisTic abouT The fuTuRe. howeveR, The emphasis has changed fRom gRowTh To pRofiTs.

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romsvyazbank (PSB) has long been a leading commercial bank in Russia, which made money by focusing on Russia's legion of midsized companies that are still big by European standards, but not big enough to attract the attention of the state-owned banking behemoths. PSB was hit hard by the crisis along with everyone else and had to completely rethink its retail strategy, but since last year the bank's return on equity (ROE) has been improving. “Last year was our most successful in the last five years,” says Alexandra Volchenko, first vice-president at Promsvyazbank (PSB). “Our returnon-equity (ROE) was 17-18% precrisis, but fell heavily in the worst of the turmoil. But thanks to our new strategy that focuses more on small and medium-sized businesses, retail banking and corporates, we have recovered and are now growing strongly”. Volchenko says PSB’s 2012 profits were the highest ever at over RUB8bn ($270m) and the ROE has rebounded, rising from № 1 (26) Spring 2013

11.2% in 2011 to 14% in 2012. "Our goal is to reach 20% ROE and I am confident we can do it in the next few years", says Volchenko, a petite but ebullient woman who exudes energy and hails from Yekaterinburg, the former home of the Russian mint. The key to the bank's growth has been to outperform its rivals by offering better quality service, commanding lucrative niches and simply being better than the state banks. At the core of PSB's strategy is its corporate banking. “Corporate banking in Russia has become very, very competitive and so you have to compete on quality of service, not just the margins, which have been shrinking”, says Volchenko. "You need to be quick and visible to your customers”. The bank's success at identifying some lucrative niches has also helped. The corporate business generates others like trade financing, factoring, payroll, private and retail banking to owners/employees, not to mention the fee-based income from providing corporate services. Although the bank is ranking 8th 10

in the country in terms of assets it is number two in trade finance and factoring, number four in SME lending and number six for retail deposits, making PSB one of the biggest privately owned commercial banks in the country. Corporate business remains vital for the bank accounting or about 80% of the bank’s loan book and 62% of its deposits.

NavigatiNg a phaNtom crisis “Last year was a difficult year for everyone, as the recovery from the 2008 meltdown stalled across the entire European continent. There was a ‘phantom crisis’: banks felt the pain as if Western Europe had had another financial collapse, but no collapse actually happened”, says Volchenko. “In the first half of last year there was a significant improvement, but as time went on the cost of funding was being driven up”, says Volchenko. “However, at PSB we made a strategic decision early on to diversify our funding base, so as the www.RussianMind.com


Economics

cost of market-based money rose we could rotate and make more use of our deposit based funding in the second quarter. We were also able to attract significant inflows of deposits and current accounts in the last four or five months of the year – about RUB50bn – which helped keep our costs down and profitability high”. In Russia's banking sector these days big is beautiful. Several international banks like Barclays and HSBC entered the market at the height of the boom years in the middle of the last decade, but they didn't have time to build enough business. Following the crisis, the slowdown in asset growth squeezed margins and many of these banks www.RussianMind.com

pulled the plug. PSB has been lucky to gather enough momentum to get to a size where it can weather the storms of the last few years. "Importing European models to Russia brings benefits, but at the end of the day the market here is still immature and you have to be alive to the realities of the market", says Volchenko. "This gives the Russian banks the edge". To maintain the bank's growth, PSB has also turned to the burgeoning SME sector. The bank was an early member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's highly successful SME loans programme, and today PSB has some 73,000 SME customers 11

of which 11,000 have also taken loans from the bank. "In 2012, this segment was worth approximately RUB1bn. It is a huge potential market, not just for lending, but also for fees and services", says Volchenko. "Russia can't just focus on commodities. The development of entrepreneurialism is key for the development of the country as a whole”. SME development is high on the government's political agenda and PSB is playing its part. In January the bank launched a RUB300m venture capital fund to finance SME startups, which will be invested through to 2014. The fund plans to invest into 50-70 small companies in traditional, № 1 (26) Spring 2013


Economics Business

not high-tech, spheres that need expansion capital. The state agency to support SME development, OPORA, is also a participant in the fund. "The fund is not a big one, but it is designed to support our customers and we will expand it if it is successful", says Volchenko.

New rules The prospects for this year are a bit better as confidence slowly returns. â„– 1 (26) Spring 2013

Corporate lending in particular surprised analysts by accelerating in February: sector-wide corporate lending was up 15% on year. But even with a recovery, banks are going to see growth at a slower pace going forward after the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) imposed stricter prudential rules on the sector. "Last year's phantom crisis led to a great deal of volatility and to the CBR decision to accelerate the implementation of tougher 12

regulations", says Volchenko. Russia will introduce the socalled Basel III regulations that shift the focus to providing more reserves for when things go wrong. Recommendations to increase risk weightings are effective from the start of this year and will become compulsory from the start of next year, which will hit big lenders to consumers especially hard. "These rules will affect banks' willingness and ability to lend to consumers", www.RussianMind.com


Economics Business says Volchenko. "The upshot will be to slow retail lending from the second half of this year. But at PSB we decided to create a cash cushion in the first half of this year". PSB took advantage of rules that allow subordinated debt to be added to the bank's capital, something that will be phased out under the new regime. The bank raised $600m in subordinated debt and another $120m as a perpetual bond in February. However, all of Russia's banks will need to boost their capital in the new slower growing Russia. The CBR said in February that “the sector as a whole will need to raise $100bn of fresh capital over the next three years to meet the new stricter capital rules”, Alexei Simanovsky, the CBR's first deputy chairman, said in March.

www.RussianMind.com

The sector's capital increased by 16.6% in 2012 to RUB6.1 trillion ($203bn) including the RUB1 trillion of profit banks earned – a record. “This means banks can cover a considerable part of their requirement for capital with their profits”, Simanovsky said. “The funds of domestic and foreign investors can also be used for this purpose. But rapid growth in bank lending, especially in the household sector, which grew by just under 50%, continues to put pressure on the sector”. Retail lending has slowed a little, but still expanded by just under 40% in February. However, analysts are expecting growth in retail lending to slow to about 25% this year. “The game has changed and banks need to get ready for the new reality. In the boom years,

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returns of 18% to 25% on equity were usual”, says Volchenko. But now returns have fallen, owners are more cautious about injecting more capital into their banks. “The return on equity of the bank is more important as shareholders won’t want to invest if the returns are poor and banks won’t attack capital unless they know what to do with it. Our return on equity has shown solid improvement on a very consistent basis this year rising from 5.9% two years ago to 11.2% in 2011 and 14.0% in 2012. We expect continuing improvement this year, especially with the contribution of our retail business and very good performance of our credit process and controls”, says Volchenko. Original source: www.bne.eu

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Investigation Affairs

DR CHARLES TANNoCk MEP: “DiALoguE NoT DEMoNiSATioN” By Richard Royal, Chairman of Westminster Russia Forum

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oreign Affairs and Human Rights are topics never far from the news where Russia is concerned. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if there is some cosmic conspiracy that leads our events, organised months in advance, to accidentally land within days of some Russian-related controversy. Thus I introduced our guest speaker, Dr Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative Spokesman in the European Parliament for Human Rights and Foreign Affairs, in the same week as the trial into the death of Sergei Magnitsky was dropped by Russian Authorities and just days after the Cypriot Finance Minister flew to Moscow seeking a bailout for his crisis-hit, sun-kissed island. Two days later, Boris Berezovsky was found dead in his Berkshire mansion. The event was also set against the backdrop of the ongoing problems in Syria, another conflict where Russia potentially has unique leverage, but finds itself on the opposite side of the fence to the American juggernaut. In such circumstances I was looking forward to a fiery discussion, difficult questions and contentious answers. I wasn’t disappointed, although I was surprised at how many questions focussed on foreign affairs rather than

№ 1 (26) Spring 2013

human rights, judging by the column inches usually devoted to the latter topic. I was also impressed by Tannock’s views on Russia. He was uncompromising in his criticism where it was deserved, but recognised the value and importance of Russia’s role and clearly longed for a day when relations would be better. It was a view at odds with many commentators on Russia, who would rather put their heads in the sand hoping that when they come up for air the country will have ceased to exist, whilst praying

amy winehouse

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that nobody from the FSB taps their leg with an umbrella during their exposure to the elements. I’ve long thought that the Western media’s prevailing view of Russia and its people is one that is extraordinarily prejudicial and discriminatory, bordering on xenophobic and even racist (in the widest sense of the word). There is no way that some things I have read and heard would be deemed acceptable if the word ‘Russian’ were replaced by any other nationality or group of people. The individual incidents raised in articles may well be true, but the picture their authors seek to paint is one of Reds under the Bed and shadowy men in long coats and wide brimmed hats at the end of your street. This inevitably bubbled back to the surface in the hours following the discovery of Mr Berezovsky’s body. Yet clearly not all of the 35,000 Russians in the UK are spies or vodka-swilling billionaires, nor do they adhere to all the decisions made in the Kremlin. But they are still proud to be Russian, and so they should be. The reality is that Russia is still the largest country on the planet with sixteen land borders, and holds the World’s biggest reserves of mineral and energy resources. It is the UK’s fastest growing export market, with clear www.RussianMind.com


Investigation Affairs

opportunities for British businesses particularly around the forthcoming Sochi Games and World Cup. Its’ history, not just in the last decade or two, but over centuries, has led to it becoming one of the major players in international politics and one whose influence extends way beyond its own realm. Yet despite everything it has going for it, Russia can often get it wrong. Dealing with Russia is I imagine not unlike dealing with a teenage son ... you’ll always love them, but their foolish and reckless behaviour often disappoints you. We of course gaze upon Russia through our Western-tinted spectacles and cast judgements upon it without considering that our values are not universal. Yet Tannock points out that if Russia wants to become a respected Western power it needs to behave like one. That includes being more responsible on the international stage and improving its internal judicial system. In many ways Russia’s www.RussianMind.com

straddling of two continents and all the associated mixture of peoples, religions and customs which make it such a unique melting pot also causes it huge problems on the international stage, and has done for centuries. But whilst Peter the Great uncompromisingly eradicated Eastern practices to ingratiate Russia with the West, President Putin seems adamant on keeping a foot in both camps. Not unlike Britain, its desire to maintain its Great Power status also makes it many enemies. Tannock believes Russia has shot itself in the foot over Syria - supporting a government that looks set to fall, seems to be a classic case of backing the wrong horse. He adds, nor is it in Moscow’s interest to have a nuclear Iran, so why does it seem so reluctant to condemn this possibility? Its stance in the United Nations makes it appear to be constantly obstructive and, as Mitt Romney said “always standing up for the world’s worst actors”. Although I’d add that the UN represents 193 15

states and is not merely a vehicle for pursuing American foreign policy by other means. Indeed many of these states are appalled by the stance of Western nations on a variety of issues, and why shouldn’t their views be represented on the Security Council? Let us not forget that they were right on Iraq. But again, Russia can’t be all things to all men. Unlike many, Tannock doesn’t deny that Russia has a right to pursue its own interests, but he does believe that its short and long term goals are confused, and that it should pay more attention to the latter. One of the major problems, he argues, is Russia’s zerosum mindset which assumes that any victory for the West is automatically a defeat for Russia, and vice versa. This is a hangover from the Cold War which needs to be put aside before progress can be made. The fact that Russia has always been a Eurasian country rather than a Western democracy, coupled with its experience of the 1990s makes № 1 (26) Spring 2013


Investigation Affairs it deeply suspicious of democratic systems. Tannock puts forward the rarely considered view that Putin is genuinely widely popular in Russia, and that he would likely win a free democratic election if it were allowed to happen. The fact that Putin mistrusts this and feels the need to go down another route is a shame and undermines his power and position. The same is true for the continued rumblings of particular cases such as Litvinenko, Khordorkovsky, Pussy Riot and Magnitsky. Tannock refers to the ‘selective justice’ of such cases which land some people in prison – or worse – whilst others maintain their position. I’ve often wondered why Russia doesn’t simply extradite Andrei Lugovoi and get it over with, and I didn’t buy Alexei Pushkov’s response when I asked him, that they didn’t trust the British legal system. After all, there is a reason why so many oligarchs are in London. Tannock was also critical of the ongoing posthumous trial of Sergei Magnitsky and is a fan of the ‘Magnitsky Bill’, which he argues targets the bad guys without placing all Russians in the same boat – a refreshing consideration given our habit of generalising and labelling. For what it’s worth of course neither I nor any other commentators have the first clue about what happened in most of these situations, but it is braver to confess lack of knowledge than to concoct conspiracy theories to sell newspapers. That approach has led us to a situation where the death of any Russian is automatically front page news as well as an excuse to remind everyone of past misdemeanours and the books for sale about them. And in the face of such a barrage of negativity, Russia retreats back into its shell. Like Dr Charles Tannock, I am a big fan of Russia and am not afraid to say so. But that doesn’t mean being uncritical or not offering friendly advice. We both want to see a situation in the not too distant future when Russia does not make the slip ups that make supporting it troublesome. But I believe that is best achieved by open dialogue rather than demonisation. And judging by Sergei Lavrov’s recent visit to London, our Government feels the same. www.wrforum.org.uk № 1 (26) Spring 2013

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www.RussianMind.com


Investigation

Once upon a time in St. Petersburg, a mythical woman named Mari Vanna welcomed diners into her home with open arms, feeding them traditional Russian fare on her finest china and linens. All were welcome and those who frequented were graced with a key of their own to return whenever they wished to this cozy retreat. Mari Vanna is a restaurant for any time, where one can meet friends, eat at leisure and feel at home. We are open from midday to midnight every day, for lunch, tea and dinner

Wellington Court 116 Knightsbridge London, SW1X 7PJ

www.RussianMind.com

Bookings: +44(0) 207 225 3122 info@marivanna.co.uk

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CIS

RoAD-SHoW

“iNvEST iN ukRAiNE 2013”DiRECT DiALoguE BETWEEN THE ukRAiNE № 1 (26) Spring 2013

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www.RussianMind.com


CIS

THE ADAM SMITH CONFERENCE ANNOUNCED THIS YEAR THEY WON’T BE HOLDING THEIR ANNUAL UKRAINIAN SUMMIT, BUT ANOTHER EFFECTIVE FORM OF BUSINESS EVENT EMERGED IN LONDON – THE ROAD-SHOW “INVEST IN UKRAINE”.

T

he first international investment road-show “Invest in Ukraine 2013” took place in London this winter and broke the ice for future co-operation between the Ukraine and Europe. “Invest in Ukraine 2013” became the first Ukrainian road-show in the UK, which provided a platform for direct communications between Ukrainian top management and the British investment community. The road-show was organised by the Ukrainian Business Centre in London aimed at building a bridge of trust and credibility between Ukrainian businesses and British investors.

During the road-show British investors had an opportunity to examine 7 investment projects from fast growing medium size Ukrainian companies: Construction of an Auto-chemistry Factory, Cultivation of Soyabeans, Expansion of an Internet Provider, Food Industry Modernisation, Innovative Technologies of Housing Construction, Lumber Processing Complex and the manufacturing of Steel Panel Radiators. All of those companies are actively involved in the real economy and aim to expand their existing business, requiring investments of between USD 10-25 million.

The participants of the road-show, targeting business opportunities in the Ukraine included representatives of British and European investment banks and private equity, such as Royal Bank of Canada, Gryphon, NSBO etc, as well as high net worth individuals. The projects’ presentations were followed by one-to-one meetings of Ukrainian entrepreneurs and British investors, which allowed both sides to get involved in the detailed discussion of potential co-operation, ask questions and exchange opinions. The road-show was fully supported by the Embassy of Ukraine in the UK and attracted representatives of Ukrainian and British organisations in the UK. Robin Henshall, the head of natural resources department at NSBO: “The reason why I attended the road-show is that I perceive Ukraine as a country with high potential in their natural resources. We are interested in oil, gas, metals and the coal industry, as well as agriculture. Traditionally, Ukraine has always been strong in those spheres. And it hasn’t gone anywhere. Ukraine is a large country by territory which is well located geographically and as far as I know, has highly motivated educated professionals. Thus, the Ukraine has all ingredients for the successful future”.


CIS Ruslan Romanenko, CEO of In Terra: “By 2030 the population of the earth will grow rapidly and demand for the food will double. Ukraine should use this opportunity, because it has the best black soils in the world. However, the low level of mechanisation remains the problem for the Ukraine and a lot of work is still done by hand. The effectiveness of the agricultural sector can be increased through the improvement of mechanisation”. Vladyslava Bilotska, Director of Ukrainian Business Centre in London: “Nowadays the Ukraine is often seen through the prism of politics, which is not always right. The international investment roadshow “Invest in Ukraine 2013” is an opportunity to change the attitude of the international community towards Ukrainian business. Our task is to demonstrate that in our country there are successful businesses and businessmen, who are accountable for their words and will work not only in the Ukraine, but also will become multinational companies. I believe that our initiative will help to improve the image of the Ukraine in the UK and support a favourable investment climate in the country. We hope that the road-show will become an annual event and give an impetus to foreign investment into perspective Ukrainian businesses”.

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UKRAINIAN BUSINESS CENTRE IN LONDON SERVICES: •

UK company formation

Meeting rooms in London

Company secretarial

Property

Accountancy

Education in the UK

Virtual office

Immigration to the UK

T: +44 (0) 20 7152 4650 Т: +44 (0) 20 7152 4456 info@uk.ubg.ua www.ubcl.co.uk

50 Broadway St. James’s Park London SW1H 0RG

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Details

The Most important Russian Holidays eveRy counTRy has iTs holidays, buT Russia has always been diffeRenT, wheRe TRadiTions fRom easT and wesT successfully coexisT. TheRe aRe official and unofficial, pRofessional and pRivaTe, old and new holidays in Russia and The cis counTRies. some holidays came fRom The pasT, oTheRs weRe Revived oR Renamed. To know The cusToms and TRadiTions of any counTRy is The key To undeRsTanding iTs’ people and culTuRe and heRe Russia is noT an excepTion. New Year’s Day, 1 January is one of the most anticipated and one of the most cheerful holidays in Russia. Before the Communists took power, the Russian Orthodox Christmas was a very important Russian holiday, a sacred one. However, the Communists banned all religious holidays as they banned religion in the country, so Christmas became less and less popular with the passing years. So the New Year replaced it in the hearts of people. The New Year is also celebrated with a Christmas tree which began to be called the New Year tree, with gifts and all other attributes. The Russian people consider the coming year to be the beginning of new life, a № 1 (26) Spring 2013

chance to make their dreams come true. There is a nice tradition to make a wish whilst drinking champagne, when the clock strikes 12. The main attribute of the Russian New Year is a dinner table full of delicious dishes and also the President's solemn speech. After the speech and at midnight the New Year party begins. It is usually a very cheerful party with a lot of toasts, changing clothes, exchanging presents and congratulating one another. 22

Russians can afford having a lot of fun on New Years’ Day. December 31st is a working day, but January 1st and 2nd are holidays, so people can stay awake all night long (which they usually do). It is a tradition to stay awake on New Years’ night and even children try not to go to bed for as long as they can. People go out in the streets at night, gather around huge lit-up New Year trees put up all around town, visit friends and relatives. www.RussianMind.com


Details

russian orthodox christmas, January 7 is celebrated all over the country. After the fall of communist rule, this sacred Christian holiday was brought back to life and has been observed ever since. The religious nature of the holiday is preserved in Russia. There are numerous church services and praising Jesus on this holiday. People may also exchange presents, but it is not so much of a tradition. This holiday gives people another day off and a chance to think once again about Christ, God and the role of religion in their lives. old New Year, night of 13th to14th of January is called Old New Year in Russia. Before 1918 in Russia they had the Julian Calendar, which was 13 days ahead of the Gregorian calendar they use in Europe. The Soviet leaders in 1918 accepted www.RussianMind.com

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Details maslenitsa, takes place in early march. This wonderful holiday which was also banned by the Communists is now brought back to life. The history of the holiday goes back to ancient times. Maslenitsa is the way Russian people celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The traditional food for Maslenitsa is pancakes. Pancakes symbolise the sun and the sun the European calendar, although for a long time they had to specify if a certain date was according to the new or old style. So with time people got used to celebrating New Year according to the new calendar but the tradition to celebrate Old New Year remained. This holiday is more family-like and less solemn with no Kremlin bells or a President’s speech. Day of the Fatherland Defender, 23 February. This holiday came to Russia from the Soviet times. It has been renamed several times. At first it was known as The Red Army Day, because the Red Army was established on February, 23rd 1918. Later on it transformed into the Soviet Army Day. All Soviet men were eligible for military service, so it was only logical to congratulate all men on this holiday and not only the military men. After the

Soviet time had ended, the holiday was renamed into the Day of the Fatherland Defender and similarly, celebrates all men regardless of age or occupation. women’s Day, 8 march is the most important holiday for all Russian women and even small girls. This is the day when men pay all their attention to their beloved, their mothers, sisters, daughters. Women get flowers, boxes of chocolates, gifts and a lot of kind and tender words from the men around them. Some Russian men even do all the housework for their beloved women. It is a sign of deep love and appreciation. March 8 is the first day of spring, the day of women and FOR women. It is a unique chance for them to feel loved, admired, and cared for. March 8 is an official holiday, and everyone gets the day off.

symbolises the coming spring. A lot of festivals, fairs and carnivals are carried out throughout the holiday week. However, this is an unofficial holiday and people do not get a day of, unfortunately. The main religious holiday for Russian people is orthodox easter, which is celebrated in late March or early April. The date of Easter varies from year to year and moreover, Russian Orthodox Easter is usually celebrated AFTER the Catholic one. Easter is very important for Russians. A lot of traditional celebration goes on in churches and many people attend. Some people are very religious and this holiday is full of sacred meaning to them. Others pay tribute to their Orthodox upbringing, and dye eggs and cook special food due to the tradition. Easter is not an official holiday, however. It is always celebrated on Sunday, but people do not have a day-off on some other day of the week. Day of laughter, 1 april. This is just the same as Western April Fool’s Day. They also play tricks on each other in Russia! Jokes are usually funny and harmless. No dirty ones. Sadly, clowns do not get a day off.

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Details not like Russia, but on May, 9 they all unite under one great feeling of patriotism. Parades and celebrations, fireworks and concerts devoted to the veterans take place in every part of the country. No one is forgotten, and people think about those who gave their lives for their country. Naturally, Russians have a day off. labour Day, 1 may. This holiday was invented in the Soviet Union and was known as International Workers’ Solidarity Day. In the Soviet times it used to be a great celebration with parades and public meetings. Nowadays Russian communists also have public meetings on this day, but it is more out of habit. People look forward for this holiday to get the anticipated day off. The weather is usually quite good on the 1st May,

the Day of russia, 12 June is celebrated since 1991 after Russia became a sovereign state. The Russians' attitude towards this holiday is ambivalent. Many see adoption of Declaration of state sovereignty as a negative historic event which accelerated dissolution of the Soviet Union. In conclusion, keep in mind that the Russian government usually switches weekend days around an official holiday so people get 3 days off in a row. This is a very common practice. The Government declares about the change a few weeks in advance.

If you want to visit Russia during holidays, do not forget to check when government offices are going to work. Prepare in advance if you need to do some official business. The positive is that if you visit Russia during a grand holiday, you will see the most beautiful side of Russian culture and its’ people. Everyone will be in a good mood and smiling. You will immediately understand what famous Russian hospitality is all about.

so families and friends get together and go to the country where they have a grand picnic. They usually cook meat on the open fire on this day (the dish is called shashlyk). victory Day, 9 may. Russians celebrate the victory in World War II. This was the hardest time for Russia, the country lost more than 20 million people in the war against Germany. A lot of Russian people do

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Culture

Buranovskiye Babushki: “The Best Party is when the Family Comes Together” By Daria Alyukova and olga Sokolova

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owadays they say that success belongs to the young. However it is definitely not the case for the band “Buranovskiye Babushki”. The singing grannies conquered millions of hearts last year at the Eurovision song contest, where they honourably represented Russia № 1 (26) Spring 2013

and took second place. Moreover they are the party experts and their song “Party for everybody” became the anthem for many Russian celebrations. This year Babushki came to London to perform at the Maslenitsa Festival. RussianMind talked to Olga Tuktareva, the art director for the band: 26

RM: Which performance was the most memorable for you in the post-Eurovision period? OT: I’d say it’s the one in Volgograd. Our flight was delayed for 5 hours due to the weather conditions, and we had to go to the concert hall straight from the airport. We had 15 minutes to www.RussianMind.com


Culture change and then we went to the stage. The concert finished late in the evening and we had to take an early morning flight back. The grannies were very upset as they really wanted to visit Mamayev Kurgan (“tumulus of Mamai"), and Galina Koneva even brought tree saplings to plant there. So after the concert the event organisers came to ask what we wanted to do, and we mentioned this. And they took us there at 1am! When the grannies found themselves at this legendary place where thousands of young Soviet soldiers died valiantly in World War 2, they were overwhelmed with emotion… It was unforgettable. They had similar feelings at the Reichstag which we visited during our Germany concert tour. Their childhood concurred with the war time; fortunately they did not witness battle, as the battlefront didn’t reach Udmurtia – the region where we come from. But they went through the wartime hardship and hunger, and some of them lost their fathers in the war. RM: Do you teach young singers? OT: Our Buranovo Club unifies ladies aged 40 and older. They also sing the folk Udmurt songs, and they do it well. This is what we call our Buranovo Incubator (laughs). RM: Would you like to foster some of the Russian singers there? OT: We’d rather not – all the grannies but me have their own children and grandchildren, that’s quite enough, isn’t it (smiles). We treat all the young Russian singers with respect and we’ve become friends with some of them. We are happy to see so many young and talented performers. RM: Your common passion is music, but what are your individual hobbies? www.RussianMind.com

OT:Alevtina Begisheva is a keeper at the Buranovo Museum, she collects traditional Udmurt antiquities, and her husband makes bast shoes for us. Granya Baysarova loves knitting, and Zoya Dorodova knits rugs. Valentina Pyatchenko is a dedicated gardener - everything she plants is growing and flourishing even the plants that are unusual for our region – like chestnuts and grapes. Ekaterina Shklyaeva makes the best sour cabbage and Galina Koneva cooks amazing pies. However all the grannies cook very well and we also love taking care of our gardens.

RM: Have you already seen matreshka dolls with your faces?

RM: Will you keep making a mix of folk and club music?

RM: How’s the construction of the church progressing in Buranovo?

OT: The club versions of our songs were made by young musicians – sometimes even by those that we have not met. For example, DJ Slon made a remix of our “Youth Anthem” and it became quite popular.

OT: Roofing works were started recently. We hope the builders will start the decoration shortly. The completion would require some more money, so we are very grateful to everyone who helps us with this in any way.

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OT: We haven’t seen matreshkas yet, but dolls made like us definitely exist – we’ve seen ceramic and rag dolls. Once we were given some made from marzipan. We didn’t eat them and kept them as a souvenir. RM: you study the Russian language? OT: We speak it very well. Our mother tongue is Udmurt, but we all speak Russian. The only exception is Natalia Pugacheva – it’s easier for her to speak Udmurt.

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Culture

RM: In London you performed at the Maslenitsa, the biggest Russian festival in the UK. Did you rock and groove? OT: It’s the youth that rock and grooves – we just sing as good as we can, with all our hearts! Of course it was very flattering to be invited to perform at the Maslenitsa concert. It is a truly joyful celebration for all Orthodox Christians and we always celebrate it. We traditionally cook pancakes with porridge – it’s an Udmurt custom. RM: Do you think Russians party more than others? № 1 (26) Spring 2013

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Culture

About udmurtia The Udmurt Republic is a sovereign republic within the Russian Federation. It is situated in the Western part of the Middle Urals between the Kama and Vyatka rivers. The distance between Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia Republic, and Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation, is 1325 km. Distances to other cities: St Petersburg - 1904 km; Ekaterinburg - 800 km; Kazan 395 km. The Udmurt Republic covers an area of 42.1 thousand sq.km which equal 0.25% of the total area of the Russian Federation. OT: I don’t think so. All people love to celebrate and enjoy gathering with their friends and family at one big table, singing and dancing together. RM: You sing about a “party for everybody”. What is a good party for you? OT: This is what we sing about in this song – it’s when all our children and grandchildren come to us, when we are all together. What can be better than having all your family at home? RM: A Russian celebration is unimaginable without alcohol. Do you cook homebrew? OT: You have the wrong impression about Russians. They can celebrate and have fun without alcohol. Yes, there are many addicts in Russia, especially in villages, but they exist in other countries, too. Alcoholism is a global problem. www.RussianMind.com

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Person

grigory Leps: “i often Shout at Myself” By Stanislav komarov Translated by Daria Alyukova

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Person

hoTheaded, impeTuous, passionaTe – jusT like his songs. he quickly shifTs To fiRsT-name TeRms. gRigoRy leps, The Top-selling Russian singeR peRfoRmed in london This maRch, and noT somewheRe, buT aT The Royal albeRT hall. Russianmind Talked To gRigoRy abouT his enoRmous fame and complicaTed TempeR:

RM: Why does performing at the Royal Albert Hall mean so much to a Russian musician? GL: As far as I know, Boris Grebenshikov is the only Russian singer who has performed solo there. This is a certain benchmark for me, a challenge that I may win or fail. There are a few world-class stages where I would love to perform, such as Carnegie Hall in New York or at Olympia in Paris. In fact there’s nothing impossible; anyone could hire these venues for money. But it’s not so easy – a few years ago I wanted to sing at Carnegie Hall, but the New York organizer said they only allow celebrities to perform on their stage and my name was not known to them. Nowadays it’s much easier for me, I’ve grown as a musician and I’m sure I could play Carnegie Hall now. So someday I’ll hopefully sing there, too. But London is important to me for more reasons than RAH only. It’s a great city, I visit here quite often. Paris and Vienna might remind me of their architecture, but London’s vibe is inimitable. I am at a loss for words when trying to formulate why London is so special for me – I just love it. When I come here, I can spend hours www.RussianMind.com

just walking around. I actually like walking and try to go on long walks in every new city I visit, especially in Europe, but nothing compares to London with its’ historical buildings, antique shops and parks. Quite amazing! This city is great because of its unique spirit, the strange and interesting people, the royal traditions etc. I’m not sure how this story with the RAH will work out. I just hope to perform to a full house. 31

RM: The Russian press often refers to the story of your second marriage as a new era in your life. How has it actually changed you? GL: Marriage to me means love and respect to a woman. My wife is amazing and she gave birth to our three children. I love them all so much. The understanding of how important marriage is came to me with age. № 1 (26) Spring 2013


Person

RM: What is the key to harmony in a family? GL: There are many facets to it – patience and grace are essential, but I’d say that mutual respect is essential. Love per se is a temporary thing, after all… RM: You probably mean passion – not love? GL: Well, passion is even more evanescent, while love can last for decades. But love in a couple cannot exist without mutual respect. I have a deep feeling of great respect towards my wife, I trust her absolutely and she trusts me. She knows me better that I know

myself and feels my mood the second I set foot in the house. I am convinced that my major objective is to provide my family with everything they might need, with gracious living. I don’t want to preach for long – this is just my personal view. I am the lord of the house, the breadwinner, the loving husband. For this I get love and care from my family and they tolerate my bad temper. RM: So you think you have a bad temper? GL: It’s not smooth, that’s for sure. I am so hotheaded that sometimes it scares me. My wife always knows

how to calm me down – I shout and spill my anger and she just says – well, do you feel better now? Are we ok? RM: So does it feel better? GL: You know, at times I could kick myself. I just curse myself! And she somehow manages to control it all. I am helpless without her. Life has different twists and turns – everything happens: some couples argue and some families fall apart. But to leave my wife I would be a complete idiot – and I’m not a fool! I will always strive to make my family prosper. Every man should aim for that – that’s why we are called men!


Blog “Hugely entertaining... the duo frequently brought the house down” **** Scotsman “Achingly glamorous, sweepingly romantic” ***** Metro

MAZAikA Duo Igor Outkine – vocal, acoustic and one-man band midi accordion Sarah Harrison – violin, vocal, domra Mazaika is a vibrant and incredibly versatile London based duo. It was formed in 1996 and since then has given concerts and cabaret performances at concert halls and music festivals throughout Britain, Europe and the U.S.A. Mazaika is a great entertainment choice for any kind of corporate or private occasion with their massive repertoire of Classical, Opera, Russian folk, Gypsy, Argentine and Russian Tango, Hot Club Jazz, Latin as well as Russian and International pop and rock covers. Depending on the occasion Mazaika can perform an impressive cabaret show, high energy dance set or just wonderful atmospheric music. They also perform as Mazaika Swing Quintet. Mazaika have entertained Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Sting, the Duchesses of Westminster and Abercorn, Prince William and Kate Middleton. Igor has appeared on screen in the David Cronenberg film Eastern Promises (2007) singing the famous Russian gypsy song Dark Eyes. He has performed live improvised scores for many silent films and played on soundtracks of several major films. Artists they worked with include Marc Almond, Django Bates, Loyko, Nitin Sawhney and Antonio Forcione. Upcoming event: Victory Day concert Thurs 9 May 2013, Pushkin House, London. Time 19.30. Bookings: +44 (0) 207 269 9770

Contact: Tel: +44 (0) 796 831 6295 E: info@mazaika-music.com www.mazaika-music.com www.youtube.com/mazaika1 www.RussianMind.com

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Music Business

James Blair:

Passionate about Music By olga kudriavtseva “The young musicians symphony oRchesTRa RepResenTs The RealisaTion of an ambiTion i have had foR some Time – ThaT The musicians of This oRchesTRa be dRawn noT only fRom The mosT eminenT conseRvaToiRes in england buT ThaT iT be an oRchesTRa RepResenTing The whole of The bRiTish isles, iReland and beyond”, said loRd menuhin, The laTe pResidenT of The yms0. foRmed in 1971 by a gRoup of music sTudenTs fRom The london conseRvaToiRes, who wanTed To puT TogeTheR an oRchesTRa of The veRy besT TalenT, Today The ymso is bRiTain’s leading oRchesTRa foR young musicians on The ThReshold of TheiR pRofessional caReeRs. Russianmind Talked To The conducToR of The ymso james blaiR:

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Business Music RM: Tell us the story of the YMSO. Who was behind its’ establishment? JB: The YMSO aimed to act as a bridge between college life and the profession. By the time a student leaves music college she or he will have committed at least fifteen years to developing their skills as a musician. Abruptly, competition for the small number of performance opportunities against several hundred others in the same position becomes a fact of life. The number of students destined for a successful solo career is limited. The majority will end up as music’s foot-soldiers, of necessity equally at home in a string quartet, a chamber or a symphony orchestra. Today’s musician must be versatile, flexible and thrifty in order to survive. Most will remain self-employed and need to promote themselves to ensembles and orchestras whilst, in some cases, performing recitals on a small scale. They will be required to reach public performance standard after the minimum rehearsal and be available in the most disparate venues from one day to the next. The richness of London’s musical life is world renowned, but the music educational system does not have the resources to address these issues and many students find themselves abandoned in a world of work without being equipped to handle it. The YMSO provides a bridge between the colleges and the profession and gives students a real advantage with experience of the major classical repertoire, realistic rehearsal schedules and performances in the great concert halls of the country. These young people are passionate about their music and have dedicated much of their lives to reaching professional standards. In such a precarious situation, anything that can enhance their opportunities for employment should be applauded and encouraged. www.RussianMind.com

RM: The YMSO provides invaluable experience to students and those who have recently graduated. Where do the musicians perform after the YMSO? JB: Alumni of the YMSO play in virtually every professional orchestra in the United Kingdom, many as section principals. RM: Has anyone who was part of the YMSO achieved significant career recognition? Has anyone become world-famous? JB: Every Orchestra in the UK has ex-YMSO players within their ranks, 35

many of whom directly attribute their success to the time spent with us. The following have recently been appointed: Steven Hudson Oboe Principal of the Northern Sinfonia. Andrew Budden French Horn, BBC Philharmonic. Fiona Paterson Flute, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Matthew Featherstone Flute, BBCNOW, James Burke Clarinet, Northern Sinfonia. Henry Baldwin Percussion, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Steven Nichols French Horn, London Philharmonic Orchestra. Chloe Vincent Piccolo is currently on trial with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, John Parkin Clarinet, with the № 1 (26) Spring 2013


Music English NationalOpera, Lawrence O'Donnell Bassoon, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Katie Jackson First Violin, Scottish Opera Orchestra. RM: As we know, the YMSO doesn’t receive any financial support from the government. How does the YMSO get funded? JB: For over forty years the YMSO, with no contribution from national or local government, but with the generous support of its’ private and corporate admirers has filled in the gaps. Our gratitude for that support is immeasurable. TheYMSO is funded by the generous support of individuals and grants given by various Trusts and Foundations. For instance, we are most generously support by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Foyle Foundation. RM: What makes your concerts successful? JB: The concerts are successful due to the enthusiasm and freshness that the young players bring to the music. “Vitality, brio and an unbridled optimism allied to a certain innocence, qualities that the established symphony orchestras lack”, Lord Palumbo – Former Chairman, Arts Council. RM: Who is your main audience? JB: Over the last few years, we have built up a following at St John’s Smith Square, Westminster, where we are resident. The players themselves encourage their friends and families to support the concerts. RM: You usually play 3-4 music pieces during a concert? How do you select them? JB: The pieces are selected on the basis that they will attract an audience, as well as prepare the № 1 (26) Spring 2013

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Music

players for repertoire which they will be expected to know and perform by their future employers. RM: Do you play music written by Russian composers? JB: Yes, we play a lot of Russian music, and would like to play more. It is very popular in this country. RM: Many orchestras in the UK play Russian classics. Why do you think Russian music is in such demand? JB: It is in demand because it is pleasing to the listener, and is full of a broad spectrum of emotion. There is a huge output of music from the great Russian composers, such as Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. RM: In your opinion what is the most unique feature of the Russian classics? www.RussianMind.com

JB: I think it is the ballet music that has been written that has proved the most successful, especially here in the West. RM: The conductor is the person who always stands with his back to the audience. What do you feel about not seeing the reaction of the audience to the music?

make some foreign tours. We are constantly looking for generous sponsors to enable us to continue our work. The next YMSO concert is on Wed 19 June and is featuring Tchaikovsky. Tickets www.ymso.org.uk

JB: Well of course I do not see the reaction of the audience while I’m conducting, but one certainly picks up on the atmosphere and at the end of pieces when I face the audience, one is very much aware of the reaction it has elicited. RM: What are the YMSO plans for the future? JB: The YMSO season comprises 5 concerts and courses at St John’s Smith Square, Westminster. We will continue to give these concerts there, and would very much like to 37

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Art

PREviEW: RuSSiAN ART WEEk iN LoNDoN By Theodora Clarke, the Director of Russian Art Week This june Russian aRT week in london ReTuRns foR whaT looks seT To be anoTheR RecoRd bReaking week of sales. The evenT was launched in novembeR 2012 by Russian aRT and culTuRe alongside paRTicipaTing aucTion houses and galleRies, and has now become a majoR bi-annual evenT in The aRT woRld calendaR. alThough The aucTion houses have TRadiTionally held Russian sales in june and novembeR each yeaR, This pRojecT has bRoughT TogeTheR commeRcial and academic paRTicipanTs To foRm an exciTing new plaTfoRm foR exchange and debaTe on Russian aRT. The week’s coRe evenTs will be The sales aT chRisTie’s, soTheby’s, bonhams and macdougall’s who will all be holding specialisT sales of Russian painTings, icons , fabeRgé and woRks of aRT.

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espite the UK’s economic stagnation and the recent double dip recession, it seems the Russian art market has remained a growth market with increased sales year on year. Last November’s event generated total sales of over £40 million with stand-out lots by painters Valentin Serov and Boris Kustodiev smashing all previous auction records for these two artists. I asked William MacDougall, founder of the specialist Russian auction house MacDougall’s, why he thought the Russian art market continued to thrive and what his predictions were for this year’s event.“Wealthy Russians who kept their wealth in art are much better off than those who kept it in Cypriot bank accounts’’ he explains. “Unlike bank deposits, 'haircuts' cannot be taken off paintings, and this greater safety in difficult times is bound to be reflected in auction purchases. № 1 (26) Spring 2013

Bonhams an important imperial jewelled silver-gilt and enamel cigarette case Fabergé, workmaster august holmström, c. 1897

And indeed high quality works have done well since the financial crisis, with artists often achieving new records. We are optimistic about our 5 June auction and the market in general”. It seems likely then that we can expect an upward trajectory of investment in Russian art to resume in June as London continues to assert itself as a key centre in the 38

International art market. Sales highlights this year continue to display works of high quality which ensures they appeal to buyers. Bonhams will be presenting a beautiful Fabergé Imperial jewelled silver-gilt and enamel cigarette case. Not only is this an example of the highest craftsmanship, this small object also has an intriguing www.RussianMind.com


Art rate, with the overall result for the November Russian paintings sales totalling £17 million – the highest for any London auction house”. Christie’s are also presenting an exquisite Fabergé creation, in this instance a Large Jewelled Two-Colour GoldMounted Purpurine Box as well as seascape by renowned nineteenth century master Ivan Aivazovsky, valued at £500k-£700k. Although the auctions form the core of Russian Art Week in London, the event is complemented by an array of other cultural activities taking place in and around the capital. Russian Art and Culture publishes a free guide to this event that is available to download on

christie's ivan aivazovsky Fishermen on a moonlit coast, sorrento 1866

provenance. Head of Russian Art for the auction house Sophie Law remarked, “There can be few items of recent Russian history that bear such a weight of sentiment. It is a gift of love between a doomed royal couple on the occasion of their daughter’s birth. Faberge’s craftsmanship is sublime and this cigarette case represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a Romanov item that passed from hand to hand in such an intimate context. I would expect this case to excite much interest in the Russian market as well as in the international arena, given that 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty”. Sotheby’s, meanwhile, will be presenting a work by Natalia Goncharova, one of the most sought after and expensive female artists at auction. The lot stands out from her oeuvre for the two dimensional, nonrepresentational forms and earthier palette which demonstrate a move from Matisse and the Fauves towards Ozenfant and the Purists. Senior Director Joanna Vickery remarked, “The current market for Russian art remains buoyant and Sotheby’s continues to be at the forefront of developments in this field. Our recent ‘Important Russian Art Evening’ sale achieved an extraordinary 90% sold www.RussianMind.com

macDougalls ivan shishkin, twilight, 1896

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Art Petersburg to present Old Master paintings. This impressive collection was sold in 1779 by Britain’s first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole to Catherine the Great. The exhibition is the first time these pictures will have returned to their original home in over 200 years. Other cultural activities taking place this June include theatre, film, music and lectures. Pushkin House is offering an array of events for those interested in all aspects of Russian culture. Their June line-up includes recitals, literary events and a chance to see the photography exhibition from London’s City Hall Abstraction/ Constructivism: British and Russian views of the City. This exhibition, originally conceived for

the Maslenitsa Festival 2013, features breathtakingly unusual views of decaying architectural masterpieces in Moscow and St Petersburg by photographers Dmitry Konradt and Richard Pare. Meanwhile classical music fans can look forward to a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 (Pathétique) at Cadogan Hall on 4th June whilst a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake will be playing throughout June at the Royal Albert Hall. Following on from the success of Russian Art and Culture’s opening night event at the Russian Embassy with historian Antony Beevor, this organisation will also be hosting a number of special events intended to coincide with the art sales. A

abstraction/constructivism: British and russian responses to the city, pushkin house richard pare, shabolovka radio tower, 1998. vladimir shukhov, 1922. courtesy of artist.

their online platform. Alongside sale highlights, the website also features a comprehensive directory of galleries, specialist institutions and a calendar of events. A number of exhibitions featuring Russian art coincide with the week and continue throughout June. Independent gallery ArtMost is exhibiting dynamic photographs by Valery Katsuba whilst Aktis Gallery in Mayfair is holding a retrospective of Soviet Non-Conformist Vladimir Yankilevsky’s rare early works. In South Kensington the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars, explores the cultural and political relationship between Britain and Russia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through the gifts the two countries exchanged. Outside of London the Tate’s retrospective of Chagall is a must see; whilst English stately home Houghton Hall has collaborated with the State Hermitage Museum in St

v&a treasures of the royal courts leopard vessel, 1600-1, the moscow Kremlin museums


Art

artmost valery Katsuba. 'phiscultura" (1998-2008)

lively round table discussion on the subject of forgeries in Russian art will bring together a prominent Russian art dealer, a representative from the Art Loss Register and art historians to debate the increasing problem of art fakes to both collectors and academics. On the weekend, Contemporary Key will stage an introductory tour of contemporary art galleries in London specialising in Russian art and other events are planned. Russian Art Week will also be a warm up event for the 2014 RussiaUK Year of Culture, which will have manifestations in both countries. The growth of the Russian art market in London and huge population of Russian émigrés in the country means that the year is sure to be a great success. Russian Art Week offers a unique opportunity for members of the public and specialists alike to enjoy the best of Russian culture in Britain. For a full list of all the activities planned and to download your free guide to this event visit www. www.RussianMind.com

sothebys Natalia goncharova, Femme cubiste, circa 1920

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Have to Read Business

i WAS A PoTATo oLigARCH By Esther Harper

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ohn Mole’s book, ‘I was a Potato Oligarch’, is described in the blurb as ‘eyewateringly funny and always entertaining’ and having read it from cover to cover, I can vouch for the fact that this summary is entirely accurate. It is categorised by genre as travel narrative and business, but I think it would be equally at home in the comedy section of any decent bookshop. Mole goes to Russia soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and sets out to start a business in baked potatoes there. His book recounts the ups and downs of the quest to find the best year-round potatoes, convince the Russians that there really is something in his plans and ultimately, find his fortune in the spuds on post-Soviet soil. What caught my attention was the humorous angle Mole views his time in Russia from – while enviably ambitious and persevering with his plans, he is also lighthearted and seems to take Russia with an ever-optimistic spin. He throws himself into the lifestyle and the way business seems to be done, embraces every opportunity that comes in his way and is rewarded for his audacity by, more than once, finding himself in just the right place at just the

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right time to be able to re-tell some, frankly hilarious stories. The pages are packed with sidesplitting recounts of encounters ‘on the ground’ of Russian life and business, but my favourite episode is when Mole unwittingly finds himself participating in a pro-Yeltsin demonstration in Red Square. As he is standing in the heaving crowd, a frantic woman in a ski jacket bustles through, desperately seeking someone who speaks English. Mole

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steps forward and in the process, inadvertently offers himself to give an authentic Russian perspective on the day’s events in Moscow to the BBC. British through and through, he is thrust in front of a television camera and interviewed, the TV crew just assuming he is Russian. As you read the book, you become gradually less surprised at the way Mole reacts in these types of situations and by this point what he does now does not surprise you too much – obviously he simply pretends to be Russian and offers a unique viewpoint on the events in an immaculate local accent to the TV crew and their recording camera! Mole has a lovely knack of making the improbable seem a normality, which is one of the things that I think, make the book such an absorbing read. Everyone, at one point in their life or another, finds themselves in an utterly surreal situation and for me in my life, many of these situations have happened in Russia. However bizarre the situations may be though, after a while you learn not to ask questions and just to embrace the moment, which is exactly what Mole does and I think, one of the reasons I loved reading his book so much. His incredibly casual way of falling into these amusing situations demonstrates his overall attitude to Russia and life there – that it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and, simply enjoyed and relished. Russia is to be loved, embraced and cherished, whatever situation you find yourself in. So love, embrace and cherish it, then use your memories, like Mole has done perfectly, to help others to imagine Russia and all that is surreal that lies within. www.RussianMind.com


Have to Read

www.letocaffe.co.uk


View

PARTy TiPS FRoM MARiA SHATALovA By Ekaterina Poroshina maRia shaTalova, wife of The famous Russian fooTball playeR pavel pogRebyak is a lovely 25 yeaR old lady and a moTheR of 3(!) sons. TRavelling aRound The woRld and being inviTed To many glamoRous evenTs she sTill says ThaT home family paRTies aRe The besT. RM: What was your favourite holiday when you were a child? MP: New Year! I loved all the presents and Father Frost coming when I had to tell a little verse or sing a song to get presents. I try to make it special for my kids as well. The first New Year we spend in London, I managed to find a proper Russian Father Frost to come to our house and give my sons presents. I think that it is very important to believe in fairytales and miracles. I want my kids to believe in it as long as it is possible. They will have a chance to experience the tough, ugly side of life later, but for now I would like their childhood to be filled with magic. RM: Home parties or going out? MP: I prefer spending time at home with my family rather than going out. We invite guests, I cook dinners – it is the best time. I like to have parties for kids - they play and watch cartoons. I also love to surprise my husband. Last time when he came home from a game I cooked a very special dinner for him: different kinds of exotic meet – crocodile, frogs, emu. He was very happy and that’s the most important thing for me. Pavel’s favourite holiday is his birthday when his parents and brothers come to visit us and I cook a Russian dinner it is the best day of the year. № 1 (26) Spring 2013

RM: Do you remember the first time you went to a party in London? MP: Yes it was a fashion show in Harrods. I came and I didn’t know anyone. Suddenly the designer came up to me and asked if I was a model. I was really flattered. RM: What do you think one should never do when going to a glamorous event? MP: The woman should never wear sports clothes. I’m convinced that woman should be wearing long gowns and high heels. They make your legs look stunning! RM: Did you ever have a situation on the red carpet? MP: I remember a few times being on the red carpet when I wore amazing dresses, makeup and very high heels and slipped and even fell down once. Very embarrassing! I was reminded about it over and over for weeks because the journalists took pictures and it was all in the press. That’s the worst thing that ever happened to me on the red carpet. RM: A lot of Russians in Moscow ignore dress code. What do you think about it? MP: I thing that one should always stick to the dress code. These people are attention seekers. If you have nothing to say this is the only way to show off. RM: They say you can always spot 44

a Russian in a crowd and specially at a party. Can you spot a Russian abroad and what criteria do you look for? MP: In winter they always wear fur. The women always have makeup on and wear very expensive clothes. I did a lot of travelling and I think that it is a myth that Russians drink too much and act arrogantly. There are a lot of nationalities who drink much more. I think that English people are very close to Russians: they are friendly, they smile and they like to party a lot too. RM: There are a lot of very expensive clubs where you have to pay a lot to get in. In the UK there are also membership clubs where you can only go if you are approved by the members and no amount money will help. Which ones do you like more? MP: I like the British ones more. In Russia there are people who start approaching me and my husband, asking for an autograph or a photo. It is very annoying when anyone can pay money, get inside a club, take nasty picture and publish them afterwards. RM: Is there any event you would love to attend? MP: I would love to go to Royal Ascot and sit somewhere near Queen Elizabeth. I find it fascinating all these traditions when people dress up and where amazing hats! www.RussianMind.com


View

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Opinion

Russians and Parties...

What do the British Say? By Richard Bloss who takes a look at this essential Russian institution.

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pparently, the Russian language uses about six times as many words, than English does. I have to apologise now because, alas, I know very few words of Russian myself, it's something I've always wanted to get round to learning, but well, I've been a bit busy, and you know how it is. But it is something I'm prepared to accept, for two reasons: 1) Only about half the UK population pass their English exams at school, so they wouldn't know a subjunctive if it hit them in the face; and 2) the more patrician amongst us have a minimalistic view, so why use ten words when you can get away with just one! True, there are attempts to change that and the good people at Starbucks will charge you an extra quid for a skinny cafe latte, when all you want is a coffee. But generally speaking, when we say "I love you", we can also say "I love that new dress", or "I'd love a coffee". You get the picture. № 1 (26) Spring 2013

So my question is: if Russians have such a rich vocabulary, how come it can go so horribly wrong at party time? Because whatever name you call it, whether it’s a Business Seminar, Workshop, Network Presentation, Breakout Session (Oh God, Microsoft!) - there is always some cheesy music that your grandmother used to listen to and booze, and in the words of Pink, ‘let's Get the Party Started’. It's Party Time. Even at the last RussianMind event, the whole thing was delayed by 20 minutes because somebody forgot the vodka! Now, I’m not in fact a party person. I spend my business days being nice to people for a living, so having to smile at people in my social life, really is a bridge too far. But what is clear is that Russians have got this party thing down to a fine art, which is rather apt, since most of them take place in galleries of one sort or another. First, this is not your typical 46

standard UK party; there are no cans of lager and nobody suggests having a chicken madras at the Indian takeaway down the road. It is also not about meeting new people: you guys already know everybody anyway, so the only reason you have a party is obviously to be "seen", and to show you are having a good time. Because if you are not having a "good time", then why on earth are you in London anyway? Or maybe it's none of those things. Maybe it's me. Maybe I should lighten up. In fact going through my ‘In Tray’ yesterday, it looks like I've been invited to... Oh yes, another art gallery. What does it say...? Apparently it starts with a champagne and vodka reception and (let me read on.), there will also be some music. I don't know much about art, but the champagne sounds good... www.RussianMind.com


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Blog

When the Night Sets in We Begin By Ecaterina kilian

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he evolution of the Moscow party scene either changes with age or with years. May be it changes with the trends or people? The range of bars in the capital of bears and balalaikas is tremendous. I have been to and lived in a lot of places and from what I have experienced I can tell you that no one loves to party likes the Russians do and they are good at it; they do it with a lot of thought and soul. Nothing is done halfway and never stops changing, evolving and blooming. This is something to experience from within and you will never be left indifferent. Come night, civilians go to sleep and the party monsters wake up. You don’t know what night life is if you have never been to Moscow. Run with me through a couple of places. Saturday night started off at a calm pace, meeting with some friends at ‘Chainaya. Tea and Cocktails’, the only bar in Russia that is in the top 100 of the world, a place of peace and quiet for the soul, one of the only places in Moscow where the atmosphere does not change throughout the week, neither do the bartenders. What makes it special is the dedication to be the best, not for the awards, but because every person that works there is passionate. They do everything because they love it, and you can feel it. Starting with

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Darling i'll call back...

the cocktails, Mandarin Spicy is my cocktail of choice; no one makes it like a Chainaya bartender does, no one! Their secret weapon is the Chinese cook. He can barely pronounce two words in Russian but the way he cooks can make you feel a life time of culinary bliss. Recruited from a village in China he does not try to Europeanise his creations, that is what makes his food taste like nothing you have tried before. After a calm relaxing start we moved to ‘Darling I’ll call you back…’ You know how sometimes you just want to feel like you are 18 again and drink cheap cocktails and go crazy on the dance floor, well welcome. I adore this bar, the drinks 48

are good, the music is nostalgic (even when I was 10 I was not THAT excited to hear N’SYNC) you have to agree with me that bathrooms are an important aspect of any bar, here you will not be disappointed. The owners of the chain thought everything through, the cabins have noise buttons of different surroundings like the metro, an airport, or a train station, just go to the bathroom to receive a call, press the button and no one will ever know that you are going crazy at a bar. The bar hoping continued with a relatively new bar-club ‘Phantomas’, situated in the heart of the red October. History pit stop: the Red October used to be a chocolate factory, closed not too long ago to www.RussianMind.com


Blog

Kamchatka

phantomas

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Noor Bar

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Review give space to a party hub; bars, clubs cafes and restaurant are piled on top of each other. Upon our arrival we were told that they were closing, keep in mind that it is a Saturday, it was 2am and Moscow NEVER sleeps. After a few phone calls and a long conversation we went in to discover an absolutely empty soulless space. For research purposes I found out that they have a stage and the place is buzzing during a concert and they are often booked for corporate parties. Not fun. Onto the next one. This brings us to the ‘Noor Bar’. Might probably be the love of my life. Starting from the décor; during the day you are sitting in a European bistro eating splendid food, at night you are in the right place to drink and dance. When you are talking to the bartenders you are talking to your best friends. The cocktails are little sips of heaven. The music makes you move without you wanting to, especially when Stas

moloko

the beer bar ‘Kamchatka’. Welcome to the USSR and everything you had back then. The ridiculously low prices, the queues to order anything, the waiters to say ‘you money first, your order later’ and ‘it will be about…roubles’. That bar has two

wt4’

Modnik is DJing. I don’t know where to start, any time of the day, any day of the week you can come here and feel like you are home. This is the bar of choice for the international, the creative and cocktail loving kind of people. The only recommendation I dare to voice is to try everything on the bar and food menu, you will not regret it! It is now 6am I have put a stop to the madness. We are now a week later, this is Thursday, and I am taking you to № 1 (26) Spring 2013

kinds of visitors, hipsters and the people who actually spent most of their conscious life in the USSR. The alcohol seems to be cheaper than at a supermarket the music takes you back to the 70s and 80s and you just let go, mix in and go crazy. This is the kind of bar where you can spend the whole night and never notice the time go by. It is late at night or early in the morning, as you wish, but we are at ‘Moloko’, translates as ‘Milk’, not to be confused with ‘milk’ the concert space. History pit stop: named after the building it is set up in, known as the first milk shop in Moscow. Moloko has a restaurant feel to it, it serves food but it is not a restaurant. As a side note; Moscow bars are like Russians, they strive to please everyone in any way possible,

gipsy

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so the choice of dishes will always be of a high standard. The bar is for a more grown up, higher class of visitors. At least that is how the piano and the interior design makes you feel. It makes you want to order an Old Fashioned, smoke cigarettes and discuss world politics at length. Flashback time, it is summer 2012. It is any given week end. We are back at the Red October. We are at ‘Gypsy’. We are frolicking in the moment. We are transported to our happy place. But don’t feel it yet? Let me describe some more. You are on an island on the Moscow River. You are on a roof top. It’s a warm night. You go to one of the bars, there are three, and you order anything you want. There are two swimming pools, there is a stage, there is music, you don’t see or hear anyone, and you are filled with that feeling of relaxation. Just for one night, you can be whatever you want to be, you’re on an island. Flash forward to the 5th of April 2013. We are still at the Red October, it is the opening of ‘WT4’. You enter a massive space, with a very long bar in the middle. Leather couches along the walls. There is an amazing vibe, there is a tremendous amount of people, and you suffocate. The DJ plays an eclectic set and I honestly wish I could say what I think of this place, but it’s the opening night, it has amazing potential, it was a good night. Two things I can tell you for sure, the creators did a great job, and by the zombies that left at 5 in the morning, you could tell that the night was a success. Now, get me some aspirin!

They Say… max avDeev, photographer Without bars we can’t go anywhere!

olga BatsKevich, commercial spot proDucer There is a concept called ‘the bar next door’. That is a place which is usually dubbed as a second home, where you know everyone, where everyone knows you, where you can have a meeting and at the same time have a great time on a Friday night. Those are the kind of bars that we need more of.

aNNa Balashova, BaNKer Due to an overload at work I have very little opportunity to find myself sitting at a bar, so for me this is an occasion to see friends and have some good cocktails or some wine. Not to be disappointed by the bartender, by proxy; by the bar. It is important that it is not too loud, and not too quiet, the best bar, for me is the Mercedes Bar, I always take my friends from London there. And of course the Noor bar, that works late even on week days! Super.

Julia vatsoN, eveNt maNager BlacK star laBel From what I have noticed bars have become a lot more popular than clubs. Even though they always existed they hid from me. Going to a bar is the equivalent of inviting

friends over, its’ so homely. These are a lot of categories. If I want to spend time with musicians I will go to 16 Tonns; if I want to be surrounded by foreigners and fashionistas I will go to Noor bar. I can keep on going forever! There are a couple of common denominators- everything happens drunkingly happily and dancing included.

aziz saatov, co-FouNDer oF the coNcierge cluB Dives Moscow, objectively, never had a long ‘bar history’. But in the last twenty years there was a noticeable development leap. The Moscow community and businessmen had time to travel, discover new ways, receive knowledge and import all that to the capital. At the moment the bar crowd is spread out; by audience, interests, the way of life. I am sure that in the near future we can expect niche projects and the appearance of a new bar crowd, the ones born at the beginning of the nineties have a different mindset and are more western.

marat saDDarov, chieF BarteNDer at Noor Bar Who goes to bars? Consumers who are branding victims are able to recite different brands for hours, but are unable to remember the names of at least, two classical cocktails!


Review

ExPLoRiNg THE uk: HARTWELL HouSE & SPA HoTEL If you came to the UK and want to explore British county side, there is no better place to start with than Buckinghamshire, with its lovely Hartwell House & Spa Hotel. The hotel lends itself to quick city breaks and is located near to Oxford, the Cotswolds and the Chiltern Hills. An overnight stay at Hartwell is a good way to overcome jetlag on arrival in Britain, or it can be a memorable place to stay before leaving the UK. The hotel is a popular venue for top level special events and also is very well known for its spa and relaxation facilities. Located just an hour from Central London and about 30 minutes from Heathrow airport, Hartwell House & Spa is a unique destination for tourists, which is the part of the National Trust. â„– 1 (26) Spring 2013

Hartwell House has a remarkable history, going back a thousand years to the reign of Edward the Confessor. It has been the seat of William Peveral, the natural son of William the Conqueror, John Earl of Mortaigne who succeeded his brother Richard the Lion Heart as 52

King of England in 1199 and of Louis XVIII, the exiled King of France, who held court there from 1809-1814. Louis was accompanied at Hartwell by the Queen Marie-Josephine de Savoie, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, his brother the Comte d’Artois and later Charles X. www.RussianMind.com


Review During the residence of the French Court the roof was converted into a miniature farm, where birds and rabbits were reared in cages and vegetables and herbs were cultivated in densely planted tubs. Hartwell is remarkable not only for its history, but also for its architecture. Keeping the English tradition it has evolved in sympathy with changing styles. On the north front there is a compass and oriel windows, remarkable examples of early 17th century design, but the carved decoration was simplified and the original gables removed in the middle of the 18th century. The south and east fronts were built in 1760s and reflect the main characteristic of their period - projecting eaves, canted bays, skirted windows and Ionic colonnades set within relieving arches. The Great Hall is the masterpiece of English Baroque design and with the exception of the floor which was originally flagged with Portland stone, remains virtually unchanged since its completion in 1740s. The principal staircase with its extraordinary carved figures is partly Jacobean and partly modern. Two of the balusters are carved to represent Winston Churchill and G K Chesterton. Nowadays Hartwell House Hotel & Spa is the magnificent, luxurious stately home which has both Jacobean and Georgian features with outstanding decorative plasterwork and panelling, its fine elegant reception hall and dining rooms create the ambience of a great country house. It has 46 bedrooms, all individually furnished with fine prints, antiques and fine paintings. The marvelous fabric and decoration offer each a comfortable and homey touch. Apart from comfort, Hartwell House is famous for its beautiful gardens. The hotel stands within ninety acres of gardens and parkland and boasts a spring www.RussianMind.com

garden planted with snowdrops, daffodils, eranthis, primroses and anemones. In autumn 2001 a path, leading to the canal temple, was planted with 10,000 daffodils. In the orchard old varieties of apples are grown and along the walls of the former kitchen garden there is apricot, peach, pear and plum trees, of the same variety as those planted in 1868. These garden features are designed to be enjoyed throughout the year. The Hartwell Spa features extensive facilities including beautiful swimming pool, spa bath, steam room, saunas and outdoor hot tub, located on the

oils are highly effective in enhancing the state of our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It offers impressive range of different spa treatments, such as ‘The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience’. This well being treatment releases tension in every part of the body, leaving you feeling deeply relaxed and recharged. Hartwell House & Spa is also has a gymnasium that includes all the latest technologically advanced equipment. There are also two allweather tennis courts in the grounds where you can play croquet, which is very popular in England. In addition, this hotel has

spa sun terrace. From late 2012 the hotel announced its partnership with Aromatherapy Associates. Aromatherapy Associates has been at the forefront of aromatherapy for over 30 years. The brand believes passionately in the healing powers of natural plant extracts and their experience has shown that essential

an award winning exceptional restaurant where you can enjoy the delicious British dishes and fine wines. All this and even more without doubt will make your visit to the Hartwell House Hotel an unforgettable experience. www.hartwell-house.com

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Travel

HELLo To FoREigN RuSSiA: THE ToP 10 LoCATioNS in his book ‘The genius of place’, The famous wRiTeR pyoTR vail wRoTe: “The sTeReoTypes wheRe ineviTably lies The RouTe of any jouRney, if you aRe noT a paThfindeR, Then The clusTeRs of human expeRience aRe concenTRaTed by hisToRical wisdom”. if The chuRch of The saviouR on spilled blood is awaRded a sTaR on The TouRisT map, Then suRely The chuRch aRound The coRneR is less of an aTTRacTion. foR This Reason if you aRe going on a TouRisT TRip you should noT disRegaRd guidebooks and Tips fRom expeRienced TouRisTs. oTheRwise you will be lefT heaRTbRoken foR noT having seen ‘This beauTy’ which eveRyone else has, which means you missed someThing significanT To undeRsTand The place in The expRess mode of a TouRisT TRip. on This basis, iT is inTeResTing To know, which places one should visiT in Russia in oRdeR To ‘come To know The Russian soul’ and To geT unfoRgeTTable impRessions? since The collapse of The ussR, foReigneRs TRavel a loT aRound Russia and have alReady developed TheiR sTeReoTypes and lisTs of places To visiT, They Talk abouT whaT makes Russia inTeResTing and diffeRenT fRom oTheR counTRies besides ‘vodkabalalaika-maTRyoshka’. we have made up a lisT of The mosT populaR RouTes: 1. KazaN – the olDest capital citY

Kazan is officially called ‘the third capital of Russia’. In 2005 the city turned 1,000 years old. Despite its impressive age the oldest Annunciation Cathedral, Kazan Kremlin and the core of the old city – the Old Tatar Settlement and iconic buildings of the century before last are still preserved in the centre of the city. There are also many modern architectural monuments in Kazan. The symbols of Kazan are, the ‘Frisbee’ of the circus and the modern Qolsharif Mosque. One can see the coexistence of Christianity and Islam in the architecture of Kazan. The decoration of Orthodox churches contain elements of Asian pomp. Raifsky Bogoroditsky Cathedral has a miracle working icon of the Mother of God of Georgia which is kept with special pomp.

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Travel

2. the golDeN riNg – the oNioN Domes oF churches

The fans of Russian Orthodoxy who wish to feel the stillness and profundity of the Russian faith, often go on a tour around cities which are famous for their unique monasteries and churches of the 12th-17th centuries. These cities have rather poetic names: Sergiyev Posad, Alexandrov, Kostroma, PereslavlZalessky, Uglich, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Rostov Veliky, Suzdal and Vladimir.

3. NovgoroD veliKY – its’ owN architect

The history of the city is closely connected with the history of Russian statehood; one of which pillars is Orthodoxy. For this reason you can find a lot of churches, monasteries and other places of worship in Novgorod Veliky. The most extraordinary is Sofiysky Cathedral which was built in the 11th century. There are remains of six of Russian saints and many important icons including the miracle working icon of Our Lady of the Sign.

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Travel

4. volga cruise – music plaYs oN a motorBoat The music plays almost constantly on the top decks. Events and discos are held here. At night the motorboat goes fast and during the day it stops at coastal cities. In Volgograd you can visit Mamayev Kurgan and see the giant statue of Motherland. In Astrakhan you can buy fish and watermelons if you go during the season. In the warmer months you can swim in the Volga.

5. laKe BaiKal – the pearl oF siBeria Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest freshwater lake on the planet with a unique untouched flora, fauna and tasty omuls which the locals catch and then cure by smoking. Walks along ecological routes and communication with the locals who are not corrupted by civilization will guarantee you a complete merger with nature. You can also visit an inhabitable Buryat yurt.

6. YeKateriNBurg – traDitioNal churches aND soviet avaNt-garDe The city combines two in one. This is for those you, who in one go want to see traditional Orthodox churches and the architectural style of the builders of the ‘new world’ who tried to destroy these churches. Yekaterinburg has the biggest collection of monuments from Soviet constructivism, also besides the traditional museums (Museum of Local Lore and Museum of Art History) there is a Keyboard museum too.

7. sochi – From all-uNioN health resort to the olYmpic capital Besides the Olympic construction (for 2014) you can enjoy the remains of what several generations of ordinary Soviet workers used to enjoy for many years. There are sanatoria, wellness activities, walks along the waterfront, swimming in the sea, arboretum, mountain air, tropical flowers, humming-birds, and the world’s tastiest khachapuris! № 1 (26) Spring 2013

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Travel

8. traNs-siBeriaN railwaY – “i will FlY BacK!” You must have strong nerves to go on a train journey around Eurasia. Not everyone is able to spend almost a week in an enclosed space on wheels. However those brave people who do go on this rail journey are rewarded by seeing 80 cities, the Volga River, the Ural Mountains, Baraba steppe with its clouds, Yenisei River, Barguzinsky Mountains, the woods of Siberia, the Khekhtsir Range and Lake Baikal. After the journey you will have vivid memories and your body will still shake slightly as if you are still on the train, as they say the “train sickness”.

And of course…

9. st petersBurg - the cultural “NortherN palmYra”

Many of the Petersburgers do not consider themselves Russians, they tend to be Europeans. They go to Finland every weekend, they call cafes and hotels using Finnish place names and distinguish 100 shades of grey in clothes. Yet by building the Peter and Paul Fortress, Peter the Great was going to protect the city from the Swedes. Besides the Hermitage with its’ baroque and rococo styles and Voltaire’s library which was bought out by the educated Catherine, foreigners

enjoy visiting the Kunstcamera Museum. After looking at the two-headed dogs and embryos preserved in alcohol they go to the monument of Peter the Great which is surrounded by a fence of champagne bottles. No matter how

many times the place was cleared of them, newlyweds still hang their ‘trophies’ on the fence. The Palace Square is at its best at night, and the insides of the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral and Kazan Cathedral look better in daylight when rays of light play on the mosaics and paintings. However the best mosaic collection is in the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. If you want to get the feeling of the city you should go see a ballet at the Mariinsky theatre, watch the bridges raise, take a stroll along Nevsky Avenue; do not avoid going into the backstreets, as in Venice. There is a reason why the city is called the ‘Northern Venice’.

10. moscow – magNiFiceNce aND povertY the russiaN waY

In contrast to St Petersburg, Moscow is the city of wide avenues and massive Soviet buildings – from the Lenin Russian State Library which has 275km of shelves, to Stalin’s skyscrapers representing Stalin’s Empire style. All tourists however go see the Kremlin and Red Square first, not the building of the Lomonosov State University. Having been originally a market and an execution yard (the place of bread and circuses) now Red Square is the favourite place for foreign and local tourists. Even today it is the centre of Moscow life which allows you to plunge into the history of the city quickly and easily. Here you can visit the Mausoleum, the Russian Historical Museum (formerly the building of the Lomonosov State University), and multicoloured St Basil’s Cathedral whose architect is said to have his eyes poked out so that he could not recreate it, and TsUM (Central Universal Department Store) where the prices start with three-digit numbers. When you go to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour do not forget that this is a Cathedral after all, so please mind what you wear as you will not be allowed in with bare stomachs and backs. However if you are dressed like this you can visit Tverskaya Street which is famous for its fashionistas, boutiques and night life.

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№ 1 (26) Spring 2013


Guide

Spring 2013 guide

treasures of the royal courts: tudors, stuarts and the russian tsars 26 march – 14 July

T

he ever-fascinating subject of cultural diplomacy and trade between Britain and Russia, starting with their origins in 1555 when the Muscovy Company was founded, provides the impetus for this exhibition. The show reveals the pageantry of royal courts between the times of Henry VIII and Charles II, and Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) and the early Romanovs, exploring how monarchs sought to strengthen their power against a backdrop of religious and social upheaval. Some 150 objects are on display including the Barbor jewel – a pendant of enamelled gold set with an onyx cameo belonging to Elizabeth I – a hand-coloured map of Muscovy from 1570 and contemporary literature including Shakespeare's First Folio. tickets: £15 venue: V&A, Cromwell Rd, London, SW7 2RL info: www.vam.ac.uk

mumiy troll uK headline tour 21-25 may sir Jeremy greenstock, chairman of united Nations uK – russia’s role in the uN & the global community 15 may

S

ir Jeremy was a career diplomat from 1969 to 2004, developing specialisations in the Middle East, Transatlantic Relations and the United Nations. In addition to being the UK’s Ambassador to the UN and a UK Special Envoy to Iraq, his postings included Dubai, Washington, Saudi Arabia, Paris and New York. tickets: £10-15 venue: TBC info: www.wrforum.org.uk

R

ussia's most musically influential cult art rockers Mumiy Troll announce their biggest UK headline tour to date including the world famous Shepherds Bush Empire, London on 25 May 2013. Mumiy Troll continue their march into the West following the band’s recent sellout US, UK and Far East tours, plus the success of Mumiy Troll's 10th studio album “Vladivostok”, the band’s first album in English which was produced by bandleader/singer Ilya Lagutenko, Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes/Shins) and Brit Greg Brimson (Bush, Eminem). tickets: www.ticketweb. co.uk venue: Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, London info: www.mumiytroll.co

personal exhibition of Natalia ovsienko 21-31 may

A

lla Bulyanskaya Gallery and Mission of Rossotrudnichestvo in the United Kingdom are pleased to announce the exhibition of an extraordinarily talented Moscow artist and poet Natalia Ovsienko, who is sensitive, multi-talented and very demanding to herself when it comes to her occupation. The line from one of her poems: “I will express the soul on canvas ...” became the title of her exhibition and at the same time reveals the poetic soul of the author. tickets: Free venue: First Floor, 37 Kensington High Street, London W8 5ED info: www.gbr.rs.gov.ru


Debate: putin has Been good For russia 23 may

T

he provocative title should provide a heated debate on the effect of Vladimir Putin on Russia, a debate that rages around the world, not least in Russia, where many ordinary people are staunch supporters and believe their lives to be much better than they were under Boris Yeltsin. For the motion are Christopher Granville, MD and director, Russia/FSU Research at consultancy Trusted Sources and Boris Jordan, an American businessman of Russian origin who is president and CEO of the Sputnik Group. Opposing it are liberal journalists Masha Gessen, a Russian journalist and director of Radio Liberty's Russian Service, and Luke Harding, senior international correspondent at the Guardian, and the first Western journalist to be expelled from Russia since the Cold War. Writer and broadcaster Viv Groskop chairs. Expect sparks to fly! tickets: £25 venue: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7 2AR info: www.rgs.org

a solo double-bill on the harmfulness of tobacco by anton chekhov and the Queen of spades by alexander pushkin, performed by philip lowrie 29 may The distinguished actor Philip Lowrie, plays the hapless and hen-pecked Ivan Ivanovich Nyukhin in Chekhov's one-act play, in which a man is compelled by his domineering wife to deliver a lecture, at the end of which we have learned far more about him than about the subject of the evils of smoking! In the second part of this double-bill, Philip Lowrie gives a dramatic reading of Pushkin's haunting short story, first published in 1834, and later the subject of an opera by Tchaikovsky. In the course of his long career as an actor Philip Lowrie has worked in all sections of the profession. He has appeared several times in the theatre in London, in roles ranging from Horatio in Hamlet to Major Metcalf in The Mousetrap. He has played with most of the major repertory companies and made hundreds of television and radio broadcasts.

Live Music Parties Home Made Food Reservations: 020 7233 7000 8 Fountain Square, London, SW1W 9SH

tickets: £7-10 venue: Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1A 2TA info: www.pushkinhouse.org №10 (26) Spring 2013


Diary

RuSSiANMiND CLuB EvENT: “RuSSiANS WiTHouT STEREoTyPES” Photographer: Alexander Malkov

o

n 6th December RussianMind Club was launched in London with a multimedia event on “Russians without Stereotypes”, hosted by Rossotrudnichestvo in Kensington High Street. Coincidentally, the main cocktail of the networking part of the evening was mixed with cranberry juice; in Russian “cranberry” is a buzzword for tell-tale stereotypes. Overall the bottom line of the speeches, discussions and comments is as follows: the grotesque clichés like a balalaikaplaying drunk bear aren’t a problem. Similar caricatured stereotypes exist for every nation, and every educated person is fully aware of what such an image is worth; an attempt to explain it to the ones that do not grasp the shallow nature of such obvious clichés is wasting breath – so sapienti sat. So before starting a crusade against stereotypes one should categorise them into three groups: the first one comprises harmless comical images (bears, extreme cold); the second group embraces typical features of the national character that are somewhat true (a sombrous philosophy); the third one includes the clichés that actually harm cross-cultural business and

communication (Cold war hangover, ‘Russian brides’). The notorious rough manners lie betwixt the second and the third categories, with the straightforwardness natural to most Russians making a special contrast with the British notion of communication. Even if we omit the extremes like the anecdotal behaviour at Sharm-El-Sheikh resorts, this is still true. The idea of small talk is not commonplace for Russians, whilst for Europeans and Americans it’s fundamental. The second category has rather positive connotations: these are features strongly pronounced in

everyday life and cultural heritage. For example, mysticism and transcendentalism. It’s hard to deny these chimes with reality. The only authority that can overrule the third category is soft power. Most importantly, it’s not just the elite soft power (which Russia is quite famous for – literature, science, visual art). What Russia lacks is mass soft power: fashion designers, pop singers etc. Semiotics, “national branding” and emissaries were in fact the main focus of the discussions of the RussianMind Club on 6th December. For example, what message does the Olympic uniform transmit?


Diary

According to Chris Arning from Creative Semiotics, Russia is now communicating more about itself and becoming more assiduous and skilful in how it promotes its’ culture abroad. However the changes in national image do not happen overnight. Rethinking national symbols is always appealing to foreigners. For example, the food experiments of Russian Revels were a great success; at the event they were offering delicious nibbles to the guests, including turnip soup with black caviar, meatballs with cranberry sauce, seabuckthorn cheesecake. These experiments are capable of making Russian cuisine trendy and a very good example of soft power. As Chris Arning put it, “this story conjures up the hospitality and warmth of Russia, grandmotherly love and the simplicity of home cooking”. For those who have had a bad experience of Russia or are harbouring stereotypes about it, this warmth dissolves the hard stares and black tinted windows of Moscow’s streets in people’s minds.


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Join RussianMind Club Today! Are you British and interested in Russia and the CIS countries? Are you Russian and looking for new networking opportunities? Would you like to open an unknown edge of the CIS countries?

What is RussianMind Club? It is a membership club, which holds regular events related to the most exciting themes about Russia & the CIS countries and their people and also offers you exclusive update on all Russia-related events happening in the United Kingdom.

Every RussianMind event includes: • panel discussions of up-to-date topics involving high-profiled speakers • a reflection of Russian culture in theatrical performances and visual art • the tasting of traditional Russo-Soviet cuisines • efficient networking

The guests of the event are established professionals,

who are working in the different fields: businesses, corporations, cultural institutions, as well as international organisations, universities etc.

Become a member Annual Membership: £98.00 Corporate Membership: £298.00

What do you get? • 1 year free entrance to all events organized by RussianMind • Subscription to quarterly RussianMind magazine • Opportunity to promote your own events and products among established middle-class professionals

For more information: www.russianmind.com Contacts: olga@russianmind.com

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№10 (25) Spring 2013


№1 (26), Spring 2013, www.RussianMind.com  

№1 (26), Spring 2013, www.RussianMind.com

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