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Tourism poised for a big boost

Getting more Indians to explore marvels of Russia

Come to Roerich Estate, a sacred ground for admirers of visionary painter




A blend of natural beauty, tradition and modernity P.08

A Report from The Tmes of India. In association with Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Distributed with BANGALORE

Sakhalin: Crown Jewel of Far East ria novosti


Festive colours light up Kullu

vicktor solomatov


Russia India

...Marching towards a common future

New Delhi

Wednesday, OCTOBER 26, 2011

Politics Liberal Democrat? Communists or Right Cause? Take your pick

Energy Separating politics from facts

Polls: Eyeing the big catch

Kudankulam: Let's not miss the bus... The anti-nuclear protests at Russia-built Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu has left Armenia and ex-Soviet republics bewildered. It's time for India to learn from the mistakes of others. Alexander Yemelyanenkov rir

The ancient town of Metsamor in the Caucasus, near the site of the active Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, is thousands of miles away from the con-

struction site of the Kunadkulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. But it’s with a mix of bewilderment and sympathy that the town’s residents have learnt that the nearly complete energy project, badly needed for the region’s development, has become hostage to politicking by environmental groups and to gullible yet misinformed locals. continued on PAGE 2

Opinion kommersant

From left to right: President Dmitry Medvedev, “A Just Russia” leader Sergei Mironov, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, Lower House Speaker Boris Gryzlov.

With parliamentary polls set for December 4, political parties are tomtoming their agendas and slogans. But ideology has been replaced by a thirst for power. vladimir ruvinsky rir

What can you think about a party calling itself Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)? A bastion of liberal and democratic values? But in Russia, the LDPR is a selfnamed“party of statists”.And the state is the chief spokesman for the interests of people

and civil society. Moreover, the so-called“liberals”seek support from the nationalists.The party’s leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, recently announced that his party will initiate a law“On State Support for Russian People”. And what can you expect from

the Communists? Protecting the interests of ordinary people and working for a classless, atheist society. The Russian Communists (CPRF) are actively engaged in business, and support the Orthodox Church.

Juggling China and Eurasia Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited China soon after announcing his candidacy for the 2012 presidency. In another signature initiative, he unveiled the idea of a Eurasian Union of ex-Soviet nations in a keynote article he wrote for Izvestia. Is Putin turning to East? Find out...

SEE PAGE 6 continued on PAGE 4



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in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_OCTOber 26_2011

Kudankulam: Why repeat costly mistakes of others? CONTINUED from PAGE 1

in brief finance BRICS forge stock exchange alliance Five of the world’s largest emerging markets have forged an alliance to crosslist their respective equitybased products. At the 51st Annual General Meeting of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) in Johannesburg, Brazil’s stock exchange BM & FBOVESPA, Russia’s MICEX, Hong Kong’s exchange corporation HKEx, Johannesburg’s JSE, India’s

National Stock Exchange NSE and the Bombay Stock Exchange have announced an alliance. In the initial stages, the members of the alliance intend to set up a cross-listing of derivatives, ie, each exchange will be able to launch futures on the other members’ indexes. The alliance’s purported goals are to improve liquidity and attract global investors to emerging markets.RIR

telecom Sitronics to set up R&D centre in India by 2012

press service

The perplexed reaction to the protests in India is almost the same among residents in Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine.Instead of celebrating the successful completion of a signature Russian-Indian project, sabotage attempts have been made under the guise of populist slogans, burying years of efforts by thousands of Indian and Russian workers, engineers and scientists, to say nothing of billions of rupees invested in this promising venture. “This is reminiscent of the political passions that swept across the former Soviet republics in the late 1980s.The Armenian NPP was shut down in 1989 for political reasons...” says Vladimir Grachev, a renowned ecology expert. “For six years the population of Armenia and the entire postSoviet Trans-Caucasus region suffered from power shortages,”adds Grachev. Eventually, a majority of people voted to restart the power plant. It was brought back online in 1995 with assistance from Russia, and is now generating around 40% of Armenia’s total electricity output. In June, after the Fukushima disaster, IAEA experts conducted a thorough inspection of the Armenian NPP and recommended extending its service life. Unfortunately, the anti-nuclear rallies of the 1980s led to the suspension of several nuclear power plants in Russia. Bringing them back to life 10 or 15 years later required a lot of additional public spending. Thankfully, Russia has proved capable of doing this. But take the Bulgarian government, which to this day hasn’t been able to raise financing to resume construction of the Belene NPP,which was sabotaged at a very early stage. At another Bulgarian NPP, the Kozlodui,built by the Russians, political pressure has led to premature shutdown and withdrawal from service of two perfectly operable VVER-440 power generation units. Similar units have been running problem-free at the Paks NPP in Hungary and at nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic.Two similar units at Finland’s Loviisa NPP have set a record in both the length of accident-free service and economic efficiency. Sensible politicians inVilnius The State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM Website of Sitronics JSC, the largest high-tech company in Eastern Europe

The Kudankulam atomic power project has become a hub of protesters of all stripes.


Vladimir Putin

Sergei Kondratyev

In an interview during his China visit

Expert, Institute of Energy and Finances Foundation



We all remember and are saddened by the tragedy that took place in Japan… Our goal is not to get scared and shut down everything. Conversely, our goal is to use the latest technologies that would preclude any chance of unwanted developments."

The problem is not only that huge amounts of money have been spent on the project (expenditures exceed Rs 131 billion). This power plant has become the largest investment project in India's history. It's launch would directly impact the development of manufacturing

and services in Tamil Nadu, one of India’s most developed regions ranking third or fourth in terms of industrial production. Electric power consumption there has increased by a factor of 1.4 over the past six years, with the shortfall reaching 5% and rising to 10–12% during the peak hours.”

A roster of safety solutions

the EU and has been begging them for funds to build a new nuclear power plant at home. Both the Baltic and the Kudankulam NPPs are totally different in terms in their design and execution from the generation of nuclear power plants that include the disaster-ravaged Fukushima. The Russian project epitomises a blend of active safety systems and advanced technical solutions based on“passive”protection principles.These solutions have already been implemented in the first two power units of the Kudankulam.According to the World Nuclear Association,this brings them as close as possible to the fourth-generation projects in terms of the “overall likelihood of a significant damage to the active zone”. What’s more, the Kudankulam project takes the region’s specifics into account as much as possible. It uses time-tested technology, systems and draws upon the experience of designing, manufacturing, and operating other power plants with

water-to-water reactors. It also makes an allowance for the peculiarities of local tropical ocean waters that contain large quantities of sea plants, shellfish,and marine fauna.The Kudankulam’s hydro technical facilities perform a wide range of functions and comprise custom-developed fish protection systems. Above all, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) decided that,given the arid climate and the needs of the local developed agriculture, the plant wouldn’t be consuming water from the local lakes but would rather be self-sufficient in terms of fresh water supply. The design comprises a seawater desalination system. By the way,“big waters”from the Indian Ocean once came dangerously close to the shore where the power plant is located.It was behind the Kudankulam’s dependable breakwaters that the local population was hiding back then. Is the human memory span really that short?

1. Dual containment and protective shieldings. 2. System for passive heat removal from the reactor vessel. 3. Reactor core meltdown trap. 4. Passive system for fast highpressure boron injection. 5. Additional vessels ensuring prolonged passive feed of borated water into the reactor. 6. Passive filtration system for the inter-containment area. 7. Closed technical water intake structure – essentially a breakwater.

also are speaking today of the need to learn from others’ mistakes.They regret that they had succumbed to pressure from the European Union and shut down two problem-free power units at the Ignalina NPP without any apparent reason. Now Lithuania has to buy much more expensive electricity from

Sitronics Telecommunication Solutions, a leading provider of a variety of telecommunications, utilities and EMS solutions in Russia & the CIS, is set to launch a R&D centre in India by 2012 that will help provide OSS/BSS solutions to its clients in Russia, Europe and Africa. Sitronics has launched a centre of competence in India in collaboration with Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL, an MTS brand). “We now have 60 people working there, and we have several sites, in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The centre is helping MTS to transform the parameters of OSS/ BSS systems to match the requirements of the market,”

said Mikhail Bondarenko, the company’s general director. In 2012, it will be transformed into an R&D centre with help of Tech Mahindra. The centre will provide services to Sitronics clients located in Russia, Europe and Africa. Under an MoU inked with Tech Mahindra on Oct 18, Sitronics will act as a supplier of Operating Support Systems (OSS)/Business Support Systems (BSS) and its partner will act as the distributor of these solutions for Indian companies. “We hope Tech Mahindra will help us to introduce solutions not only in India, but also other countries,” said Timur Vikulov, head of the Sitronics representative office in India. CNEWS



A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India and founder of the Brahmos Aerospace joint venture, turned 80 on October 15. Kalam, better known as the “father of the Indian missile programme”, organised many Indo-Russian collaborative R&D projects. In particular, as head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), he initiated the creation of BrahMos. In September 1993 the

Indian government, at the initiative of Kalam, floated a proposal (memorandum) to create a joint venture with NPO Mashinostroyenia for the development and sale of guided antiship missiles to member-states, as well as third-party countries. In February 1998, Kalam signed an agreement to implement the project. The creation of the joint venture marked the dawn of a new era in Indo-Russian cooperation. RIR

bookmarks More on Russia's plans to expand its tourism industry «Visit Russia» International Forum in Yaroslavl

Russia india report


in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_OCTOber 26_2011


Travel 120,000 Russians come to India every year, but only 50,000 Indians visit Russia, comprising of only 5,000 tourists

Indo-Russian tourism set for a surge Twice as many Russians visit India than vice-versa! Russia needs to package its tourism marvels by providing more information to attract a larger number of Indian tourists. elena krovvidi rir



Indo-Russian tourism cooperation has registered a surge, driven by a slew of important initiatives. Last December, during President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to India an agreement to ease visa requirements for students, business people and tourists was signed. In October this year, the Russian Parliament ratified a bilateral visa simplification pact. The same can be said about Indian initiatives, with Indian ambassador Ajai Malhotra introducing new rules according to which tourist visas to India will be processed within three business days and will be valid for six months for three or multiple entries. During the recent visit of Indian Minister for Tourism Subodh Kant Sahai to Russia, a decision was taken to hold an IndianRussian Tourism Forum, and organise regular tourist road shows in both countries. But the difference in tourist flows is striking: compared to 120,000 Russians travelling to India every year, there are only 50,000 Indian visitors to Russia per year, and tourists make just 5,000 of that number.This is a challenge for the Russian tourism market. So what do Indian tourists find appealing in Russia and what turns them off? Here are a few points that matter to Indian visitors.

Will climb evey mountain: Russian winter is not as cold and scary as it is often painted. It's not easy to frighten Indians.

Disseminating information about the country and breaking negative images hold the key. Firstly, Indians don’t feel like travelling to the land of eternal cold and communism but they are eager to breathe in the atmosphere of history in the Russian Golden Ring cities, enjoy the Moscow Circus performances, admire bridges in Saint Petersburg or marvel at the astonishing beauty of the Baikal Lake. “In tourism business, it is cru-


Vasily Pronin Head of the Consular Division of the Russian Embassy in New Delhi

press service

The flow of Russian tourists to India is rising by the year. During the last tourist season, from November 2010 to April 2011, 65,000 Russians visited India. This year, we expect over 80,000. More good news for Russian tourists: India has recently resumed its practice of issuing six-month tourists visas for Russian travellers, which had been annulled several years ago.

cial for a country to learn to present itself as a tourism destination,” says Reghunathan Pillai, the president of the Indian tourism company DR Tours and Services.“Disseminating information on what a country has to offer and breaking the negative stereotypes are key factors for attracting and maintaining a steady inflow of visitors." So a lack of reliable information on Russian historical monuments and cultural legacy, added with misguided ideas about costs and safety of travelling, prompts Indians to have second thoughts about making this country their


It is also very important that this is a reciprocal process as the number of Indian tourists coming to Russia also rises every year. Despite comparatively low numbers, growth is impressive still: some 5,100 Indian tourists visited Russia last year, and Russian consular services in India issued 5,400 tourist visas from January to September 2011, and there will be more by the end of the year.


Indians are becoming more interested in travelling to far-off locations, including to Russia. And India’s tourist potential is huge, with its middle-class estimated at over 100 million people. Many Indian companies send their employees on corporate tours, as encouragement. Such tours to Russia numbering 200-300 people have become a common practice already.

dian restaurants in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and especially in smaller cities and towns gives a monopoly position to a few restaurants catering to the Indian palate. Khrustovskaya says this means expensive Indian meals compared to the food chains offering Russian and European cuisine. Despite common stereotypes, severe climate and crime rate do not frighten Indian tourists as much as they are believed to. True, tourism companies emphasise the need to take warm clothes or warn visitors to be careful. But still safety isn’t such a big issue for trav-


There are certain problems, including the lack of affordable hotels in Russia. It is also difficult to find vegetarian cuisine in Russian cities, while many Indians are vegetarians. Besides, many hotel personnel or even guides in Russia do not speak English, to say nothing of Hindi. Was it not for such annoying problems, the number of Indian tourists to Russia would rise sharply.

in The Economic Times

WEBSITE of the embassy of the Russian Federation in India

travel destination of preference. Pillai believes that Russia isn’t promoted abroad the way it should be whereas the Indian Embassy in Russia provides a lot of opportunities for people wishing to visit India to find answers to their questions about travelling to this country. Yana Khrustovskaya, General Director of Russian INCOTUR tourism company, says that a small number of Indian eateries in Russian cities is another common problem that Russian tourism companies frequently come across with while organising tours for Indian groups. The deficit of In-


Every second Wednesday

elling in Russia. “It’s not so easy to frighten Indians,”says Pillai with a smile.“Once they set their foot somewhere, they are very comfortable with exploring new places and new opportunities.” But one of the things visitors need to know to be able to set their foot in Russia is that they will be able to find appropriate accommodation there. With a growing number of middle-class Indians travelling with families every year as well as numerous business conventions being held at the hotels, there is a growing need for building a better infrastructure. At the moment, there is a severe shortage of comfortable hotels at reasonable prices, even in Moscow, not to mention far-off locations such as Siberia or the Altai mountains. As for travelling off the beaten path, mountain climbing in the Altai Mountains is becoming more popular among Indian lovers of extreme tourism, as well as visiting the Baikal Lake within the frames of ecotourism, in spite of its location away from the mainstream tourism destinations. The requests to visit those places are not so frequent, adds Pillai. But still Indians express their desire to stray off the main tourism destinations and explore unfamiliar routes. In a country with a rich and varied historical legacy and stunning natural landscapes that can easily compete with the Swiss Alps, the prospects for tourism development are very inspiring, and the restraints that hold it back can be overcome with time.


An annual international tourist exhibition will be held in India in February 2012. For the first time, our companies will exhibit together under the aegis of the Russia Federal Agency for Tourism. We hope that after the exhibition the number of contacts will surge. Full interview on

Novem ber 9


Russia india report



in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_OCTOber 26_2011

elections Ria Novosti news agency The Moscow Times newspaper Online newspaper

United Russia Party

Leaders: VLADIMIR PUTIN, Dmitry Medvedev Membership: 2.009.937  Regional branches: 83

The parliamentary vote in December is almost certain to be dominated by the ruling “United Russia party” and will set the stage for a presidential election early next year.

Continued from Page 1

Political parties hardly reflect their names in Russia.“Right Cause” party supposedly unites right-wing liberals. But its manifesto focuses on social protection and anti-clericalism. The lack of a clear ideology is often compensated for by the colourful personality of the leader. The“United Russia”,which is headed de facto by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the former and possibly future president, claims to be centrist. Popularly referred to as the “party of power”,this name reflects something completely other than“the ruling party”– the party that wins the elections. Rather, it seems the situation is somewhat skewed. The party has power not because it wins the elections; the party wins the elections because it has power. And the word“power”means the party has gathered together the country’s entire“ruling”elite. Seventy of the country’s 85 governors are members of the party, as are the State Duma

speaker, a large number of ministers, and key government officials. Experts say that“United Russia”is a party sans ideology, one that promotes any slogan the authorities put forward. In the last decade, the number of political players in Russia has become less and less, and those who have stayed have learned to be more“obedient”. “This, firstly, is because real politics is concentrated in the hands of ‘United Russia’, which does not tolerate competition and, secondly, it is because there was no public demand for an independent party. Instead, the public mentality demanded strong figures, party leaders, and this is why they became even easier to control,”says Alexei Mukhin, head of the Center for Political Information. Legislative barriers to the creation of political parties, meanwhile, have grown ever higher; the threshold for entrance into the Duma has been raised to 7% of the vote, and the procedures for registering parties for elections has been complicated further.The minimum turnout

threshold has been abolished, as have the“against all”field on ballot papers, the direct election of governors and mayors of large cities and members of the upper house of parliament, and the results become more predictable. Formally, seven parties will be vying for seats in the Duma in the December elections, four of which are currently represented in parliament:“United Russia”,LDPR, CPRF and “A Just Russia”. Polls show that “United Russia”is set to win by a landslide, followed by the CPRF and the LDPR. According to political analyst Alexei Chesnakov, “A Just Russia”party was created by the presidential administration under the leadership of the former speaker of the Federation Council, Sergey Mironov, as a“niche group”in response to public demand for a party committed to environmental issues. After Mironov began his“independent game”, he was removed from the post as Speaker, and the party began to lose popularity. Chesnakov says that the battle of ideas, political competition

and meaningful discussions have given way in recent years to a Duma in which everybody’s place has long since been confirmed. Having lost the post of speaker, Mironov became a fierce opponent to “United Russia”and Putin. Surveys of Levada Center showed that nearly half of Russians are in favour of maintaining the status quo in Russian politics, and the other half is thirsting for change. The election campaign is not built around an ideology, but around the confrontation between the “party of power” and everyone else. But now the stakes are higher than ever before. The term for deputies in the State Duma has been increased to five years, while the presidential term (starting from 2012) has been increased to six years. Putin and his team, therefore, could stay in power for another 12 years. “United Russia”does have the highest rating: according to recent polls, it has the support of about 35-40% of the population, although the number of its supporters has dwindled recently. It is critical for the

dmitry divin

Names and Games politicians play

party that the voter turnout exceeds 50%, as this will allow it to proclaim that the choice was made by the majority. Polls show waning confidence in the government’s legislative institutions – the State Duma and the Regional Legislative Assemblies. According to the Levada Center, 52% of respondents are ready to participate in the December elections (versus 53% in 2007), and the number of undecided has increased by 5 percentage points. Political analyst Aleksei Mukhin says the most significant issues for society are social justice and nationalist ideas. Social justice, he says, is the domain

of“A Just Russia”,but“United Russia”has started to use these slogans actively. The Liberal Democratic Party, the Communist Party, and “Right Cause”are all seeking nationalist support: LDPR wants to protect“Russians”legally, the Communist Party advocates “Russian socialism”,and even members of“Right Cause”are against immigration from the Caucasus.And Putin – in order to improve the rating of his ruling party – has created the so-called All-Russia People’s Front, a social movement, nonparty members of which can run for seats in the Duma on “United Russia”party lists.

Tech-savvy polls: Get ready for optic scan voting system Russia's electronic voting system has a better track record than in many countries considered more "developed". Aleksei Morozov rir

Innovations are sometimes born in distressing times. In 1994, when the budget for all of Russia was commensurate to that of NewYork City alone, the Russians devised the Elections State Automated System (SAS). It was tested a year later. Before this, electoral rolls were printed on typewriters and ballot papers were hand-counted (in 1993, for ex-

ample, it took 12 days to count the votes).The system's speedy development and launch was helped, of course, by Soviet technological innovations. But world-leading IT companies HP, Oracle, and Cisco Systems also contributed. "With the creation of the Elections SAS, we became pioneers. And to this day, not a single country in the world has a system like ours," says a proud Mikhail Popov, head of the Federal Centre of Information Technologies under the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation. It may sound a shade exaggerated, but the facts remain that

the SAS has served more than 20,000 election campaigns without major technological failures. In 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed that the system be upgraded to enhance the transparency of the electoral process and strengthen public oversight. Last year, a state programme was launched to introduce electronic vote counting, establish a secure network for data transfer and storage, and create infrastructure for remote voting via mobile phone for those who cannot make it to polling stations.This is particularly important in Russia,

where the closest inhabited locations may be thousands of kilometres apart. Many polling stations are now equipped with webcams. In theory, voters can watch the counting of votes without leaving their computers. But the effectiveness of this measure is limited by Internet penetration rates: according to Yandex, Russia’s most popular search engine, just 40% of the population aged 18 or older (that is, those eligible to vote) has access to the Web. One of the major technical innovations that will be in operation for the December State Duma elections is an optical

scan voting system. All you have to do is bring your ballot to the scanner for the Russiawide data network to record all the information from it.This, of course, increases processing speed, but more importantly, it prevents possible fraud. If violations occur,there is documentary evidence to prove them. In previous elections,"ballot stuffing" has been observed, but not a single fraud case has ever reached the courts. It is interesting to compare the Russian system with its foreign counterparts.The American system was developed by Diebold, which created sensory terminals (e-voting ma-

chines).The European system, called E-Poll, is technically perfect, but it is being implemented slowly. A pioneer in the automation of elections is India, whose first prototypes were tested as far back as 1989. However, the huge population of the country coupled with poor Internet connectivity in rural areas and a shortage of computer systems have made progress slow; a fully automated system is still in the future. This is also true of Brazil, which along with India is considered a leader among the "new economies" in developing automated voting systems.

bookmarks President of Russia official website The official website of the Prime Minister of Russia Voice of Russia website

Russia india report


in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_OCTOber 26_2011


Patriots of Russia party

Leader: Gennady Semigin Membership: 86.394                          Regional branches: 79

Liberal Democratic Party of russia (LDPR) Leader: Vladimir Zhirinovsky Membership 185.573 Regional branches: 83

“Right Cause” party Leader : ??? Membership: 64.022                             Regional branches: 77

Just Russia party

Leader: Sergei Mironov Membership: 414.558                           Regional branches: 832

‘Yabloko” (“Apple”) Party

Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)

Leader: Grigory Yavlinsky Membership: 54.911 Regional branches: 75

Leader: Gennady Zyuganov Membership: 154.244 Regional branches: 81

Multi-party system: What Russia can learn from the Indian experience As Russia gears up for the December 4 polls, it’s time to look at the experience of India and the West in evolving a multi-party system and forging a dynamic opposition. Andrei Volodin specially for RIR

On December 4, Russia will hold its parliamentary elections, which will undoubtedly impact the future of the country. It’s easy to understand that the elections will place on record the public’s dissatisfaction with its present-day“miserable”standing and the society’s hope for changes for the better. This year has witnessed a “global wave”of social and political unrest and social instability, writes American economist Nouriel Roubini. The common characteristic of these protests is that“they express the serious concerns of the world’s working and middle classes about their prospects in the face of the growing concentration of power among economic, financial, and political elites”. In Russia, the society is becoming ever more insistent in its

demands for concrete action on the part of the government for the country’s modernisation and a sharp strategy of midand long-term development. The basic load-carrying structure of predictable development, both in the West and East, including India, is the middle-class, which, as Eric Hobsbawm once noted, should comprise of at least 50% of the economically active population. In India, this figure is slightly lower, just over 30%. However, the impressive absolute value of this stratum – over 300 million people – makes the national political system that much more predictable. During the Soviet era in Russia, the middle class was formed under the influence of the industrial development of the country, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, middle-class came to embody the ideas and practices of the democratic and political transformations. Later, this“Sovietmade” middle-class, with its extraordinary intellectual and spiritual potential, was subject to“decomposition”caused by “liberal reforms”and expatria-

tion of a considerable part of conscious people. Unfortunately, this situation, i.e. actual loss of the middle-class, the main proponents of the civil society, makes the future behaviour of the Russian political system hard to predict. While evaluating the current position and opportunities of the political parties in Russia, we should adequately take into account both western and Indian experience, and the history of one of the oldest parties in the world – the Indian National Congress (INC). The Congress is more than just one of India’s leading parties.The INC evolved from a“debating society”for the colonial elite to a party for the masses supported by the people from all sociopolitical groups of Indian society, largely thanks to the national movement leaders and, first of all, to Mahatma Gandhi. The compelling strategy that Gandhi introduced during the struggle for independence – the tactic of “pressure-compromise-pressure” did not only bring the cherished sovereignty nearer, but also nurtured democratic traditions, such as

tolerance and insistence on truth, in the minds of the Indian masses. Over the last two decades, greed has squeezed out any remnants of the concept of service to society. Both Indian andWestern experience have shown that sustainable and“organic”democracy is achieved by diversifying the economy, which we should undertake after two decades of liberal reforms. Unlike India, Russian politics has a weakness in that opposition, in the modern sense of the word, i.e. a responsible and forwardthinking political force, is yet to be formed. Of course, the Russian left have already come a long way from their rock-bottom image in the 1990s (culminating in rallies, which brandished slogans such as “Put Yeltsin’s Gang on Trial”) to putting forward ideas for remodernising and re-industrialising the country. Although not everyone understands the tools of the country’s transformation, I am sure the future of Russia lies beyond a left-ofcenter policy in the way this is manifested in India and Western Europe. I firmly believe that not one political party in Russia is currently able to single-handedly cope with the socio-economic problems afflicting our country even as these problems are complicated by external circumstances (the world crisis). This is why we need to elaborate tools for cooperation between the parties that will be transparent for the society.This

work is all the more essential since - as the Indian experience shows - the lower segments of the social“pyramid”shall move from passivity to the state of organised activity and then the “Russian system”shall not be in a position to stop them from turning into a mighty and an independent political force. The Indian experience shows that it is possible to avoid political risks through timely transition from “reforms” to development, i.e. economic growth based on industrialscale production, to maximum

possible employment and relatively equal, i.e. politically safe, distribution of the national income. These will make possible transition to a two-coalition political system generic not only for India, but also such highly developed countries like Germany, Italy and Austria. However, it is important to remember that such complex multiparty system is not going to be created by orders from above – it comes as a result of patient compromise and unforced historical development.


Mood of the nation 41% of those polled on Oct 8-9 would vote for United Russia, down from 50% in January 2011, an opinion survey said. Communists (15%), Liberal Democrats (13%) and A Just Russia party (7%) have a fighting chance to enter parliament.



Russia india BUSINESS report in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE economic times wednesday_OCTOber 26_2011

bookmarks Johnson’s Russia List Analysis of business, economic, political and cultural trends Strategic Culture Foundation magazine

Putin model of China Diplomacy Fyodor lukyanov


veryone is trying to guess how Russia’s foreign policy might change after Vladimir Putin takes over as President. Most expect Putin’s Russia to resume its antiWestern policy. It is symbolic that Putin’s first visit in his new capacity as future president was to China and that, in his first keynote article, he offered to create a Eurasian Union of ex-Soviet nations. The question of how the ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ combine in Putin’s vision is much more subtle and complex in nature. In the eyes of observers,Putin-2 of the second term (2004-2008) completely overshadowed Putin-1 of the first term (20002004) with his strongly proWestern agenda, from close cooperation to prospects for European integration and concessions to the US (the closure of military bases in Cuba and Vietnam,loyal position on CentralAsia) and advances toTokyo on settling the Kuril problem. The result, however, was disappointing. Who should be held responsible? In retrospect, one can hardly blame Putin for not trying to bring Russia into the western orbit during his first term. The lack of the desired result shaped Putin-2 as the author of the anti-American speech in Mu-

nich. The foreign policy message of Putin’s second term was: so you don’t want to treat us like equals? Then I’ll make you! And he did. What was the role of the Eastern pallet, especially China, in Russia’s foreign policy of the 2000s? The early Putin was largely pro-Western, but at the same time, Russia was also building ties with Asia, especially China and India, creating regional structures of varying cohesion, from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to BRIC. By doing so, Moscow was making it clear to the US (in terms of military and political activities) and Europe (in terms of energy) that it had alternatives. However, regardless of Moscow’s relations with the US a n d E u ro p e , C h i n a h a s emerged as Russia’s major neighbour, wielding a strong influence and is likely to wield an even stronger one. Putin is not one of those who is fascinated by China and he is fully aware of the risks inherent in the rapid and very impressive growth of the Asian neighbour. But he also understands that Russia will have to seek ways for peaceful and friendly coexistence with Beijing. Second, there is no another growth and development engine in Asia that could rival China. Finally, if Russia wants to upgrade its Far East region, it can't do so without China.

Putin understands Russia will have to seek peaceful and friendly co-existence with Beijing.

Lofty phrases about modernisation and technological alliance with China in practical terms mean institutionalisation of the existing model: Russian raw materials in exchange for Chinese products. The issue is the conditions, not the essence. Instead of dreaming about SiliconValleys, Russia should go ahead with real modernisation, focusing on efficient use of raw materials

and market diversification, in terms of both geography and product range. It is not the US and Japan that should be chosen as models but rather Australia and Canada, as highly developed nations with their growth based on natural resources. In this sense, China is vital, with its growing consumption and excess cash. Putin has made no secret about his view of hydrocar-

bons as Russia’s main resource and guarantor of political weight in the 21st century. Out of caution, Moscow chose to abandon its slogan of being an energy superpower, but the essence has not changed. Unlike in Europe, where Russia has been pursuing pipeline diplomacy since the 1960s, it is only beginning to feel its way in Asia. One overture is Moscow’s recent proposal that Pyongyang become Russia’s main partner in constructing a trans-Korean gas pipeline, in exchange for a rethink on the nuclear programme and a peaceful settlement.Yet Russia’s ability to promote its goals in this way is rather limited: unlike in Europe, where Moscow has a solid footing, it is only beginning to gain political weight in Asia. Putin’s visit to China, therefore, turns a new page. His next term’s agenda will be dominated by efforts to develop a model of peaceful coexistence with Beijing – one that should work for decades. Soon, commentators will have to change tack and stop seeing visits to Beijing in the light of Russia’s ties with Europe and the US. Rather, they will consider whether Russia can use its contacts in the West to strengthen its position in China. Fyodor Lukyanov is chief editor of the magazine “Russia in Global Affairs”.

Eurasian dream: Is it real or just an election slogan? Sergei Markedonov

specially for RIR


his year marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, and it has become clear that the former Soviet republics, regardless of their attitudes towards their common past and each other, are linked by thousands of different threads. And it has become clear that independence, in and of itself, does not guarantee a new state economic prosperity, adequate domestic policies, or successful integration into global structures. Is it wise to talk about creating structures that will unify at least some of the former Soviet republics? Russian Prime MinisterVladimir Putin seems

to think so. Just after Putin announced his intentions to return to the presidency next spring, he published an article in the newspaper “Izvestia” entited "A New Integration Project for Eurasia – A Future That is Born Today”. Moscow holds geopolitical and economic leadership in the territory of the former Soviet space. But make no mistake – Putin is not calling for a return to the Soviet Union.“It would be naïve to try to revive or emulate something that has been consigned to history, but these times call for close integration based on new values and a new political and economic foundation,” writes Putin. In fact, he emphasises on the need for a close examination of the experience of a

united Europe, and points out that the proposed Common Economic Space will be based on the principle of open borders between its members. Putin also discusses the Commonwealth of Independent States, and many of his assessments are spot-on. Looking back, it’s clear that the CIS helped solve problems, such as dividing up the common Soviet armed forces and establishing national military bodies. But many problems such as trade policy were left unanswered.The member countries focused more on building bilateral relations, which undermined the CIS' effectiveness. In general, Putin’s article overlooks the changes that have occurred in the post-Soviet space in the last 20 years. A

common history cannot serve as a unifying factor over the long-term. The post-Soviet space is now more integrated into the global economy and politics than it was in the early 1990s. Important global players such as the US, the EU, China, India, Japan, Turkey, Iran, and multinational corporations have all staked their claims in the region. And the region is more fragmented. Even within the customs union that exists between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, which became operational in July 2010, there are disagreements, although these are more political than economic. It is important to note that economic cooperation is just one aspect of integration. It’s unlikely that the European

Coal and Steel Community would have become the European Union of today had the Europeans not resolved complicated political issues. Despite its aspirations, Putin’s text is still essentially a campaign manifesto, and it indicates that the Russian leadership may not fully understand the strategic implications of integration beyond the context of elections. The article is heavy on optimistic slogans and goals, but short on mechanisms and resources for achieving them. And the longer Putin takes in proposing a detailed rationale for his programme, the more the West will see it as a threat. The West has viewed any attempts by Moscow to bolster its activities in the post-Soviet

space with caution. This explains both the hard-line response from Washington and its NATO allies towards recognising the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is the first case of redrawing borders in the region since 1991. A new integrated structure in Eurasia is not in itself a bad idea. It could support and encourage their development. But such a structure requires not only optimistic predictions, but also serious reflection on the mistakes of the past and ways to properly address them. Sergei Markedonov is a visiting faculty at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

All articles appearing on page 6 do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the editors of Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Russia India Report.

bookmarks The International Roerich Memorial Trust website The Haffkine Institute for Training, Research and Testing

Russia india report


in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_OCTOber 26_2011

Event Estate set for 20th anniversary

Medicine Haffkine Institute was set up in India in 1925

Not many know about Dr Waldemar Haffkine, who came to India in the late 19th century to develop a cholera vaccine that saved thousands of lives from the killer blight. Ajay Kamalakaran

Tucked away in a corner of central Mumbai, amidst decaying 19th century buildings and industrial mills that have seen better days, is the Haffkine Institute for Research,Training &Testing.The institute, which started off as a plague research laboratory, is named after Dr Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine, a noble Russian scientist who saved thousands of Indian lives from the devastating epidemic. Born in Odessa in 1860, Dr Haffkine was educated in Berdyansk and St Petersburg. He initially worked in Russia under renowned biologist Dr Ilya Mechnikov, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1908. It was, however, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, where the Russian doctor made his first big scientific breakthrough. With cholera pandemics sweeping parts of Europe and Asia in the second half of the 19th century, Dr Haffkine deployed his scientific ingenuity and managed to develop a cholera vaccine in 1892.What’s more, the good doctor risked his life by testing the vaccine on himself. Unfortunately, the medical establishment in Europe did not care to recognise this act of courage and achievement. Dr Haffkine, therefore, decided to move to British India, which was in the throes of several epidemics. The cholera vaccine developed by Dr Haffkine in Paris was used in March 1893, when the Russian doctor fought what is described by the Haffkine Institute Mumbai, as a“lone battle”against cholera in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Thousands were inoculated in Kolkata and the news about this benign Russian doctor spread across the country. He then spent a winter in Assam, inoculating workers in tea gardens. He also treated people in the Gangetic Plain, and often had to deal with reluc-

press service


Dr Waldemar Haffkine. tant patients, who were mostly daily-wage labourers. Inoculation against cholera produced a reaction that lasted for two days. This initially discouraged labourers who were reluctant to lose two days o f p ay. A re p o rt by D r Haffkine’s colleague cited by the American Society for Microbiology showed that the mortality rate among those inoculated in Assam’s tea gardens was as low as 2%, compared to 22 to 45% among those who weren’t inoculated. The next stop for Dr Haffkine was Bombay (as it was known then), which was battling the bubonic plague.The city’s governor Lord Sandhurst invited the Russian doctor to come to the city and work on the plague vaccine. The plague created panic in Mumbai and official figures cited the number of plaguerelated deaths in the city between October 1896 and January 1897 at 3148. The British panicked during the plague and used the“sanitarian”approach, where they scoured Mumbai for daily plague cases, dumped any“native”suspected of having the plague in a

hospital, put all of their family members in “segregation camps”, while washing their walls and drainage lines with lime. This was probably the first trial run of the usage of concentration camps by the British, according to Dr Kalpana Swaminathan, an orthopaedic surgeon, who is the coauthor of “The Quarantine Papers”,a book that evokes the agony of Mumbai during the days of the plague.The British went as far as dragging people out of local trains and arresting any“native”who took the main north-south road and sent him off to the camp, if he didn’t have a pass. According to research conducted by Edythe Lutzerkand and Carol Jochnowitz for the American Society for Microbiology, Dr Haffkine felt the British attempts at disinfection were “hopelessly inadequate to the epidemiological realities of plague, and therefore, ultimately futile.”He was also upset by the misery and upheaval that the segregation camps caused the residents of Mumbai, who were“far more terrified of camps and hospit a l s t h a n t h e y w e re o f plague.”

With death-toll mounting and panic spreading across Mumbai, Dr Haffkine and his Indian staff had to act fast. They worked for three months before a breakthrough. It was the usage of unconventional methods that finally led to the vaccine being invented.“Experiments are being made in my laboratory with regard to the growth of plague microbes in or a particular product of milk, largely used by the native community - ghee or clarified butter,”Dr Haffkine told the Indian Plague Commission.“The addition of ghee to artificial cultivations increases greatly the fertility of the medium, but we are investigating now to what extent the microbes grow in ghee itself, in the form in which it is used for food.”These experiments worked and Dr Haffkine tested the plague vaccine on himself, before inoculating patients in the city. According to Lutzerkand and Jochnowitz, Dr Haffkine subjected himself to“fourfold auto-inoculation and experienced a painful week of febrile reaction”,before announcing his findings to the authorities.Volunteers from the Byculla jail were inoculated with the plague vaccine.While seven members of the control group died, it was said that the vaccine reduced risk by upto 50%. The doctor‘s empathy with the “natives”didn’t endear him to the colonial power. In fact, repeated pleas to the British to suspend segregation orders and travel restrictions for those who had been inoculated fell on deaf ears.He worked on anti-plague inoculation around Mumbai for the next five years, but the British were eager to get rid of him from the city. He spent the last eight years of his professional life in Kolkata as an independent researcher for the Indian government. Most of his ideas, including a call for the preservation of the anti-rabies serum, were rejected by the authorities. The 55-year-old Haffkine left India in 1915 and spent most of the remaining 15 years of his life in France. It wasn’t until 1925 that the institute where he worked in Mumbai was renamed in his honour. He died in 1930 in Lausanne,Switzerland. While the prevailing anti-Semitic climate in the Czarist Russia prevented him from being hailed as a national hero at that time, his vaccine saved thousands of lives during a cholera epidemic that gripped the Russian Empire in 1898. But recognition eventually came to him in many different ways. Dr Joseph Lister, the father of modern sterile surgery, lauded Dr Haffekine as“a saviour of humanity”.

Roerich festival lights up Kullu Valley in October

press service

The Russian doctor who saved Mumbai from plague


The guests enjoyed a picturesque kids' dancing programme.

The Roerich festival in Kullu Valley has become a sacred meeting ground for admirers of the Russian visionary painter and lovers of art and culture. Sergei Yakovlev Specially for rir

The birthday of Nicholas Roerich is always a special moment in the Kullu Valley, also known as the Valley of the Gods and spiritual home of the visionary Russian painter-philosopher. The three-day festivities early October,organised by the executive director and curator of the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT), Alena Adamkova, were varied. Hundreds of residents of Naggar and nearby cities and villages as well as guests from different corners of India and abroad gathered at the Roerich Estate on October 9, Roerich’s birthday. By tradition, the day began with a Prayer for Peace (Shanti-pooja) at the memorial stone on the grounds where Roerich was cremated, under the lindens planted by this remarkable Russian family who lived some 20 years in the KulluValley. On the little square by Roerich’s house-museum three flags were raised: the Russian flag, the Indian flag and the famous Flag of Peace. In the exhibition hall, guests were treated to an exposition of paintings (Dreams of India) by eminent Russian artist Pyotr Toropov. Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in India Denis Alipov lauded to the IRMT for preserving the legacy of Roerich in India and putting his ideas into practice. He stressed that the Russian side would continue to help turn the Roerich Memorial Trust in Naggar into a world-class cultural and educational center. Festival guests were shown the

latest publications by the Trust, which has published some 30 books, albums and reprints. In 2003, on Adamkova’s initiative, the Helena Roerich College of Art was created. Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin is a life trustee and vice president of the IRMT. He was personally acquainted with Svyatoslav Roerich and his wife, the former Indian film star Devika Rani Roerich. He has actively participated in the work of the Trust for more than two decades. For residents of the KulluVal-

An international competition will be held for a statue of Roerich to be placed on the estate. ley, the festivities at the Nicholas Roerich Estate act as a bridge to the world of culture. Hanging in the picture gallery are 49 original works by Nicholas Roerich and his son Svyatoslav Roerich. Since 2010, the house-museum has functioned under the honorary patronage of the Co-Chairmen of the Russian-Indian Inter-Governmental Commission. In 2012, the Roerich Estate will celebrate its 20th anniversary as a public institution. Plans have already been approved for an international competition for a statue of Roerich to be placed on the estate.“This is a very important event for which we are doing everything to prepare,”said Adamkova, who was awarded the 2010 Order of Friendship for her tireless efforts to develop Russian-Indian cultural ties. Full version on





IN ASSOCIATION WITH ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA, RUSSIA THE TIMES OF INDIA WEDNESDAY_OCTOBER 26_2011 Find more information about tourist opportunities in Russia Photos of Sakhalin

Region The real charm of this beautiful land lies in its spectacular nature

Sakhalin island: Crown jewel of Russia’s Far East

Most Indians know Sakhalin due to the ONGC gas project Sakhalin I. But this island has much more to offer: it blends beauty, tradition and modernity seamlessly.

Slide Show at


With unspoilt nature, a unique history and a multi-cultural population, Sakhalin, the Russian Far Eastern island, has a lot more to offer than just oil and gas. Sakhalin is synonymous in India with a hydrocarbon project, where the Indian oil major ONGC has a 20% stake. But not many know about the picturesque island that has been transformed by an economic boom and also boasts of two Indian restaurants catering to a small Indian community. The island, which stretches 948 kilometres from north to south, shot into prominence largely due to the discovery of oil and natural gas in the late1990s.Top players in the energy arena, including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and several Japanese majors, set up shop on the island. This transformed the island from what some in Moscow (a 9-hour flight away) called ‘a rock between some oil and fish’ or worse, a‘Katorga’(the Russian word for penal entrenchment colony), to a modern and an international hub with some of the best infrastructure in the region. While the island has turned into a magnet for business, the real charm of the island lies in its spectacular nature, which includes a sparkling coastline, untouched forests, towering mountains and volcanoes in the nearby Kuril Islands.



Three quarters of the island is wild terrain of forests and mountains, islands of seals, clear rivers and lakes.

The Indian connection There is a tiny but visible Indian community on the island, most of them being technical staff with the oil companies. To cater to their palate, Indian entrepreneurs started Taj Mahal and Bombay-1, restaurants which serve authentic Indian food and are also a popular with the locals for wedding lunches. The beauty of the island has charmed In-

dians who don’t seem to mind sub-zero temperatures. “I prefer the minus 30 degree winter to the humidity of Kolkata,” says Paritosh Sen, who works for a Sakhalin-1 sub-contractor. Sen has lived on and off in Sakhalin since 2002 and says that he can’t stay away from the island for too long. Sen is fluent in Russian and enjoys being a part of the small and

open society of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The isolation of the place is something that bothers Soumini Venkat, who moved to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in 2007, when her husband got a job with an oil company. “It’s difficult and expensive to get to India from here,” says Venkat, who hails from Madurai. The easiest air connection to Sakhalin is through Seoul.

Besides an expansive coastline, Sakhalin has 16,000 lakes, including theTunnaicha Lake, which is about 30 kilometres away from YuzhnoSakhalinsk, the capital of the region. Tunnaicha, which is surrounded by mountains and is a stone throw away from the Sea of Okhotsk, is a spectacle, especially in winter, when the

top layer of the lake freezes over. Ice-fishing on lakes and the sea is a favourite pastime in Sakhalin, where temperatures drop to -40 Celsius in the winter. The southern part of the island has several lakes and lagoons that are popular with fishermen including Busse, a lagoon known for its delicious

scallops. Busse is a one-hour drive from the world’s largest gas-liquefying plant, which is operated by Gazprom. After the snow melts in late-April, the series of lakes in southern Sakhalin known as theTyeplie Ozero (warm lakes), are a great place to camp out and swim. Adventure-seekers should head to the north of the island,

which has some of Sakhalin’s 10 high altitude lakes.The Mohovoe Lake on Mount Spamberg is probably one of the most isolated large lakes in Asia. It takes a good three days to trek up to the lake, which has enough diverse species of fish to be an aquarium. A red-dotted fish locally known as 'Malma' is difficult to catch, but according to many lucky fishermen, tastes much better than any of the salmon species that come to Sakhalin’s rivers every year for spawning. For those who want to experience the beauty of Spamberg and don’t have it in them to trek three days to get there, there is a helicopter service. Sakhalin is famous for its seafood, and in the summer, fishing enthusiasts try their hand at catching the Cherry Salmon and North Pacific Salmon. A weekend by the river is also a great place to soak in the maritime Russian culture. Most places in central Russia are devoid of the sea and a different folk culture has blossomed in the Far East. There have been several stories of large brown bears attacking campers, but that’s only likely to happen in the early spring months, when hungry Sakhalin brown bears wake up from hibernation. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a city that has been rapidly modernised but not Pepsified with a McDonalds in every corner. During the days of the Soviet Union, the island was strictly off-limits to foreigners and special permissions were required for Soviet citizens to visit.Yet, the sight of a person with non-Slavic features wouldn’t shock a local, like it would in other parts of the re-


contact ph. +7 (495) 7753114

Ajay Kamalakaran is the exeditor of The Sakhalin Times from 2003 to 2007.

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gion.This is primarily because the island has a Korean minority. The Koreans were brought in as bonded labourers to Sakhalin by the Japanese, who occupied the southern half of the island. When Soviet troops liberated southern Sakhalin in 1945, the Koreans were stranded on the island. A majority of them took up Russian citizenship and are fully integrated into the society. Indians, who often complain about ‘bland’ food, will be more than happy to enjoy the spicy Korean food, which is an integral part of Sakhalin cuisine. Multi-culturalism has historically been a hallmark ofYuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The island also has a small population of indigenous people, who are divided into a few tribes, each with a unique culture and language. Multi-culturalism has historically been a hallmark of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The city, which was called Toyohara during the Japanese occupation, has a small collection of Russo-Japanese architecture. The former residence of the administrator of Toyohara is a rare example of this fusion in architectural styles. With growing commercial interests, Sakhalin is connected to Japan, South Korea and China through direct flights. While there are several flights from the island to the Russian mainland, a true adventure seeker should take a 12 to 20hour ferry ride to the mainland and traverse the great railway lines of Russia, including the Baikal-Amur line and the Trans-Siberian.


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