RussianMind №7 (23) Special Edition 2012, www.RussianMind.com
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Contents RussianMind №7 (23) Special Edition 2012, www.RussianMind.com
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Happy Birthday, RussianMind!
Putin THE GREAT!
8 I am Innocent: How MI5 Falsely Accused a Russian Woman of Being a Spy
Acting Editor Olga Kudriavtseva Design & layout www.design2pro.ru A.D. – Mikhail Kurov Designer – Julia Zayashnikova Head of Editorial Board Mark Hollingsworth Managing Director Azamat Sultanov Deputy Managing Director Daria Alyukova Advertising Yordanka Yordanova
10 The Super-Rich Just Get Richer
Maintaining Minimum Goodwill
IT Director Oleksii Vyshnikov Sub Editor Julia Gobert Interpreter Ekaterina Ovechkina Distribution Olga Tsvetkova In print: Chris Hutchins, Stewart Lansley, Tai Adelaja, Vadim Nikitin, Anatoly Karlin, Anastasia Zheltova, Yulia Simonova, Kirill Lagutko, Polina Dronyaeva, Richard Bloss, Tatiana Irodova, Ekaterina Petukhova, Alena Nikiforova, Olga Lesyk, Hazel Thompson, Anton Phatianov. Contacts: Editorial Staff: email@example.com General enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution: email@example.com Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 40 Langham Street, London W1W 7AS United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 207 637 1374 www.RussianMind.com
Russia’s “Post-Bling” Generation: Lebedev’s Blow for the Common Man
Boris v Roman – The Trial of the Century
Sarah Fabergé: All About Surprises
Citizen Poet - and Citizen Hedonist
20 Comparing UK, USA, Russia: The People
28 Cyril Tuschi: Ambivalent Feeling to Khodorkovsky
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Yuri Shevchuk: “The Artist is Always an Individualist”
KVN, Maslenitsa, Ballet & Bolshoi Theatre
40 Victoria Andreyanova. Fashion Designer
50 Performance Appraisal
44 Danila Polyakov Chooses a Gherkin!
Where Ukraine Meets the West: Why Lviv is a Tourist Must-See
Zorikto Dorzhiev: Grand Opening at V&A
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Painter Aleksey Chizov: Manifesto of Self-Growth
Oleg Mirochnikov: London is an Ideal Stage
Russians in the UK. And How Is It For You?
52 When Wardrobe Rules the Country
Made a Splash
Amazing Moscow Underground
61 “Gift of Life” Charity Auction
62 Street Chic
Happy Birthday, RussianMind!
here are not that many things that leave an impression on our memory for a long time, probably only the most exciting and important moments of our life. For me one of the most remarkable was in May 2011, when Russian Media Solutions launched their new publication called RussianMind. I would even say “gave birth”, because since then we perceived the magazine as our ‘baby’ would grow! The name of the ‘newborn’ was not chosen accidentally, it reflects in itself the approach to understand who Russian people are. The Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev said that “Russia cannot be understood with the mind”, but RM aimed to prove the contrary. By looking at the background and history of the CIS countries, analysing their political, economic and business situations; observing the development of art and culture and the most important – communicating with prominent people, we have tried to understand the mindset of the Post Soviet people. www.RussianMind.com
During the last year RM turned into a cross-cultural platform for international communication. We have participated in a variety of Russianrelated events; we have talked to different people – from those exiled in the UK, businessmen to artists at the top of their professions and we have made numerous political investigations. Whatever has happened to the publication during 2011, it was an experience and as far as I know what else can be more valuable? Looking back over the past year, I am grateful to the circumstances which led me to get acquainted with the numerous people that have appeared on RM’s pages, I am proud to work with those professionals, who have put a real effort into the magazine’s production. From deep in my heart I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU! Taking into consideration our experience, in future we are looking forward to further development, because life is like a bicycle, if you want to keep in balance, you need to turn the pedals! Today the majority of publications are strongly developing their online platforms as it is the future of mass media. RM also goes with the times and will switch to an online format. Our aim is to attract an audience to the online scheme “Read and Create”. It means that all the articles which appear on our website www.russianmind.com will undergo our audience’s opinion. Now you can have a chance not only to read, but share with us 5
your thoughts tho and participate in the excit exciting process of content selection and creation. Do not selectio hesitate to be a part of the discussi discussions on our website and feel absolutely abso free to propose any topic for us to write about or you can become beco a RM blogger. The m most readable and commen commented articles will be gathered in the electronic magazine which is comfortable to read from a laptop and other gadgets. Now as you hold in your hands our special celebratory edition of RM which contains a selection of the best articles based on our readers’ opinions, which have appeared in RM over the past year. This issue symbolises a fresh start and our new approach. Our birthday is the perfect time to think about the past year and set goals for the next. Like a child who step by step discovers the world, RM has experimented, searched and established itself. Now is the time to shore up our position and get ahead. As we go forward, it becomes even more exciting! With the Best Wishes Olga Kudriavtseva Acting Editor
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Putin THE GREAT! by Chris Hutchins Published in the issue 1 (May 2011)
IT’S WORKING! RUSSIANS IN THEIR MILLIONS HAVE BOUGHT INTO OPERATION VLADIMIR PUTIN. THE PR OPERATION HAS PROVED TO BE SUCH AN ASTONISHING SUCCESS IN HIS HOMELAND THAT PUTIN IS NOW UNQUESTIONABLY RUSSIA’S MOST POPULAR LEADER SINCE PETER THE GREAT. AND WHAT’S MORE IT’S ALL HIS OWN WORK.
hen he told his communications consultant – the equivalent of Blair’s former press secretary Alastair Campbell - that he was going to sing ‘Blueberry Hill’ at
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a charity event in St Petersburg, he was advised that one of his favourite Beatles songs might go down better. But Putin has a long memory and recalling a frosty encounter with Paul McCartney at the Kremlin, he declared that this 6
was his party and he was going to do it his way. While the elderly and the sick continue to get largely overlooked when it comes to receiving the benefits afforded by the nation’s huge oil and gas wealth, Russians from Moscow to Chukotka nevertheless marvel at their prime minister’s heroic antics - from diving to the bottom of the world’s deepest lake in a mini submarine to rescuing a group of scientists from an escaped tiger in the east and cuddling a polar bear in the Arctic north. Putin fan clubs have sprung up in cities across the land and even Putin ice cream is all the rage in Russian www.RussianMind.com
Politics seaside resorts (yes, they do have them). But how can he spread the word to the west where cynical observers have pointed out that he first shot the tiger with a tranquiliser gun, probably using the drug left over from sedating the polar bear? To that end Putin sent a group of trusted lieutenants to Paris last month for a conference thinly disguised as a think-tank to debate ‘Expectations of Europeans and Scenarios for Russia’. The group was headed by Alexandre Babakov, the hard-working (well he must be to have amassed a $500 million fortune) vice president of the Russian parliament, the Duma. It included Russia’s leading pollster, Valery Fyodorov, who came armed with figures and percentages to show that Putin’s high ratings are real because, as he commented, the Prime Minister’s popularity had dropped from 77% in 2009 to 62% by the end of 2010. ‘That’s because we had a drought followed by fires which decimated the grain crop,’ explained Mr Fyodorov. Things should be better this year when the troubles in Libya push up the value of Russia’s oil and gas exports. Despite the recent decline, Putin’s ratings remain high enough to turn Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama greener than a conservation lobbyist. So how has he done it? Apart from hunting wild animals and deep water diving, Russians of all persuasions point to Putin’s restoration of their national pride – a trait instilled in him from an early age when he had to overcome an unhealthy inferiority complex. Regarded as a ‘puny sissy’ because his mother kept him virtually confined to their one-bedroom shared flat until he was eight years old, Putin had to go out and earn the respect of local bullies by acquiring a reputation as just another hooligan on the block. Even when he had become his country’s www.RussianMind.com
president he ordered lecterns to be placed some distance apart to help hide his diminutive stature when he was obliged to attend joint press conferences with such lofty fellows as President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair. Surrounded by French culture but opting for Chinese cuisine in the basement of an eastern emporium, Mr Fyodorov pointed out that Putin remained very much a favourite with his people despite the fact that prices had increased (by 7%) more than wages (4.2%). I took his point. A school janitor in the Siberian town of KhantyMansiysk told me last year that his wife had had to cut down on their food and vodka supplies because they cost more than the rise in his wages. ‘But look,’ he proudly told me, ‘Our prime minister can fly a jet fighter, can yours?’ The UK Prime Minister, I have to confess and would hasten to point out if I was ever allowed back (Khanty-Mansiysk is a ‘closed town’), cannot even get his sums right: while the UK borrows ever more billions. And Goldman Sachs reckon the Russian budget will be deficit free before the end of this year and in surplus in 2012. Do ordinary Russians care if their leader – on a relatively small salary – is said by the analyst Stanislav Belkovsky to have become the country’s richest man (having jailed indefinitely the previous one, Mikhail Khodorkovsky)? It took the small son of a shepherd to point out Putin’s ‘pretty watch’ on a visit to the Siberian republic of Tyva. Putin then removed the timepiece from his wrist and gave it to the boy whose father later had it valued – it was a Patek Phillipe Perpetual Calendar model worth $60,000. So does his apparent wealth anger the population? Not at all, says a member of the Paris mission. Apparently, the average Russian believes that a man who can amass wealth for himself can do the same 7
for his country even if it doesn’t exactly put jam on the bread of those who toil at the bottom of the ladder. And what of gossip circulating in Moscow high society that the once-shy Putin seems to have taken a leaf from the book of his close friend Silvio Berlusconi and now favours the company of glamorous young women? ‘It is the same in Russia as it is in France and Italy,’ says my obliging informant, ‘If he had a pretty mistress or two, it would just be seen as one of the perks of the job. The people don’t mind. They like a virile leader. Russians want a Peter the Great not a Mahatma Gandhi’. After a decade under the direction of the drunken and corrupt Boris Yeltsin, Russians seem pleased that his successor is a very different man indeed. Putin has given them financial stability – salaries get paid nowadays – and regard it as even more important that he has restored national pride. Russian prestige which suffered terribly after the nation lost the Cold War has been restored - with or without the help of the PR antics. There have been mistakes along the way: as Fyodorov pointed out - Putin’s declaration of war on corruption backfired, serving only to remind people that corruption was still rife in their midst. ‘But that’s the downside of free speech’, he said. ‘Journalists are now free to write about corruption whereas in prePutin days it was a taboo subject’. Desperately seeking a word of dissent, at breakfast I found Evgueni - a Russian bodyguard fittingly equipped with hands and arms like ham hocks – and asked him if he liked Putin: ‘No, not at all, no I don’t like him,’ he obligingly grunted into his low-fat yoghurt. Chris Hutchins is the author of the book PUTIN which was published this April. He is also the co-author of ‘Billionaire from Nowhere – A Biography of Roman Abramovich’ №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
How MI5 Falsely Accused a Russian Woman of Being a Spy by Mark Hollingsworth Published in the issue 12 (Nov 2011)
LAST NOVEMBER A SPECIAL TRIBUNAL HEARD AN APPEAL IN SECRET FOR A 26YEAROLD RUSSIAN WOMAN, EKATERINA ZATULIVETER, AGAINST HER DEPORTATION. IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY CASE: SHE HAS BEEN ACCUSED BY MI5 OF BEING A RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICER WHILE WORKING AS A RESEARCHER FOR THE PROMINENT LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP MIKE HANCOCK AT THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. BUT THE EVIDENCE AGAINST HER WAS VIRTUALLY NONEXISTENT AND ONE MEMBER OF THE TRIBUNAL WAS HIMSELF, A FORMER HEAD OF MI5. WAS THIS A CASE OF ANTIRUSSIAN BIAS BY THE SECURITY SERVICE OR PARANOIA, OR IS SHE REALLY A SPY? For an alleged secret agent Ekaterina Zatuliveter, known as Katia, does not come from any of the Russian political elites. She was born and raised in Dagestan. Her family fled their home in the mid-1990s during the conflict in Chechnya. It was a traumatic upbringing. Katia's life was transformed from a comfortable family life to near poverty. But her father, Andrei Zatuliveter, recovered and ran several successful enterprises. In 2005 Katia secured a degree in International Relations at St Petersburg State University and then moved to the UK and enrolled at Bradford University to study for a Masters in Conflict Resolution. While still a student, she was commissioned by Mike Hancock, the Liberal Democrat MP who has a special interest in Russia, as a ‘foreign intern’ and he paid her £2,500 to cover travel and food costs. It is unclear how they first met. "She contacted me when she was at Bradford", said №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
the MP. "At first I couldn't give her an internship, so I said when I get a space I'll let you know. She then did a day a week for me, travelling down from Bradford” But Hancock later said that he first met Zatuliveter in Russia in 2006 during a conference of the European Security and Defence Assembly, while she was still a student. “She had been earmarked to look after one group of French MPs and all of a sudden she was switched to the Brits”, said Hancock “I thought she was very pleasant and she spoke good English. Katia came with references and was the best person for the job”. Hancock, a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee, appointed Zatuliveter as his parliamentary researcher in July 2008. She had access to his private emails and helped to run the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia at the House of Commons which was chaired by Hancock. She also worked as a research associate at the military 8
think-tank, the UK Defence Forum and wrote an article for the think-tank’s publication ‘Defence Viewpoints’ entitled, ‘Misguided US role in the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia’. It attracted media comment because it criticised the US. Zatuliveter also worked on a BBC TV series about Russia’s relationship with the West in 2010. The Sunday Times Moscow correspondent, Mark Franchetti, recalls having dinner with her in Moscow: "She failed to make much of an impression. Far from appearing provocative, she seemed ordinary and bland resembling more a nerdy academic than a sultry KGB honey trap. When I spoke to her in Russian, she insisted on answering in English. She did not take part in the conversation and was more interested in the food. “Mostly she listened, but when I described a meeting I had a few weeks before the dinner with a well-informed Kremlin insider she seemed more concerned with checking messages on her mobile phone". The allegation that Zatuliveter was a Russian spy first emerged when she was detained at Gatwick airport on returning from a holiday in Croatia, where she was celebrating her 25th birthday with two girlfriends. As the three women approached passport control, they noticed a dozen men in dark suits looming. They were officers from MI5, Britain's security service. Interviewing the women separately, the officers wanted to www.RussianMind.com
Investigation know what Zatuliveter had been up to: her background, her family and what contact she may have had with Russian intelligence. The officials knew details about her love life and about a brief sexual relationship with a NATO official based in central Europe. But they produced no evidence off any espionage activity. rested or Zatuliveter was not arrested estioned, detained after being questioned, d by but was later interviewed MI5 officers four or five times in fter the the following months. After Sunday Times published details tioning, about Zatuliveter’s questioning, members of the Council o off Europe’s parliamentary ns assembly raised concerns roabout Mike Hancock’s proorsi Russian views. Magyas Eorsi said: "I wasn't surprised by this story at all. I el wouldn't say that Michael Hancock is a spy. But I'm very sure that the Russians use Michael quite deliberately. He is the most pro-Russian MP amongst all of the countries of western Europe” On 2 December 2010, Zatuliveter was taken into custody based on the recommendation of o the Home Secretary who m was shown a dossier from h MI5. She was served with a deportation order as a suspected spy. "There was unhappiness about uld what documents she could have access to”, said an e intelligence official. “The intention is to show her the door". MI5 believe that Zatuliveter was recruited as an agent for the Russian foreign intelligence agency n SVR while at university in n she St Petersburg. In London www.RussianMind.com
was put under surveillance after being linked to a Russian who was also suspected of working for the SVR. MI5 allege that she invited this SVR agent to the Houses of Parliament.Zatuliveter claims that
she met the individual on the Tube after attending the same event and later cancelled a meeting. Zatuliveter was detained and told that she would be deported. But nobody explained why. On 13 December 2010, she appear before the Special appeared Immigr Immigration Appeals Commission a was released on (SIAC) and conditi that she would stay condition at her h home address and would notify tthe Home Secretary if she an met anyone other than her family leg team. and legal Her ffate will be decided by the a SIAC appeal hearing which starts on 18 October. Meanwhile, her lawyers have objected to the presence of Sir Stephen La Lander, the former DirectorG General of MI5, who will to s on a panel of judges and sit rule on whether she should be deported. They argued that Lander faces a conflict of interests because the prosecutor in the case is, in effect, MI5 and he knows personally one of the MI5 officers who is submitting evidence. But this was rejected and Lander remains a member of the panel. My investigations reveal that MI5's case against Z Zatuliveter is extremely w weak. There is no doubt that sh had an extremely close she personal relationship with Hancock. She also met officials from the Russian E Embassy in London, one o whom was probably an of in intelligence officer and she h a brief affair with a NATO had official. But that does not prove that she is a Russian spy. If this is the dubious criteria for being an intelligence officer, then a lot of Russian women living in London will have to be a arrested and deported. №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Just Get Richer by Stewart Lansley
Published in the issue 16 (Dec 2011-Jan 2012)
LAST YEAR THE RECORD FOR THE MOST EXPENSIVE UK HOME WAS BREACHED YET AGAIN. THE PRICE: £140 MILLION. THE PROPERTY: PARK PLACE, A 300YEAR OLD, GRADEII LISTED MANSION OVERLOOKING THE THAMES NEAR HENLEY. SITTING IN 200 ACRES OF PARKLAND AND COMPLETE WITH TRADEMARK HELIPAD AND SPA, THE PROPERTY’S BUYER WAS AN UNIDENTIFIED RUSSIAN.
fter something of a lull during the depth of the downturn, the UK prime property market has suddenly burst into life. While the cost of an average house has fallen in real terms – by about 7 per cent - in the last year, Britain’s №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
prime properties have been changing hands at an ever increasing rate. Top central London prices – from Belgravia to Mayfair - have hit record highs, rising 40 per cent since 2009. Driving this miniboom has been a new surge of cash from the global super-rich looking for a 10
safe haven for their money. According to Savills residential research, a heady £6 billion of foreign money has flowed into the prime central London market in the last year. As a result, 17 of the 20 most expensive properties in the UK are now owned by the global rich. Of the top 20, 4 are owned by Russians, 3 by Ukrainians. Eight of the twenty have been bought from British owners or British property magnates in the last two years. It was the Russians who initially led the latest charge on the UK’s prime property market – just as they had in the mid-2000s. But in the last year they have been nudged into fourth place, overtaken by the Chinese www.RussianMind.com
Economics and, according to the leading property agents, Knight Frank, investors from Malaysia and Hong Kong. While the Chinese forked out an average of £6.5 million, the Russians spent £5.4 million per dwelling. Britain remains the favoured home for spare oligarch cash. And they still have plenty of it. The richest Russians took something of a hit when the international financial crisis first broke. With stock markets and commodity prices plunging, Roman Abramovich’s paper wealth shrank by a third in 2009. Oleg Deripaska was forced to sell off a good deal of his global business empire. Since then they have more than bounced back, with most of the Russian oligarchs sitting on fortunes higher than before the recession. Today, the country boasts an estimated 101 Russian billionaires, the third highest after the US and China. This is almost double their 2007 count. This resurgence is not just true of personal fortunes in Russia. According to the American business magazine, Forbes, the number of global billionaires jumped by nearly a third in the four years to 2011, despite the deepest slump since the 1930s. Today some 1,200 people hold a collective wealth of some $4.5 trillion, giving them an economic punch equivalent to a third of the size of the American economy. Moreover, over the last decade, much of this personal and mobile wealth, especially that of the Russians, has ended up in the UK. This is no accident. From the mid1990s, the British authorities set out to lure the foreign rich – and their money - turning London in particularly into what Forbes has described as “a magnet for the world's billionaires". For a while from 2008, the money slowed. The oligarchs were tied up in trying to rebuild their financial empires. But now it seems the money is starting to flow again. Aided by the falling pound and the growing political and economic uncertainly across the globe, the world's super-rich are, www.RussianMind.com
as one property agent put it "coming out of hiding – on the hunt again for bargain trophy assets in the UK”. We are still some way from the frenzied foreign spending power of the boom years with multiple bidding wars for the most expensive mansions or the tear away prices for private jets and record profits for New Bond Street retailers. But the Russians are creeping back. Moreover, the Russian economic muscle is now being felt in a largely uncharted quarter – the top end of the London stock market. At the beginning of November, Polymetal – a huge mining conglomerate, and Russia’s fourthlargest gold miner, with a market value close to £4 billion – became the first Russian company to join the FTSE 100. The group is controlled mainly by Russian businessmen Alexander Nesis and Alexander Mamut, who floated around half the value of their company. Then a couple of weeks later, Russian steelmaker Evraz, part-owned by Roman Abramovich, also floated on
the London stock exchange. This may be the beginning of a trend. Another Russian company large enough to join the FTSE 100 and seeking to float in London in 2012 is the Russian potash miner, Uralkali. Russian buying power, of course, rarely comes without controversy. The injection of overseas money since the millennium, for example, has had a very mixed impact on the British property market, helping to hike prices outside of the hot spots – and out of the reach of ordinary buyers - during the boom years. The Russian share listings mean big money in the Square Mile, but have raised eyebrows on issues of transparency and corporate governance. None of this, of course, will stop the money from coming, nor the cheering by top end property agents and City financiers. Stewart Lansley is the author of The Cost of Inequality: Three Decades of the Super-Rich and the Economy, published last year.
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Goodwill by Tai Adelaja Published in the issue 18 (Feb 2012)
DESPITE LOSING AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT, RUSSIA'S RULING UNITED RUSSIA PARTY MAY BE SPEARHEADING SPECIFIC INITIATIVES AIMED AT PREVENTING MORE RUSSIANS FROM SLIDING INTO POVERTY.
till reeling from a surprise challenge to its decadelong dominance in December, Russia’s ruling United Russia party appeared to be trying a new way of maintaining ties to its traditional constituency as it pushes for an increase in the country's miserly minimum wage. The proKremlin party, which still maintains a slim majority of 238 out of 450 seats in the State Duma, said last week that it is stepping up efforts to index the federal minimum wage, which it said has been nearly “eaten up” by inflation. But analysts say the move, which came on the heels of a wave of popular protests against the December 4 parliamentary election, could be a belated attempt by the party to stem the rising tide of public anger. The Russian Parliament plans to enact a three-step increase in federal minimum wage through a parliamentary resolution to be considered "very soon," Andrei Isayev, State Duma Labour and Social Policy Committee Chairman said. Isayev, who is also a senior member of the pro-Kremlin United №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Russia party, said the proposals, which will combat poverty, include mandating the government to adopt a triple indexation scheme that should see the minimum wage top 6,500 roubles ($207) by October. According to the threestep schedule, the minimum wage
will first be raised from the current 4,600 roubles ($146) to 5,000 roubles in March. By June 1, it will be increased to 5,500 roubles, and finally to 6,500 roubles by October 1. The new minimum wage, he said, will be enough to meet last year's official minimum subsistence level. The minimum wage, which serves as a basis for calculating payments to unskilled workers and some federal and regional government 12
employees, was last doubled in January 2009 from the previous year's level to 4,330 roubles ($138). However, supporters of pay raises, including Mikhail Shmakov, the Chairman of the Independent Unions Federation, have been pressuring the government to raise salaries as a way to stimulate demand and boost the economy at a time when prices keep growing despite people's thinner wallets. The number of Russians currently living below the poverty line grew by more than 2 million over the past year, the State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported in September. About 15 percent of the population, or 21.1 million people, now subsist below the poverty line, up from 19.1 million people in September last year, according to Rosstat. The current subsistence income is 7,023 roubles ($221) a month for a working adult, 5,141 roubles ($165.8) for a pensioner and 6,294 roubles ($203) for a child. In last year's first quarter, it was, respectively, 5,956 roubles ($192), 4,395 roubles ($142) and 5,312 roubles ($171). However, with economists warning that fulfilling pre-election promises could punch a hole in the budget after the Presidential elections, the government has been wary of raising the minimum wage in violation of promises to control the budget. Russia currently spends more than 15 percent of www.RussianMind.com
its gross domestic product on social and welfare programmes and has struggled to keep wages above inflation, so the nation's poor won't be poorer, the Eurasian Development Bank said in a recent report. Isayev offered last week to help the government to raise the minimum wage to meet the poverty threshold. “We are working on the necessary resolution. And we’re prepared to defend this before the government in order to resolve the issue”, Isayev said. The average nominal income of employed Russians stands at 23,154 roubles ($738) per month, or 330 percent higher than the subsistence income, according to Rosstat. But while the numbers of the impoverished dropped steadily in the early 2000s, amid climbing oil prices and economic growth, they have remained relatively static www.RussianMind.com
since 2007. According to the State Statistics Service, in 2001 about 50 million Russians, or 33 percent, were living below the subsistence level. This number improved to 24.5 percent in early 2005, and 14.8 percent in the third quarter of 2007. The Ministry of Economic Development earlier predicted that the minimum subsistence level would rise to 8,579 roubles ($273) by 2014. But because of the rising costs of a consumer basket of goods and services, the percentage of the poor could increase from 12.7 percent in 2012 to 12.8 percent in 2013, while the poverty rate could reach 12.5 percent in 2014. But even as many Russians are coming to grips with a declining era of relative stability and prosperity, the number of Russian super-rich has increased, making Moscow home to more of the world's 13
wealthiest people than New York. According to Forbes magazine, Russia had 101 billionaires in 2011 – almost double the number in the previous year. Social and economic polarity has become so palpable that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is seeking another term as President, told a United Russia congress in September that taxes on the rich could be raised, while acknowledging "dangerous levels of social inequality". Such public acknowledgement from the Kremlin is a sign that party members, who have dominated the top echelons of business and institutions under the Prime Minister, may have to share their wealth and power with a wider circle of Russians, analysts say. Tai Adelaja is the business correspondent for russiaprofile.org №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
RUSSIA’S “Post-Bling” Generation: Lebedev’s Blow for the Common Man by Vadim Nikitin Published in the issue 11 (Oct 2011)
OF ALL THE THINGS TO BE ENVIOUS ABOUT ALEXANDER LEBEDEV HIS BILLIONS; HIS INTERNATIONAL MEDIA EMPIRE; HIS MANSION IN THE GROUNDS OF HAMPTON COURT PALACE WHAT MOST RUSSIANS ARE REALLY JEALOUS OF IS THAT HE AND NOT THEM, KNOCKED OUT SERGEI POLONSKY. SERGEI WHO?
ow internationally ridiculed as the man who split his own trousers live on Russian tv, after being sent tumbling out of his chair by Lebedev’s sneaky punch, although Polonsky is more than a mere random recipient of the oligarch’s trademark unpredictable streak. №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Well before his beating made this week’s youtube rounds, businessman Polonsky gained notoriety in 2008 as a modern day Masha Antoinettova for saying that anyone who doesn’t have a billion dollars is a loser. “Those who don’t have a billion can go to hell!” 14
Polonsky’s comment came to epitomise the atmosphere of excess, entitlement and contempt for the ordinary people that seems to characterise Russia’s elite in the era of ‘High Putinism’. Even as the gaudy conspicuous consumption appears to have subsided from the early 1990s levels, snobbery and social stratification have continued to skyrocket as status becomes expressed in other, more subtle but no less painful ways. Gone is the caricature of the oligarchs of the earlier years: buzz-cut; barely literate bruisers, wearing burgundy blazers, drinking Chivas for breakfast and www.RussianMind.com
using rare paintings to gift-wrap presents, with a wife who “looks like she just held up a Neiman Marcus at gunpoint” (and probably did!). Today’s moneyed class prefer to be lower-key, wearing subtle designer labels that few ordinary people have even heard of. They eat macrobiotic optimised lunches; love microbreweries and don’t mind “flying to Berlin for the day to see a play by a Québécois playwright”. In other words, they have gone from simply loathsome to become completely; existentially; viscerally intolerable. With oligarchs 1.0, you were outraged that a bunch of boorish thugs with nothing going for them except pure menace with billions when you are poor; but at least then, you were still more educated and cultured than them. These days, you don’t even have that consolation. The “post-bling” generation are richer than you, but also better read; more tasteful; fun; cultured; cooler and educated; just better than you. Shteyngart writes: “The Snob editorial staff introduced me to another interesting feature of Moscow’s creative elite: the rise of the Russian house-husband, with his advanced degree in some irrelevant humanistic field, who www.RussianMind.com
can grill a spectacular mutton kebab while wearing a Snoopy hoodie. “Is this Russia’s missing middle class?” I ask Masha. “This is the weirdo class”, she tells me”. See? They’re even capable of the fake-laugher at themselves, even though they are really laughing at you, the true weirdo, with your $500 state salary (less than a house husband’s monthly organic mutton allowance!) and a truly irrelevant degree (i.e. medicine or teaching),
conferred on you years ago, in a distant, irrelevant place called the USSR (you really should’ve thought about applying to the States!). They have officially taken everything, first your wealth and now your dignity. They’ve also been rubbing your nose in it for years, stepping on all your dreams in their Gucci shoes, masquerading as Converse All Stars. You loser! You should’ve had more ambition, sovok! (The Russian word "sovok" 15
is now used for the representatives of the generation that were born and lived for a more or less significant part of their lives during the Soviet period). Polonsky is one of those arseholes and Lebedev (literally!) exposed himself as the cowardly arsehole he is: “Now Polomsky is showing his ripped trousers, which is rather difficult to comment on. He got it in the face, but he holds up his trousers with a hole in the backside! Strange?” As one livejournal commenter wrote: “They should all be given the same medicine. The whimpering, runny-nosed boy so easily revealed by Levedev’s fist, under Polonsky’s cocky, powerful facade, has shattered the myth that a review of privatisation would be impossible”. The only problem is that Lebedev, the billionaire oligarch, notwithstanding, a handsome, witty and vigorous man, has now shown us, that one is capable of delivering a cathartic comeuppance to Polonsky, on behalf of Russia’s hapless and impotent, common man. In other words, one of us!? Vadim Nikitin has contributed articles about Russia to The Nation, Dissent Magazine, and The Moscow Times. №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Boris v Roman –
The Trial of the Century by Mark Hollingsworth
Published in the issue 9 (Sep 2011)
THE LONGAWAITED LEGAL DISPUTE BETWEEN BORIS BEREZOVSKY AND ROMAN ABRAMOVICH BEGAN IN THE ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE IN LONDON. THE CASE REVEALS NEW SECRETS ABOUT THE LIFE OF THE OWNER OF CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB.
t the heart of the lawsuit is the allegation by Berezovsky that Abramovich used threats to force him to sell valuable Russian oil and media assets at well below their market value, at the behest of Putin. The stakes are high: if Berezovsky loses, he could face a crippling legal bill running into millions of pounds and damage to his reputation. If Abramovich №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
loses, he will be regarded as a mere appendage of the Russian Prime Minister and only acquired his vast wealth by political networking rather than astute investments. The most exciting aspect of the case will be that for the first time the source of the wealth of both oligarchs will be revealed in public. It will be the best show in town. A nervous Abramovich has already tried to have Berezovsky’s 16
claim struck out. But the Judge, Sir Anthony Colman, refused and declared: "Whereas in certain respects it (his case) may appear to present very formidable difficulties, it is in no respect so weak that Berezovsky should be prevented from bringing it to trial". The legal costs are staggering - the pre-trial hearings alone have totalled the astonishing figure of £10.6 million. Abramovich has incurred £3.7 million and Berezovsky £6.9 million. Berezovsky’s case has been handicapped by the absence of two key witnesses – his former business partner Badri Patarkatsishvili and former lawyer Stephen Curtis who are both dead. Therefore he applied for a court order for “enhanced disclosure” of documents but this was refused. Most observers believe that Berezovsky has a weak case from a legal perspective and that he is gambling that the Chelsea owner will settle out-of-court rather than be cross-examined in open court. The case exposes a remarkable change of fortunes for the two oligarchs who were business partners and friends in the mid1990s. Then, Berezovsky was the wealthiest tycoon with political influence and a close relationship with the President and Abramovich was a struggling entrepreneur. Now it is the Chelsea owner who is superrich and has cosy relations with the Kremlin. How did Abramovich become so wealthy so quickly and how does he spend it? It is true that in 2009 his fortune dropped dramatically to a www.RussianMind.com
Proﬁle mere $8.5 billion, down from $23.5 billion the year before. But this was mostly due to the financial crisis and the disastrous performance of the steel company Evraz, in which he has a large stake. But now he has recovered. In May 2011 the Sunday Times Rich List estimated his wealth as £10.3 billion. This made him Britain’s third richest man after Lakshmi Mittal and Alisher Usmanov. Despite his quiet, modest, lowkey personality, Abramovich likes to spend big. Soon after meeting his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova, he developed a sudden interest in art. He was the mystery buyer who bought Francis Bacon's Triptych for $86.3 million at Sotheby's New York, and splashed out $33.6 million on Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping at Christie's. Both works made auction history, with the Bacon purchase achieving the highest price for a post-war work of art and Freud becoming the most expensive living artist at auction. The paintings are now displayed at one of Abramovich’s apartments in Lowndes Square. Abramovich also owns a fleet of yachts. His super-yacht, the 377 foot Pelorus, has a staff of 40, a helicopter, helipad and a cinema. Worth £100 million, it is usually moored in Malta. His other yachts include the Sussurro and Ecstasea. In June 2006 he gave one of his yachts the Le Grand Bleu to Eugene Shvidler, ore a close business associate. More recently, he took possession of the world's largest private yacht - the 550ft Eclipse which cost him £300 ds, six million and boasts two helipads, e guest suites, a laser shield, five VIP suites and a 5,000 square foot owner's cabin, as well as an aquarium, a disco, a spa and a half-indoor, halfoutdoor pool. Abramovich paid special attention to the n, detail. During its construction, he complained when a giant ks mirror on one of the nine decks was smashed during tests in www.RussianMind.com
here was the North Sea, and there ustrian also an issue when Austrian hased for crystal glasses purchased d when dinner guests, rattled gines the electrodiesel engines vibrated and which was onal also felt on his personal ed deck. He also insisted eptile that leopard and reptile rs skins used on chairs lls of and to line the walls a massage room should ced! be ethically sourced! Abramovich also owns two submarines. His first, le a 118 foot Seattle oned 1000, commissioned from the leading manufacturer US Submarines, cost £13 million to buy and a further £1 million a year to run. It has two deck levels, separate living areas for guests and crew with staterooms, the submarine is capable of diving to a depth of 1,000 foot and can remain submerged for two weeks. He also has a second submarine on order from US Submarines, a smaller 65ft Nomad 1000, which cost £3 million and will dock on the Eclipse when it is completed. In the sky, Abramovich owns three helicopters and three private jets - a 737 business jet, a Dessault Falcon 900 and his personalised Boeing 767. He bought his adapted Boeing Business Jet 737 for $50 million which has been equipped with a missile jammer and dubbed ‘The Bandit’. A new Boeing 767 costs roughly $100
million, but analysts said it is virtually impossible to estimate the pricee tag of the new jet because of the unknown cost of the plane's interior. 17
designed to seat 360 Originally designed people, it was refitted with a luxury interior aand extra rooms. On land, Abram Abramovich owns a £1 million FFerrari FXX ar and a pair of racing ccar n hers’ Maybach ‘his and Merced e Mercedes 62s, but he rare rarely drives them rrelies on his and re bodyyg bodyguards, mainly form SAS officers, former o chauff c to eur him aro around town. He retains 20 bo bodyguards in the UK at £100,000 per m month to protect d his fam himself and family from an increased threat of kidnapping of his five children. It is now the biggest private security operation in the world. In the south of France, he has a team of four armed operatives who carry 9 mm Gloch guns while guarding his vast villa. Another six protect his four yachts. One of the boats, the Pelorus, is fitted with bullet-proof glass and a missile detection system. If there is a threat, Abramovich can choose between a helicopter and private submarine in which to make an escape. In Russia, his security precautions are even more extensive: the oligarch has recruited dozens of Russian soldiers, some serving officers, as hired guns. As Russian infantrymen are among the worst paid in Europe, they are easily lured by the extra cash. Abramovich's private army far exceeds other billionaires and celebrities who are concerned about assassination and kidnapping. Even David Beckham only has three bodyguards and a martial arts specialist, despite the reported threats of kidnapping to his children. In America, Jennifer Lopez hired former CIA and FBI agents but mainly for a one-off crisis. The annual security budget for billionaires like Eric Schmidt, the Google №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Proﬁle CEO, is £266,000 paid Amy Winehouse was the best at “person-to-person - tiny compared £1 million to perform relations”. to Abramovich's at the launch of his The Russian broadcaster Alexei expenditure of £1.2 Moscow art gallery, The Venediktov said: “I once asked million. Only Larry Garage Gallery for him, Berezovsky what talents Abramovich Ellison, Oracle's CEO, Daria Zhukova and 300 had? and he said ‘he was a good comes close with guests. psychologist’, and I agree with that… £900,000 per year on In person He is very good at understanding gates, guns and guards. Abramovich is shy his interlocutor. I have watched The increased threat and unassuming. He him communicate with a range to Abramovich is is very quiet and his of different journalists and he has that his movements dress sense matches his own approach to each person. have become very his demeanour. He He approaches politicians and Boris Berezovsky and his girlfriend Yelena Gorbunova predictable. A threat mainly wears jeans businessmen in the same manner”. assessment stated and an open shirt But it has been his relationship that the Russian billionaire was rather than a business suit and a with Putin that has protected his most vulnerable after Chelsea's chunky Eighties-style digital watch wealth and power. It is also at home matches when his car rather than a flashy Rolex. His the core of the legal dispute with could get caught in traffic. Now apparent gentle demeanour is at Berezovsky who claims that in he takes a different travel pattern odds with the fabled marauding 2001 Putin sent Abramovich as and route. Although his convoy Russian. his emissary to deprive him of his of cars are armour-plated and his Russian investments – an accusation drivers specially trained to deal strongly denied by Abramovich. with attacks, advisors still felt that However, there is no doubt that he was vulnerable to assassination Putin and Abramovich have a close or kidnapping - as happened to relationship. After he became Berezovsky in 1994. As a result, he President, their first major meeting built a helipad on the roof of the was in November 2003 to discuss the Chelsea Village hotel so he could fate of Yukos, where it was decided commute to matches by helicopter. that Abramovich should install His security advisors argue that they his own allies at the top of Yukoshave been successful and point to Sibneft. Soon after the meeting, the fact that the paparazzi have the Russian government issued a rarely taken a photograph or even statement that Abramovich’s tax gleaned a sighting of him outside affairs were “clean”. But Abramovich Stamford Bridge. He has only been During business meetings, remains as vulnerable to Putin as photographed in an organised Abramovich rarely sits behind Khodorkovsky was. Putin is of course setting. his desk, preferring to conduct the senior partner. When Abramovich Despite all this luxury spending, negotiations lounging on a sofa, addresses Putin he uses the more Abramovich does not live a and his ready smile, formal Russian for the hedonistic lifestyle. He did not join designer stubble and English pronoun 'you'. Annabel’s nightclub and you will casual clothing make “He (Putin) is more not see him socializing, except him look anything senior than me.”, said perhaps at art gallery openings but the ruthless Abramovich in a rare with his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova. plutocrat of folklore. interview. It is this He will only indulge occasionally. His underwhelming relationship which will He spent more than £200,000 on a manner makes him be at the heart of the 16th birthday party for his daughter, seem vulnerable and court case in London Anna, at the London nightclub Paper, unthreatening and when Berezovsky v hiring The Klaxons and the Brazilian his adversaries tend Abramovich, which electro band CSS to provide the to under-estimate finally begins in a few entertainment. The 500 guests were him. Berezovsky once weeks time. Ostensibly, treated to a flashing dance floor, admitted that of all the dispute is between Roman Abramovich and his a wind machine and alcohol-free the businessmen he the two oligarchs. But it girlfriend Daria Zhukova cocktails. In June 2008 Abramovich had met, Abramovich is also about Putin… №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
UK, USA, Russia:
The People by Anatoly Karlin
Published in the issue 2 (June 2011)
THIS PART OF MY SERIES COMPARING RUSSIA, BRITAIN, AND THE US FOCUSES ON THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES. WHAT ARE THEIR STRENGTHS AND FOIBLES? HOW DO THEY VARY BY CLASS, REGION, RACE, AND RELIGION? HOW DO THEY VIEW EACH OTHER AND OTHER COUNTRIES AND PEOPLES? WHAT DO THEY EAT, DRINK, AND WATCH? WHERE DO THEY TRAVEL AND AGAINST WHICH GROUPS DO THEY DISCRIMINATE?
s befits its climate, Californians are a sunny and gregarious people. It is not unusual to refer to someone as your friend after getting to know her after a few minutes, whereas this typically takes weeks in Europe. Other states are, from what I heard, different; e.g. New Yorkers are known for being curt and rude. Friendly is distinct from polite. As a rule, Britons are very polite. However, this translates into a greater sense of distance and insistence on propriety that approaches dourness as one travels north into Scotland. Driving on UK roads is a stress-free experience (and a boring one), while Californian roads demand attention and Russian roads are for thrill seekers only. Russians are cold and curt to strangers, which many foreigners attribute to rudeness. This isn’t exactly fair; most Russians are just warier of people they don’t know. This is not an irrational attitude in a society more permeated by scams and violence. Friendships that do develop with Russians usually go deeper than in Britain or the US. If you №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
slip down a social class or two, e.g. after a bankruptcy, you may find your previously big social circles beginning to melt away in the West. In particular, Americans have a special instinct for steering away from “losers”. Russians ARE far less civil in big groups. For instance, it is common for someone to start talking on her cell phone in a cinema. While Britons will always let a pedestrian walk across a zebra crossing – as they are obliged
to do by traffic regulations – there is a 25% chance that an American wouldn’t, and a 75%+ chance that a Russian wouldn’t. By and large, Russians only follow regulations out of fear of punishment – and as mentioned in the last part, these regulations are rarely policed. On the other hand, the disregard for social conventions leads to a lot of quirky and unusual happenings in Russia e.g., I’ve seen a man walking with a bear in central St. Petersburg, walkways leading into blank walls and cars with their internal machinery exposed, etc. In general, weird things like this are rarer in the US, and almost non-existent in the monotone plod of British life. Everybody has their two cents about the differences between women and men from different countries. My experiences agree with some common observations, such as
that American women are far more outgoing than their more reserved British sisters, or that Russian girls are prettier and more approachable but higher maintenance. Girls typically consider American men to be more humorous and talkative than British men, though the latter enjoy a more masculine reputation. Russians are considered to be more romantic or macho (it’s usually one or the other). Nonetheless, for both sexes, individual characteristics far exceed national stereotypes. Though not quite as disciplined as the Germans, the British are expected to get to meetings strictly on time. Things are far laxer in Russia, where it is common to see people wandering in and out of meetings, and half or a quarter failing to turn up at all. The golden mean is in California, where things are fairly casual but still organized (e.g. “Berkeley time” equals the appointed time plus ten minutes). But it is not representative of the www.RussianMind.com
US as a whole; stricter punctuality is expected in the east of the country. The US is dominated by imperial measurements – miles; pounds; Fahrenheit; etc. Britain is also largely imperial – miles; pounds; Celsius. Russia is completely metric since the Revolution – kilometres, kilograms, Celsius; with archaic units like the verst or the pudonly present in poetry or referring to traditional objects (e.g. church bells).
Oxbridge; constitutes political and financial elite). Even their accents are noticeably different: Britain may well be the only country on Earth where class overrides region and ethnicity in this respect. There are very clear demarcations between poor, middleclass, and affluent neighbourhoods. Needless to say, the latter two also have the best schools. I would estimate that the UK has lower social mobility than either the US or Russia. Despite their higher inequality, relative to Britain, there are fewer class differences in the US and far fewer in Russia (though they’re increasing in both countries). Russia’s case is unsurprising. It had no billionaires before about 1995; even millionaires only began reappearing in the late 1980s. They might vacation in the French Riviera and send their children to private schools, but it is not uncommon for that same Russian millionaire to live in a Moscow flat with other professionals and pensioners, and retreat to his dacha on the weekends (however, more and more of them are moving to gated communities as is common in the US). Anatoly Karlin wrote 4 part series comparing Russia, USA and the UK. He also runs the blog Sublime Oblivion about Russia, geopolitics, and peak oil.
CLASS SYSTEM Despite the UK having the lowest formal rate of economic inequality – its Gini index is 34, compared to Russia’s 40 and America’s 45 (for comparison, Sweden – 25; Brazil – 57) – it also has by far the most deeply embedded class system. There is a world of difference between the socio-economic expectations of the “chavs” (low-class; lumpen proletariat), the working class (emphasizes importance of hard, honest work); and the upper middle class (goes to 21
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All About Surprises by Daria Alyukova
Published in the issue 17 (Jan 2012)
THE RENOWNED HOUSE OF FABERGÉ WAS FOUNDED IN ST. PETERSBURG IN 1842 BY JEWELLER GUSTAV FABERGÉ. IT WAS HIS SON PETER CARL WHO LED THE FIRM TO WORLDWIDE RENOWN AND CREATED THE UNIQUE AND PRECIOUS SURPRISE EASTER EGGS FOR THE IMPERIAL FAMILY. HE WON THE FAVOUR OF THE IMPERIAL ROMANOV FAMILY IN THE 1880’S AND THE ADULATION OF THE WORLD WITH THE AWARD OF THE GRAND PRIX AT THE 1900 WORLD FAIR IN PARIS. IN 1917, FABERGÉ PRODUCTION WAS TERMINATED IN RUSSIA WITH THE ONSET OF THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION AND THEIR WORKSHOPS WERE TAKEN OVER BY THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT. A PERIOD OF DRAMATIC CHANGE IN THE SOCIAL SYSTEM IN RUSSIA CHANGED THE WORLD AND THE HOUSE OF FABERGÉ FOREVER. IN A SECOND BLOW, THE FABERGÉ FAMILY IN 1951 LOST THE RIGHTS TO USE THEIR FAMILY NAME IN SELLING FABERGÉ LABELLED DESIGNS WHEN PROTRACTED AND EXPENSIVE LITIGATION FORCED ON THEM INTO A SETTLEMENT THAT CEDED THEIR RIGHTS TO AN AMERICAN CORPORATION IN RETURN FOR ONLY US$ 25,000. HISTORY CAME FULL CIRCLE IN JANUARY 2007 WHEN THE FABERGÉ NAME WAS REUNITED WITH THE FABERGÉ FAMILY. TATIANA AND SARAH FABERGÉ, THE GREAT GRANDDAUGHTERS OF PETER CARL FABERGÉ, TOGETHER WITH MR JOHN ANDREW, MAKE UP THE FABERGÉ HERITAGE COUNCIL WHICH GUIDES THE UNIFIED FABERGÉ IN ITS PURSUIT OF FABERGÉ’S ORIGINAL VALUES, PHILOSOPHY AND SPIRIT. SARAH FABERGÉ IS A GRANDDAUGHTER OF NICHOLAS, THE FIFTH SON OF PETER CARL. IN CONVERSATION WITH SARAH RM GAINED A GLIMPSE OF THE EVENTFUL FAMILY STORY THAT COULD INSPIRE A FANTASTIC BOOK. №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
RM: Sarah, do you think talent can be inherited? Or does a dynastic business continue because of the tricks of the trade that a child naturally imbibes, seeing them on a daily basis? SF: Well, this is a tricky question. To reflect on that, I can tell you a story of my father Theo – he was born out of wedlock and brought up by his married aunt, his mother’s sister. Nicholas Fabergé came to London and got engrossed with photography. He fell in love with his model Dorise who was much younger than him. His official wife Marion Tattershall bore him no children, but Dorise had a son Theo. www.RussianMind.com
Person As he was born out of wedlock to a very young mother, he was brought up by his aunt’s family – all of them had dark-hair and Theo was redheaded. However, up to the age of 47 he didn’t know he was born from other parents! He only found out in 1961, accidentally – at a relative’s funeral one of the guests mentioned this in his speech, assuming that Theo was fully aware of is fact. Despite being unaware of his Fabergé origins until he was 47, Theo was fond of making beautiful things, especially employing wood carving and ivory. I own a small table he made at the age of 14 – it is an amazingly intricate and skilful for actual watch-making, but for working with various small parts. Also, I certainly assimilated an attitude of care towards artefacts of the past. RM: And what were you interested in as a kid? SF: Since my early years I’ve been fascinated by psychology, which later took on a cast of academic and practical interest in cognitive psychology, as well as various aspects of leadership and human resource management.
object. At the same time he was educated as an engineer and even ran a small aircraft instrument business – mostly producing delicate pieces for sensitive measuring instruments. RM: As a child, were you told your parents expected you to take over the business? SF: My father never pushed me towards that. But I was brought up surrounded by the beautiful things he made. He was always busy with something – sketching, carving wood, inventing. He had a watchmaker’s tool set – not www.RussianMind.com
Miniature interiors in the windows of Faberge boutique in London
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Sarah Faberge with Katharina Flohr, Creative and Managing Director of Faberge
Theo and Sarah Faberge
RM: It must be very helpful in your work now?
expensive and bespoke items. The Swiss branch specialises in watches.
SF: Exactly. I’m convinced that creativity only flourishes within a good, solid team. We try to support team spirit and corporate culture – although our employees are located in different countries, we have regular conference calls which are attended by everyone.
RM: Who has the strongest inﬂuence on the company’s course? SF: Fabergé has the Heritage Council. It’s quite amusing how
RM: Does this help Fabergé to preserve the spirit of a family enterprise and the charm of unique production in the epoch of the assembly line production?
RM: How often do you see other jewellery brands using the ideas or techniques that were introduced by Fabergé?
SF: Precisely, and it’s also very useful at the business end – it facilitates management and allows us to keep an eye on every aspect of our work.
SF: Well, in a certain way the interest towards traditional Russian shapes, ornaments, and symbols is a trend, zeitgeist. After all, we cannot patent an egg shape or Russian artistic motives! Although some pieces still cause the déjà vu feeling – but
RM: And where are your employees actually located? SF: In the UK, Switzerland, France. In Paris we make haute joallerie pieces, the most №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
every member naturally took their own roles according to their personal aptitude. For example, Tatiana Fabergé is a historian; she’s the source of expertise on history of the dynasty. John Andrew – a famous journalist, a family friend and a collector of pre-revolutionary Fabergé – is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to the company’s artwork. I am particularly interested in the management aspects and shaping a harmonious team, as I’m keen on psychology and design.
Person market is market, and this is actually even flattering. RM: Do you plan to enrich your product range with something from post-Imperial Russia, like Soviet constructivism? SF: We are doing this, but in small doses – not to dilute brand identity.
For example, we have a capsule collection inspired by powerful graphic forms and bold colours of constructivism. Apart from jewellery, it includes a set of silver and enamel beakers. RM: Do you remember your ﬁrst visit to Russia? What were your ﬁrst impressions?
SF: Oh, it was a very significant trip. I was 16 at that time; we went to St. Petersburg in December, when the days are short. We stayed at the Intourist hotel overlooking the Neva. On the first night I was so excited that I could not get to sleep. We walked around the city and spent a lot of time in the museums.
On January 18th Fabergé launched the Big Egg Hunt – a fundraising initiative that aimed to raise up to £2 million for a leading children’s charity, Action for Children and Elephant Family – the UK’s biggest funder for the endangered Asian elephant. The interactive public event featured 200 giant and uniquely crafted eggs strategically scattered throughout London – sometimes in most unexpected locations; indoors, outdoors, hung from balconies. The eggs were decorated and painted by the finest London artists, architects, jewellers and designers including Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Quinn, the Chapman brothers, Mary Katranzou. The Big Egg Hunt was crowned by an auction just before Easter – the eggs were destined to become highly collectible works of art. Proceeds from the sales went to Action for Children and Elephant Family. www.RussianMind.com
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Citizen Poet and Citizen Hedonist Published in the issue 20 (Mar 2012)
EVERY ERA IS REFLECTED IN ART AND CITIZEN POET IS A DISTINCTIVE EXAMPLE OF A MULTIMEDIA ART PROJECT OF CONTEMPORARY RUSSIA. THE SATIRICAL PROJECT WAS CLOSED ON 5TH MARCH 2012. DMITRY BYKOV KEEPS WRITING POEMS, MIKHAIL EFREMOV IS COMING ON STAGE, ANDREY VASILIEV REMAINS A CREATIVE PRODUCER BUT THE PROJECT THAT BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER IS NOW ONLY AVAILABLE ON VIDEO.
wo concerts in London were taking place on 2nd and 3rd March. The location of the first one was the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, with 600 seats and tickets priced at £165-£275, including Louis Roederer champagne and canapé reception. The concert on 3rd was more democratic, prices from £27-£110, took place at Central Hall Westminster Methodist Church. Evgeny Chichvarkin, the sponsor and organiser of the London tour of Citizen Poet and his colleague, Tatiana Fokina, managing director of Hedonism Wines – official sponsor of the event, commented on the infrastructure and broader context for the concerts. The event was obviously loss-making, as the investment was made as an act of individual political position, although with a consolation prize – an opportunity to promote their new enterprise, Hedonism Wines boutique (to be opened in September).
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RM: What is the demographic of those who have purchased the tickets for Citizen Poet in London? And how many people are coming from abroad? EC: At least 100 people are coming from Moscow specifically for this show. Moreover, dozens are coming from Belguim, Germany, France… The Moscow shows are long sold out, so this is the last chance to enjoy Citizen Poet live. TF: Many guests were inspired by our idea of the “Russian Cultural Weekend in London” on 2nd -4th March. The concentration of major Russia-related events is unprecedented: Citizen Poet shows on 2nd and 3rd; Evgeny Kissin’s concert on 2nd; Russian Ballet Icons at the London Coliseum on 4th and, of course, the Presidential elections on 4th. EC: I strongly recommend including “The Last Days of Mubarak” at Foto8 into your programme, it’s like a time machine.
RM: How are the tickets selling? TF: We’ve been constantly on the phone since the show dates were announced and Evgeny is delivering the tickets for 2nd March himself! EC: By the way, I offered 2 really good tickets for free to Kristina Potupchik, media relations officer of the Nashi youth movement. She refused, and I sold these to society columnist Bozhena Rynska. To my mind, it’s a great bargain! RM: Are you well-integrated into the Russian community in London? EC: Well, now I am! Promoting Citizen Poet in 2 weeks made me more integrated than I ever was in
“OUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS PEOPLE WITH WELLDEVELOPED SENSES. AND THIS INCLUDES THE SIXTH SENSE, OF COURSE. THIS IS RELEVANT FOR BOTH CITIZEN POET PROJECT AND HEDONISM WINES” the 3 years I’ve been in London. The community is immense and growing – I think it’s time for street signs in Kensington to be duplicated in Russian!
RM: What’s your opinion of the “creative class” in contemporary Russia, do you think this is a considerable driving force in society?
RM: Are you planning any political actions after Citizen Poet?
EC: It certainly is, although I’m pretty sure that many of them would choose to emigrate.
EC: No freaking way! TF: I’ve got a feeling that Evgeny can change his mind – his citizenship and creativity will take over this decision. EC: I’m planning to be hard at work on my wine business – no distractions from this until all of the Fortune-500 become our loyal customers. RM: Are you planning to target Londoners of Russian and CIS origin with your wine shop? EC: Not at all, we are targeting global hedonists – origin does not matter. RM: Do you miss Russia? EC: Well, in a way. I’d rather say I miss the idealistic image of Russia that emigrants have in their minds. Like in illustrations to Russian fairytales by Ivan Bilibin which he created living in Paris after the Revolution of 1917.
RM: Why did you choose a wine business? EC: This is where all my passions converge: retail chains, luxury retail, drinking wine. I just love the way luxury retail shops are made, being inside one makes me feel better. I used to come to the Vertu boutique I owned in Moscow and talk to shop assistants, listen to the funny stories about whimsical rich customers. Satisfying them is hard, but then more people come on their recommendation. These customers usually come dissatisfied in advance, just in case, but they become very loyal if they are pleased with purchases and service. Hedonism Wines is going to be the best wine retailer ever, I’m sure! Photo by Konstantin Pinaev, moscowlondon.livejournal.com
One of the most flamboyant of the new generation of Russian businessmen, in 1997 Evgeny Chichvarkin founded mobile phones retail chain Euroset with childhood friend Timur Artemyev. In 2008 Evgeny emigrated to the UK and is at the moment is investing in wine and preparing to open Hedonism Wine shop in September 2012.
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Ambivalent Feeling to Khodorkovsky by Olga Kudriavtseva RM: Why did you decide to make a Russia-related ﬁlm? CT: Because I just stumbled on the story in the oil town of KhantyMansijsk. RM: You spend five years working on the film about Khodorkovsky. What made you choose him as the hero for your documentary? CT: I had and still have a little bit of an ambivalent feeling towards Khodorkovsky. Ambivalent people are interesting. Khodorkovsky is a person who aimed high and acted heroically, in the way that he came back to Russia, knowing he would get arrested and still seeing that he must have made some kind of misjudgement of his own powers or the powers of his adversaries. Published in the issue 19 (Feb 2012)
WHEN THE DOCUMENTARY “KHODORKOVSKY” BY THE GERMAN FILM DIRECTOR CYRIL TUSCHI WAS RELEASED IN RUSSIA LAST DECEMBER, IT PROVOKED A WAVE OF PROTESTS. SURE ENOUGH, THE FILM CHARTS THE JOURNEY OF THE PERSON, WHO WAS RUSSIA'S WEALTHIEST MAN WHO ENDED UP IN JAIL AS A POLITICAL PRISONER AFTER BUTTING HEADS WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN. RUSSIANMIND SPOKE WITH CYRIL ABOUT HIS CHOICE OF ‘HERO’ AS WELL AS HIS GERMANIC IMPRESSION OF RUSSIA: №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
RM: Did you aim to ﬁnd out the previously unknown facts of his case? Or did you just put the story together? CT: Both. It was very difficult to create a good dramatic structure. Many facts were also just propaganda or PR and I had to choose what to believe. And then I had to concentrate on the major topic - Khodorkovsky v Putin www.RussianMind.com
Cinema otherwise my film would have been 4 hours long! RM: “Khodorkovsky” was shown in only 2 cinemas in Moscow, while the rest refused to screen it. What do you think the reason for that is? CT: The film has been shown in many cinemas in Moscow. It was only shown in a few (cinemas) before the Duma Elections, as some of the theatre owners, who initially agreed to show it, backed off, out of pure self-censorship. No person from the Kremlin pushed them to do so. RM: Did you undergo any pressure while working on the movie? CT: No.
RM: What do you think happened when one of your computers with the ﬁnal edit of the ﬁlm was stolen from your studio in Berlin, any leads on who was behind this? CT: Luckily enough it was no one from the FSB. Just three stupid German idiots who were keen on Apple Computers!
CT: My next film will be fiction – I want to work with actors again. Maybe a bit later I will do a film about my great grandfather Robert San Galli - he had a black metal factory in St. Petersburg and was forced to flee the country after the October Revolution.
RM: Do you think documentary cinema is in demand today?
RM: While you were working in Russia, what was the most impressive thing about the country (from a European point of view)?
CT: Yes. It is a way to sharpen your mind. Also a way to learn, that you do things not only for money.
CT: That Russians do have a great soul and that they can party too! Also, that not all people from the KGB are bad...!
RM: What are your plans for the future? Will you make more Russia-related ﬁlms?
“Khodorkovsky” documentary was released by Trinity Films in the UK on 2 March.
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Yuri Shevchuk: “The Artist is Always an Individualist” by Anastasia Zheltova
Published in the issue 21 (Mar 2012)
YURI SHEVCHUK IS A PERSON, TALKING ABOUT WHOM YOU DO NOT WANT TO HANG ANY LABELS. THE SOUL OF THE COUNTRY’S ROCK OR THE CONSCIENCE OF RUSSIAN MUSIC IT IS ALL ABOUT AND NOT ABOUT HIM AT THE SAME TIME. IT HAPPENS BECAUSE SHEVCHUK AND HIS MUSIC ARE REAL. THIS MEANS THAT FOR EACH OF US HE IS DIFFERENT. AFTER A CONVERSATION WITH THE “DDT” SOLOIST, RUSSIANMIND HAS ONLY ADDED EVIDENCE THAT THIS IS RIGHT: RM: Most of today's artists do not realise the meaning of the words in their songs. And your music is calling for moral improvement, advocating their civic stand. There is a feeling that you are "a man that can win a war?" YS: No, I do not have those feelings. For instance, the new programme called “Inache” (Eng:“In A Different Way”) is an attempt to talk about us as people, about a person as a Human Being and not as an appendage of "something somewhere" and about a man as something powerful and deep. In my opinion, it is banal to put any man in the scope and boundaries of the www.RussianMind.com
objective world. The fact that many young bands do not give a damn for their text, can be explained by the situation that only the bands that emphasise the meaning of the sound and music have entered the industry recently. From morning till night they practice scales, read practically nothing, look at themselves in the mirror and see themselves as "cool musicians". Although, it is worth mentioning that these musicians play a hundred times better than we played in our time. Their outcome is of a high quality; however, the substantial meaning is lost. RM: Did you write your early songs under the inﬂuence of Vladimir 31
Vysotsky? Until now, you are compared only with him. How do you feel about that? YS: I believe that Vladimir Vysotski was one of my teachers. But in this case, I do not consider myself to be an excellent student and suppose I can write much better as a result. I was interested as well in Okudzhava, but I have a loud voice, which is similar to the one Vysotsky had. Also, I love Galich, Vizbor and Vertinsky, who were geniuses of their time. And Vysotsky is Russian song poetry, song literature with very simple, yet philosophical and spiritual language with powerful metaphors. RM: In the last few years, you were supporting political opposition. How does that inﬂuence your creativity? YS: I am not politically active. I am just a citizen of my country. The artist is always an individualist, who is independent and often not objective. The more individualistic the artist is the more interesting, mysterious and incomprehensible he is. He is not a part of the masses, №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
which are singing and dancing on television screens. He is an original! A single copy! The artist looks at everything with clearer sight and sees politicians as they are. I am talking about my ideal. Not about myself. The artist sees a man the way he is and loves him as he is, with all the negative and positive streaks he has. He has his own opinion about everything. I do not like the current government as it is archaic, with an awful style and thinks about their pockets and lies all the time. Now and previously, I am talking about it as an artist in a calm way. I just do not like it. I am a Russian citizen and I have the right to express my point of view. Though, I really love my country. RM: How would you like to see the younger generation? YS: Joyful, desperate, revolutionary, reckless, drunk and loving within reasonable limits. Thus, the same as we were. After all, any young generation is like this. At the same time, it should be solicitous of the traditions and coming up with №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
something new, as in the 21st century it is important not only to know the history, but also to push our civilization and art forward. RM: Is commercial success important for a musician? YS: Of course. It is the Achilles heel of everything or of “dvizhucha” (i.e. dynamics) as the youth is saying. I did not make any money from my first concerts, when we launched the DDT Group in the late 1980s. I was ashamed to take money. Then my parents fed me, but now I am a parent myself and I have to feed them myself. The main thing is not to write to order and not to sell inspiration, but bear in mind, money is only needed in order to survive. RM: In 2011, Forbes magazine included you in their ratings of "the 50 richest celebrities in Russia". You denied the data published about your income. It turns out that the publication of this data was taken out of thin air, so did they make it up? 32
YS: For some reason they asked for the data at one of the Moscow agencies, with which we have never worked and counted the number of concerts, of which one third were for charity. And they have not considered that. The remaining concerts were played for “supporting the pants". For two years we were working on a new programme, creating it and getting gradually into debt. Lots of thanks to all those people who helped us. Where did the million appear? But as it is said, if they “nakarkali” (i.e. grumbled), however we are not against making a million with our new programme! RM: You have been performing all over the world. How do you think the Russian and foreign audiences diﬀer from each other? YS: Four-eyes have the same glasses, women have similar hair, legs and hands, people have the same souls, but the culture and its perception are different. On the one hand, everything is more rational abroad. My friend, the clown www.RussianMind.com
Slava Polunin, once answered this question very well, by saying that foreigners find pleasure in how it was done, arranged and in Russia people do not think about the details, they dive into their creativity and can not describe exactly what was so delightful. So, the Russians have an ingenious perception like babies do. RM: In March, you have a concert in London. Do you like performing in the capital of the UK? YS: You are saying that as if I am performing there every Saturday - laughing - we are just taking our programme abroad. We will have a few concerts in Finland, in the former Soviet Republics and in those countries where people will accept us. I hope that we will have concerts in America, Europe (i.e. Germany and France) and Asia too. Our programme is worth seeing. This is a modern show, which we are not ashamed to show there. We will demonstrate our anarchic origin in the West, thus saying that we also have something to stimulate their minds. www.RussianMind.com
RM: Is Yuri Shevchenko the same person in life and on stage? YS: I hope so. I have never painted my eyes or lips and have always been the four-eyed man in a vest. I believe that rock 'n' roll is a democracy and I have never pretended to be some kind of a rock hero on stage as it would be very depressing. Moreover, that is funny and silly. I am singing in the same clothes as I wear every day. I do not have make-up artists, costumers, as it is all too much. The main thing is what you are singing, telling or playing. RM: Can the music lure an individual that has doubts, onto the good side? YS: I guess it can. There is a man, who is walking along the streets, working, serving, learning and thinking, thinking ...thinking about the bad and the good. He is reading one opinion about Russia on the Internet, politics, culture and then, on another site the opposite opinion. He can not choose. Then, suddenly he finds a song that makes him feel and realises that 33
it is similar to his love, thoughts, emotions, feelings and outlook. At that moment, he realises in his heart how it should be. And if the song is about the good, it touches people and changes them. RM: Do you have a goal for your life, a motto that you remember at diďŹƒcult times? YS: I have several favourite sayings for different occasions. For example, as far as the demonstrations are concerned it is necessary to remember the saying "if you pledge, do not hedge" and go to the protest march on 4th February. Furthermore, I have another phrase: "the hardest truth, even the truth spoken without love - is a lie". RM: What do we expect from the DDT Group and especially from Yuri Shevchuk in the foreseeable future? YS: Terrible! Stimulating your mind, scandals and revolutions in art, works! Photographer: Andrey Fedechko â„–7 (23) Special Edition 2012
DURING THE YEAR RUSSIANMIND WROTE ABOUT NUMEROUS CULTURAL EVENTS BOTH IN RUSSIA AND THE UK. HERE IS A SELECTION OF THE MOST REMARKABLE ONES.
Viva, Bolshoi Theatre! Published in the issue 12 (Oct 2011)
October, after the six years of the reconstruction work. The audiences are now able to see the huge potential of Russia’s top theatre following the extensive renovation and reconstruction efforts.
The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, one of the most legendary in the world, reopened its doors on the 28th
KVN: Humour is in Their Blood Published in the issue 11 (Oct 2011)
In 2011 KVN celebrated its’ 50th anniversary and the UK league which was created year before, joined the big celebration by organising the first Intercontinental Festival, which took place in London. This event united the Russian speaking community in the UK to celebrate the triumph of joy and amazement of this game.
Amongst the huge variety of TV shows in Russia there is however, one programme worth watching. It is called KVN. For those not familiar with Russian TV, these three letters are an unknown abbreviation, but for Russians KVN is associated with the name of humour.
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Why Do Russians Celebrate Maslenitsa? festival. Maslenitsa is the Russian Sun Festival, which marks the end of the winter chills and the start of Spring that usually links with warmth, growth and rise of hope. Our fellows enjoy meeting in Trafalgar Square for an annual folk extravaganza.
Published in the issue 19 (Feb 2012) No other Russian event in London gets as much attention of our compatriots as does the Maslenitsa
Anna Pavlova: Russian Ballet Icons Gala Published in the issue 20 (Mar 2012)
Icons series, this event opens the Pavlova 2012 Festival, marking the centenary of the ballerina making her home in London at Ivy House, which has now become a place of pilgrimage for ballet lovers.
The Russian Ballet Icons Gala 2012, a grand evening dedicated to Anna Pavlova was held at the London Coliseum on the 4th March. Part of the Russian Ballet
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Painter Aleksey Chizov: Manifesto of Self-Growth by Olga Kudriavtseva
Russian Dream, 2010
Art Published in the issue 20 (Mar 2012)
ALEKSEY CHIZHOV, ONE OF RUSSIA’S FINEST EMERGING ARTISTS, WHO PRESENTED THIS YEAR HIS NEW COLLECTION OF PAINTINGS “LES PARADIS NATURELS” AT ERARTA GALLERIES LONDON. IN HIS PAINTINGS, CHIZHOV USES THE SYMBOL OF POPPIES AS A METAPHORICAL ESCAMOTAGE TO ENCAPSULATE THE STRUGGLE EVIDENT IN OUR SOCIETY WHETHER TO RUN AWAY AND HIDE FROM ONE'S PROBLEMS, OR TO FACE THEM. “LES PARADIS NATURELS” NATURAL PARADISES WAS CHOSEN AS THE TITLE FOR ALEKSEY CHIZHOV’S EXHIBITION, AS HIS WORK IS A TRUE MANIFESTO INVITING US TO PURSUE AN EMOTIONAL AND COGNITIVE JOURNEY OF SELF DEVELOPMENT. DURING THE EXHIBITION IN THE UK RUSSIANMIND TALKED TO ALEXEY CHIZHOV ABOUT HIS INSIGHT OF THE WORLD: RM: What character traits are necessary to establish yourself as an artist? Is it about you working hard? Or about a birth given talent? AC: I think the most important thing is desire. It is the strength and extent of an individual’s desire which define what sort of artist you want to become. For a classical artist like me the drawing/illustration talent is needed. It is a fundamental skill, which you have to make perfect, as it develops the necessary classic flair and extends your artistic eye. RM: When did you gain general acceptance?
AC: It seems to me that it is too early to talk about general recognition. RM: In your illustrations you use the symbol of opium as a metaphor of society “painful spots”. Could you tell us more about that? AC: Obviously, the image of the notched poppy emphasises one of society’s sores. In the meantime, it represents my childhood memories. This flower grew in my grandmother’s garden in the North Caucasus. It was a Christmas poppy. Many people were cultivating it for religious purposes, for instance, to sanctify it in church on the "Saviour" Day. I was drawing it often in my childhood. Suddenly, someone
knocked on our door, begged to sell the bushes and tucked money into our pockets. They were drug addicts. Since then, my grandmother has not sowed it. On the one hand, it was a funny and a partly terrifying situation. On the other, it was a sad incident and it is even possible to talk here about the substitution of sacral functions. RM: With the help of your illustrations, you call society to the emotional development and growth. Do you think our modern society is emotionally poor? AC: I believe that any art can bring a sensual and emotional perception to society in one way or another. I hope my art also contributes somehow to this. I have a suspicion that this sensual unspeakable residue in paintings or sculptures is the quintessence of art or percept, according to Deleuze. Talking about modern society, I do not think it is devoid of emotions. I suggest that it is emotionally rougher. That is why, it is necessary to pay more attention to the paintings as art is far more subtle than films or photography, and therefore, can bring out more complex feelings. RM: There are symbols of Greek mythology in your works. Does antiquity inspire you?
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AC: Yes, a lot. During my student years Plato's dialogue called The Feast, which describes the incarnation of Eros as the organising principle of the universe from his lowest manifestations to the highest, really impressed me. The Ancient Greek myths that I read in my childhood, Ovid’s Metamorphoses I read later and my favourite poet Brodsky - all turned to antiquity, and here Freud's reception should be also stressed. It is only literature. However, it is also worth mentioning the classic art, which I had absorbed in my childhood while wandering in the halls of the
Hermitage. It is an experience, which you cannot forget and discard. As for the Renaissance epoch, all European art made their start from it and no radical modernist trends can strike through it. In fact, it is an ideal of Freud. At the same time, an interesting example of a contrary dialogue is the recent Gormley exhibition at the Hermitage. RM: And where do you derive ideas for your paintings? AC: Ideas come by themselves. I do not draw them and do not keep track
of them, they just capture me. I can say that I have lots of sources for my ideas. RM: What are you planning to devote yourself to in the near future? AC: I usually work on several paintings at the same time. All of them replace each other perfectly .There is a small project with the installation, but it is too early to talk about it. In general, I do not think about the projects in general. For me, a picture is a separate project, which is the most valuable thing. So, I will continue to work in this direction.
“Orpheus and Eurydice”, 2011
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PERFECT FASHION Fly in luxury to Milan and Rome and experience these legendary cities in the company of a professional fashion consultant.
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Victoria Andreyanova. Fashion Designer by Yulia Simonova Published in the issue 14 (Nov 2011)
IN NOVEMBER 2011 FASHION DESIGNER VICTORIA ANDREYANOVA HELD AN EXHIBITION “UNDRESSED COUNTRY” AT THE CENTRAL EXHIBITION HALL MANÈGE IN MOSCOW. “THE EXHIBITION “UNDRESSED COUNTRY” WAS NOT ONLY A RETROSPECTIVE. ON THE CONTRARY, IT LOOKED FORWARD AND MADE US THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE. IT FEATURED A DISPLAY STUDYING “THE LACK OF DRESSING” OF DIFFERENT STYLES AND HOW IT CAN BE OVERCOME AND THE “UNDRESSED COUNTRY” INSTALLATION, OCCUPYING AN AREA OF 5,600 SQ. M. WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF 1,000 PEOPLE. IT ENDED UP WITH A FASHION SHOW WHERE THE NEW S/S 2012 COLLECTION WAS PRESENTED. BEFORE THIS GRAND OCCASION VICTORIA TOLD RUSSIANMIND ABOUT HER ACHIEVEMENTS, INSPIRATION AND BEST OUTFIT:
his year my company turned 20. This period has been interesting, exciting, sometimes a bit sad. But,
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what really matters, we are still together and we keep on creating. The most complicated thing about creativity is routine, same as in a 40
family. It is crucial to focus goals. Choosing the right direction gives energy for your every next step – and since 1991 we keep on walking non-stop, step by step. Someone may say we do wrong, but how can they know, and why should we listen? Uniform is a part of my life I am very proud of. Aeroflot was our first uniform contract. At that time, all my designer’s ambitions were satisfied, as I was awarded a few prestigious prizes and titles. The competition was tough, including all the major Russian fashion designers, totalling more than 30 people. Many of them fell out of the race, as the competition was so tough – collections were made one after another in a fast tempo. And I won! I doubt I was the strongest, but probably the most stubborn. www.RussianMind.com
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ART ACCENTS: KAZIMIR MALEVICH STYLE ACCENTS: ELEGANT SIMPLICITY, DIGNITY AND MYSTERY LIFE ACCENTS: UNDISTORTED FAMILY VALUES TACTILE ACCENTS: TWEED, CASHMERE, ANGORA, MOHAIR MOOD ACCENTS: FIGHTING MANLY TO DEFEND THE RIGHT TO BE A WOMAN Nowadays young designers tend to complain that they don’t have comfortable working conditions. I matured as a designer in Soviet times, so I am used to making something out of nothing. And these “supernatural” skills allowed me to get the maximum efficiency within moderate resources. So these complaints and the whingeing come from the lack of motivation. “Can you imagine how poems are conceived? They spring from ordinary dirt and are born…” As the saying goes, ‘laziness is the engine for progress’. I love to be lazy, to do nothing – it is a luxury I can rarely afford. I think that individual style is not what you wear – much more than www.RussianMind.com
that. Tune, energy, glance, even life guidelines are the most important. Then we see grace, voice, step and silhouette. But hair styles, clothes, shoes or hand bags complete a style. I am a fashion designer, but I think the most important things are those you cannot take off. My motto is “to dress but not to overdress”. A woman wearing a Victoria Andreyanova dress should be beautiful and individual. Though “to be is more important that to seem to be”, sometimes your dress helps you to “seem to be”, there’s nothing wrong with it. What is called the best outfit? It is when you put it on and forget it. Best beauty recipe – to have enough sleep. 43
And, for sure, sense of harmony is essential to be elegant. Easy rules. Last year we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of our company. The place for exhibition was kindly provided by the British Embassy in Moscow as recognition of our longstanding partnership. That was a great honour for us. Great Britain is a symbol of centuries-old traditions, constants that keep you afloat in times of turbulence, like ours. Our recent exhibition “UNDRESSED COUNTRY” is not only a retrospective. On the contrary, it is looking forward and makes us think about the future. What have we done today for our tomorrow? Let us work on this together and feel proud and grateful. №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Danila Polyakov Chooses a Gherkin!
Published in the issue 13 (Nov 2011)
anila Polyakov, the man with the long red hair, ideal shape and extravagant manners, is the most famous male model from Russia, who has worked for John Galliano, Ann Demeulemeester, Jean Paul Gaultier, Andrew Mackenzie, Richmond and Italian Vogue. Apart from modelling, he is also a performer and an artist, who has launched his own line of clothes under the “Vanilla” label and provided a tongue in cheek look at male/female sexuality. Moreover, these days he is presenting the popular TV show “Top model in Russia”. Being a public person, he had a plenty of fashion photo shots, but RussianMind looked entirely differently at him… Photographer: Kirill Lagutko
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Oleg Mirochnikov: London is an Ideal Stage by Polina Dronyaeva
luck as this theatre is one of the most advanced in London and all the drama graduates want to perform here. The Polish Cultural Institute is supporting us financially as the main heroine in the play is a Polish singer and part of the play takes place in Warsaw. In the play there are only two heroes – a man and a woman. The male hero will be played by Oliver King, who is also the producer of the project. For the female part I chose one of my ex-students. I find it easier to work with people I know.
Published in the issue 21 (Mar 2012)
OLEG MIROCHNIKOV IS A LONDON BASED RUSSIAN THEATRE DIRECTOR AND ACTING COACH. HE HAS BEEN TEACHING AT THE FAMOUS CENTRAL ST MARTINS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN AND WORKING IN THE LONDON FILM INDUSTRY FOR 17 YEARS. AS A TEACHING COACH HE COVERS TECHNIQUES RANGING FROM STANISLAVSKI AND VAKHTANGOV TO DEVISED AND PHYSICAL THEATRE. THIS APRIL HE PARTICIPATED IN THE PROJECT THAT AIMS TO INTRODUCE UNKNOWN TREASURES OF RUSSIAN DRAMA TO BRITISH AUDIENCES. OLEG WAS DIRECTING THE PLAY “A WARSAW MELODY” BY SOVIET PLAYWRIGHT LEONID ZORIN WHICH WAS PERFORMED AT THE RM: Is it true that you’ve developed a ARCOLA THEATRE LONDON: new unique method of acting?
RM: Is Leonid Zorin famous in Britain? [He's the author of some favourite Russian plays, such as “Pokrovsky Gates” and “Royal Hunt”. His plays have been staged in Europe and his son is a well-known teacher of Russian literature at Oxford].
can be compared with the well-known plays ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Educating Rita’. But we are the first to show this outstanding play on the British stage.
OM: His play ‘A Warsaw Melody’ was staged in 150 Soviet cities and in 14 European countries. It deserves its place among the drama classics and it
OM: From success to success! Our enthusiasm has spread to the administration of the Arcola theatre, and they put us on in March-April. It is good
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RM: How is the preparation of the play going?
OM: Yes and no. My method grows out of Vakhtangov traditions (editor: Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Russian actor and theatre director who founded the Vakhtangov Theatre), which itself continues the methods of Stanislavski (editor: Constantin Stanislavski, Russian actor and theatre director whose system of acting was built on the naturalistic movement and has developed an international reach). www.RussianMind.com
Theatre Stanislavski's system has been firmly established as a part of the teaching programme in British theatre schools, but Vakhtangov’s method is virtually unknown here. A lot of English directors work in this style, but most of them come to it intuitively. And I am the only teacher of the Vakhtangov’s method in Britain. Moreover I was taught by Vakhtangov’s students, so I have direct training of his traditions. RM: What are the main features of this style? O.M.: The main feature is to replicate the well-known Stanislavski system. Stanislavski tried to recreate reality on the stage and make it as close as possible to the truth, almost photographically. Vakhtangov believed that theatre should remain theatre and reality should not only be reflected on the stage, but recreated again with theatrical techniques. So he called his method “Fantastic Realism”. RM: In ‘A Warsaw Melody’ two people have to make a choice between love and duty, or rather the circumstances, which aﬀect their love. Is the female character a strong woman?
understood them and knew how to write about them to open them mentally and psychologically. Zorin also loves and understands a woman, he admires her greatness and her ability to conquer difficulties. In “A Warsaw Melody” we are introduced to the heroine when she is a young student and trace her path through the hardships and losses, seeing how she becomes stronger and forms her personality. I think it is not an exaggeration to compare her with Maria Callas, especially at the end of the play. This is the scale her identity becomes as a result of the hardships endured. RM: A sad story…
OM: As an admirer of Anton Chekhov I easily recognise in Zorin’s plays echoes of “The Seagull”, “Three Sisters” and the “Cherry Orchard”, written by Chekhov. Chekhov certainly adored women,
OM: Yes, I would call this play a story about missed opportunities. It is about the importance of not allowing outside circumstances to take over your life, as
the man of the play Victor lets it happen due to his indecision. I am sure that a lot of people in any country will identify with these themes. RM: What do you want to dedicate yourself to in the near future? OM: I continue to teach at St Martins. Belka Productions also is going to establish a training studio. I have already taught the Vakhtangov method beyond the university so I might try it at Belka. I also like coaching film actors, to help them prepare the role. I normally have to deal with Russian accents or sometimes the Russian context of their roles in general. In the upcoming ‘World War Z’ I worked as an actor, film consultant and a dialogue coach for Brad Pitt. RM: And how do you ﬁnd London? OM: London is an ideal place for people like me who want to develop in several directions at the same time: to teach, to act, to coach and to direct. And here you do not have to lose your identity. I have the advantage of having experience of the Russian theatrical traditions, culture and mentality. If you are ambitious, if you are hungry for work, if you are resourceful, intelligent and flexible, London is a great city for a theatrical person. That is why I am hoping to invite recent graduates of Russian drama schools to work here in London. I am sure that we will all benefit from such collaboration!
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Russians in the UK. And How Is It For You? by Richard Bloss Published in the issue 6 (July 2011)
AC TUALLY THE QUESTION IS THE OPPOSITE. IT SHOULD SAY "HOW DO LONDONERS DIFFER FROM FOREIGNERS?" IT ’S AN AWFUL QUESTION. IT IS LIKE YOUR WIFE SAYING "DOES MY BUM LOOK BIG IN THIS?" OR WORSE, YOUR GIRLFRIEND ASKING, "HONEY DO YOU PREFER THE RED DRESS OR THE BLUE DRESS?" IF YOU ARE ALREADY NODDING IN AGREEMENT, THEN YOU WILL KNOW WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT. I PROMISE, ONCE YOU'VE FINISHED IT, YOU’LL WANT TO GO FOR A BEER WITH ME AND TOGETHER WE CAN BE LIKE T WO WISE MEN WHO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF LIFE.
he fact is, questions like this are bad news "cum laude" and the one thing I know for certain is that this article will offend somebody, so please let me apologise now. I am just a bystander, a disinterested voyeur, the messenger. It's not my fault! The fact is, Russia has a bad press in London. If the Media is to
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be believed, either you guys are here to steal all our secrets, or you are here to buy our football clubs. You can forget the former, I would be astonished if we have any secrets left, as at least twice a month, some politician or other goes and leaves his laptop on the train going home. All you have to do is hang around Victoria Station for a few days and sooner 48
or later, one of these guys will turn up. You can always spot them as they are the ones leaving early. With regards to the latter, all the main football clubs are already foreign owned. True, the big spenders at Chelsea continue to blow money, but they are no better now than they were six years ago. So at some stage, you www.RussianMind.com
have to stop and say, “what is the point of all this?” I have to say, I am confused. If this was, say, France, there would be no problem. There is a cultural umbilical cord between fin de siècle Paris and the bourgeoisie of Moscow that remains to this day. In the little village just outside Paris, where I used to live, there is a Russian cemetery. I really don't know why lots of Russians chose to die in this village. Apart from a pizzeria around the corner, it really doesn't have much going for it. But there is no such cultural convergence d'idees, or meeting of minds, between London and Bigger Russia. It is as if the aliens from planet Zog have seen the growth of our banker’s bonuses and decided that this is the place where they want to inhabit. Yes, all Russians look like us Brits, but speak better English and know www.RussianMind.com
about Oyster cards; but they have also programmed into their iPhones the best places to get vodka shots and are still partying way after the rest of us have gone home to sleep. In short, the single-mindedness of the Russian mentality, with their determination to succeed, worries us. The absolute conviction that money buys happiness, does not translate amongst enlightened Londoners. It is similar also to our suspicion of Americans who "make" money, but don't earn it. We worry where human values have gone. Just as in "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers", are we going to wake up one day looking and behaving like them? In some ways, I hope so. But the opposite is also true. My friend is a super young Russian lady. We take coffee 49
together and we have a metro sexual open relationship. We both have other ‘coffee partners’ and we are not jealous, it's cool! We discuss going to the opera, so now, I happen to know about opera and the structure and beauty of Mozart. This is no philosophical discussion. We talk about long dresses, limos and helicopters. I can't bring myself to say that the nearest helipad is five miles away and it's faster to get there by tube than taxi. I keep saying to her..." Solnishko, just wear your jeans, they’re fine" and she says... "but sweetheart… does my bum look big in this?" Richard Bloss is Partner at the Professional Forum PR and press agency. His articles regularly appear in the international media, and his current book is available in the Sony and Apple iBook stores. №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Performance Appraisal by Tatiana Irodova Published in the issue 9 (Sep 2011)
PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL IS A CRUCIAL PART OF PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT, DISLIKED BY BOTH MANAGERS AND EMPLOYEES. HOWEVER, AS A MANAGER YOU CAN MAKE THIS PROCESS VERY PLEASANT, SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD. MAKE THE MOST OF PERFORMANCE REVIEWS WITH THESE TIPS:
Make performance appraisal all about conducting an effective and unbiased performance review. Effective appraisal means not offending employees, but cooperating together to understand the №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
performance level and how it can be improved in the future. Unbiased appraisal means treating all employees with respect, assessing only work-related performance and not personal preferences. 50
Allow sufficient time for your employees to prepare and appraise their own performance. Self-evaluation is one of the most important stages of a performance review. Give your people a chance to remember tasks well done as well as the difficulties they have faced during other tasks.
Allow sufficient time for your own preparation. Be fair to employees and take time to really assess each and everyone’s performance. If you know your team members very well and you have all the notes on great and poor past performances then your www.RussianMind.com
Psychology review sessions will be effectively conducted based on pure facts and your own observations. As a manager you have to decide which points are vital to mention during the review.
Choose an appropriate setting for conducting the appraisal review with minimal mal interruptions. If performance ormance appraisal is one e of your weekly/ monthly thly practises, then your employees won’t be scared ed and know what to expect xpect from the review ew session. They will be more willing to cooperate ooperate and won’t ’t feel as if you are blaming ming them for something and only trying to put your authority ority in their face once e again.
Do not compare employees against each other. Performance appraisal is about comparing an employee’s role and responsibilities stated in their contract to what actually is being done by this employee during a certain period of time.
Performance appraisal should not be a surprise. As a good manager you should assess your staff on a regular basis, not just once a year. It’s irresponsible to wait for a year just to tell someone how badly they’ve done in the past year. Remember, that you and your employees are working for a common goal – the company’s success.
Handle the review session on in a professional essional manner. ner. Remember ember that it’s not ot a lecture or a monologue. It’s all about bout a dialogue between ween you and your loyee. employee.
After reviewing past performance, state your future expectations from your employee. The main goal of the performance review is to understand past performance and to find ways to perform better in the future. www.RussianMind.com
Get to know your people, observe them doing their job, praise them, motivate them, help and direct them. Treat all your employees differently, know what works for whom. Knowing your employees will allow you to make the whole performance appraisal very easy and painless for everyone involved. 51
Appraisal is about accurately assessing and improving performance. Employees should know exactly where they stand in terms of work-related performance. After the review, they should start building a bridge between their present and future performance, which should be according to the company’s standards and expectations.
Don’t blame or criticise. Set the right tone from the beginning of the performance review session. Build a rapport with your employees straight away, put them at ease and give a brief outline how the session will go and ask them to cooperate. Make sure your employees know what to expect.
Performance appraisal is not about salary administration. Once you remind yourself that it’s about improving performance then it will be easier to discuss job performance with your employees.
Performance appraisal is not about filling out forms. It’s about management and employees working together towards achieving better results through identifying the gaps in training and improving their performance at work. №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
When Wardrobe Rules the Country by Ekaterina Petukhova
Published in the issue 11 (Oct 2011)
OCTOBER IS THE TIME TO TURN TO WORK AND SERIOUS TOPICS. SO WHAT CAN BE OR SEEM MORE SERIOUS THAN POLITICS, WHEN ELECTIONS ARE COMING IN A HANDFUL OF RUSSIAN STATES? EVEN THOUGH IT MIGHT SEEM FASHION IS TOO LIGHT A TOPIC TO BE RELATED TO POLITICS, THIS NOTION IS SUPERFICIAL. LET US SKIP THE LONG DETAILED SPECULATION ABOUT POLITICIAN’S IRRESPECTIVE OF GENDER CLOTHING, WHICH FORMS AN INHERENT PART OF AN IMAGE. SOMETIMES THE WAY A POLITICIAN IS DRESSED, HELPS TO ESTABLISH HIS IDEAS MORE CLEARLY AND EXPLICITLY.
picture from real life – one of the countries has an opposition party on a roll, the country is frankly speaking far from being prosperous, with high
unemployment; corruption and social instability flourishing. All photos of the party leaders show people in snow-white shirts with their sleeves rolled up. The idea is clear – they are there for work, not
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small talk. For men in politics it is all much easier – suits, shirts and ties. Even with all the wide choice at hand… the other story is with the women, especially the first ladies. I don’t need to remind you of the thrill with which the whole world watches the style of future and present state leaders’ wives. Not so long ago everyone was agonizing over what Kate Middleton was going to wear at her first official visit, when Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni are all over magazine editorials. The way the first lady looks means far more than a mere lack or presence of style and taste. Her looks portray a nation’s message, ideology if you wish. The first one who realised this in Russia was Raisa Gorbacheva, the
last USSR’s first lady and the first, first lady of the new world model. Giving special preference to Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin, she often wore Russian designer brands – Slava Zaitsev and Tatiana Makeeva which largely contributed to their global success. For the first time, the world was fascinated by how charming, advanced and elegant a Russian woman could be. Moreover, due to Raisa Gorbacheva, the global community saw the human face of the USSR. She was the main ambassador to the new Russia with its new policy; new openness; forecasting new changes. Her style is still an example of a first
lady influencing the image of her country. A deep analysis of this phenomenon along with other first ladies’ and female politicians’ style is provided in the recently published book “Power Dressing. First Ladies, Women Politicians & Fashion” by a well-known journalist Robb Young. Entertaining and expertly written, this fascinating book gives a deep insight into the wardrobes that rule world. Among those 250 women from 90 countries one can find several Russian ladies mentioned – Raisa Gorbacheva and the latest first ladies – Lyudmila Putina and Svetlana Medvedeva.
Putin's spouse stays in the background and her style is not that familiar with either the public or journalists. Svetlana Medvedeva, in contrast does lead an active social life. Valentin Yudashkin – one of the most famous and popular Russian couturiers is among her friends. Mrs. Medvedeva and Mr. Yudashkin share a love for rich, glamorous textiles with a touch of baroque detail. Conservative but animated; dynamic but clinging to Russia’s heritage that's for sure, not only Medvedeva's style but also a kind of Russian message to the whole world. So the new elections will show whether this message has been taken to heart.
Svetlana Medvedeva and Michelle Obama
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Made a Splash Steve Jobs
access to the Tsar's millions by passing off a disturbed girl as that survivor. The girl is a fast learner, she makes a convincing Anastasia Nikolaevna, they just have to fool the Tsar's mother – The Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna - and the money will be theirs. This is not a fairy story or romanticised account of the Anastasia myth’ but an exploration of trauma, suffering and loss and how the human soul tries to find respite and finally peace from it.
By Walter Isaacson The 656-page book traces Jobs' 55 years of life, from his hippie youth and the co-founding of Apple in his parents' Silicon Valley garage; to his ousting from the company; his triumphant return 11 years later and the remarkable success in the past decade of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. The book with a simple title has been a best seller since it hit stores on the 24 October. This biography of the Apple co-founder sold 379,000 copies in the U.S. in the first week. This was the best week of sales for any book in the U.S. for almost a year. The book has already produced plenty of headlines, including how Jobs regretted waiting too long after his cancer diagnosis to get surgery that might have saved him. By the way, the publisher moved this book’s release forward by a month, after Jobs died.
Published in the issue 22 (Apr 2012)
Published in the issue 14 (Nov 2011)
Play Anastasia Directed by Kate Sellers This hugely successful, sell-out play which captivated Russian and English speaking audiences alike in 2009/2010 was performed in London again this April before it tours in Russia in 2013 as part of the Romanov 400th anniversary celebrations. The story takes place in Berlin in 1928. 10 years after the murder of the Tsar and his family at Ekaterinburg and rumours are circulating among the Russian exiles that one of the Tsar's children survived the firing squad. Taking advantage of this collective hope, three businessmen plot to gain
Zemfira. Russian singing Star in London On the 15 March 2012 Zemfira performed in London’s HMV Forum for the numerous audiences who came to enjoy her qualitative music. Zemfira is much more than just a name for those who love modern music. She stands for an exquisite quality when it comes to music and performance; it makes for the trademark soulful lyrics. It all reflects №7 (23) Special Edition 2012
Zemfira’s outstanding personality, her great talent as an artist, poet and composer. This was a special event. Zemfira showcased her all time most popular and beloved songs - a somewhat retrospective of Zemfira's creative biography before the new album is out. Published in the issue 20 (Mar 2012) www.RussianMind.com
Amazing Moscow Underground
Published in the issue 19 (Feb 2012)
n the 10th December 1948, UNESCO adopted the Universal declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights. On the occasion of its anniversary Russian photographer Alena Nikiforova opened her exhibition dedicated to the Moscow Metro, as part of the large-scale UNESCO project in Paris. There are specific Terms and Conditions for taking photos on the Tube, according to which the written permission for this activity
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is not required if the photography is conducted without flash and tripod. However, it is difficult to explain this to the police! Alena Nikiforova, the author of the project “Moscow Metro” says: “The most difficult thing during the filming process was my desperate attempt to get rid of any thoughts that the police will approach me and then, make me explain and prove that I have the right to film on the tube”. It happened to us on the first day of our shooting, but afterwards, we were armed with the “yellow file” with the copy of the
law, which worked in a magic way. Sometimes the policemen were even hiding behind the pillars, so as not to appear accidentally in any pictures”. To do a photo shoot without sunlight and only insufficient artificial lighting is perhaps the worst thing that can happen for a photographer. However, Alena has overcome these difficulties brilliantly! Photographer: Alena Nikiforova alenanikiforova.com Stylist: Looiza Potapova
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Where Ukraine Meets the West: Why Lviv is a Tourist Must-See by Olga Lesyk
Historic city centre is on the UNESCO World heritage list
Published in the issue 15 (Dec 2011)
I WENT TO LVIV AND FIRST STOP WAS TO GO TO THE “KAVYARNA” CAFE FOR A CUP OF FAMOUS UKRAINIAN COFFEE. I REALISED THEN THAT I WAS LOST AND STARTED LOOKING FOR A FRIENDLY FACE TO GUIDE ME. THE ‘VICTIM FOUND’, I BLURT OUT SOMETHING IN RUSSIAN AND HEY PRESTO THEY REPLY TO ME, WITHOUT PRETENDING THEY DON’T SPEAK MY LANGUAGE. WHAT A DIFFERENCE FROM THE 1990’S. WITH THE COMING EURO 2012, WHERE LVIV IS AMONG THE 4 UKRAINIAN CITIES COHOSTING THE GAMES, THE TOWN HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO BE A MULTI LINGUAL CULTURAL CENTRE OF WESTERN UKRAINE AND THE TRANSFORMATION IS ONGOING.
Panoramic Lviv from the top of Ratusha (65 meters)
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ounded in 1256 by a Kievan Rus, Prince Danylo Halytskyi, Lviv is known as Ukraine’s ‘little Paris’ and looks nothing like other ex-Kievan Rus towns that we know today. The reason is boringly historic: Lviv and the adjacent lands belonged at different times to the Kingdom of Poland, Hungary, the Austrian Empire and the Second Polish Republic before becoming part of the USSR prior to World War II. Notwithstanding, Lviv’s early history dated back to the 5th century A.D. Lviv has wider international appeal for several reasons. Apart from being a ‘cheap’ destination (1 GBP = 12 UAH), the city is a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces ancient and modern; ethnic and cultural; religious and civil – fit comfortably in place to create a stunning picture of an Eastern European city with a Western European slant. When in Lviv, however, don’t expect the locals to know or understand English. It is better now, but in earlier days the Ukrainian and Ukrainian/Polish mix were the only languages spoken. The Russian language was neglected. The Western Ukraine-Russia love-hate relationship warrants a whole new story. But let’s say, the exciting prospect of co-hosting the 2012 big event, has put Lviv on its best behaviour. www.RussianMind.com
Best Ukrainian food served here
Maybe that’s why the ‘anti-Russian’ moods have literally gone underground and now exist in the form of a patriotic bar called ”Kryyivka” (‘bunker’). Security on the door will ask you: - Moskali ye? (Are there any Russians?), and you should reply: - Nema (No). Then they ask you for the password, which is ‘Slava Ukraini (Viva Ukraine!). If you answered the questions correctly, they offer you a shot of medovuha (Ukrainian honey vodka).
PLACES TO SEE Vysokiy Zamok – a natural hill turned viewing platform, offering a bird’s eye panoramic view of Lviv. You can get there on foot. The same views are available from the top of Ratusha (the historic city council building), a guided tour will cost you 5 грн (hryvna; less than £0.50). Lviv Opera House – once in the Top 3 of Ukraine’s Opera Theatres in the Soviet era. Tickets start from 70 hryvnia (£5.80). Shevchenkivskyj Hai – an open air museum of folk architecture and lifestyle. Scattered over 150 acres are wooden huts and churches representing the six ethnic regions of Ukraine, with every detail of the traditional household carefully restored.
'Going Ukrainian' in historical park Shevchenkivskyj Hai
You can go in a hut, don a national costume and take some great photos. An open-air market ‘Vernisazh’, just off the posh Stometrivka, is a perfect one-stop souvenir shop for everything: from national symbolic items, to the Soviet memorabilia.
VENTURING OUT Your trip would not be complete without visiting the countryside. An English person would take comfort in the fact that the vicinity of Lviv is, arguably, a mirror reflection of the rolling hills of Surrey, except it is sunnier there all year round. Visit the town called Sambir on the river Dniester, off the Polish border, for a picnic out in the wilds. You will love walking down the quiet streets, along ‘doll houses’ with lavish gardens and flower patches. Most homes have raspberry bushes lining their fences, so treat yourself to some berries, if you see any. 60 km south of Lviv is another attraction – the village of Borynychi. Every year, on August 19, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of Transfiguration (Apple Spas). Borynychi turns into a Mecca, pulling in crowds for a mass at a small church in the nearby forest.
Stometrivka - Lviv's own Oxford Street / Piccadilly Circus
A local legend has it that the Virgin Mary herself descended upon this forest clearing on August 19th early in the XX century and told the villagers to dig out a well on that spot. Since then, people have been flocking there for its ‘holy water’. A taxi from Lviv will get you to Borynychi in less than 50 minutes. And chances are, the driver will walk you over to the well (also known as Kaplycia). If not, the locals will happily escort you over to it, if you show them a picture or write down the name of this destination.
FOOD AND NIGHTLIFE Set aside time to taste the local cuisine. Visit the fast food style brassiere Puzata Hata (Paunchy Hut). ‘Fast food’ only denotes the speed of service; everything is wholesome home cooking, just the way a Ukrainian mama would do it. The most popular night clubs are Mi100 and Millennium. Entry fee - from £5-6, same as the Opera House. With these prices, ‘going cultural’ has never been cheaper. I even coined a term to describe Lviv. It’s a ‘culture travel’ your budget will love – especially, in the current economic climate.
The 'holy water' well Kaplycia in Borynychi
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Zorikto Dorzhiev: Grand Opening at V&A
Zorikto Dorzhiev with “concubines”
Published in the issue 15 (Dec 2011)
The sponsors of the exhibitions conglomerate “Metropol”
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he Grand opening of the exhibition “Steppe Story” by Buryat painter Zorikto Dorzhiev took place on the 22 November at V&A museum in London. To mark the opening, Buryatian celebrities staged a starstudded concert with performances from Albert Kuvesin, the group leader of the unique group Yat-Kha, internationally renowned throat singing punk band from Tuva and Lilya Burdinskaya, dancer and choreographer. A hugely unusual and fascinating fashion show featuring national costumes which were used in the Oscar-nominated film “Mongol” took place along with Zorikto’s paintings on which the costumes for the film were based.
Aliona Muchinskaya, Albert Kuvezin, Zorikto Dorzhiev, Alexander Yakovenko, Erkin Tuzmukhamedov
Stefany Gorbynova “Chatila Jewellery” with guest
“Gift of Life” Charity Auction Published in the issue 18 (Feb 2012)
Russian actresses, co-founders of the foundation “Podari Zhuzn” Chulpan Khamatova and Dina Korzun
Model Natalia Vodianova
he cream of London’s Russian society converged on The Wallace Collection in Manchester Square to launch the London branch of the Russian children’s charity “Gift of Life” Foundation. They included Arsenal footballer Andrei Arshavin and model Natalia Vodianova who arrived with her 10-year-old son Lucas and her new beau Antoine Arnault, son of LVMH head Bernard Arnault. The auction raised £300,000. The foundation “Podari Zhuzn” (Gift of Life) is a leading charity in Russia that supports children with cancer. It was founded in 2006 by two leading Russian actresses Chulpan Khamatova and Dina Korzun. At the moment it is the biggest charity in Russia working in this field; it annually provides help to more than 2000 young patients in Russian hospitals: pays for the procedures and medicine not provided by the government; looks for bone marrow donors, and provides social and psychological help to the patients and their parents. In 2011 “Gift of Life” (a sister charity to the “Podari Zhizn”) started to operate in the United Kingdom. Its mission is to raise funds for the benefit of children with cancer who get care from Gift of Life Russia. Co-founder of “Podari Zhizn”, Dina Korzun, who lives with her family in London, actively participates in the running of this new foundation. Photographer: Hazel Thompson 61
Footballer Andrei Arshavin
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Kingi, 17, student, everything from Agi&Sam. Arshavin
Ed, 21, student, KTZ hat, Daniel Palillo dress. Abramovich
Holly, 28, blogger & writer, juwellery homemade, Dr Martens shoes, H&M skirt, Joy jumper, Topshop jacket, American Apparel glasses. No idea.
Extravaganza As It Is. Published in the issue 11 (Oct 2011)
Photographer: Anton Phatianov
Mei, 20, student, Zegna coat, Marni dress, Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Hermes clutch. No idea.
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Kateo, 20, student, Louis Vuitton suit, Celine bag, Shine sunglasses, Christian Louboutin shoes. Putin.
Jo, 22, designer, Burberry shoes, Balenciaga bag, everything else is vintage. Putin.
Marco, fashion events manager in Italy, 70's vintage jacket, Dr Martens shoes, Maison glasses, Martin Nargiela trousers. Putin
William, 22, student, Moschino jacket, vintage trousers, Mulberry handbag. Izmaylova (designer).
Harish, 38, graphic designer, tights from welovecolors. com, Accessorize scarf, Zara jacket, Havaianas flipflops, Great Horse cap. Sharapova.
What Russian Person Do You Know? Mickey, 20, student, sweater from the market, Pam tights, United Bamboo glasses. Abramovich.
Tracy, 21, fashion stylist, vintage top, Never Fully Dressed shirt, Zara jeans, H&M cuffs, selfmade necklace, Boutique wedges. Abramovich.
Pandemonia, ageless, sculptor, everything from Pandemonia99. com. Dostoevsky.
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