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Steel giant and its Indian dream





Humor is king on TV show KVN Where even Putin, Medevedev trade jokes P.07

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

Distributed with ●

Russian ethnorock group plays ragas

Severstal to launch $5 billion plant in Karnataka


A magical night in Moscow


ria novosti

Russia India

...Marching towards a common future

New Delhi

Wednesday, DECEMBER 22, 2010

Russian pundit traces the wonder called India

India & Russia Vision 2010: Re-discover the old, embrace the new

Iconic Indologist Ivan P. Minayev is back in spotlight with his book on a Russian trader's voyage to India. irina chelysheva specially for RIR

The old and the new effortlessly mingle in the multi-faceted partnership as India and Russia build on centuries-old cultural communion and redefine their time-tested ties in the 21st century. Russia wants to see India as a key pillar of a shifting global order and so does India, argues Andrei Volodin, a Russian strategic expert. Rajiv Sikri, a former Indian diplomat, could not agree more, but asks the two countries to focus on the younger generation to build wider public support for this vital relationship in an emerging multi-polar world. continued on PAGEs 4-5

Dialogue From Tolstoy and Gandhi to tech and trade

Linking minds and hearts Sudheendra Kulkarni



philosophical relationship a hundred years ago. It marks the centenary of the publication of Gandhiji’s seminal book ‘Hind Swaraj’, which was significantly shaped by Tolstoy’s life-transforming influence on the Mahatma, who was then conducting his initial “Experiments with Truth”in South Africa.

afp/east news

here are several ways through which the closeness of relations between two nations can be judged. Since the economy has now come to occupy the centrestage, the role of trade, technology and defence has become far more prominent in bilateral

relations. However, I believe the most enduring contributor to affinity between the two nations is how closely their best minds have resonated with one another. The year 2010, therefore, represents a special year in IndiaRussia relations. It makes us recall with amazement how two of the greatest men in the history of India and Russia – Mahatma Gandhi and LeoTolstoy – established a deeply

continued on PAGE 4

In February, 1880,TheTimes of India reported with much relish about the meeting of a Russian scholar with learned Indian Sanskrit pundits. Ivan Minayev deeply impressed Indians with his extraordinary and refined knowledge of this ancient language. A Russian's mastery of Sanskrit may have created a splash in India at that time, but that was because not many knew about the Russian School of Indological Research. Starting from Gerasim Lebedev, who is considered a pioneer in this field, many outstanding Russian researchers had engaged in comprehensive and insightful research into the fields of Indian history, political structure, economy, culture, philosophy, religion, literature and arts. India and Indian culture have never ceased to interest Russian scholars and Russians. Ivan P. Minayev (1840 –1890) holds a special place in the galaxy of such renowned scholars. His encyclopedic knowledge of India, extraordinary language skills, inexhaustible enthusiasm combined with the aspiration to realise India as a living entity, an indissoluble unity of the past and the present, which he was so lucky to witness, entitles him to a place in the constellation of the best researchers of the world. continued on PAGE 6

Twice a month in two dailies Russia&India Business Report in

The Economic Times

Russia&India Report in

The Times of India






Education Skolkovo School aims for 240 MBA students annually by 2014

Want to succeed in emerging markets? Try MBA in Russia

With BRIC becoming the new land of opportunity, Moscow’s Skolkovo School of Management is teaching students skills for succeeding in emerging markets.

See a 3D tour of the Skolkovo campus at



WHAT'S NEW ENERGY ROSATOM IN TALKS WITH UCIL FOR SAKHA URANIUM DEAL Russia's state-owned atomic power corporation Rosatom is negotiating with Uranium Corporation of India for jointly developing uranium reserves in the republic of Sakha, says Sergei Kirienko, head of Rosatom. The Russian government is understood to be keen to retain the controlling stake. The total reserve in the Elkon fields in Sakha is estimated at

229,800 tonnes, second only to the world’s biggest reserve of Olympic dam in Australia. Development at the site has already been initiated by one of Rosatom’s units, Atomredmetzoloto, or ARMZ by establishing a subsidiary named ‘Elkon Mining’. The production capacity of the mine is projected at 5000 tonnes annually at an investment of 91 billion rubles ($3 billion). Itar-Tass



When Kane Cuenant, a Canadian student, was looking at MBA programmes, he thought about studying at Harvard, MIT or even Tsinghua University in China. But he finally opted to study at Moscow's newly opened Skolkovo School.“I looked at different schools in developed markets, but it didn't seem real enough. I knew that I wanted to work in emerging markets and wanted to truly understand how to do it," he says. Cuenant is among the first 40 graduates of the Skolkovo School of Management at Moscow completing their MBAs. What attracted him to the school was its emphasis on learning practical skills in the markets he really wanted to work in, he says. Skolkovo's first MBA graduates hail from as far afield as Germany, India, Brazil, as well as from Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union. With economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) projected to be among the five largest economies of the world, as predicted by global investor Goldman Sachs, the young and ambitious in Western countries are eager to try out B-schools in emerging markets. This is what explains Cuenant’s choice to study at the first Russian management school that aims to be a global player. Skolkovo's English-language syllabus is designed to teach graduates from around the world the day-to-day realities of doing business in an emerging market. "We are trying to bring reality into the classroom," says Skolkovo's dean WilfriedVanhonacker, who has shifted the emphasis from classroom The Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO Analysis of business, economic, political and cultural trends

Skolkovo School of Management in Moscow is attracting students from around the world

Students at Skolkovo must vault hurdles such as living for two months in a dormitory in a Chinese factory town, dealing with the reality of a manufacturing business in the workshop of the world, or helping Russian bureaucrats learning to a programme draft laws that will then be where graduates spend over passed by the country's par70% of their time in the chal- liament. The programme fealenging environments of tures the building blocks of emerging market companies. MBA courses in the West, such He moved to Russia in 2008 as financial accounting, macafter setting up the interna- roeconomics and marketing, tionally acclaimed China Eu- but also puts graduates in rope International Business stressful situations in alien School in Shanghai, which cultures to bolster their ability has made it to the Financial to cope. For many Russian stuTimes top-20 ranking B- dents, it means understanding schools. Multinationals will corporate life in China, India see most of their growth in the and the US, as well as their nanext 20 years in dynamic tive land. emerging markets where the The sheer volume of paperbusiness climate is volatile work, Cuenant says, needed to and uncertain, and managers get things done in China and face talent crunch, and infra- Russia really took him by surstructure and institutional prise. "A common banking gaps. The Skolkovo MBA is task in the US requires one designed to prepare students form, three or four pieces of inmentally and emotionally to formation and one signature. face these challenges, the dean In Russia, the same task reexplains.“Traditional busi- quires four forms, five pieces ness schools were not prepar- of information and four signaing the talent the market need- tures. In China, there are at ed - entrepreneurial leaders least seven forms.” for difficult environments,” However, despite the stresses addsVanhonacker. of experiential learning, the

Skolkovo's syllabus is designed to teach graduates realities of doing business in an emerging market.

small classes enable the school to give the students one-onone career coaching, as well as leadership development classes. Each student works with a mentor from the business world who can help the student hone his skills and provide them with an insight into life in different companies and environments. Teachers also handpick groups of students to work on projects, trying to reflect the personality and culture clashes graduates will face in real life. The school aims for 240 MBA students annually and 300 executive MBA students when it reaches operational capacity in 2014. Skolkovo's first MBA class in 2009 had 40 students, 33 students in 2010, while 21 students signed up for the 2009 18-month EMBA, which allows working students to study part-time, rising to 37 in 2010. "The value of working with government officials in developing markets is something you just can't teach in a classroom,”says Cuenant, who hopes to continue working in Russia when he graduates. “Most of the students who sign up at Skolkovo are not after a simple desk job. They want something more.”

A contract for the supply to India of 80 Russian Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters and spare parts will exceed $1.345 billion. Supplies are due to begin next March. The contract between the Indian Foreign Ministry and Russia’s Rosoboronexport state arms exporter was signed in December 2008. India is planning to use the

Russian helicopters to airlift troops and hardware, in search and rescue operations to evacuate the wounded and also for combat purposes. The fresh deliveries, which are to be completed by 2015, will boost the IAF's medium haul helicopter strength from the present 52 to 132. The helicopters are equipped with new flight and navigation system. Itar Tass



India has a growing audience that shows a keen interest in Russia’s political, economic, public and cultural life. This trend was highlighted by the Fifth All-India Conference of Voice of Russia Listeners’ Clubs, which took place in New Delhi early December. The Russian radio station launched its Indian broadcasting service five years before Russia and India established formal diplomatic rela-

tions when India became independent in 1942. In the 1970s and 80s, Radio Moscow (the Voice of Russia today) maintained daily programming in 12 Indian languages. Russian radio listeners’ clubs are now being set up in India. Today, the VOR in India broadcasts in Hindi and Urdu and is accessible in major Indian cities as New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Siliguri with a potential audience of 31 million people. RIR

www. r u s e m b a ssy. i n

Website of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in India Business news RIA Novosti newswire Business magazine focusing on emerging European markets


High-Tech Sitronics set to open its third R&D billing centre in India

From metro security to smart city, India is a top global priority Alexander Krasovsky, Sitronics' pointsman for India, talks about his love for Bollywood, his tryst with Taj Mahal and unveils plans to set up new ventures here. VLADISLAV KUZMICHEV

Sitronics focuses on industrial customers who need 90-180 nanometer chips

transport tickets and are ready to deploy a city traffic management system as a part of our larger Smart City package.


It was recently announced that Russia and India may use Sitronics facilities to launch joint projects. Sitronics is a large company doing business in 30 countries around the world and exporting its products to 60 countries. We have our own high technology production in Russia, Greece, and Romania, and strong R&D centres in the Czech Republic and Russia.We see India as more than just a big market. Russia and India have vast territories with irregular infrastructure coverage, gaping digital divides, and complex multi-layered government systems. Solutions expected from such an advanced, hightech company as Sitronics should address the large-scale infrastructural needs that our Indian colleagues demand.We are well positioned,with extensive experience on the large Russian market, appropriate



Do you share any personal ties with India? Sure. My father was a yoga enthusiast and tried hard to get me interested. I even learnt a few asanas, but then took up boxing and pentathlon. I was brought up on Indian films. I watched Sholay about fifteen times. I can probably recall some twenty Bollywood movies that I enjoyed most as a boy. The friendly relations between India and Russia have even helped me avoid some trouble. During one of my first business trips to India, I asked my driver to take me to Agra to see Taj Mahal. But on our way from Delhi, we passed the scene of an accident. Our car arrived shortly afterward, but locals blocked the road and were about to take their anger out on other drivers. Luckily, an elderly Indian spotted my T-shirt with "Russia" printed across it and asked me if I came from Russia. When he heard that I was Russian, we were allowed to drive on.

Alexander Krasovsky, vicepresident at Sitronics

technology and proven solutions. For example, we produce 300 m electronic tickets with imbedded chips for public transport, our billing systems support around 140 m mobile telephone subscribers, our SIM cards are used by all major Russian mobile operators, and major Russian banks place orders for our chip-based bank cards. So we offer these and other products to our Indian customers. For example, our billing solution is already used by Sistema Shyam TeleServices, thus helping service up to 100 m subscribers. We have begun delivering electronic



Do you have any localisation plans for India? We plan to set up a new billing centre in India. Sitronics developed the billing technology in R&D centre in the Czech Republic and further finetuned by our Russian R&D team. When we came to India and began offering our billing solutions, we succeeded following a tough tender to sell it to Sistema Shyam TeleServices. However, we were told to bring in an Indian software partner to bring our billing system in line with local needs. Hence, the decision to create our third research and development centre in India. Can you give any statistics to quantify your cooperation with India? Over the last year and a half alone, we landed over $200 m in deals with our Indian partners.These include delivery of radio-relay systems, billing software, etc. For example, we earned several million dollars on sales of the so-called RUIM

cards.They are the equivalent to SIM cards in GSM networks, but are designed for CDMA mobile standards. We are the sole supplier of these cards to Sistema Shyam TeleServices.

How high does India rank among your other sales markets? We have an active presence selling our products in 60 countries. Of course, Russia is our number-one market, but India is one of our top international priorities. We are confident in our understanding of the local market and consumer mentality, and expect that India will be introducing complex, but very important projects for raising the quality of life, such as Electronic Government and Secure City. That is why we have our representative office in India to facilitate contacts with local customers. What other projects do you have in mind for India? We are currently testing a Sitronics intellectual video security system in a pilot zone of the New Delhi metro. If the pilot project is successful, we hope for a government decree to install the system on a larger scale. Another issue that both Russia and India have in common is terrorism. We can offer effective and, in some cases, unique security solutions. But before we have the deal, we have to bankroll a pilot project in India. We are talking to Indian state administrations and some municipalities, offering our solutions. For operations across a large and patchily developed territory it is critical to have access to such technology as Daterium mobile data centre. We have already sold our first MDC in India. Imagine a standard 20-feet container fitted with sliding mounting racks that can carry all the network and communication equipment, servers, firefighting system, climate control, and next to it is a diesel generator. It’s all a turn-key job. All the equipments can be manufactured in just two months and delivered to any site on the planet with temperatures ranging from minus 55 to plus 55 Celsius. No need to construct or outfit a special building. This packaged solution is in great demand, especially in India, where construction and land allocation can be challenging. I should also mention a tool for monitoring traffic based on the GLONASS system, to which India has also subscribed. The monitoring system is called Nika. The sales have already started.


Industry Signs MoU with NMDC

Severstal to set up giant $5 bn steel plant in Karnataka Severstal is set to make its first major steel plant in India. If the mammoth project is successful, other Russian steel makers may follow suit. NATALYA FEDOTOVA RIR

Russian steel giant Severstal plans to launch a $5 billion steel production project in India. In December, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Indian state-run NMDC. The steel mill will become Severstal’s biggest project and the biggest international venture for the Russian steel industry in general. An NMDC manager said that the two companies would either negotiate equal holdings or a controlling stake for NMDC. The construction of the plant, which will be located in Karnataka, is due to begin in 2012. The facility would have an initial capacity of 2 million tonnes a year, said NMDC finance director Swaminathan Thiagarajan.“The 2 million tonne output is quite modest, accounting for about 3-4% of the local market. But this will be enough for Severstal to assess the plant’s financial efficiency and the market potential,” says Dmitry Kumanovsky, director of research with the Lenmontazhstroy investment company. Besides, an equal 50% stake in a joint venture with NMDC, an Indian state mining company, will secure ore supplies and fixed prices for further project expansion to five million tonnes, he said. The joint venture between Severstal and NMDC will also set up two subsidiaries to mine coking coal in Russia and iron ore in India.

The Indian project marks Severstal’s shift from the West to the East. In a recent interview with a Russian national TV channel, Severstal’s owner Alexei Mordashov said Europe was no longer attractive for steel makers. According to Severstal’s major shareholder, the most attractive markets today are India, Indonesia, Philippines,Vietnam and Africa. The Russian tycoon singles out India as the best option. Based on projections from India’s ministry of steel, the consumption rate of steel will be up by 10% in 2010 from 65 m to 73 m tonnes.Yet more steel – upto 200 m tonnes by 2020 - will be needed to fuel advancing industrialisation and economic growth. According to preliminary estimates, the new facility envisaged by Severstal and NMDC will cover 2,500 acres (10.12 square kilometres). Severstal will also bring in advanced steel-making technology, which is not available in the local market. The mill will turn out special automotive and electrical grades of steel, high value-added products, for the fast-growing automotive and power sectors of the Indian economy. NMDC will benefit from its cooperation with Severstal as the Russian company has a significant coal-mining operation, which provides coking coal for making rolled steel. Severstal is spearheading Russian entry into the Indian market. Other Russian steel companies that have been eyeing India for some time will closely watch the competitor’s moves. If the project works out, other Russian players may step into the Indian scene.

Video at



At the Cherepovetsky Metallurgical Plant (Severstal group)



Russia india report


in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_December 22_2010 Strategic Culture Foundation magazine Analysis of business, economic, political and cultural trends Johnson’s Russia List

Re-discover the old, emb THE numbers

$9.8 billion $15 billion Expected amount of bilateral trade in 2010. The countries’ leaders set the goal of doubling it in the next 10 years.

Possible value of India’s orders for Russian arms over the next four years, according to military experts.


Number of nuclear reactors that could be built in India with Russia’s help over the next 15 years.


Linking minds and hearts continued from PAGE 1

This year also marks the centenary of the death of the great Russian writer. Indeed, in a letter to Gandhiji, one of the last that Tolstoy wrote before his death, he remarked that the philosophy of Satyagraha was of“the greatest importance, not only for India but for the whole humanity”. The year 2010 is the 150th birth anniversary of one of the greatest Indian friends of Russia, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The poet’s insightful account of his visit to the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1930 is one of the precious gems in the invaluable treasure of his writings. While Tagore admired many positive changes that had taken place under socialism in the USSR, especially in the field of education, he also had prophetically pointed out that suppression of freedom of thought and expression under

Stalin’s dictatorship would not last long. Not surprisingly, when Stalin’s era was over,Russian people’s love for Tagore knew no bounds. It is said that the celebration of his birth centenary fifty years ago was an event second only in importance toYuri Gagarin’s pioneering spaceflight in 1961! And then, 2010 also recalls to our mind the 75th anniversary of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace, which bears the name of Nicholas Roerich, one of the towering figures in 20th century art. The legendary painter belongs as much to India as to Russia. Living the last 25 years of his life like a rishi in the lap of the Himalayas, and painting with creative abandon, he became an embodiment of deeper cultural and spiritual values shared by India and Russia. These are indeed universal values,as is testified by the Roerich Pact, which made an impassioned appeal for the protec-

tion of cultural, artistic, educational and scientific institutions and historic monuments around the world. As India warmly welcomes Russia’s youthful president, Dmitry Medvedev, it is necessary to remind ourselves of the most harmonious and everlasting melodies in India-Russia relationship. When nations remain wedded to the core human values commonly espoused by their great personalities, there is no danger of being swayed by the temporary ups and downs in this or that aspect of their bilateral relations. The India-Russia relations have stood the test of time. This is not rhetoric, but a fact of history. It is true that our ties stagnated in the 1990s due to neglect and misjudgment on both sides. Happily, they have now started to regain vigour. We in India have watched with immense admiration how the strong and farsighted leadership of Russia, represented by President Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has helped their great country overcome the turmoil caused by the collapse of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Those who had hoped

that Russia would be trapped in chaos, and that such a situation could be used to pillage its resources and pin it down strategically, have been badly disappointed.Today Russia has reemerged as a self-confident Eurasian power, indispensable for the stability and progress of both the East and the West. Russia, like India, is beset with many domestic challenges. Its most pressing problems are the need to modernise its economy, which is hobbled by an inefficient public sector; the need to fight rampant corruption in the governance system; and the need to arrest its declining population, characterised by low birth rates. However, neither Medvedev nor Putin has minced words in talking about these challenges. Medvedev’s address to the Russian Parliament on November 30 was remarkable for the emphasis he placed on combating the“demographic crisis” by improving the educational, healthcare and livelihood conditions of his people. The people of India would be extremely pleased to see Russia succeed in surmounting its challenges. As we enter a new decade of the 21st century, both India and

India's President Pratibha Patil with Russian school children dressed in Indian attire during her visit to Moscow last year

The India-Russia relations have stood the test of time. This is not rhetoric, but a fact of history. Russia have an unprecedented opportunity to embark on a new phase of strategic partnership. The world has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War two decades ago. Those who gloated that they

were the sole superpower left to dominate the world, are now unpleasantly shocked that their superpower status is vanishing. China and India have emerged as the two principal drivers of the global economy.Along with Russia and Brazil, the BRIC group has become a crucial pillar of the new world order. India’s own rapid economic progress has opened up unprecedented new opportunities continued on PAGE 5

Perspective It is critical to find the right place for India in Russia's prioritised agenda and make sure that India reciprocates

New shifts: Moving from an alliance model to strategic partnership Andrei Volodin

political analyst


elations between the Soviet Union and India began to transform into a strategic alliance after the Sino-Indian border conflict in 1962. The USSR, which at that time was at ideological odds with China, quickly came forward with military assistance for India at the critical moment when the West chose to stay above the fray. In the 1960-70s, our ties with India

acquired all the characteristics of strategic cooperation: similar or consonant positions on fundamental issues of international politics; close coordination in international organisations; well-established interactions between government institutions; and trusting relations between heads of state. In the 1970s, Soviet foreign policy regarded India as an effective counterpoint to China, especially in the light of the budding Sino-American rapprochement.

After the tragic death of Indira Gandhi in 1984, the new Indian government led by Rajiv Gandhi took subtle steps towards a more diversified foreign policy (including improved relations with the United States and China) that did not,however,affect the level and quality of Soviet-Indian relations. In the late 1980s,relations started stagnating when systemic defects began to take their toll on the rusting Soviet economy and,as a consequence,on the efficacy of the USSR’s foreign policy.

Russia’s geopolitical, economic, cultural and ideological withdrawal from India in the early 1990s left the Indian elite with a rather negatively stereotyped perception of Russia. To make things worse, the diverging paths of economic transformation in the two countries narrowed the ground for bilateral ties, confining them to arms sales and cooperation in nuclear power. With China geopolitical intentions arousing anxiety in India, and having lost Russian support in the 1990s, India started

looking for a counterbalance against the growing influence of China on the global scene and secured political backing from the Clinton administration. At the beginning of the new century, India’s ruling elite came to regard Russia with a more favourable eye.With Putin at the helm, Russia unearthed the idea of“returning”to Asia and,in this new strategic thinking, India was recognised as a key player in the club of emerging locomotives behind the global economic growth. In the early years of the third millennium,the now more powerful and confident India continues to seek its place in the post-bipolar world. There are two global trends that define its course: first,the continuing eco-

nomic and military supremacy of the United States, and second, the rapid ascendance of ‘the Celestial Empire’to the position of a new world power. Political forces pursuing strategic convergence with the US skillfully leverage mass media for their cause, but they may be overestimating India’s significance in the Asian strategy of the US. Apparently, the Indian leadership realises that they were too rash in downgrading the status of Russian-Indian relations.At the same time, Delhi has serious and justified concerns regarding Russia’s approach to economic collaboration and the lack of a focused dialogue on current and future issues of bilateral relations. continued on PAGE 5

BOOKMARKS Russian Centre of Culture and Science in New Delhi The Cultural Centre of Russia in Mumbai





Trends Ease visas and boost trade

Bridging the gap: Focus on youth

Slide Show at






for India-Russia economic relations, which have not kept pace with its strategic ties. The ambitious Russia-aided Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project inTamil Nadu is a shining example of what a visionary political initiative can achieve. In the coming decade, it is both possible and necessary to embark on many new, and more ambitious initiatives,including those that India’s public and


French political scientists describe the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar system in terms of a“loose geometry”politics. The concept implies deideologisation and potential coexistence of several models or formats of international relations. In other words, concurrent engagement in different political and economic blocs becomes a flexible and effective way of pursuing national interests. In my view, it would be reasonable to consider the relations between Russia and India from this loose-geometry perspective. In his recent annual address to the Russian parliament, Presi-

private sector companies can execute in Russia. Cooperation in breakthrough technologies should be an area of special focus in the coming years. Besides expanding economic cooperation, it is far more important that the new generations of Indians and Russians are made aware of the undying wellsprings of our cultural and spiritual values, as articulated by Mahatma Gandhi,Tolstoy,Tagore, Roerich and scores of other luminous lights in the past. The

lure of materialism alone cannot guarantee happiness for the youth, either in India or Russia. It cannot even ensure the health of our precious environment. Our two societies have to become more strongly rooted in our own cultures and also learn from each other. In this context, I would attach great importance to expanding and deepening contacts between the enlightened representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has

dent Medvedev has for the first time talked about the equal significance of the Western and Eastern components of Russian foreign policy. No less important was the inclusion of India, along with China, Japan and South Korea, on the list of Rus-

nership have clearly demonstrated that Russia wants to see India as one of the pillars in the post-American global framework. In all fairness, we expect India to respond in kind by reaffirming“Nehru's course" as its long-term foreign policy. Then it would be easier to allay fears of China’s runaway growth on one hand and pursue a meaningfully diversified foreign policy, on the other. What makes the strategic approach to bilateral relations even more important is the increasing dependence of the global economy on the recovery and growth potential of China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, and other major players, and development of economic links between them.

Russia wants to see India as one of the pillars in the postAmerican global framework. sia’s“privileged”strategic partners.Now it is critical to find the right place for India in the prioritised agenda and make sure that India reciprocates. The ten years of strategic part-


ussia and India matter greatly to each other, GETTY IMAGES/FOTOBANK but they don’t really understand each other very well. Over the last decade, Indians should the relationship has evolved into a more equal one, since open their minds Russia is no longer a superpowand hearts to the er and India a developing councreative geniuses try. As rising powers, the two of Russia. countries share the goal of creating a multipolar world. They revived itself in the past two de- support each other’s priorities cades, and Indian religious- and policies in their strategic spiritual establishments. This neighbourhoods. While diverarea of spiritual intercourse did sifying their foreign policy opnot receive much attention in tions, they have been careful the past. But today its necessity not to jettison a decades-old is self-evident. It is heartening mutually beneficial strategic to know that yoga has become partnership of trust. widely popular in Russia. Sim- The defence relationship is vital. ilarly, India should open its Despite many problems, it is minds and hearts to the cre- neither easy nor desirable for ative geniuses of Russia.When India to jeopardise this longthe beautiful churches, tem- standing relationship. Russian ples, mosques and monasteries military equipment remains in Russia and India begin to competitive,sturdy and reliable. talk to one another; at the same Russia is willing to sell state-oftime as our businessmen,scien- the-art products, including a tists, artists, diplomats and po- nuclear powered submarine litical leaders increase their and an aircraft carrier, and enmutual interaction, Indo-Rus- gage in joint research and develsian relations will doubtlessly opment of new products. acquire a never-seen-before so- However,it is not enough to have lidity in the 21st century. a good defence relationship. Increased and diversified trade Sudheendra Kulkarni who and economic cooperation are was an aide to former PM AB essential to invest India-Russia Vajpayee, is currently chair- relations with long-term stabilman of the Observer Research ity. Since India is an energy-deFoundation, Mumbai. ficient country and Russia an energy-surplus one,energy is an important area of greater cooperation. The problem is that in both countries,business is now mostIn world politics, interactions ly in the hands of a largelyWestbetween states are conven- oriented private sector, which tionally categorised into three governments can only try to levels: strategic alliance, stra- nudge and persuade. Bureautegic partnership, and good cratic complexities and rigidineighbours. As an expert in ties on both sides present addiIndian studies, I would defi- t i o n a l h u r d l e s . I n d i a n nitely welcome the “Soviet” businessmen have poor awarealliance-level relationship be- ness of opaque and frequently tween Russia and India. But changing tax,customs and other since such exclusive arrange- rules and regulations in Russia. ment is highly unlikely in the Two persistent and fundamenmodern loose geometry of in- tal problems that have defied ternational linkage, it is the solutions are the enormous difstrategic partnership that will ficulty that Indian businessmen best serve Russian long-term and visitors face in getting visas interests, thus validating the for Russia, and the weak bankhistoric choice made a decade ing links between the two counago. tries. A fundamental weakness afAndrei Volodin is a political flicting the India-Russia relascientist, PhD (History), pro- tionship is that political goodfessor. w i l l i s n o t b a cke d by

people-to-people linkages. Perceptions on both sides tend to be shaped by Western prejudices, and do not conform to contemporary realities. The new generation of Russia’s ruling elite views India quite differently and understandably does not have any nostalgia for Soviet times.It also tends to look to the West for business linkages. Russian perceptions of India are outdated and stuck in the time warp of mid-20th century India, and there is little understanding of the richer, self-confident and savvier India of the 21st century.Perhaps some Russians feel that India has no alternative to Russia and that India is not giving Russia the attention and importance it deserves. Likewise, most Indians do not know that Russia is a strong, modern and stable country. India is also ignorant of, and lacks confidence in many Rus-

It is imperative to think creatively about ways to create wider public interest for the relationship. sian technological capabilities, since Russia is weak in transferring them on a cost-effective basis to the civilian sector. India’s elite also seems to have fallen under the spell of new suitors that appear more attractive than a known and trusted old partner.The general public too remains somewhat ignorant about the significance of India’s relations with Russia, as Russia does not touch the lives of most ordinary Indians. It is imperative that both sides think creatively about ways to create wider public interest and understanding for the relationship, particularly among the increasingly influential younger generation in the two countries. India will need to build direct contacts with the entire spectrum of stakeholders and interest groups in the political, economic, military and other spheres throughout Russia. Similarly, Russia will have to learn of ways to deal with new centres of power and influence in India. Rajiv Sikri is a former Secretary in India's External Affairs ministry.

The articles on pages 4-5 do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the editors of Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Russia India Report.


Russia india report



in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_DECEMBER 22_2010


Time travels: Scripting the wonder called India

Ivan Minayev, an erudite scholar and Indophile, who transmitted Indian culture to Russia and the world

ullstein bild/vostock-photo

continued from PAGE 1

Minayev was no ordinary savant. The Russian scholar deserves special praise since he, unlike many of his Western colleagues who mostly concentrated on the so-called “classical”India, found contemporary India an equally important field of research. For the first time in Russia, he articulated the task of composite interdisciplinary approach towards the studies of Indian realities based on the conception of the uninterrupted process of cultural and historical evolution. From the methodological point of view, it was a breakthrough of sorts, pioneering the path towards the research into this country given the dynamics of its culture-historical and socio-political development. Minayev gained global recognition due to his

archives from personal

seminal research works on the history of Buddhism and Pali philology, as well as translations of early Buddhist texts and studies of this doctrine and phases of its development. His major work,“Buddhism. Research and Materials”(Volume 1, Edition One and Two), published in 1887, was based on a composite cultural, historical and social methodolog- Russian Music on the Net Johnson’s Russia List Analysis of business, economic, political and cultural trends

1824 India Lithographs. A Mosque and gravesite at Benares

ical approach to this phenomena. In the course of his analysis, which makes this study really unique, the scholar correlated archaeological discoveries, epigraphical and written sources related to the history of Buddhism with the day-to-day and religious life of Buddhist sangha, various aspects of Buddhist congregations, as well as with the activ-

ities of its main branches and movements based on this belief. The Russian scholar also attributed great importance to the translation and publication of ancient Indian texts, actively contributing to the introduction of these rare manuscripts to the Russian and European academic community. His excellent com-

mand over Pali and Sanskrit, as well as the knowledge of many contemporary Indian languages and some Pahari dialects, allowed him to communicate freely with various strata of people in India living in the regions and territories which he travelled across, collecting and accumulating unique historical data, which he subsequently commented upon in the notes of his journeys to India, Nepal and Ceylon in 1874-75, to India in 1880 and to India and Burma in 1885-86. After his expedition to Garhwal and Kumaon regions, Minayev compiled a unique anthology of the local folklore – fairy tales, legends and rare pieces of the so-called “folk farce”, which had been performed during the Almora market. The Russian readers were greatly impressed by these publications. Legendary Russian author Leo Tolstoy

commented enthusiastically in 1877 on the publication of Minayev’s “Indian Fairy Tales and Legends, collected in Kumaon in 1875”. However, despite the broad range of Minayev’s research, most of of his writings remain unfamiliar to Indians. After a gap of almost fifty years, when his“Travels in and Diaries of India and Burma” was published from Kolkata, another masterpiece,“Old India: Notes on Afanasy Nikitin’s Voyage Beyond the Three Seas”, is now being brought out by the Russian embassy jointly with the Eurasian Foundation to commemorate the 170th birth anniversary of its author. While commenting on the 15th century travelogue of the merchant from the city of Tver, who happened to be the first explorer of the Indian market, the Russian scholar analysed in detail Nikitin’s observations and also described many aspects of medieval India’s socioeconomic, political and dayto-day life in historical perspective, tracing the genesis of their development upto the 19th century. He compared medieval India, as gleaned from Nikitin’s travelogue and other sources, with the situation in the colonial India. The travel notes of the merchant fromTver, who pioneered trade relations between Russia and India, looks set to get a second life, which looks very symbolical in the context of a breakthrough summit meeting between the leaders of these two countries.

Music A magical night in Moscow: All Safety Magic’s rehearsals and concerts begin with the singing of ragas

A concert by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1988 filled Russian musicians with dreams of India. Now, a Russian group recreates the magic of ragas. Dmitry zaika rir

It’s a magical experience: listening to Indian ragas on a cold and dark December night at a Moscow club, and suddenly be transported to an Indian temple. No one was really prepared for it, especially as the nine musicians on the stage were typical exponents of the Russian underground, a group called Safety Magic. Every one of them had come to know India in his own way,through the cultural centre sponsored by the Indian embassy in Moscow, for example, or at the India-USSR festivals in the 1980s. One of the group’s founders, Pavel Novikov,was lucky to live

and study music in India.After graduating from the Saratov Conservatory in flute, Pavel decided to study the Indian music and enrolled in the Shri Ram Bhartiya Kala Kendra Academy in Delhi.There he learned to play the tabla and studied classical Indian vocals; he also learned to play the bansuri (flute) with the maestro, Harsh Wardhan. Pavel took an Indian pseudonym, Pravin, and, after his return to Russia, quietly began teaching his musician friends ragas. Today, even when he is not around, Safety Magic bewitches audiences with its soothing Indian rhythms and drawling songs. The leader of Safety Magic, Dan (Daniil) Lerman, began playing the drums in the 1980s. Young“hippies”would gather at Jaltarang, an Indian restaurant, near Chistye Prudy in the heart of Moscow. They drank


From Lenin to Ravi Shankar: Ragas play on forever....

Ethno-jazz-rock group Safety Magic performs at a concert

coffee with cinnamon and listened to music.“In those days, there were splendid festivals of India in the USSR and Soviet festivals in India. Indian musicians came to Moscow and I was lucky to get into a few concerts,”recalls Pyotr (Ragu) Nikulin,who plays an exotic wind instrument, the didjeridu, cre-

ated by Australian aborigines. “We listen and one way or another, we reproduce different music, not just Indian. There’s good music and bad music. I advise you to listen to more good music and all the right vibrations will come to you.” Dan Lerman first sensed those vibrations while listening to a

record by John McLaughlin and his Mahavishnu Orchestra, a jazz-rock fusion group from the 1970s. Dan followed the example of his idol and found himself an Indian guru, Hashmat Azami Ali Khan, then a popular teacher of drums and tabla in Moscow. True, each member of Safety Magic began by studying classical guitar in an ordinary Soviet music school.But everything changed after a concert by Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar at the Bolshoi Theater in 1988. Dan began dreaming about a sitar, eventually hitting upon a tambura (a long-necked Indian lute) that he still plays today. Now, all Safety Magic’s rehearsals and concerts begin with the singing of ragas.“In music, we adhere to the Indian principle. It’s not at all like the principle in Europe where you come out on stage and have to do something. Indian musi-

cians simply live in their music,” says the group’s bass guitar player, Mikhail Avsharov. Safety Magic tries to attain“a presence in the moment and openness to everything”. Those members of the group who cannot go to India have found a place to learn about Indian culture at the Indian embassy’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center in Moscow. “People go there. They’re drawn by the nominal fee for lessons in real yoga, in Hindi,”says Dan. Music lovers today gather mainly on the pages ofYouTube. Safety Magic is saved by festivals where groups like theirs can really let loose. Indeed, Safety Magic first began to be talked about after their appearance at a festival in the village of Shushinskoye in Krasnoyarsky krai, whereVladimir Lenin once lived in exile. The audience there somehow felt especially close to Indian rhythms.

bookmarks at_himself.html Mr Medvedev shares the joke at KVN Joke info Russian jokes and anecdotes

Russia india report


in association with rossiyskaya gazeta, russia THE times of india wednesday_DECEMBER 22_2010


Entertainment 'Merry and Quick-Witted' show will celebrate 50 years in 2011; Putin even laughed at jokes aimed at him

A survivor from Soviet times, Russia's oldest satirical TV show continues to remain a blessed place of fun and wit where people can laugh at their leaders and themselves. EVGENY TIPIKIN

specially for RIR

Dmitry Medvedev’s rise to the presidency was, in a word, unexpected. But as it became public that Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister would be Putin’s likely successor, a team from Moscow State University performed a skit on television, with Medvedev in the front row, roaring with laughter. The students portrayed Medvedev’s fictional high school reunion. His former classmates fawned over the president-to-be, asking if he remembered them and laughing uproariously at his lame jokes. A clueless former classmate arrives, boasting: “I’ve been in the woods for the past five years – no TV, no radio… nothing!”Oblivious to Medvedev’s fame, the guy smacks him on the back and says “What’s up, Dima?”When they pose for a class photo, the unknowing hero gives the future president bunny ears. Tell this

story to any Russian, and he’ll respond,“only on KVN”. The KVN is as recognisable a Soviet brand as the Bolshoi Ballet or astronaut Yuri Gagarin’s smile.When it debuted on national television in the 1960s, KVN, or Klub Vesyolykhi Nakhodchivykh (The Club of the Merry and QuickWitted), was the only legal form of unorthodox thought. Today, this humorous survivor from the Soviet civilisation is a one-of-a-kind show, an original creation that wasn't borrowed from the West. The games and skits between teams of college students is played out in front of a live studio audience. At first, it consisted of competitions involving general knowledge, but it evolved into contests of wits that favoured the player who made the smartest joke. The key to the show became improvisation, jokes and putons. It began in its first incarnation in 1956. Like a bolt from the blue, Khrushchev delivered his secret speech denouncing Stalin at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party. His unmasking of the personality cult was like a breath of fresh

Laugh gently at my jokes! ...Traffic police stops a car. Policeman: “Have you drunk vodka today?” Driver: “No.” Policeman: “Breathe into the tube... Well, no alcohol is detected... Maybe the tube is broken.” (Breathes into the tube himself.) “No, it’s working!” ..."I can not sleep well because of this global financial crisis! "Well, I sleep like a baby!" "Really?" "Yes, I wake up each hour and cry!" ..Lenin proved that the state could be run by people. Stalin proved it could be run by a single person. Khruschev proved it could be run by any person, and Brezhnev proved it couldn’t

be run at all. ...Two Muscovites meet. “How’s life?” “Fantastic.” “Do you read the papers?” “Of course! How else would I know?” ...A foreign architect invited a Russian architect to his home. He showed his guest around the house. "This is the hall," he explained, "and this is the sitting room. This is my study, those are the children's bedrooms, this is the main bedroom... Then there are the kitchen, the dining room, the two bathrooms, the lavatory . . ." "It's a very good layout," says the Russian guest. "We have much the same, only without the partitions..."

air — and freedom. Next year, Moscow hosted the World Youth Festival. The Soviet intelligentsia was brimming with hope, creative projects and brilliant ideas. It was then, during the so-called “Thaw”, that producers came up with the idea of“enlivening”Soviet television, still largely controlled by the ruling regime. The message was completely new for Soviet TV: the participants included not only the hosts, but also members of the audience. Filmed live, they took part in various contests. The show helped to demonstrate that after decades of being stifled in the name of the party and state, every person could be interesting on his own and, more significantly, have his own opinion.This was a fantastic breakthrough, a revolution of sorts. In the beginning, the show was not yet KVN, but VVV — or Vecher Vesyolykh Voprosov (An Evening of Merry Questions). After only its third show, VVV was taken off the air by the Soviet authorities in the wake of an“incident”.VVV had decided to award a prize at the next taping to any audience member who arrived at the studio dressed in a fur coat, hat and felt boots (it was then the middle of summer) and carrying a newspaper dated December 31 of the previous year. Unfortunately, when the show’s host announced the conditions, he forgot to mention the newspaper. When the next show was scheduled,the studio was stampeded by hundreds of people in fur coats and felt boots. Chaos ensued. The show was yanked.All evening, televisions tuned toVVV showed the message: INTERRUPTED FOR TECHNICAL REASONS. This interruption lasted four years until KVN was reborn in 1961. It was originally filmed in black-and-white and became hugely popular overnight, eventually becoming the longest-running show on


Humour is king: KVN - the three funniest letters on Russian TV

Performers at the KVN show let themsleves go, driving a rapt audience wild with laughter

KVN was a valve through which, along with laughter, social tension was released. both Soviet and Russian TV. KVN soon became a social movement. Copy-cat “KVNchiks”were put on at universities, factories, schools and pioneer camps. KVN went around the country auditioning teams, the best of which wound up on television. Since the teams often made ironic remarks about Soviet reality and ideology (those were the jokes the audience liked best), the show was soon no longer live, but taped. And ideologically dubious humour was often edited out. More recently, the game has been played in Western Europe, Israel and the US. The first international competition — between the former Soviet Union and Israel — was held in Moscow in 1992. A world championship between teams from the United States, Israel and the former Soviet Union took place in Israel in 1994. In the old days, KVN had been a sort of valve through which — along with laughter — the steam of social tension was released.The media atmosphere in Russia has since changed, and KVN has become one of many comedy sketches. Putin even appeared on the show several years ago to congratulate the team on its 45th anniversary. However, it is still one of the few places — perhaps the only one — that has brought former president Vladimir Putin to laugh at a satirical dig aimed at him.


They have their own Santa-Banta jokes Aanchal Anand


Humour can be frustrating. As ironic as that might sound, it’s true. When I first arrived in Russia, it completely escaped me. Because the Russian language – with its word-plays and fluid syntaxes – is a major precursor of Russian humour. As I got better with my language,, things started to make more sense. It was my search for this moment that led me to discover that unlike Indian humour, Russian humour draws heavily on the country’s political history. Though during Soviet times political leaders were left largely “untouched” (perhaps only in public), today many provide unimaginable fodder to tickle the Russians. There are many jokes like “A man ran through the streets of Moscow shouting: 'Krushchev is a swine!' He was seized and given 21 years punishment: 1 year for defamation, and 20 for leaking state secrets.” My personal favourite illustrates how the Soviet media was often forced to paint a rosy picture even when the defeats were insignificant. The anecdote goes - Nixon and Brehznev (Soviet leader 1964-82) run a race around the Kremlin. It's the height of the Cold War and Nixon wins. A Soviet journalist asks, "How do we report that?" The Kremlin official answers, "Say General Secretary Leonid Brezh-

nev took the honourable second place." And Nixon? "Say that he only managed the second to last position." But Russian jokes are certainly not limited to politics or political leaders. Many draw inspiration from diversity of the Russian and former Soviet populations. Just like Indian humour is packed with Santa-Banta jokes and Indians can spend all day mimicking accents from other states, the Russians indulge in jokes about the Ukrainians, Tajiks and Uzbeks. While such humour is often soft(er), sometimes it comes in the form of the unibrowed Ravshan - a construction worker from Central Asia working in Moscow – in the popular TV series, Nasha Rasha (Our Russia). Ravshan speaks bad Russian and always gets things wrong for which his boss scolds him and calls him an idiot. But when the boss is not around, he and his friend, Jumshud, engage in deep philosophical conversations translated to Russian using subtitles. Russians are also infinitely more serious about their humour than Indians. While there have been shows like Comedy Circus, nothing comes close to Russia’s university teams and comedy leagues participating in KVN (Club of the Merry and Witty). As for Russia, perhaps it’s time they got their own Rajnikant. After all, nothing makes my stomach hurt like “Rajnikant gave Sheila her jawani.”





IN ASSOCIATION WITH ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA, RUSSIA THE TIMES OF INDIA WEDNESDAY_DECEMBER 22_2010 FIFA website Russia 2018 bid Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy

Football The Cup can cost Russia $10bn to 50bn; Putin confident Russia will create Europe-like facilities, airports, roads

Scoring big in 2018 World Cup race

With barely one stadium in place, Russia surprised many by winning 2018 World Cup bid by deftly playing the development card that played well with FIFA bosses.


Andrey Arshavin, star Russian player, has promised that his country will deliver the “perfect” tournament in 2018


bn dollars - the price tag of the World Cup for Russia. The federal budget will supply $10 bn, the rest to come from big business.


To advertise in this supplement


bn - will be alcocated for building stadiums. The Russian bid features sixteen arenas.


bn - for new roads and railways. By 2018, a toll motorway will connect Moscow and St Petersburg.



When Sepp Blatter, president of the International Soccer Federation FIFA, pulled a piece of paper with the word "Russia" written on it from an envelope on December 2, even those Russians who had been doubtful of a victory were ecstatic. After a tight race against competitors like Britain, Russia won the bid to host 2018 World Cup soccer for the first time in the history of the game. Two years ago, when Russian leaders first started talking seriously about taking a shot at the world’s greatest sports event, there were sceptical sniggers. However, the victory turned out to be impressive, and came after just a second round of voting. The decision finally went in Russia’s favour as it fitted the FIFA’s mission to use the game as a tool to develop countries, give momentum to investment, and thus create a better life for millions of people. “Our country has everything that’s needed to host a World Cup. We are building a new Russia. With your help, we’ll achieve more. So let’s do it together!”These were the words of First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov at the presentation of the Russian bid. Judging by the voting results, the FIFA Executive Committee endorsed this view. The powers-that-be in Moscow repeated the development mantra with great panache as they had done with the bid to host 2014 Winter Olympics when Sochi, the host city, was lagging behind rivals in terms

bn - on airports upgrade. The 2018 World Cup will become a litmus test for Russian airlines.


The decision went in Russia's favour as it fitted FIFA's mission to use soccer to develop countries. of both facilities and infrastructure. Russia’s bid showcased only one truly functioning stadium – Moscow’s Luzhniki. The rest are either under construction or on paper. Sure, it looks impressive in colour pictures: 16 spanking new, beautiful, ultramodern arenas in 13 towns, each with something attractive to offer. The work is cut out, but no one’s complaining. Neither the international companies that will take part in the projects, nor FIFA, which will open up a large and

promising market, and certainly not Russia, which will create thousands of jobs and make a giant leap forward in terms of development. Now that the initial euphoria has subsided, the question on everybody’s minds is: “What next?”Clearly, a lot has to be built from scratch apart from stadiums. While Moscow, St Petersburg, and to a certain extent, Kazan and Sochi in eight years’time will be able to host thousands of tourists and fans, the other regions are worse off. Host cities will need at least new airports, moderately priced and high quality hotels and reasonable entertainment such as restaurants, cafes and malls. Besides, thousands of miles of motorways and railroads will need to be built. But nobody can put an

exact price tag on this huge construction effort. After he arrived in Zurich on the heels of the Russian win, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin projected the spending at around $10 billion. The actual number will be much higher, say experts. The budget for Sochi 2014 has already tripled. Analysts estimate the cost of the World Cup 2018 to Russia at a stratospheric $50 billion, that will make it the country’s most expensive entertainment in history. Interestingly, only $3.8 billion has been appropriated for the construction of stadiums, plus another $1.4 billion to build new airports. At $11 billion, spending on the tourist infrastructure dwarfs both.A welldeveloped transportation network criss-crossing European

Russia could set the country back by upto $35 billion.“We will leave nothing behind. As far as football is concerned, I hope we’ll be able to create an environment on par with Europe’s, while airports and motorways will serve people for many years to come. Infrastructure spending has already been put into the budget,” said Putin. Like most Russians, government officials say the championship is a tribute to the power of the state and its ability to translate large-scale projects into reality. They also see it as an unprecedented opportunity to improve domestic living standards. As for dividends, they are expected to come later – in the form of foreign investment, tourism and a quality transportation system.

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bn - is planned for tourism infrastructure. Russia needs to build or renovate 19,000 hotel rooms, FIFA said.




I voted for Russia. England clearly had a great bid. But in the end, I look at England and say: "What more would we have when we’re finished other than what I am certain would have been a great World Cup?’… I believe that when we’re finished in Russia, we’ll have accomplished a lot of different things..." From interview to 'Soccer America'.

This issue has been conceptualised by INTERNATIONAL MEDIA MARKETING, RESPONSE adqueries@ Co-ordinator: • Feature Mehernosh Gotla (mehernosh.gotla@

Russia & India Report  

RIR is a unique publication that highlights the vibrant multi-faceted partnership between India and Russia that spans their growing collabor...

Russia & India Report  

RIR is a unique publication that highlights the vibrant multi-faceted partnership between India and Russia that spans their growing collabor...