RussianMind №8 (24) Summer 2012, www.RussianMind.com
6 Facts about Russians
You Didn’t Know
Boris Akunin: “Russia Should Become a Democratic Country” Putin Needs
Viva Summer Olympics! UK .................... £2.00 France .............. €2.00 Germany ......... €2.00 Austria ............. €2.00 Belgium .......... €2.00 Netherlands ... €2.50 Italy .................. €2.50 USA .................. $5.99
Contents RussianMind №8 (24) Summer 2012, www.RussianMind.com
6 Facts about Russians
You Didn’t Know
Boris Akunin: “Russia Should Become a Democratic Country” Putin Needs
Viva Summer Olympics! UK .................... £2.00 France .............. €2.00 Germany ......... €2.00 Austria ............. €2.00 Belgium .......... €2.00 Netherlands ... €2.50 Italy .................. €2.50 USA .................. $5.99
The Secret Russian Family History of Famous Britons
Boris Akunin: “Russia Should Become a Democratic Country”
22 Maxim Kantor: The Renaissance Man
Acting Editor Olga Kudriavtseva Design & Layout www.design2pro.ru A.D. – Mikhail Kurov Designer – Julia Osipova Managing Director Azamat Sultanov Deputy Managing Director Daria Alyukova Advertising Yordanka Yordanova IT Director Oleksii Vyshnikov
24 Russian Silicon Valley “Skolkovo”: Yes, We Did It!
6 Facts about Russians You didn’t Know
Sub Editor Julia Gobert Distribution Olga Tsvetkova In print: Mark Hollingsworth, Tai Adelaja, Ekaterina Poroshina, Richard Bloss, Olga Lesyk, Oxana Brooks, Alexander Malkov, Alexey Malkov, Maarten Meijer, Mike Sweeney 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
50 Olympic Summer: Russia is Coming to London
It’s Chow Time: Dish.fm Hits Russian App Store
Viva Summer Olympics! ....................5 On the Right Side of History ..............6 Putin Needs a Hero ........................ 10 Denis Terekhov: All about the Russian Social Media Market ........... 12 The Gridnevs: The Dynasty of Russian Painters ....................... 26 Russians & Summer ....................... 30 Am I Russian or English? Life Stories of Russians in the UK ..... 36
52 Viacheslav Malafeev: Always Shoot for the Stars
Russians and Future ...................... 40 The New Generation of Ukrainian Female Writers ........... 42 Maris Liepa Gala ........................... 46 Russian Garden Portrays the Triumph of Art Over Adversity ......... 48 “The Little Czar” – Dick Advocaat ... 56 Olympic Guide .............................. 60 RM Diary .................................... 62
№8 (24) Summer 2012
Viva Summer Olympics!
fter years of preparation, London is ready to host the most significant sporting and cultural event in the world –the Summer Olympics 2012. For those living in London, the 2012 Olympics preparations have turned into a nightmare – constant road refurbishment, traffic disorder, building upheaval all around the city and the security all of which have affected the daily life of thousands of citizens. But it’s worth it. Now with everything ready, the games will speak for themselves.
The main focus of the games is the new 200 hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford in the east of London. For the last few years East London areas have been developed to the highest standards to satisfy the demands of millions of visitors. According to the official figures the total cost for Games is about £10 billion and it seems enough to turn the Olympic Park and its neighbouring areas into a wonderland. Apart from the Park, the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is using a mixture of new venues, together with existing, temporary and historic facilities, some of them in well-known locations such as Wimbledon, Lords Cricket Ground, Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade. The majority of venues are divided into three zones within London: the Olympic Zone, the River Zone and the Central Zone. Everywhere in the city you can see the symbols of the Olympics and guides for the international visitors to visit not only the Olympic Park but also London’s most famous attractions. To be honest, I doubt that public transport will be without its problems. Transport has always been problematic and despite the London
authorities making a big effort to improve services and doubling the capacity of public transport, I still think that traffic is unavoidable. And of course nobody can predict the British weather… But let’s hope these are the only problems. Speaking about the Russian venues, don’t miss the opportunity to visit two fantastic events during the London 2012 Olympic Games: Russia.Park and Russia.Sochi. Park. The Russia.Park is a family friendly open air festival where you can immerse yourself in Russian culture and the Olympic spirit. Sochi.Park is a high-tech, digital winter wonderland which features a spectacular Ice Arena where you can discover Sochi, the next Winter Olympic host city in 2014. Turn to pages 50-51 for more details and see pages 60-61 for the Olympic event guide. The Olympic Games are probably the only event in the world that doesn’t leave anyone indifferent. Let’s enjoy this festival of sports and may the best team and athletes win! Best Olga Kudriavtseva Acting Editor
The Olympic Games are the quadrennial celebration of the springtime of humanity. Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee
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On the Right Side of History Extracts from the article by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov published in Huffington Post UK.
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
OVER THE LAST YEAR OR A YEAR AND A HALF, THE EVENTS UNFOLDING IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST HAVE COME TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE GLOBAL POLITICAL AGENDA. THEY ARE FREQUENTLY REFERRED TO AS THE MOST REMARKABLE EPISODE IN THE INTERNATIONAL LIFE OF THE NEW 21ST CENTURY. EXPERTS HAVE LONG SPOKEN ABOUT THE FRAGILITY OF AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES IN ARAB COUNTRIES AND POSSIBLE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SHOCKS. However, it was difficult to predict the scale and pace with which the wave of change would sweep over the region. Alongside the manifestations of crisis in the world economy, these events have clearly proved that the process leading to the emergence of a new international system has entered a zone of turbulence. The more large-scale social movements appeared in the countries of the region, the more urgent became the issue of what policy should be pursued by external actors and the entire international community. Numerous expert â„–8 (24) Summer 2012
discussions on that matter and subsequent practical actions of States and international organizations have outlined two main approaches: either to help the Arab peoples determine their own future by themselves, or to try to shape a new political reality to one's taste while taking advantage of the softening of state structures that had long been too rigid. The situation continues to evolve rapidly, which makes it important for those who have the biggest say in the matters of the region to finally consolidate their efforts rather than continue to pull in different directions like the characters of a fable by Ivan Krylov. 6
Let me sum up the points that I have repeatedly made in relation to the evolving situation in the Middle East. First of all, Russia, in common with the majority of countries in the world, encourages the aspirations of the Arab peoples for a better life, democracy and prosperity, and stands ready to support these efforts. This is why we welcomed the Deauville Partnership initiative at the G8 summit in France. We firmly oppose the use of violence in the course of current transformations in Arab States, especially against civilians. We are well aware of the fact that the transformation of a society is a complex and generally long process which rarely goes smoothly. Russia probably knows the true cost of revolutions better than most other countries. We are fully aware that revolutionary changes are always accompanied by social and economic setbacks as well as by loss of human life and suffering. This is exactly why we support an evolutionary and peaceful way of enacting long-awaited changes in the Middle East and North Africa. The point is, what should be done if the showdown between the authorities and the opposition does assume the form of violent, armed confrontation? The answer seems obvious -external actors should do their best to stop the bloodshed and support a compromise involving all parties to the conflict. When deciding to support UN Security
Politics Council Resolution 1970 and making no objection to Resolution 1973 on Libya, we believed that these decisions would help limit the excessive use of force and pave the way for a political settlement. Unfortunately, the actions undertaken by NATO countries under these resolutions led to their grave violation and support for one of the parties to the civil war, with the goal of ousting the existing regime - damaging in the process the authority of the Security Council. People versed in politics need not be told that the devil is in the detail, and tough solutions implying the use of force cannot produce a lasting longterm settlement. And in the current circumstances, when the complexity of international relations has increased manifold, it becomes obvious that using force to resolve conflicts has no chance of success. Examples are abundant. They include the complicated situation in Iraq and the crisis in Afghanistan, which is far from being over. There are many indications that things are far from being good in Libya after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. Instability has spread further to the Sahara and Sahel region, and the situation in Mali was dramatically aggravated. Another example is Egypt, which is still far from the safe shore even though regime change was not accompanied by large outbreaks of violence and Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled the country for more than thirty years, left the presidential palace voluntarily shortly after public protests began. We cannot but be concerned, among other issues, with the reports of growing religious clashes and abuse of the rights of the Christian minority. Thus, there are more than enough reasons for taking the most balanced approach to the Syrian crisis that represents the most acute situation in the region today. It is clear that after what had happened in Libya it was impossible to go along with the UN Security Council taking decisions that would not be adequately explicit and would allow those responsible for their implementation to act at their own www.RussianMind.com
discretion. Any mandate given on behalf of the entire international community should be as clear and precise as possible in order to avoid ambiguity. It is therefore important to understand what is really happening in Syria and how to help that country to pass though this painful stage of its history. Unfortunately, qualified and honest analysis of developments in Syria and their potential consequences is still in short supply. Quite often it is replaced by primitive images and black-and-white propaganda clichĂŠs. For several months major international media outlets have been reproducing reports about the corrupt dictatorial regime ruthlessly
political, economic or other reasons for becoming one. We have never been a major trade and economic partner of that country, the government of which has communicated mostly with the capitals of Western European countries. It is no less clear to us than to others that the main responsibility for the crisis that has swept over the country lies with the Syrian government, that has failed to take the course of reform in due time or draw conclusions from the deep changes unfolding in international relations. This is all true. Yet, there are other facts as well. Syria is a multi-confessional state: in addition to Sunni and Shia Muslims there are
suppressing the aspiration of its own people to freedom and democracy. It seems, however, that the authors of those reports did not bother asking themselves how the government could manage to stay in power without public support for more than a year, despite the extensive sanctions imposed by its main economic partners. Why did the majority of people vote for the draft constitution proposed by the authorities? Why, after all, have most Syrian soldiers remained loyal to their commanders? If fear is the only explanation, then why did it fail to help other authoritarian rulers? We have stated many times that Russia is not a defender of the current regime in Damascus and has no 7
Alawites, Orthodox and other Christian confessions, Druzes, and Kurds. Over the last few decades of the secular rule of the Ba'ath party, freedom of conscience has been practiced in Syria, and religious minorities fear that if the regime is broken down this tradition may be interrupted. When we say that these concerns should be heard and addressed, we are sometimes accused of taking positions amounting to an anti-Sunni and, more generally, anti-Islamic stance. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Russia, people of various confessions, most numerous among them being Orthodox Christians and Muslims, have lived together peacefully for centuries. Our country has never waged colonial â„–8 (24) Summer 2012
Politics wars in the Arab world but has on the contrary continuously supported the independence of Arab nations and their right to independent development. And Russia bears no responsibility for the consequences of colonial rule marked by the changes in social structures that brought about the tensions which still persist. The point I want to make is different. If some members of society are concerned about potential discrimination on the grounds of religion and national origin, then necessary guarantees should be provided to those people in accordance with generally accepted international humanitarian standards.
respect for human rights in the Middle East, we must state this goal openly. If we proclaim ending the bloodshed as our primary concern, we should focus precisely on that; in other words, we must press for a ceasefire in the first place, and promote the start of an inclusive all-Syrian dialogue aimed at negotiating a peaceful crisis settlement formula by the Syrians themselves. Russia has been sending these messages since the first days of unrest in Syria. It was quite clear to us and, I guess, to everyone who has sufficient information on that country, that pressing for an immediate ousting of Bashar al-Assad, contrary to the
Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms has traditionally been, and continues to be, a major problem for the States of the Middle East, and was one of the main causes of the "Arab revolutions". However, Syria has never ranked low on that list, with its level of civil freedoms immeasurably higher than that of some of the countries who are now trying to give lessons in democracy to Damascus. In one of its recent issues, the French magazine Le Monde Diplomatique presented a chronology of human rights abuses by a big State in the Middle East, which contained, inter alia, the execution of 76 death sentences in 2011 alone, including for those accused of witchcraft. If we truly wish to promote â„–8 (24) Summer 2012
aspirations of a considerable segment of Syrian society that still relies on this regime for its security and wellbeing, would mean plunging Syria into a protracted and bloody civil war. Responsible external actors should help Syrians avoid that scenario and bring about evolutionary rather than revolutionary reform of the Syrian political system through a national dialogue rather than by means of coercion from the outside. Taking into account today's realities in Syria, reliance on one-sided support for the opposition, particularly for its most belligerent part, will not lead to peace in that country anytime soon and will therefore run counter to the goal of protecting the civilian population. 8
What seems to prevail in that option are attempts to bring about regime change in Damascus as an element of a larger regional geopolitical game. These schemes are undoubtedly targeting Iran, since a large group of States including the USA and NATO countries, Israel, Turkey and some States of the region appear to be interested in weakening that country's regional positions. The possibility of a military strike against Iran is a much-debated topic today. I have repeatedly stressed that such an option would lead to grave, catastrophic consequences. An attempt to cut the Gordian knot of long-standing problems is doomed to failure. We may recall in this regard that the US military invasion in Iraq was once considered to be a "golden chance" to change the political and economic realities of the "greater Middle East" in a quick and decisive manner, thus turning it into a region which would follow the "European pattern" of development. Irrespective of the situation concerning Iran, however, it is evident that fuelling intra-Syrian strife may trigger processes that would affect the situation in the vast territory surrounding Syria in the most negative way, having a devastating impact on both regional and international security. Risk factors include loss of control over the Syrian-Israeli border, a worsening of the situation in Lebanon and other countries in the region, weapons falling into the "wrong hands," including those of terrorist organizations, and, perhaps the most dangerous of all, an aggravation of inter-faith tensions and contradictions inside the Islamic world. *** Back in the 1990s in his book "The Clash of Civilisations," Samuel Huntington outlined the trend of the increasing importance of identity based on civilisation and religion in the age of globalization; he also convincingly demonstrated the relative reduction in the abilities of the historic West to spread its influence. It would definitely be an overstatement if we tried to build a model of the modern international www.RussianMind.com
Politics relations solely on the basis of such assumptions. However, today it is impossible to ignore such a trend. It is caused by an array of different factors, including more transparent national borders, the information revolution which has highlighted blatant socioeconomic inequality, and the growing desire of people to preserve their identity in such circumstances and to avoid falling into the endangered species list of history. The Arab revolutions clearly show a willingness to go back to the roots of civilisation that reveals itself in broad public support for the parties and movements acting under the flag of
dominate in any area whatsoever, be it economy, politics or ideology. There is no doubt left that within the broad framework that defines the development of most States and is characterized by democratic governance and a market economy, each country will independently choose its own political and economic model with due regard to its own traditions, culture and history. This is likely to result in a greater impact on international affairs of the factor of identity based on civilisation. In terms of practical politics, these conclusions can only suggest one thing: attempts to impose one's own
and communications technologies, including social networks, in order to change the mentality of other peoples, thus creating a new political reality, are bound to fail in the long run. The current market for ideas is far too manifold, and virtual methods would only bring about a virtual reality - provided, of course, that we do not resort to George Orwell's Big Brother mentality, in which case we can give up on the whole idea of democracy, not only in countries that are subjected to such influence but also in those that are exercising it. Developing a universal scale of values and morals becomes a big political issue. Such a scale could serve
Map of different world civilisations reflecting Samuel Huntington’s model described in his book “The Clash of Civilisations”
Islam. This trend is apparent not only in the Arab world. Let us mention Turkey, which is more actively positioning itself as a major player in the Islamic space and the surrounding region. Asian states, including Japan, are more boldly declaring their identity. Such a situation is further proof that the simple (if not simplistic) binary construction of the Cold War period, described in the paradigms of East-West, capitalism-socialism, North-South, is being replaced by a multidimensional geopolitical reality that does not allow for the identification of a single dominating factor. The global financial and economic crisis drew a line under discussions on whether one system can www.RussianMind.com
set of values are totally futile and may only lead to a dangerous aggravation of tensions between civilisations. This certainly does not imply that we must completely renounce influencing each other and promoting the right image of our country in the international arena. However, this should be done employing honest, transparent methods that will foster the export of national culture, education and science while showing full respect for the values of other peoples' civilisations as a safeguard for the world's diversity and esteem for pluralism in international affairs. It seems evident that hopes to apply cutting edge information dissemination 9
as the foundation for a respectful and fruitful dialogue between civilisations based on a common interest in reducing the instability which accompanies the creation of a new international system and aimed at eventually establishing a solid, efficient, polycentric world order. And here, we can only ensure success if we rule out black-and-white approaches, whether we tackle exaggerated concern for the rights of sexual minorities or, on the contrary, attempts to elevate to the political level narrow concepts of morale that would satisfy one group and violate the natural rights of other citizens, particularly of those who belong to other confessions. №8 (24) Summer 2012
PUTIN NEEDS A HERO By Tai Adelaja TO ACHIEVE AN ECONOMIC BREAKTHROUGH, PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SHOULD EMULATE TSARIST PREMIER PYOTR STOLYPIN. One hundred years after his assassination, Pyotr Stolypin’s economic legacy might still hold the key to resolving Russia’s present-day economic problems. Despite doing away with communism, Russian leaders are still groping for clarity on how to best implement radical economic and fiscal reforms. Taking a cue from the dogged reformer's experience could help the current Russian leaders achieve their ambitious goal of catapulting Russia into prosperity, the participants of a roundtable organised to commemorate Stolypin's 150th birthday believe Putin can learn from his legacy. №8 (24) Summer 2012
"Stolypin’s decision to distribute land to the peasants mirrored the Mississippi land grants in the early 19th century", said Mary Schaeffer Conroy, a Russia expert and a Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado. Conroy, who was a special guest at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, said “Stolypin was able to resist the idea of seizing land from landowners" and instead achieved ‘land grants’ rather than ‘land grabs’. "Despite the tumultuous times, he also preserved all civil and political institutions such as the Duma, and tried hard to work with them", Conroy said. For a nation still in search of a viable economic model and a sense 10
of purpose, Stolypin, employed a strange combination of repression and reform to transform the Russian economy, may be a natural role model. But while Stolypin was by no means a folk hero, Russian President Vladimir Putin adores him. As Prime Minister, Putin variously described Stolypin as a "real patriot and a wise politician" who managed to launch large-scale transformations in the country. Last year, Putin assumed the chairmanship of the organising committee for Stolypin’s 150th birthday celebrations, and even called on government officials to chip in for a monument. He also demonstrated his nostalgic and curiously reverential attitude toward the Tsarist premier by personally penning an introductory note to ‘The Pyotr Stolypin www.RussianMind.com
Stolypin, was Tsar Nicholas II's Prime Minister from 1906 to 1911, is widely credited for braving the odds in order to undertake risky economic reforms in an ‘Age of Reaction’. However, some experts say inspiration for some of his most successful reforms, such as turning peasants into private land owners, might have come from the most unlikely of places: the United States of America. Encyclopedia’, published earlier this year. Such hero worship is in order, experts say. However, Putin may need to adopt a more subtle approach when confronting the challenges posed by the modern-day wave of middle class protests, which are different from the more violent and coercive acts of the prerevolutionary period. “Today’s Russian leaders have failed to unleash Russia’s intellectual potential, in the same way Stolypin unleashed economic potential in Russia by granting private landownership to the peasantry”, said Sergei Karaganov, Dean of the School of World Economics and International Affairs in Moscow. “There are many young, energetic and talented people in Russia today who are either fighting the system or fighting to leave the country”. Stolypin has been credited with stimulating economic growth and creating a large group of well-off peasants through his resettlement programme, which granted substantial amounts of land to immigrants from around the empire. “Knowledgeable Russians should be motivated to live and work in far-flung places like Siberia and the Far East”, Karaganov said. Yaroslav Kuzminov, the president of the Higher School of Economics, also drew striking parallels between Stolypin’s reforms and what the current Russian leadership is trying to achieve. “Just as Stolypin tried to create a class of private property owners out of the peasants, a century later Putin and Dmitry Medvedev hope to use innovation and www.RussianMind.com
modernisation to expand Russia’s middle class through the inclusion of scientists, teachers, doctors and factory workers”, Kuzminov said. “It is the dream of every reformer to crave stability and keep the instruments of power under control”, he said. “But the tragedy is that just like under Stolypin, the current reform-minded Russian authorities have never been able to find common ground between reformers and those who oppose their reforms”. Striking a discordant note, economist and former Presidential Adviser Igor Yurgens picked two citations from Stolypin to illustrate why he thinks the Tsarist premier’s reforms and those of the present Russian leaders are doomed. "Stolypin could not push for more aggressive reforms because of his loyalty to the monarchy, in the same way current reformers are constrained by their professed loyalty to Russian tradition and history", Yurgens said. "The other problem is that Stolypin stubbornly refused to accept foreign experience and institutions by pleading Russia’s exclusiveness. We also see that at work today". “Even if it had been possible to turn back the clock, dead reformers like Otto von Bismarck and Stolypin would never be accepted in modern political circles”, said Alexander Rahr, an independent Russia expert. “If one could clone Stolypin, for instance, Vladimir Putin would never have appointed such a head-strong reformer to lead his cabinet”, Rahr said. “This speaks volumes about historical similarities and hero worship”. 11
Stolypin was assassinated in 1911 and six years later, Tsarist Russia was tossed into the dustbin of history by the tumult of World War I and the subsequent Bolshevik Revolution. While many political analysts say in private that Stolypin's reforms were accompanied by a strong dose of ruthlessness and mass executions, none of those concerns seeped through the din of the posthumous encomiums showered on Putin's hero by the roundtable participants on Saturday. Conservative television pundit Mikhail Leontyev, however, was a notable exception. He claimed that “traitors were responsible for all that went wrong with Stolypin's reforms”. Participants were visibly shocked when Leontyev, who hosts the talk show “Odnako” on Channel One, proposed that the current enemies of the reforms – i.e. the opposition leaders – should all be executed. "The February 1917 revolution was nothing but a liberal conspiracy", Leontyev said. “It has never been possible to carry out comprehensive reforms in any period of Russian history without resorting to extra-judicial measures. Stolypin failed to resolve the key issue of Russia’s industrialisation, but Stalin did”. russiaprofile.org
Portrait of Graf Pyotr Stolypin (Ilya Repin, 1910)
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All about the Russian Social Media Market By Ekaterina Poroshina DENIS TEREKHOV IS A MANAGING PARTNER OF THE SOCIAL NETWORKS AGENCY IN RUSSIA, WHICH SPECIALISES IN PLANNING AND EXECUTING COMPLEX STRATEGIES FOR THE POSITIONING AND PROMOTION OF BRANDS, PERSONAS, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, TOPICS AND MEANINGS WITHIN SOCIAL NETWORKS, THE BLOGOSPHERE AND INTERNET MEDIA. THE AGENCY WAS THE FIRST IN RUSSIA TO PROVIDE A SERVICE FOR SOCIAL NETWORKS RELATIONS. IN 2011 IT WAS RANKED THIRD IN OVERALL MEDIA ACTIVITY RATINGS FOR COMMUNICATIONS ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATORS IABC/RUSSIA AND IN 2012 DENIS WON THE ‘MEDIA MANAGER 2012’ FOR THE ‘INNOVATIONS IN PR’ NOMINATION. IN A CONVERSATION WITH RUSSIANMIND HE TOLD US ABOUT THE CURRENT STATE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IN RUSSIA: RM: What are the fundamental diﬀerences between social network marketing communications and traditional PR? DT: One of the main differences is the high speed of communication and connection of the communications in social networks. For example, it will take you more than a month to come up with a billboard design and to book the space for it. In social media you can make changes to a campaign in a few days or even in a few hours. Secondly you are pleased (or not) with the feedback from the social network users. If we go back to the billboard example, you don’t get all the criticisms from people who dislike the billboards. But when you are in social networks be ready to receive feedback from the people who are №8 (24) Summer 2012
eager to analyse every campaign you make.
compare Russian SM professionals to their European counterparts?
RM: Your business is quite diversiﬁed. Can you point out your key directions?
DT: I can’t compare us with the European market. Unfortunately I don’t understand it. There are no systematic Social Media courses in Russia yet. And the reason is that this market is only 3-4 years old. I think that a good Social media professional (the same as any communication specialist) is a person who is able to communicate clearly, in an understandable way.
DT: We have 3 main directions. Firstly we have consulting and education. By education I mean launching new projects and teaching a client’s employees how to later maintain, for example, their Facebook page on their own. Secondly by creating and developing different services that help our clients to carry out complicated integrated projects. Thirdly and nothing to do with social media, is video production. We produce a lot of corporate videos and also make videos for several Russian and sputnik channels. RM: Is there any social media education in Russia? Can you 12
RM: There is an opinion that all PR tenders in Russia are prepaid and it is all about ‘under the table’ payments. Have you ever come across this? DT: I think this is the view from the losers, who missed a tender because their project was too expensive or had poor content. Definitely there www.RussianMind.com
Business are tenders that are weird. And we think that we know the winner from the start but no one is banned from participating. As for the government tenders we almost never participate in those, because we are convinced that price should be the main criteria when choosing the agency, especially when it comes to such a specialist area as creative solutions. RM: The latest research suggests that Russians lead in spending time on the Internet. But the experts predict that this is a temporary phenomenon and soon the Internet will become less popular. Do you think that this might aﬀect your business? DT: We try to diversify our business and get away from pure social media to digital-services. I think that we’ll achieve this in 2-3 years and we won’t depend so much on social media. RM: Can you point out the reasons why large companies are interested in social media? DT: First of all it is a new direct communication channel. Secondly it is an amazing way to get feedback. It is a focus-group that you don’t have to pay for and they want to give feedback about a product or service.
Thirdly it is a new sales tool. It helps to narrow the distance between taking decisions and a consumer’s purchase. RM: Today large international agencies are coming to Russia. Do you think that Russian agencies have ‘know-how’ that could interest foreign agencies? DT: The problem is that foreign agencies don’t know the Russian market. It would be very strange if one day I’d decide to work in Mexico. Why do foreign agencies think that they can easily operate in Russia? When I was giving a speech on Communications in Davos I asked the
audience if they knew about the bear that raises his hands and says “Preved” or if they knew who “Fryazino witness” is? They went silent. How can they work in Russia if they don’t even know key names? RM: Are there any taboos in social marketing? What should NEVER be done? DT: I think there is only one restriction: you should never lie in social media, you should only tell the truth. Always. The rest is nothing. RM: Do you plan to open oﬃces in other countries? Maybe in London? DT: I frequently think that we should open an office in London, Singapore, New York and also, perhaps somewhere in Latin America. But now unfortunately we’re only in Russia. Even the CIS projects are managed from Moscow. We have one global project but even with this we wouldn’t require someone in London. As I’ve already mentioned, fortunately or unfortunately we don’t understand the foreign market, but we know the Russian market very well. When we grow bigger and are able to understand people in London, Singapore, New York, Melbourne and Lima we’ll definitely open offices there. I hope it will happen sooner than I think now.
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THE SECRET Russian Family History of Famous Britons By Mark Hollingsworth
THE RECENT MIGRATION OF RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS, PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE AND ORDINARY WORKERS TO LONDON HAS BEEN WELLDOCUMENTED AND WRITTEN ABOUT. BUT WHAT IS LESS WELLKNOWN ARE THE RUSSIAN FAMILY BACKGROUNDS OF BRITISH CELEBRITIES, BUSINESSMEN AND POLITICIANS. MARK HOLLINGSWORTH REVEALS THE RUSSIAN ANCESTRIES OF PROMINENT BRITONS AND THE HISTORY OF RUSSIAN MIGRATION TO LONDON.
hen the late great Amy Winehouse died, very few tributes mentioned her Russian family history. For the talented singer has a Russian-Jewish ancestry which even her family knew little about. Her paternal great-great grandfather Abraham Grandish, was a Russian immigrant. He was born in 1855 in Russia and moved to the UK in the late 19th century. At the time of the 1911 census he lived with Winehouse’s great-grandmother in Spitalfields, in the heart of the food markets in East London. He cited
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his occupation as a ‘fruit hawker’ – meaning he travelled around selling fruit – and it was from his marriage 14
to a Russian woman that began the dynasty which resulted in one of Britain’s greatest-ever singers. www.RussianMind.com
Ironically, Mark Ronson, the producer of Winehouse’s greatest album, ‘Back to Black’, is also the great-grandson of Russian Jews. His family emigrated to London from the Pale of Settlement (the area of the Russian Empire where Jews were permitted to reside and located in present day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, and western Russia) in the late 19th and early 20th century. In a remarkable coincidence, his Russian ancestors emigrated to London at approximately the same time as Winehouse. The Russian connection does not end there. Mark Ronson’s uncle is Gerald Ronson, the controversial property tycoon who was convicted for fraud offences during the Guinesss take-over of the Distillers company in the 1980s. Gerald Ronson’s paternal grandfather, an Orthodox Jew called Maurice Aaronson, emigrated to Shoreditch, East London, where he worked in a furniture workshop. His maternal grandfather, Leib Shimelevich-Davidovich Rein, was an illiterate coach driver from present day Lithuania. He arrived in London via Hamburg in 1898 and lived off www.RussianMind.com
back to the mid 19th century when Commercial Street in London had become home to several London’s East End, working Russian political dissidents. The most tending to horses at a famous was the socialist Alexander diary farm in Whitechapel. Gertsen (whose name is often He anglicised his name as Germanised as Herzen, and who wrote Louis Raine and earned the under the pseudonym “Iskander”). nickname ‘Milky’ after he Gertsen was one of the leading set up a business selling Westernisers in Russia in the 1830s traditional Russian cottage and 1840s. The illegitimate son of an cheese to other Russian aristocrat, his criticisms of the Tsarist immigrants. system led to several periods of house In 1936 Milky’s daughter Sarah Raine married Maurice arrest on his country estate before his flight abroad. He first came to Britain Aaronson’s son Henry, who in 1852 after a disillusioning journey changed the family name through Western Europe in the wake of to Ronson by deed poll in the revolutions of 1848, and he stayed 1943. Their eldest son was here for 12 years. Gertsen’s book On the Gerald Ronson and their Development of Revolutionary Ideas in second son was Laurence, Russia, which was particularly praised Mark Ronson’s father. Since and publicised by the Chartist W.J. his conviction in the 1980s, Linton, preceded him to England and Gerald Ronson has made a made his reputation as a journalist. comeback and is now one Another famous Russian exile in of the UK’s most successful the 19th century was Pyotr Kropotkin, property developers. who came to London in 1866 after two But Ronson is not the only successful spells in prison and wrote his Memoirs entrepreneur with a Russian past. Sir of a Revolutionary, in English. He Stuart Rose, who was Chief Executive of Marks and Spencer from Helen Mirren 2004 to 2010, is the grandson of a (White) Russian Army officer who fled to China with his wife after the 1917 Russian Revolution. His grandparents subsequently separated and his father, Igor Bryantzeff, was from a young age supported by a spinster, Nona Ransom, who paid for him to attend Bootham School, a Quaker boarding school in York. The young Stuart Rose was educated at the very same school. Rose’s father changed his name to Harry Rose, joined the Colonial Office and worked as a civil servant in Tanzania in the 1950s while young Stuart was at boarding school at Bootham – where his Russian grandfather was educated. The Anglo-Russian connection can be traced 15
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Investigation supported himself by writing regularly for The Times and the Geographical Journal and was helped by his British supporters, chief among them Charlotte Wilson a former Fabian and the wife of a City stockbroker. During his thirty-year exile Kropotkin became a familiar society figure: Oscar Wilde in De Profundis referred to him as ‘a man with the soul of that beautiful white Christ that seems coming out of Russia’. The Russian émigré community comprised of a number of well-known and influential figures including S.M. Stepniak-Kravchinskiy (1851-
New York Times reported that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of one attendant Vladimir Lenin. The headline read: ‘A FAMOUS REBEL IN LONDON. Lenin Will Be Arrested If He Returns to Russia -- Real Name Ulianoff ’. Lenin was not a permanent exile in London but visited six times between 1902 and 1911. It was at the British Library that Lenin met another prominent London based Bolshevik called Maksim Litvinov, who would form the Soviet Foreign Service. He also met Trotsky in London, who had escaped prison in Siberia in 1902. Together they joined
95), N.V. Chaikovskiy (1850-1926) and F.V. Volkhovskiy (1846-1914). Stepniak, Kropotkin, Chaikovskiy and Volkhovskiy actively lobbied British public opinion in favour of the London based Russian immigrants. In 1891 they formed the Russian Free Press Fund (RFPF), and the Anglo-Russian Society of Friends of Russian Freedom (SFRF) to win over support for their anti-Tsarist movement. In the 20th century, London continued to be a major base of Russian exiles. The congresses of Russian revolutionaries were held in London in 1903, 1905 and 1907. At the 1907 Social Democratic Congress, the №8 (24) Summer 2012
the group of Russian Social-Democrats working on the revolutionary newspaper Iskra (“The Spark”). In all it has been estimated that there were between 300 and 400 Russian political revolutionaries in London at this time. After the 1917 Revolution, the exiled revolutionaries returned to Russia, and the old ruling elite fled. In London the Russian Red Cross in Great Britain (founded in 1893), was revitalised in 1920 to provide relief for the newcomers. However, relatively few of the exiles ended up in London. Estimates of their actual numbers vary. According to the Guardian, 15,000 Russians arrived in London in 1919 – a 16
figure probably based on Refugees in an Age of Genocide, by Katharine Knox and Tony Kushner. One historian, G.S. Smith, refers to more conservative estimates: “It has been estimated that their total number was 9,000 in 1922, declining through re-emigration and naturalisation by 1930 to about 4,000. This figure may represent the residue of a much larger number of Russians who had passed through Great Britain or who had been resident in one way or another since 1917, and may include some from before that date”. By contrast, 127,000 fled to the Slavic states, 250,000 to Berlin, and 70,000 in France (mostly in Paris) Shanghai was also a popular destination where White Russians numbering approximately 25,000 set up their own Little Russia in the city. One of the reasons fewer Russians arrived in London – compared to other countries - was the hope that the communist takeover would be short lived, and that they should therefore stay close to Russia. There were also other good reasons to choose the European capitals. Those that travelled to Berlin were attracted by its then affluence whilst France held a far greater cultural sway with Russians than Britain. There was also the fact that the British government was at that time rather fearful of its working class and mindful of the possibility of mass unemployment following demobilisation after the First World War, and therefore actively discouraged immigration. Those that did arrive in London were a mix of aristocrats and middle class intellectuals. The Times refers to “the White Russian aristocrats who came after the 1917 revolution as the Galitzines, Vassiltchikovs, Lobanovs and Beckendorffs with their cousins and connections”. The family of the liberal intellectual Isaiah Berlin arrived in 1919. Berlin’s father was an Anglophile and Berlin would later echo his father’s sentiments, saying: ‘I am an Anglophile, I love England. England’s www.RussianMind.com
my home. I have been very well treated in this country. But I remain a Russian Jew’. The philosopher’s family settled in Surbiton, a small town in Surrey but close to London. Many of London’s new Russian arrivals settled mostly in Chiswick, Ealing and Acton. Remnants of the old Russian immigrant community can still be seen there today. Recently the Russian community in Chiswick built a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church that split away in 1917. These more recent Russian émigrés have produced some accomplished individuals. The renowned British actress Dame Helen Mirren, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Leo Tolstoy's wife Sofya in The Last Station, is well known for having Russian ancestors. She was born Ilyena Lydia Petrovna Mironov and her name was later anglicised by her father, Vasily Mironov, after the death of her grandfather, Pyotr, in 1957. A nobleman and diplomat, Pyotr Mironov was working in London supplying weapons to the Russian Army when the Bolsheviks overthrew the Tsarist regime. His six sisters and elderly mother were later thrown off their estate in Kuryanovo. Pyotr Mironov remained in London and www.RussianMind.com
worked as a taxi driver, later losing was Hugh Anthony Clegg, a medical touch with his family during the writer who in 1932 married Baroness Stalin era. Helen Mirren, who won Kyra Engelhardt, the oldest daughter of an Oscar for her performance a Russian Baron, Arthur von Engelhardt in ‘The Queen’, still has relatives of Smolensk. Kyra Engelhardt’s mother, in Russia since three of her Alexandra Moullen, was the daughter grandfather’s sisters married and of Ignaty Zakrevsky, a former attorney had children. She was put in touch general in the imperial Russian senate with her relatives in 2007 after who lived on a large estate in what is the Mail on Sunday was able to now known as Ukraine. trace her family there and she was Intriguingly, Ignaty Zakrevsky’s overjoyed to meet them. other daughter, Baroness Moura In political circles, the Liberal Budberg, is suspected to have worked Democrat peer Lord Skidelsky was as an intelligence officer and spy for for many years regarded as the the British and the Soviet Union in most prominent with a Russian the early 20th century and was once ancestry. He was born on 25 April described by the British Embassy in 1939 in Manchuria, China, where Moscow as ‘a very dangerous woman’. the family firm L. S. Skidelsky, She was the ex-wife of both a Tsarist leased a coalmine from the diplomat count and a Russian baron Chinese government. His father Boris and was a mistress of HG Wells, Maxim Skidelsky was from a Jewish Russian Gorky and Robert Bruce Lockhart, family and his mother, Galia Sapelkin, a former MI6 officer. Lockhart was a Christian family. According to their a British spy posted to Moscow son, Robert Skidelsky, now a highly during the Russian Revolution and respected historian and biographer of was involved in the attempted the economist Maynard Keynes: “The assassination of Lenin in August 1918. Skidelskys were ‘oligarchs’ of the far When Lockhart was arrested by the east before the Revolution: my father Russian secret police for his role in the was born in Vladivostok on the Pacific plot to murder Lenin, he was in bed coast. One of my mother's ancestors, so with Moura Budberg – the great-great family legend has it, had been signed grand-daughter of the current deputy up from Germany as a skilled workman prime minister. by Peter the Great, and had prospered And so it can be argued that the modestly. Both sides of the family had great Russian invasion of the UK has prudently left Russia in 1918”. reached into the very highest level of Today, Lord Skidelsky comments the British Establishment. on UK-Russian relations for newspapers and magazines and is an eminent academic at the London School of Economics. He founded the UK-Russia Round Table, has worked as a consultant for the Russian Investor Protection Association and is a board member of Lena Nemirovskaya’s Moscow School of Political Studies. However, in the past two years Lord Skidelsky’s Russian roots have been superseded by the Deputy Prime Minister no less. For Nick Clegg has a Russian aristocratic grandmother. Clegg was born on 7 January 1967, the son of Nicholas Pyotr Kropotkin P. Clegg. His paternal grandfather 17
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Boris Akunin: “Russia Should Become a Democratic Country” Boris Akunin is the pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili, who is one of the best selling Russian detective ﬁction writers, an essayist, literary translator and expert on Japanese literature. His books have nothing to do with politics, however in 2008, Akunin made headlines for his interview with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos oil giant CEO imprisoned for tax evasion. The interview excerpts were then republished in dozens of newspapers and magazines and rekindled the ongoing debate about the Khodorkovsky’s case. In January 2012, ahead of the Presidential elections in Russia, Boris Akunin together with 15 other Russian activists, celebrities and high-proﬁle journalists founded the League of Voters – an organisation aiming to prevent election-rigging and generally promote public participation in politics. RussianMind talked to Boris about the meaning of the Motherland, the current state of Russian literature in the world and the future for Russia: №8 (24) Summer 2012
Culture RM: The genre of detective stories in Russia began to take shape after the collapse of the USSR. Why do you think this happened? BA: I think it’s quite plain: there was no proper detective literature in Soviet times. Officially, the USSR was the happiest country, so no thrilling (plot-wise) crime could take place there. No exciting crime meant no readable detective narrative. However, after the breakup of the USSR we got too much crime of all sorts, and we were allowed to write about pretty much anything. Detective stories are actually very popular in all countries, and in the case of Russia it caught on so quickly because of the thirst for this genre. No wonder everyone started reading detective fiction. RM: Why did you choose this genre for your writing? BA: I’ve always loved reading it, since I was a kid. Moreover, it’s very resourceful for a writer, as it requires a high level of intellectual involvement from a reader. It’s the most interactive genre. You are always playing with your readers – ‘can you guess who the murderer is?’ If you manage to keep the reader’s on the hook till the finale, you’ve done well. RM: Your books aren’t politically charged, but you a socially minded citizen. How would you explain this contrast? BA: Nowadays many Muscovites are interested and try to be engaged in politics. You wouldn’t ask a dentist why he doesn’t ask for a patient’s political preferences while treating him, would you. I am, so to speak, a writer for general readers, however, as an individual I am not indifferent to what’s happening in our country. www.RussianMind.com
RM: How topical do you think the idea of the Motherland is for Russians today? BA: You see, the Motherland is very important for everyone. But there’s motherland and Motherland with a capital M. When the latter is mentioned, it makes me cringe, because this is usually something cold and infinitely official, calling for or enjoining to and always denoting state, government, i.e. something inorganic and abstract. The major Russian problem, as I see it – not just now, but throughout our history – has been this fatal gap between the attitude towards your country and the attitude towards your government. State has always been some hostile environment, some threatening force offering gloomy and dangerous prospects. So this confusion, this distrust between the state and the people has been the major problem in Russia. Until we overcome this, everything will remain foggy. RM: What’s your opinion of Russian intelligentsia? Solzhenitsyn said that it’s 19
non-existent as a social class. However, after the recent elections many representatives of the intellectual elite joined the public protests in the streets and showed strident reaction to the election results. What do you think about such activity? BA: I approve of it. That’s the most joyful thing that happened in Russia in the recent decade. People are no longer indifferent to the social and political situation. There’s no unanimity of opinion yet, but the fact that people went beyond their meatand-potatoes problems is very promising. And they didn’t do it out of fear of grief, not their personal misfortunes, but the desire to change their country for the better. This resulted in a weird case when people went on street protests for the sake of positive change and the government does everything to suppress it. RM: Do you think freedom of speech exists in Russia? BA: It exists to a limited extent. For example, the policy of the major federal TV channels prevents and №8 (24) Summer 2012
scares away those journalists who appreciate freedom of speech. But for individual expression we have the Internet – the space of freedom and books. We live in times when everyone working in mass media has an opportunity to decide how much freedom of speech he is ready to have. RM: You often act as an ambassador of Russian literature abroad. What is the current state of Russian literature in the world, how successful and attractive is it? BA: No doubt, contemporary literature is totally losing out to №8 (24) Summer 2012
classic Russian literature. We cannot reach the grandeur of Dostoevsky and Chekhov and probably never will. On the other hand, it’s good to have standards set this high to help living writers estimate their own writing. Contemporary Russian literature is not popular abroad and first and foremost that’s because contemporary Russia doesn’t arouse interest. The most recent spark of attention was during perestroika and the post-perestroika years, when foreigners read Russian books just for the sake of understanding what was going on and of our mentality. Nowadays Russia is no 20
longer an opinion leader in politics, culture or economics. There’s nothing good about it, so we need to cultivate ourselves. RM: What can make Russia interesting to other people again? Who could inspire this interest? BA: In the best-case scenario Russia should transform. It should become a steadily functioning democracy. We need to restructure the economy to cease being a raw-material appendage. We need to develop technologies, science and education. We do have all www.RussianMind.com
Culture beings will refine themselves. If society becomes brutal, humans become predators. However, there’s always a certain number of people who cannot be spoiled – and those who cannot be refined. But the great majority is amphibian. RM: What books do you like to read? Is there a book by another author that you wish you’d written? BA: In general, I think the most masterful piece of fiction ever written is “Hadji Murat” by Leo Tolstoi. The story is flawless. As for the language, I think “The White Guard” by Bulgakov is an utter masterpiece, it’s perfect like a mantra: not a single word can be added or removed. RM: Can you reveal your current creative plans?
the prerequisites for that, we traditionally have a very high level of education and lots of people who want to and can study. But there’s a severe lack of investment in scientific development, so nothing can be created in such circumstances. Also, the state needs to shape a plausible cultural policy to promote our national heritage. I don’t mean cultural propaganda, but a circumspect budget allocation that would encourage young talent.
changing body temperature with its environment. If the environment is stimulating and nourishing the best features and inclinations, human
BA: I’m back to work on a novel from the Fandorin series, I started it some time ago but had to pause due to this post-election upheaval in Moscow. It’s hard to resume now, as some interrupted plot lines are lost forever – I have my notes but I don’t remember what I meant when making them! Such an unnatural break in working on a book isn’t right…
RM: How strong to you think human aspiration is to become better? BA: I think this is a very tricky question. But it comes down to this: what is the status quo and what is the deviation – good or evil? That’s so difficult. I reckon a human being is like a frog – an amphibian www.RussianMind.com
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MAXIM KANTOR: The Renaissance Man By Ekaterina Poroshina
IN THE MODERN WORLD WHERE EVERY MAN IS A PROFESSIONAL IN HIS NARROW FIELD, WHETHER IT IS PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE OR A PARTICULAR GENRE OF LITERATURE, PEOPLE LIKE MAXIM KANTOR ARE RARE. THE SUCCESSFUL PAINTER, SCULPTOR, AUTHOR OF THE ACCLAIMED NOVEL “THE DRAWING TEXTBOOK” AND PHILOSOPHER MAXIM KANTOR IS A TRUE CHARACTER OF THE RENAISSANCE.
RM: You are the writer and painter. Do you have artworks that only have an aesthetic form, that are just beautiful? Or do you think everything has to have a sort of sense? MK: I believe that the aesthetics and what you call “just beautiful” makes sense in itself. There is nothing in the aesthetics that doesn’t make sense. When we artificially divide for the form and the content, we perform semantic substitution. The form is always adequate to the content and the content is adequate for the form and nothing can exist separately. There is no pure beauty as there is no pure thought. You cannot express just a thought, you have to enclose it into a form – into words and those words should be clear and understandable and that is the beauty. RM: In the 1980s you were pursued by the powerful. Did you consider yourself a revolutionary? Do you sometimes reﬂect on those times? MK: You know, probably not. Those were wonderful years, but they were good for youth and at the same time those were very "stupid" years. At that time, life seemed very simple, and everything seemed very primitive. That helped a young man in revolutionary activity and
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Person dissidence: to divide the world into black and white, the government and the opposition. But this created a flat picture of the world, which I understood afterwards, when I began to visit Europe frequently and compared Russia with the West. I realised that all these ideas about totalitarianism, democracy were clichés. All these simple and "flat" ideas were taken from ideology and history is much more complicated. So I probably don’t want to revisit those "stupid" times, despite the fact that everything was ardent, honest and not so hypocritical. These days there is much more hypocrisy.
capitalism, but great art is above the market. When we talk about “War and Peace” or the “Iliad”, no matter what, publishers will publish these, in spite of how much money they make. But when it comes to crime fiction novels, they must be placed somewhere, sell and produced in millions of copies. These are two different types of art. And as in the crime fiction novel and the still-life paintings market there is a necessary condition, as there is a market for “War and Peace” or there is not, it doesn’t matter, because it is out of the market. RM: Is you art out of the market?
RM: It is often said that an artist is driven by their dissatisfaction with the world and himself. How true is this?
MK: I don’t know. I hope that as time passes it will be out of it. RM: London is the city of art and art universities. What would be your advice to those who want to become famous and recognised?
MK: I do not know any artist who wouldn’t say that. Pasternak had such phrase. This is the general idea, it really is true. If an artist felt that everything is perfect in the world, then his work would be useless. He'd just watch and enjoy. The activity of any artist, composer, painter, and singer is to add something to this wonderful world and make it better. And if there is any injustice, it is necessary to try to fix, explain and correct it. The philosopher tries to understand the world and to make it better by explaining it. The feeling of the world’s imperfection moves art. Art evolves exactly because the world is not perfect. Art is a response to the world’s imperfection.
MK: It seems to me that London is not an art city. London is the financial capital. Art was previously based in Paris, Florence and Moscow. Everywhere in the literature London is described as the city of businessmen. It doesn’t become an art capital, but the capital of the art market. And it is very important to understand this. In the 1920s Paris was the capital of art, but not the market for art. Moscow was also the art capital when all the avant-garde artists didn’t work for money. But London has never been a city of art and never will be, because it is a market city. The city for the market art.
RM: What do you think about the art market? How appropriate is it to compare art with the market relationship?
RM: But still what is your advice to those who want to become famous and recognised for their art?
MK: This is a complicated question. The art market hasn’t existed for very long, only for about 300 years, not more. I think that the market is inevitable under www.RussianMind.com
MK: Well, what can I advise? If you want to draw, then draw, if you don’t – then don’t draw! 23
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Hi Tech The head of Skolkovo complex Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg (right) with Vice-President of Nokia Esko Aho
Russian Silicon Valley “Skolkovo”:
Yes, We Did It! RUSSIAN INNOVATION CENTRE SKOLKOVO WAS CREATED TO CONCENTRATE INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL, THEREBY STIMULATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF BREAK THROUGH PROJECTS AND TECHNOLOGIES. SINCE ITS ANNOUNCEMENT IN NOVEMBER 2009 IT HAS BEEN WORKING IN FIVE AREAS, EACH ONE DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE PROJECTS IN IT, SPACE, BIOMED, ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGIES.
his year Skolkovo held road shows in London announcing itself on the international scene. RussianMind talked to the Head of Skolkovo Foundation’s International Projects, Dmitry Politov about the future of Russia’s Silicon Valley:
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RM: Skolkovo initially caused a lot of criticism and doubts, especially from the international community. Can you say that you have silenced your critics? DP: Skolkovo was a very special project from the start. As the 24
prospects for science and RnD in Russia were evaluated, it became evident that in many respects we have to be more decisive in advancing innovative business from the country. Traditional research institutes were barely coping with the task as they had little or no practice working in an environment www.RussianMind.com
Hi Tech Our university, the SkTech, deserves special emphasis. This international graduate institution has a strategic partnership with MIT and is currently establishing research centres and departments, after it asked for proposals in April 2012. In the month when applications were accepted, more than 130 universities of renown have submitted their offers for cooperation, of which we have decided to select very few. of capitalism and entrepreneurship. Therefore from the very start we had set the bar very high: we aimed to create a very transparent, very professional establishment that employed many skilled and prominent expats and relied on international expert support. Today we can decisively confirm - our aim has been achieved. As we have progressed slowly from September 2010, we have been able to attract more than five hundred innovative companies according to our main priorities, in:
energy efficient technologies, IT, biomed, space, telecommunications and nuclear technologies. Each of these entities enjoys an international partnership, meaning that it commonly has a partner abroad or a scientific researcher in one of the world's leading universities. Each has also been subject to a complete review and has been deemed unique, innovative, scientifically and commercially feasible by at least five prominent international researchers and innovative entrepreneurs. www.RussianMind.com
RM: What has been the most successful project? DP: As we have many projects from different domains, it is quite challenging to identify a single ‘most successful’ project. We are only working with companies that are doing RnD, therefore we deal with long project implementation times. It would be reasonable to expect, say, a pharmaceutical RnD to deliver a marketable drug within two years. We have, however, already had several IPOs and have globally demanded products supplied by our IT companies. As to the most interesting projects that we have, to mention a few: a project to develop an entirely new solid rocket fuel; a possible cure for auto-immune and blood diseases; a prospective cure for certain types of cancer; medicine to notably slow biological ageing; new compact long-life batteries, including possibly nuclear elements; new diagnostics and therapy devices, and the very highly anticipated project, a fully disruptive technology – commercialisation and mass production of superconductors. If this project succeeds, we will live to see cities with hovering cars, super high speed trains and even more to come.
How interesting is Skolkovo to foreign and particularly British investors? DP: Every single event that we have had in the past year has been overbooked. We tend to select our participants carefully, and yet we manage to have full halls during every single one of them. We do not always aim solely at investors; it is the technology-intensive and innovation-oriented enterprises that we put the highest value on. We tend to visit innovation hubs exactly
for this purpose: to assist Russian and foreign companies in finding a common purpose and launching joint ventures. Speaking about investors, we have a strategic partnership with over 40 global venture companies and over 20 large international companies, such as Siemens, Intel, Nokia, CISCO and many others. They all have taken interest in the startup companies that we house and all have expressed either interest or firm commitments to us.
RM: There were several conferences held in the UK. 25
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The GRIDNEVS: The Dynasty of Russian Painters By Olga Kudriavtseva APART FROM BEING A FAMILY, VALERIY GRIDNEV, HIS WIFE EKATERINA AND THEIR SON FYODOR HAVE ANOTHER THING IN COMMON THEY ARE ALL PAINTERS. THEY CAME TO THE UK FROM RUSSIAN WAY BACK IN 1999 AND SINCE THEN EACH OF THE GRIDNEV TRIBE HAVE FOUND THEIR OWN WAY INTO THE BUSINESS. KATYA, THE WIFE AND MOTHER, FOCUSES ON THE YOUNG WOMEN DANCERS OF A LEADING RUSSIAN BALLET SCHOOL. VALERIY, HUSBAND AND FATHER, IS THE CLASSIC PORTRAITIST. THE SON, FYODOR, RAISED MOSTLY IN ENGLAND, COMES FROM LEFTFIELD. HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A RADICAL ARCHITECT, BUT AFTER THE ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION IN LONDON, HE TURNED TO THE MARITIME CRIMEA. RUSSIANMIND SPOKE TO EKATERINA GRIDNEVA TO FIND OUT HOW ARTISTIC NATURES GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER IN THE ONE FAMILY: RM: Ekaterina, you are the painter as well as your husband Valeriy and your son Fyodor. Is it diﬃcult for people of the same occupation to get along well? EG: Not at all, in fact I think because of this we have more in common it helps us to communicate and understand each other better. RM: Do you often have creative disputes while working and do they continue at home? EG: Even though we all work together we are still each doing our own thing so there is no real cause for a creative dispute, however there is a lot of critique which can be harsh sometimes but always absolutely honest and helps me to stay sharp. RM: Very often spouses who have the same occupation start competing with each other, trying №8 (24) Summer 2012
to prove who is better. Does it happen to you and your husband? EG: With this sort of work, you can’t help it, you are always trying to do better. I am always trying to improve my work so I compete with myself and other artists including my husband. But this spirit of competition is what keeps me from stagnation so it is a very important element of our work. RM: Did you both inﬂuence your son Fyodor in choosing painting as his profession? Or was it totally his initiative? EG: Fyodor always made up his own mind about things he wanted to do. He always was passionate about painting but he also wanted to explore other creative fields. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association school of architecture and graduated last spring. www.RussianMind.com
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Art history and a strong connection to Russian culture. RM: What is the best suggestion for young gifted Russian artists who want to develop their creative intentions?
art should evoke a whole range of emotions. RM: Why did you leave Russia in 1999? Did you ever think of going back?
RM: You are painting diﬀerent things –portraits, ethereal dancers, nude studies and dockland scenes. How would you name your style? EG: Each of us has a distinct way of painting, it would be too restrictive to subscribe to a specific style. It feels that if you put a label on your work you’re limiting you own artistic development. In my opinion artwork should be appreciated on its own merit, branding helps to miss subtleties of work by evoking cruder associations with a group of other unrelated works.
EG: We never really left Russia, we have a studio in St. Petersburg and we constantly travel there and back.
EG: It’s almost impossible to give this sort of advice; everyone has to find their own way of development that’s what makes artists unique and different from each other. The only thing I can remark is that an artist always has to be critical of his own work and not to get too comfortable with it, that is what drives us to improve all the time. RM: What is your main source of inspiration? EG: I get inspired by beauty of the human body. I work with dancers because in my opinion they achieve the ultimate in refinement and grace.
RM: Do you think in Russia there are appropriate conditions for painters to work? EG: There is a very large artistic community in Russia with a lot of
RM: These days art is turning in an aggressive direction, displaying provocation and very often causing negative feelings. Looking at your paintings there is a feeling of absolute calm and paciﬁcation. Do you think art should evoke in people a positive mood rather than a negative one? EG: Art is entertainment and is a matter of personal taste. I think №8 (24) Summer 2012
RUSSIANS AND SUMMER... ...and you live in London? It's Summer, Jim! But not as you know it....
Richard Bloss bravely steps through the rain... If you go to visit a library in the UK, all the books are nicely arranged and categorised. They have the usual stuff like "Art", "Music" etc., even an area on "Roman Britain" and something called "New Releases" which are basically the stock that Waterstones can't sell. They also have an area called "Fiction". This is where they put the books about Summer. It's not that in the UK we don't like Summer. It's just that we don't actually know what it means. We know that "sunshine" should figure quite prominently and we know that everywhere else in the world â„–8 (24) Summer 2012
has some of it, unfortunately we are never really sure when we ourselves will get some of it - and for those of you who complain that the only thing we talk about in London is the Weather - should start to understand that this is the only variable in our life that actually matters. We all know that the Economy and Politics will always muddle through. The Victoria Line will always be too crowded and they will close the gates at Oxford Circus and the Crossrail line will never be built. There are some things in life that you can donâ€™t change. But alas, getting soaked on the day you choose to wear a nice dress or your best suit - we would indeed prefer to be able to plan, 30
as it has a personal and immediate relevance - and not even the hourly slots on the "iphone Weather" app can get it right. In short, in London and England at least, "Summer" is a concept, rather than a reality. It gives rise to that wonderful optimistic expression; "every cloud has a silver lining"... I mean... Clouds, right? It reminds me of trying to persuade myself that walking along the beach near where I live, in the wind and cold, somehow is therapeutic, it can only get better? And our jealousy and why we have Tanning Studios despite all the health risks etc, is that all the other countries we can think of, know what Summer is, plan for it, enjoy it, but we don't. www.RussianMind.com
Blog It is the first week in June, in Sweden, my colleagues in Stockholm are already not answering their phones. They will be away until September. Every self-respecting Exec in Sweden will have booked their 2 weeks in Malmo etc long before coffeebreak on Jan 2nd. Disturbing someone in Sweden during the summer is like interrupting someone at Confessional. At best your emails next time will have to contain 3 "Hail Mary"s, or at worst, you will be deleted from their Outlook. Maybe you will no longer be their Facebook Friend, then again, no loss with that one. I have Facebook Friends who I have never ever met. I remember once asking one for their phone number.
approach to life; you know that Winter in Moscow is bloody cold and that Summer on the Black Sea is always bloody hot. And I agree that for most family people, vacations are structured around the academic seasons; maybe you have no choice. My colleague Irina in Kyiv has six weeks every year in July in Turkey with her greater family. She is bored
Wifi ipad, grab a cocktail and still catch on Sky TV, Chelsea's home game against Arsenal. It doesn't get any better than that. Ok, half of the little chi-chi restaurants you used to know, have closed down, because there are no tourists, right? But every hotel knows how to make a Club Sandwich.
so bored of this, but they have been doing this for the past ten years. It is the worst of all options.... apart from all the other options,. of course! And my question is..... why come to London and then have to re-invent the seasons, when you have it all perfectly organised back home?
But the real beauty of this approach, is that Summer is when you want it to be. And in that respect, I think you guys in London have got it right; if you want to go somewhere, you just get on a plane. It's a financial thing and I have no problem with that. But it also has its downside, which is that everybody else has got to fit in with you and this manifests itself in the most inconvenient of ways. My friend is talking to me in Green Park. It is early June and she says that she can't take a vacation this year; her "vacation", will be at home. “How so?” I ask. "Well, you see", she says, "my Mother is flying in from Vinnitsa, to spend the summer with me.."
"But I only give that to my friends", she said. Er....right.... It is almost as bad in France, whole "arrondissements" in Paris just close down in August. Little "affiches" appear in shop windows.,"Out for Lunch - back in a month". They have it so formalised, that it is almost like having an Academie Francaise for French Summer Time. And they have special words and phrases, such as, "La Rentree"... which everyone knows means it's back to school for the kids. For us in England, instead we have Tescos and Primark doing a special offer on girls skirts. It's not quite the same thing, is it? And there are simple reasons for this, quite apart from the fact that Tescos and Primark are ALWAYS doing special offers on girls skirts, which are that there is no difference for us in the UK between Spring and Autumn or Winter and Summer. The only way we have any clue that maybe Summer is coming, is when Virgin Atlantic double their prices for flights to Miami. Which brings me to the essential point of this article. For you guys who have a formalised seasonal www.RussianMind.com
The answer, is simple enough. It's actually cheaper this way. Taking a summer break at the end of February, has got to be half the price of doing the same thing in August. Whats more ...you can also avoid the millions of Germans sitting on the beach and the football season is still going... which means you can have a quick dip in the water, answer a few emails on your 31
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FACTS About Russians You didn’t Know
IT IS TRUE TO SAY THAT IN TODAY’S ‘UNEASY’ WORLD ANY TRIP TO A FOREIGN LAND SHOULD BE TREATED AS A MILITARY CAMPAIGN, AND AS SUCH SHOULD BE PLANNED ACCORDINGLY. NOW, WHEREAS THE LOGISTICS OF IT ALL CAN BE PLACED SAFELY IN THE HANDS OF A TRAVEL AGENT THERE IS NOTHING THESE ESTABLISHMENTS CANNOT DO OR ARRANGE FOR YOU, AS LONG AS THEY ARE PAID, THERE ARE SOME ASPECTS OF WHAT I CALL ‘CULTURE TRAVEL’ THAT MAY BECOME SPOILERS LATER, IF NOT IDENTIFIED EARLIER. AFTER ALL, FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED, EVEN IN SUCH AN INNOCENT ENTERPRISE AS A TRIP TO RUSSIA. WITHOUT CLAIMING ORIGINALITY OR ANY INNOVATIVE KNOW HOW, THIS SHORT LIST OF RUSSIANS’ TOP PECULIARITIES WILL HOPEFULLY FIND ITS UNINITIATED READERSHIP. №8 (24) Summer 2012
By Olga Lesyk
The most widespread stereotypes about Russia
It would be stereotyping at its worst to claim that all Russians are perfect prototypes of the characters by Dostoevsky. But there is no escaping the fact that some do look just that. It will come as no surprise to me if in the future a new term appears to nickname an ever-moody introverted type of personality – a Russian. The complaint I have heard most from my foreign friends is how no-one smiles at you in the streets or public places in Russia. Up to now I have had this explanation at hand: life is tough there, and so are the people. With time, however, I have come to realise this excuse is no longer good enough. Now my rebuttal is: well, why would they be smiling at you, a stranger? Why would anyone be smiling at all – for no reason? It becomes evident, by comparing the Russian and Western cultures, what totally different approaches we take to the notions of social etiquette and public conduct. The general Russian approach is dead simple: if you don’t feel good, don’t mock it. There is nothing worse than a ‘fake
smile’, of which we, Russians, often accuse Europeans. And why it is that Russians don’t feel good most of the time is a different story. If Russia’s size and climatic conditions are anything to go by, then Russians have every right to be moody. With nine time zones, Russia is the only country in the world that never sleeps. Add to that the minimum of 5 months of very cold weather per year (the figures grows as you move further east) and unpredictably hot summers with occasional wood and peat bog fires (as the ‘Moscow blight’ of 2010 when the capital and all of Central Russia were in smoke for weeks) and the mystery stands explained. Joking aside, more than anything, the Russian faces bear signs of preoccupation and constant brooding, but not hostility. The trick is, though, to get past those KGB style Border Control officers in Moscow and St Petersburg, for they are notoriously sulky and make one feel rather unwelcome. I can’t help feeling somewhat down-hearted every time I fly home. Their annoyed look and contemptuous manner can wipe the smile off anyone’s face.
Okroshka - the ultimate summer treat in Russia
Apart from that, Russians can be very nice and friendly, especially if they see they can be of some help.
IN RUSSIAN, PLEASE
It is not typical for Russians to converse freely in foreign tongues, unless they are studying to become diplomats or working in tourism or the hospitality industry. That is why, when out in the streets in Russia, you are really on your own and stopping passers-by for anything is probably never a good idea. If you yourself get stopped and addressed in Russian in the street (which should never happen if you dress like a tourist and not an ordinary Russian – the difference is felt instantly), don’t panic, keep on walking. Trying to showcase some knowledge of your pocket phrase-book (like the popular Ya ni gavaryu paruski) may trigger a further inquest. I am not sure how the situation is in Moscow, but five or six years ago in St Petersburg foreign tourists would often get stopped by Militia (recently re-named Policia) for an identity check. This happened twice to me back in my university days when I was showing a group of our exchange students around downtown. On one occasion we managed to get off lightly, by only showing the foreign student’s passport copies. Another time, however, the Militia man requested he saw the students’ registration cards which they had left at home. So we had to pay him off to go away. Registration cards are a must for foreigners staying in major Russian cities and are usually provided and filled in at hotel reception. Of course, the Militia men would only approach foreign tourists if there was a Russian speaking person amongst them, as they themselves speak no English. And trust me - they know how to spot a fellow compatriot! №8 (24) Summer 2012
Denj VDV is best to know fom pictures only
Forces) – one of the most popular Russian Army holidays after Victory Day, May 9th, and Russian Army Day, February 23rd. Denj VDV is supposed to be celebrated only by those who served in the Parachute Corps during their army days. But judging by the celebration swing, it looks like half of the male population of Russian are affected. The mass open-air parties take place in parks and squares, getting to the streets by night time, featuring men in blue berets and striped vests drinking, singing songs, fighting, bathing in fountains and misbehaving in every way, thus making it rather unsafe and unpleasant to be around.
3 4 HOLIDAYS
Some time ago I went online for a nice e-card to send to my cousin who had had a baby boy a couple of days before. The right card found, I realised I couldn’t stop browsing for e-cards because what I saw was beyond any of my wildest flights of imagination. Why would a nation want to highlight the Earth Radius Day or the Summer Solstice Day? Consumer Industry Day or Housewife Day (not to be confused with Women’s Day, March 8th, though. Women do need all the pampering they can get); Oceans’ Day, Inventor’s Day, Drought Control Day, Birthday of Tetris Day, Battling Against Alcohol Abuse Day (which is more of succumbing to it, really, than fighting it off ) and the sacramental End-of-Year-Exams Day, and many more! Russians do like their holidays. And although very few of those are real days-off, people can’t help feeling the celebration vibe. Hence, the abundance of e-cards to satisfy any taste. Going back to real holidays, one in particular deserves mentioning and marking as a ‘stay in’ date on your travel itineraries. Denj VDV, August 2nd (Day of Airborne
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NEW YEAR V OLD NEW YEAR EXPLAINED
New Year holds a special place in the heart of every Russian person. No other Russian holiday is quite so awaited and prepared for and has so many traditions linked to it. In fervently observing those traditions the Russians can beat even the English hands down. For example, what other nation has its own national New Year’s movie that has been shown on every New Year’s Eve for 36
years (first appeared on TV on January 1st, 1976) - and on every single national TV channel? The Russians do. It’s a comedy film ‘Ironiya Sudby ili s legkim parom’ (The Irony of Fate or Enjoy Your Steam) – a story of four friends that have a tradition of meeting up in a public Banya (Russian Bath house) every December 31st for a round of New Year’s drinks. And on one particular meet-up they get so drunk they forget which of the four is flying from Moscow to Leningrad later that night. Naturally enough, the wrong person ends up on board the plane and all sorts of comical situations follow. If you want to know what Russians are all about, drunk and sober, watch this movie. But, perhaps, the best example of the mysterious Russian soul and its love for all things unmatchable is Russia’s second favourite holiday after the New Year - Old New Year (an informal Orthodox holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian calendar. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the Old New Year falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendar, 13 days after its New Year on January 13-14).
And who is flying to Leningrad? The movie that makes the Russian New Year's Day ever more festive
It is fair to say that this holiday is a logical development of the former and the last desperate attempt to finish all the food prepared for New Year’s Eve and the Russian Orthodox Christmas (January 6th). On reflection, I am not surprised Putin won this year’s presidential campaign: the country that celebrates Old New Year may well have an old new President!
If vodka and blinis didn’t exist, the title of Russia’s specialities would go to mayonnaise and Smetana (crème fraiche). Although among all dressings used in Russia, they are specialities on their own. Russians are crazy about mayo and put it into virtually every salad they make. All New Year’s dishes must have mayo in them, one way or another, Russians also enjoy it in soups, in their main courses and even on bread – with or without other ingredients. If you think nothing could be more basic than an egg & mayo sandwich, you’re in for a gastronomic shock in Russia! Smetana is more popular as a salad dressing for summer. No blinis are complete without it. The only explanation I have for the popularity of these too rather fatty dressings is that they are cheaper than sunflower oil, to say nothing of olive oil. The average price for a bottle of extra virgin olive oil in Russia varies from 250 to 350 Rub (current exchange rate being 1.00 GBP = 47.1044 RUB), sometimes www.RussianMind.com
more – depending on a retail chain. The prices are OK for London, but for an average middle-class Russian, however, this would not be a regular item on the shopping list. But where smetana and mayo are really irreplaceable is in Okroshka – Russian cold ‘summer soup’ (made with kvass, sausage, tinned peas and green onions). The idea is similar to that of the Spanish gazpacho, only okroshka is not pureed and looks like a normal chunky soup, only cold.
NOTHING LIKE ROUBLE
The Russian currency – Rouble – is the worst one to go abroad with. Firstly, no one wants to take it and, secondly, the exchange rate is somehow always unfavourable. That is why all Russians travel abroad with either US Dollars or Euros, which they procure in Russia in advance. By the same token, there are currencies that you don’t want to take to Russia with you, and one of them is – funnily enough – Pound Sterling. The problem I always had with British money while living back home was that when I wanted to buy some, they never seemed to have enough of it at currency exchange points in St Petersburg.
It would have to be ordered for me to be collected in a few days’ time. A real nightmare when you have left purchasing of a foreign currency to the very last minute. Now when I go back home from the UK, I am faced with yet another problem – they don’t want to take Pound Sterling, because it isn’t a popular currency! And they have this rather annoying procedure in place in Russian banks of checking every single note for damage and if a note has something written on it in ink – let alone being slightly torn at the sides - they reject it! I found that out too late once, when all the money I had brought to spend at home was a thick pile of twenty-pound notes of which they only accepted five, giving me the amount in Roubles equivalent to just a £100. I thought it was a joke. I was livid. Lately, I have been using my visa card in Russia, but only to withdraw local money from ATMs, as the notion of card payments is only just beginning to make its way to our country. Most retailers only take cash, so unless you are planning to shop solely in hotels and up-market boutiques, you want to have cash on you. But do bring US Dollars or Euros– these are Russia’s favourite currencies.
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? h s i l g n K E U r o e h n t a i n s i s s u n R a i I s s u Am R f o s e i r o t S e f Li By
rooks B a n Oxa
‘AM I RUSSIAN OR ENGLISH?’ ASK RUSSIANS WHO HAVE SET TLED DOWN IN THE UK. PROBABLY, THERE IS NO UNAMBIGUOUS ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION AS EACH LIFE STORY IS UNIQUE. On the one hand it is difficult to lose the national identity, language and cultural values that are laid in our sub consciousness from childhood. At the same time day to day “the whole British” influence the personality to the point when it becomes difficult to identify yourself. Two understand the situation I have met two Russian girls who are living in London…
STORY 1 – INNA I‘ve met Inna in a café inside the local radio station in Hammersmith. This radio station isn’t a flashy place full of creative media workers on the top of their careers. People who come here are at the beginning of their way to career success in the media industry. I saw Inna through the window, she was cycling and smiling at me and I would never believe she is Russian. Nevertheless she came to London only 5 years ago and as she says ‘it wasn’t an entirely considered decision’. ‘During my work at an American software company in Moscow, I used to travel a lot. My friends always advised me to live in London as they thought it would suit my cosmopolitan personality, but I took it seriously. ‘At one point Moscow became too dull for me when I had no energy for anything except going to work and then back home. That what’s my life turned into’. During one of the work conferences Inna met Ronald, a handsome Dutch guy and instantly fell in love with him. After three months of long phone conversations and short weekends together, Ronald suggested they both move to www.RussianMind.com
London. ‘Although living in Holland, he was born in England and always wanted to come back here, besides London is a neutral territory for both of us. So, we decided to take a risk’, Inna says. She sent an email to her boss explaining how the company would benefit from her working in London, but he refused. Despite all odds, two months later she took the position at the company’s European branch which was newly opened in London. Was it a lucky coincidence or maybe destiny? Inna didn’t think about the consequences, perceiving a move to London as an adventure. ‘Our three-months romance went downhill as soon as we started living together, but it was too late
to go back home. I was seduced by London’. London became an inherent part of her life. It triggered Inna’s hidden ambitions to become a musician. She was singing songs in a local pub and spend days writing music. After four years of living in London she quit her IT job to get a position with one of the music record companies. ‘I naively thought that I would become successful in a short time as I have no language barrier and I feel myself talented. I didn’t realise that it was a very competitive industry and it is difficult even for native speakers to get a foot in the door and thousands of ambitious people just like me are ready to work for nothing’. Facing the reality of London life Inna rediscovered the city again, but this time she saw a different picture. There were huge
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Details know how to react to what there are saying’. ‘English people have stereotypical views about Russians. They think that we are somehow related to the mafia or have super rich parents. I don’t fit here, but I also don’t feel comfortable in Russia anymore’. She thinks that English people have different values. ‘They are not that materialistic and obsessed with luxury as Russians are. They are more focused on self-development, happiness and life itself. By talking to them I realised how little I know. They’re so many overlaps in my education’. Now Inna tries to make more connections with British people as she cannot imagine herself anywhere else, apart from London. ‘My soul is here’, she says. Currently Inna is looking for a solution to find happiness and pursue her dream.
STORY 2 – IRINA
mansions in Chelsea and tiny council flats hidden behind those glorious buildings, cracks on the roads and rubbish on the streets. London wasn’t a dreamland anymore. Despite the fact that she saw the city in a different way, her feelings to London have not changed. Inna decided to stay here despite all the troubles she experienced. She still enjoys creating music, but has stopped singing, as she’s been told that with her Russian accent she has no chance. Now Inna spends more №8 (24) Summer 2012
time with her new friends. ‘Most of them are Russians, because it is easy to make friends with them. Russian culture is familiar to me’. There are a lot of English people at the radio station where she works as a volunteer, but it is hard to get to know them properly. ‘There is always some sort of tension in the conversation between us. As if we speak different languages. My English is good, but I don’t understand them 100%, because of the cultural difference. I don’t get their jokes sometimes and I don’t 38
From her earliest childhood memories about Russia, Irina remembers a little bicycle ‘Druzhba’, a playground with a sandpit and ‘universam.’ Her parents moved from Moscow to London in 1991, when Irina was four years old. Three months later she communicated with her teachers and friends without any problems, although they identified her at school as Russian. ‘I was proud of being Russian, because at that time there were not many of them in England and I felt special’, says Irina. She spoke English at school and Russian at home. Latter on being bilingual turned out to be a great advantage as she now works for the Russian radio station ‘Voice of Russia’ in London. Her English and Russian are both perfect. When her family came to London in 1991, they decided to fit in to English society by all www.RussianMind.com
Details means. Irina’s parents learned English and tried to make friends outside of the Russian expatriates. Irina also tends to avoid gatherings in the Russianspeaking communities. ‘I have some Russian friends, but my best friends are English. To be honest, I would probably come with different problems to different people. When I had a fight with my Russian husband, I couldn’t reveal the whole truth to my English friends, because they would never understand his weird ‘Russian’ behaviour. At the same time, my acquaintances in Moscow are so black and white, that they would judge me for acting like English people’. Irina looks English from top to toe, but she chose a Russian guy to be her husband. She met Dimity at the university in London and after a world-wind relationship she married him and got pregnant. Her husband had
a privileged background and was destined to take over the family business in the future. They moved to Moscow. She quickly learned how to use her dual personality to her advantage. ‘If a policemen stopped me, I would say that I am English and don’t know the rules, and he would let me go. At work I asked for a higher salary as I am a foreigner, and they agreed’. It all worked until she started conflicting with her Russian husband because of his patriarchal ideas of family. ‘He expected me to quit my job and obey every decision he made. Dimity called me a westernised, career-type woman. And he tried to impose on me his belief system and make me give up mine’.
After spending three years in Moscow, she came back to London with her son Sava. Now he is almost the same age as Irina was, when her parents moved to the UK. After the divorce her son is going to stay with her in England and Irina wants him to take the best from the Russian culture. But despite her effort to speak Russian to him, he prefers English. ‘My son will choose his identity, when he grows up. As for me I still haven’t made a conclusion. After all I have been through I started writing a book to find the answers to my questions. I have chosen Russian rock singer Victor’s Tsoi lyrics as a quotation to my story that probably explains my feelings:
“I sit down and look out another's window at another strange sky And I don't see even one familiar star, I've travelled along all roads, I've been here and I've been there, And when I turned back, my own footprints were gone...”
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RUSSIANS and FUTURE RICHARD BLOSS ASKS THE QUESTION... IS THE PARTY OVER NOW? RICHARD CONCLUDES HIS CURRENT LOOK AT RUSSIANS IN LONDON. A girl is sitting with me at an al-fresco coffee place. People are passing by, coming and going; â„–8 (24) Summer 2012
going and coming. Life is fine. The world is fine. Business, is... well, what's that? The fact is she 40
is bored. After all, she has been in London for several years and has visited every night club in London, at least twice. What is a girl to do? It's a difficult one. She thinks she will move to New York. Shock. Horror. Yes, I know. Hard www.RussianMind.com
to believe. One minute we think that the Russian way of life in London is here for ever... and the next minute? If you are wondering what all this is about, let me educate you. The above little story is just a taster. The really interesting part is this: the fact is.... in a recent survey, Russians are no longer the big buyers of property in London. In fact, their market share is dropping. The big hitters are... steady now... the Italians. Yes I didn't believe it either, I mean, it's not like we need more Pizza restaurants. But I am assured that this is the way it is (the Property market, not the Pizza restaurants). www.RussianMind.com
As a result of Italians getting worried about their money... and Russians also getting bored WITH their money... life is about to change. OK, maybe some things won't be so different... I mean, in place of Tate Modern, we will all go to Uffizi Firenzepolitano, or whatever we decide to call it... But generally speaking, the Russians are no longer visible as the high spending at any price, group of individuals that first arrived in London a decade ago. This can be seen in two ways - either you are maturing into normal Brits - OMG! Or you have had enough... the frisson, the buzz, well, just isn't there any longer. Now, I don't have a problem with people of any nationality deciding to quit after they have done their time, so to speak, in London or any other big city. Big cities have their fascination until you actually live there and only after moving in do you realise that what works as a tourist, is completely alien to the normal tube-going way of life of the domestic inhabitants. And in many ways, for most Brits, there is a jealousy factor.... they live in London because they have to. You as nouveaux Russians, live here because you actually want to. The reverse is also therefore true; the average Brit with two kids, a wife, a dog and a cat, cannot move from here because they have nowhere else to go to. You on the other hand, can go anywhere you bloody well like. And there will be some good points... for a start UK Immigration can now halve the number of staff they have at Heathrow Terminal 5, which with a bit of luck, will be just in time to cope with the influx of Olympics visitors! But it seems that every 20 years, London gets a new makeover from yet another emerging group of foreigners. It appears that we are also being invaded by upwardly mobile French people. 41
Like you, they all work for Banks and - shoc horreur - it takes them less time on the Eurostar to go back home to Lille or Paris than you and I on the District Line to Putney Bridge. According to my usual weekend newspapers, the new invasion is all people in their twenties/thirties with no kids and no big responsibilities with plenty of money. I can truly understand the attraction. But like the first fruits of falling in love, the initial euphoria lasts a nano-second. The real issue is... what do you do after that? All of which leaves the unasked question; what will now happen to you guys? Langham's Hotel just won't be the same without you. And I suppose that this is my sadness... the most successful Russians I know in London, are those that are not so bothered about "nationality" or provenance, but have come to adopt the UK or London as the place that they quite like to live. They are contributors because they are part of the proper business and commercial framework, their kids go to the local school, and so, their wives run a PR business in Moscow - but it seems they are making an integrated lifestyle choice. And the same goes for the Poles and their corner shops of Polish ‘Smack’. I’m not quite sure if ‘Smack’ from Poland is legal, but their shops are next to the Tescos, next to the Charity Shops and if there is any answer to the question mooted above, it is this: the day I stop writing about "you guys" and no longer call you the "new Russians" - is the day that you will wake up as part of the society you are living in, instead of living outside it. By then you will become as cynical as me and no-one will understand your sense of humour back home! Tell you what... Why don't you finish your cappuccino? I believe they do flights to JFK direct from City Airport now. №8 (24) Summer 2012
THE NEW GENERATION OF UKRAINIAN FEMALE WRITERS A NEW GENERATION OF UKRAINIAN FEMALE WRITERS, WHO CELEBRATE THEIR HOMELAND'S 20 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE AND BRING A NEW NATIONAL COLOUR TO THEIR WORKS OF MODERN LITERATURE AND NOW COMING ON TO THE INTERNATIONAL LITERARY SCENE. THE NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK “THE LOST BUTTON” BY IRENE ROZDOBUDKO WON THE UKRAINIAN NATIONAL CORONATION OF THE WORD AWARD 2005 AND WAS THE WINNER OF THE UKRAINIAN NATIONAL BOOK OF THE YEAR AND THE CORONATION OF THE WORD AWARDS “HARDLY EVER OTHERWISE” BY MARIA MATIOS, THEY ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH AND HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE ENGLISHREADING AUDIENCE WORLDWIDE.
“THE LOST BUTTON” In early 1980’s Ukraine is stricken by perestroika and struggles for “democracy”, Afghanistan is in flames of a war where hundreds of eighteen-yearold youths are killed every day. Their peer, Dan, a student of cinematography, hardly cares about social problems anywhere on the planet. But one fatal encounter with a mysterious, femme fatale actress named Liza in a picturesque corner of the Carpathians №8 (24) Summer 2012
changes his life forever. Unable to let go of his love after getting lost with her in the woods for one beautiful night, the young man’s fascination with the actress turns into an obsession. He deliberately goes through all the hell circles in Afghanistan, striving to burn out the traces of his unrequited love. Years later his native country just starts experiencing a real advertising boom amidst which he finds a new way to apply his creative talent and inner strengths. However, the past of his love rushes back into his life and now this obsession takes him from one continent to another. The taut psychological thriller The Lost Button explores evergreen concepts of love, devotion and betrayal and emphasises the idea that whenever and wherever one lives, a tiny detail like a lost button has the power to set off a chain of events that would lead to either one’s greatest happiness or one’s greatest tragedy. It is about not looking back, but always valuing what you have – today and forever. The Lost Button received first place in the Coronation of the Word competition in 2005 and subsequently was made into a feature film. 42
ABOUT IRENE ROZDOBUDKO Called “The Lady Detective of Ukrainian literature” by the media for her splendid earlier detective books, Irene Rozdobudko has recently burst into book market with a dozen award winning titles ranging from a light absurd comedy to a heavy psychological thriller and quickly claimed her rightful place among masters of modern literature in her native Ukraine.
“HARDLY EVER OTHERWISE” The family of a wealthy farmer Kyrylo Cheviuk is stricken by a tragedy. As time passes, nobody dares to talk about it. His young son Dmytryk´s body was crushed by the local mill and the poor lad spent his last days hardly breathing with his bleeding chest full of pain and ... his secret love. The course of the events that follow reveal the cruel truth of his death: “They jumped about on top of poor Dmytryk, as if they were dancing a wild dance, stopping only www.RussianMind.com
Review nature to resist, consequences reach catastrophic proportions. A prevailing code of honour, followed by the villagers to the letter, is the cornerstone of the novel’s dramatic narrative. The brightly coloured canvas of the society the stories are staged in is tainted by disturbing and unthinkable actions of both men and women; unthinkable, but inseparable from native to the region peculiarities of that era. The depth of characters’ inner torment and a continuous dilemma whether to follow the code or to follow the heart is present in every scene. And more than often the heart is confused with something else... The novel’s opening story ‘Four brothers, like kith and kin’ has been successfully staged by the Les Kurbas Theater of Lviv (Ukraine).
ABOUT MARIA MATIOS Maria Matios has stormed the book market with her bestselling award winning novels set exclusively in the legendary Ukrainian highlands where she grew up. Seven books of poetry and five books of prose earned Maria Matios an unofficial title of Ukraine's most prolific female author. Her works have been translated into many languages including Serbian, Romanian, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Belorussian, Azerbaijani, Japanese, and Chinese.
after they heard that his bones no longer cracked...” A homecoming war veteran Ivan Varvarchuk beat Dmytryk to death for seducing his young wife Petrunia. But what did actually happen and most importantly – why? Several vitally interconnected storylines develop throughout the novel, all fatally converging on the Cheviuk’s family tragedy. Painting a tortured picture of www.RussianMind.com
life’s harsh brutality in the region, Maria Matios features traditional topics of Ukrainian literature such as soldiering, brothers’ litigation over land ownership, betrayal and revenge. Enchanted by the impeccable style of this family saga, the reader becomes baffled by the character’s actions. When familiar passions like love and hate, joy and envy overcome them and it’s not in their 43
Supported by www.glagoslav.com №8 (24) Summer 2012
It’s Chow Time: Dish.fm Hits Russian App Store ZHANNA HAD WORKED FOR PROCTER&GAMBLE FOR 5 YEARS, LAUNCHING NEW PRODUCTS IN THE EMEA REGION. IN 2011 SHE GAVE UP HER EXPAT PACKAGE TO LAUNCH HER OWN STARTUP DISH.FM. AFTER 7 MONTHS OF DEVELOPMENT, IT INSTANTLY HIT THE TOP OF THE RUSSIAN APP STORE IN THE TRAVEL CATEGORY. DISH.FM HELPS TO FIND THE BEST DISHES IN ANY RESTAURANT, COMBINING FRIENDS’ RECOMMENDATIONS, PICTURES AND GENERAL RATINGS. Zhanna shared with RussianMind her business experience and thoughts about the Russian start up market: It was in the summer 2011, when my friends Dilyara, Andrey and I were having lunch at a really nice restaurant. When our dishes arrived, we were shocked to discover that while Dilyara and Andrey’s dishes were really awesome, mine was an utter mess. My dish was so dry it quite literally sucked the moisture out of my mouth. And it was tasteless to boot.
We got to talking and discussed how common this situation was. Why is it that when you go to a restaurant, one person can get a perfect dish and another friend ends up with a terrible one? There’s so much variation from dish to dish right now, even within the same restaurant. As we discussed this issue, we thought about how wonderful it would be to always know the best dishes to order at any restaurant. We joked about it.
As we talked more, we realised it was a problem we could solve ourselves. Why not really do it? We checked this idea with over 20 friends and the answer was a resounding “Yes! We have the same problem!”, we got to work. Yes, people really prefer to know more about a restaurant and what dishes to order than just the basic menu – and that’s because not all dishes are created equal. And when you think about it, it’s pretty ridiculous that when you’re at
Dilyara Mingalieva, co-founder; Andrey Surin, co-founder; Peter Prokop, iPhone developer; Zhanna Sharipova, co-founder.
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Startup an unfamiliar restaurant, you have to make dish decisions in the dark without pictures and just with a short, sometimes vague description. After happily confirming that this was a problem worth solving (and after failing to see competitive products that really tackled this problem to our liking) we got stuck right in. We quit our jobs and began to work on Dish.fm. We found free office space at a university incubator and by September 2011 we were working on our prototype. We decided that we didn’t need to raise money, as there was almost no smart money in Russia and we didn’t want to waste our time running after money, when we could focus on building the product instead. Then, quite by accident, I came across a post that Igor Matsanyuk (a visionary Russian entrepreneur who made his fortune through Mail.Ru) was ready to invest in outstanding teams with global ideas in the mobile and consumer Internet space. As part of that process, he was starting an accelerator program (Farminers Academy). Typically, Russian investors tend to focus on clones, but Igor wanted original breakthrough ideas. On seeing this, I was determined to find out more about Farminers. I discovered an impressive roster of mentors and was amazed by the knowledge shared by the Farminers mentoring group. Though we had originally not planned to raise any money, we felt like this was too much of an opportunity to pass up and applied for the Academy. To our delight, we were invited to a roundtable where 30 other teams presented their ideas live. Overall, there were 10-20 roundtables like this. I made a short pitch about Dish. www.RussianMind.com
fm and found that I really liked the crowd. All the mentors were present to discuss the products and ask questions. The questions were hard and to the point, but the discussion was very constructive. The same day we made our presentation, Igor and his team told us that they were interested in investing. We were in shock about how fast that happened. Even though we hadn’t planned on raising money, we really liked Igor and his team, and were impressed by their
entrepreneurial success. For example, Alisa (our future mentor) founded a mobile games company and reported up to $5 million revenue in the first year, and increased that to $50 million by the second year. We decided we wanted to work a place with access to experience like this. We accepted an investment in October and moved to the accelerator programme with all the other teams that made the cut. 45
It was like a piece of Silicon Valley, but in Moscow, Russia. There were many awesome start ups, all in the same place. We were shocked at how good the people around us were – all super professional and super passionate. Every week mentors would come in and tell their stories. Usually in Russia people keep their knowledge secret, but Igor managed to create an environment for sharing and a place for creative output. We developed the first prototype in January 2012 and tested it in closed beta. Based on feedback, we iterated and reworked our proto type constantly. At the end of June we launched a public beta version in the App Store. Within two weeks we had our first 1,000 users and became #12 in the Russian App Store in the Travel category. All this for a beta product that we hadn’t even marketed yet! This is only the beginning. We intend to transform the restaurant experience and make every visit a real gastronomic pleasure. We believe every dish ordered should be delicious and one worth trying. We’re working hard to analyse over 15,000,000 reviews from sites like Yelp, Zagat and Foursquare to showcase the best dishes, and we are also encouraging users to dive in and give their input on the best dishes for any category (pizza, sushi et al) in any given city. We want you to visit any restaurant and order with confidence and we know we can get there. There is still so much work and learning ahead of us, but the journey so far has been absolutely worth it. And in the meantime, if you have had the same problem in restaurants, download Dish.fm and check us out! №8 (24) Summer 2012
Maris Liepa Gala WITH INTERNATIONAL GUESTS INCLUDING THE BOLSHOI BALLET’S ILZE LIEPA, DMITRY GUDANOV AND DENIS RODKIN WITH THE MARIINSKY THEATRE’S ANDREY BATALOV, VLADIMIR SHKLYAROV AND EKATERINA OSMOLKINA, THE MARIS LIEPA BALLET GALA WILL BE HELD FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY ON SUNDAY 29 JULY AT THE LONDON COLISEUM.
ollowing the sensational success of the Diaghilev Festival in 2011 – celebrating many of the impresario’s original commissions that have become a major part of the Bolshoi’s repertoire – Saison Russes de XXIe Siècle presents yet another stunning Gala performance at London’s Coliseum, this time in tribute to the legendary Bolshoi dancer Maris Liepa.
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In a summer season that sees no full company visiting London by either the Bolshoi or the Mariinsky Ballet companies, the Maris Liepa Gala presents the only opportunity to see their world-celebrated dancers perform together in the capital. As a dancer Liepa was a great individualist, fusing drama and dance to dazzling effect. A highly intellectual performer, he went to great pains to achieve and portray 46
depth in his interpretations. His work lives on through the passion of two of his children, Ilze and Andris, both of whom have danced with the Bolshoi and further their father’s fervour for historic Russian Ballet and teaching through their direction of the Maris Liepa Charitable Foundation. Here they will celebrate and pay homage to their father’s life, talent and irrepressible spirit as Andris takes on the role of the Gala’s artistic director and Ilze will perform some of her father’s most celebrated roles on stage. Tickets: £15-80 Address: English National Opera, London Coliseum, St. Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4ES www.eno.org www.RussianMind.com
PERFECT FASHION Fly in luxury to Milan and Rome
Russian Garden Portrays the Triumph
of Art Over Adversity Photographers: Alexander Malkov, Alexey Malkov www.arutoronto.co.uk The Friends of the State Russian Museum of St Petersburg have sponsored a spectacular show garden at the world’s largest flower show at Hampton Court Palace (July 2nd – 8th). The museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Russian art, has commissioned an English landscape design company to create their garden. The museum’s directors say the Twig Group have created an inspirational garden that introduces British visitors to the beauty and splendour of St Petersburg. Designer Heather Appleton says she hopes the garden reflects how throughout Russia's turbulent history, its art has survived, evolved and thrives today. №8 (24) Summer 2012
“Palaces, parks and gardens in the historical centre of St Petersburg are part of the Russian Museum and are the magniﬁcent framing for the world’s largest collection of Russian art, representing all the periods of Russian art history, genres and styles; schools and artists. The Russian Museum collection reﬂects the history of Russian culture in its entirety”. Dr Vladimir Gusev, Director of the State Russian Museum
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Russia is Coming class ice skating performances from Olympic and world champions. Sochi Ice Arena is an amazing covered ice rink that will host fabulous ice performances by the world’s leading figure skaters.
ussia.Park incorporates the great Russian and British park tradition with a rich array of Russian cultural experiences. Picnic zones, performance spaces, sport activities area, pavilions and exhibitions to delight all comers. Well-loved performers are converging on London from all corners of Russia. The live stage, open air galleries and performance spaces will host a diverse range of Russian talent. Throughout the day, roaming performers will entertain as you partake in the Russian spirit. Hear every kind of Russian music, watch all the regions dance, admire exhibitions of traditional folk craft and sample delicious traditional cuisine.
ochi.Park is bringing winter to London! Located in Kensington Gardens, opposite the world famous Royal Albert Hall, it's this summer's most unique venue. Visit the 6000sqm interactive pavilion where you can discover Sochi 2014, the venue for the next Winter Olympic Games.
The interactive Sochi Visitor Experience Pavilion will take you on a digital trip through Russia to the snowy mountains of Sochi. The Sochi Olympic Games will be the most technologically advanced Games ever, and Sochi.Park celebrates this by boasting the most impressive interactive and 4D technology that will make you feel like you are right there on the slopes of the snowy Sochi mountains. Take a thrilling chairlift into the Sochi mountains in the 4D experience cinema, snap yourself skiing down the slopes in the green room photo centre and download your experience to your device in the Download Sochi Centre to take home with you.
The Pavilion is also presenting a spectacular Ice Arena featuring world
Meet the stars of Russian sport and culture and treat the kids to a masterclass with a gold-medallist. The Megafon multi-purpose sports zone contains a mini ice rink that converts to a football pitch, a snowboarding simulator, ice curling tracks and more. It will host demonstrations, friendly matches, and will provide the kids and the young-at-heart with an opportunity to kick around a ball and work on their boarding techniques with some of the world’s foremost sporting heroes. Russia.Park is the biggest ever showcase of Russian culture in London. №8 (24) Summer 2012
to London On 11 August the festival continues with Okean Elzy and B-2 bands performing. The live shows of Okean Elzy are always marked by enormous expression and drive and B-2 play real rock’n’roll.
During the concerts in London, all-comers will have a chance to participate in recording the supporters’ anthem of Sochi 2014. The Red Rocks concerts are taking place at the Russia.Park: Perk Fields, Kensington Gardens. For more info: russiasochipark.com
RED ROCKS FESTIVAL Red Rocks Festival is coming to London to record the supporters’ Anthem for the Sochi Olympic Games. The festival will host two live rock concerts to be held in London on 28 July and 11 August under the aegis of the Cultural Olympiad of Sochi 2014. The title of the festival comes from the place, where the idea of the project was first born. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Sochi is Krasnaya Polyana (Red Meadow), where 2014 Winter Olympic Games will take place. Every year the best Russian contemporary musicians as Okean Elzy
well as international artists perform their live gigs there at a height of 1500 metres. In 2012 Red Rocks Festival has turned into a major music tour, performing in more than 40 Russian cities, aiming to create the Anthem of the supporters for Sochi 2014. The day after the Olympics opening ceremony, London is welcoming Mumiy Troll and Vopli Vidopliassova bands as well as the legendary Russian rock singer, Garik Sukachev. Mumiy Troll performs in a rock’a’pops style and Ukrainians Vopli Vidopliassova are wellknown not only for their mix of folk and punk-rock, but also for their energetic live performances.
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Viacheslav Malafeev: Always Shoot for the Stars By Olga Lesyk
THE GOALKEEPER OF RUSSIAN PREMIER LEAGUE ZENIT SAINT PETERSBURG FC AND NUMBER ONE GOALKEEPER FOR THE RUSSIAN NATIONAL TEAM, VIACHESLAV MALAFEEV IS, UNDOUBTEDLY, ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT FIGURES IN RUSSIAN FOOTBALL. HE SHINES BOTH ON AND OFF THE PITCH, WITH A KALEIDOSCOPE OF PUBLIC EVENTS HE DOES FOR FANS AND CHARITIES. IN BETWEEN TRAINING FOR THE EURO 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP, VIACHESLAV TALKED TO RM ABOUT HIS ROMANCE WITH FOOTBALL: RM: A lot of boys dream of becoming footballers. Did you? VM: It’s hard now to remember my childhood and what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just remember always being a footballer. I guess you can’t dream of being someone you already are. But I did set myself goals, made plans for the life ahead and had visions of myself reaching some heights in what I was going to do. I surely wanted to play football – as much as possible. I love football and I have done so since I was a kid. RM: How did you get into the football world and what has been your successful formula? VM: It all began with my father taking me to the football school ‘Smena’ that my older brother was also attending. At first, I was just kicking the ball around the pitch, like all boys do. But later on, when it came to assigning players’ positions within the teams, I was given a chance to show if I was capable of keeping goal, which I have been doing ever since. So, my success may №8 (24) Summer 2012
be the result of hard work, regular trainings, the passion for my trade and professionalism – the things that I made a habit of in early years. When you have this basis in place, the rest comes naturally. You don’t need to force yourself forward or make yourself work out hard to play well. RM: Euro 2012 championship kicks oﬀ in Poland this June. Russia is in the ﬁnals. How would you rate our chances of winning? VM: I believe our national team is in a very good state right now. We have a number of great players with an extensive record of performing for the national team in the Champions League and in Euro Cups. The team is mature and experienced, with lots of playing potential. But whether it can bring out all these positive traits will depend on many factors. How the coach manages to fine-tune the team before the match, how each individual player turns out physically and psychologically – all this will influence the team’s performance. I 52
think our prospects are pretty bright. It is only with positive thinking and the particular tasks in mind - which has had superb results- that we are participating in international tournaments and playing towards new heights. RM: Imagine for a second that Russia were to face England in the semi-ﬁnals or ﬁnal of Euro 2012. What would be your prediction as to the score? VM: It would be almost impossible to predict the score because, based on the teams’ past performances, it could be an ‘easy win’ for England, and it could also be a ‘hard win’ by our national team. All would depend on the match dynamic. At any rate, we can play against all teams; the trick is to find the right approach and give it our best shot. And then the strongest team wins. Which team it is will become clear on the pitch. By the same token, one can’t really predict the results of any match in any tournament. RM: Unfortunately, Russian football as such is less popular or well- known in the world than, say, Russian hockey. What does the Russian football school need to do to reach the same hockey heights? VM: I think this is rather to do with the quality of broadcasting and presenting our national football events. Russian football is by all www.RussianMind.com
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means reckoned with, and it will gain even more respect if our football clubs and the national team can deliver on a regular basis. In fact, our national games and championships can be as spectacular as, say, the famous Spanish Cup. But there can also be dull and uninteresting matches in both examples. The spring season has shown how exciting and unpredictable games can be between equally strong opponents. Such games are a pleasure to watch and be part of. Transmission quality is crucial to forming an overall impression of football games. Today, the picture quality of games broadcast from the stadiums Petrovsky (Author: home to Zenit FC), Luzhniki and Cherkizovo (Author: Moscow football arenas) is fairly good. This trend should be continued, and №8 (24) Summer 2012
the picture quality should be up to par or at least the same as at the KNVB Cup Tournament (Author: the Netherlands championship). I wouldn’t call this cup the strongest in terms of results or techniques, but the way the event is organised and aired, the cosy stadiums and the general ambiance make one enjoy the whole experience. And it’s a totally different game pace, too. Talking about the pace, the English FA Cup games are always dynamic because the players’ mission is to get the ball into the rival team’s half of the pitch at their earliest and attack the goal posts.
football is appealing, too, but I prefer the Spanish and German playing styles. RM: It is common for all athletes to always want to be at their physical best. How do you keep ﬁt? VM: I try to exercise daily, whether by going to the swimming pool or the gym. Training exercises suggested by the coach are, of course, essential. Plus, there are individual exercises I do before or after the training session.
RM: If you could choose a football club and a country to play for, what would they be?
RM: You are father of two. How do you ﬁt your busy sporting lifestyle around your family and kids? Any tips to share with all busy parents?
VM: I’d love to try my hand in the Spanish or German Cup. English
VM: The focus is on mornings and evenings – that’s when I can
Sport give most of my time to the kids. Every morning I take Ksyusha and Maxim to school and then have my training till 3pm. In the afternoon I am normally busy doing other stuff, but I always try to be home for dinner, when the family gets together around the table. Sometimes I join the kids at their private swimming pool or tennis lessons. Sometimes, after all their classes we go to a shopping and leisure centre, for a walk in the park, or to the countryside. As of late, I have been taking my kids along to social events, as I want them to get used to being out in public, which is an integral part of my sporting career. RM: Most athletes tend to retire in their forties. Some move into
the TV/Media industry, some turn to coaching. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now? VM: It would be great to set a record while playing for Zenit first. Then I guess I could be involved in many things at once: coaching, youth football, business or politics – whatever I will find interesting. It may take some time to realise what it is before I can start moving in that direction and gain the knowledge and skills required. RM: Together with millions of Russian football fans, you must have been excited to learn that Russia would be hosting the Euro Championship 2018. What do you expect from this tournament
as a professional footballer and a common citizen? VM: Whether I will be playing at that championship or not - I don’t know. But I will definitely try to be involved in the preparation and training process. On the other hand, I will be around 39 then. A playing coach sounds like a good combination to me. Why not set myself a goal to play for the national team then? Championships of that kind are not held in Russia every year, so it’s a real chance to shoot for the stars. Besides, playing at home should only serve as a great confidence booster for our national team. Photos by www.malafeev16.ru
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“The Little Czar” – Dick Advocaat by Maarten Meijer
cclaim of “westerners,” as the intruders from far-away Europe have commonly been referred to in the Russian world, is a doubled-edged sword, with suspicion in abundant supply. A majority of Russians think of themselves as inhabiting a distinct realm between occident and orient that can only be fully grasped by natives. This view has applications №8 (24) Summer 2012
not only in the ethereal realm of poetry and philosophy, but also in sports. According to this kind of thinking, who from abroad can fathom the depths of the Russian soul, ‘adapt’ himself to the unique Russian psychology, and make needed changes while not fundamentally disrupting timehonoured football traditions? So when Advocaat arrived at Zenit St. Petersburg in 2006, he had to weather 56
a cool northern reception from most fans. A general wariness of messiahs from the West had been reinforced by the debacles of luminaries such as Nevio Scala (CSKA Moscow), Artur Jorge (Spartak Moscow) and Roland Courbis (Alania Vladikavkaz). "When the team is winning, sooner or later the attitude changes", shrugged Advocaat. "I'm not here to win popularity contests, like certain coaches in the past. I'm here to build a good team. My philosophy www.RussianMind.com
Sport is simple: when we win I'll be popular, when we lose, I won't. But I don't spend time thinking about this. If I'm popular, fine – if I'm unpopular, that's fine too". Zenit, and with it larger Russia, was introduced to a crash course Advocaatstyle football improvement. A key part of the Advocaat revolution was a complete change in approach to the pre-season. Conventional wisdom in Russian football demands two training sessions a day, with the emphasis on draining physical routines. Advocaat put the focus squarely back on the ball. "Perhaps the players were used to the idea that physical preparation means going for runs in the forest or on the beach etc. For me, physical preparation means playing games of ten on ten or seven on seven. We've shown that focusing on playing games can bring the players into good physical condition".
from a bright future. The game instilled confidence in the players, they had been looking for. The coach strolled around the pitch, argued with referee decisions in his characteristically spirited manner, and fielded by journalists questions in his inimitable English laced with a thick Dutch accent, which most Russian interpreters
confessed they found “difficult” to translate at times. Demanding, pugnacious, opinionated – Dick Advocaat, the “Little General,” as he is known in the Netherlands. Winston Churchill once referred to the Soviet Union as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. The Dutch coach seemed to fit in this world of hide-and-seek. Russians sought the “human being Advocaat”
Convincing his staff to embrace his philosophy was not easy. "It was a headache at first. I had a lot of debates with my assistants about the number of practice matches and training sessions, and the focus of each routine – how many one-touch, two-touch sessions, how many six, eight, ten-a-sides. It took a lot of energy. But the players responded well. Everyone knows players hate working without the ball. Those sessions take their toll not just physically but mentally. Match-based training helps the players prepare physically and improves their mood". The tide decisively and irreversibly turned when Zenit utterly destroyed Dynamo Moscow with an unlikely score of 9-3. It wasn’t a pretty match – more of a war zone. No less than three people were red-carded; fortunately for Zenit, two of them on the Moscow side. Thus, the match was played 10 players to 9 in favour of Zenit. People spoke of a result of ‘historic proportions,’ and Russia was abuzz with discussions on what had caused the ‘breakthrough.’ One thing all agreed on was that this match was the watershed that separated a gloomy past www.RussianMind.com
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behind the public persona, having learned that appearances rarely tell the whole story. They wanted “kitchen talk,” as this is called in Russia – an honest heart-to-heart with the apparently secretive disciplinarian from the Lowlands. The media eagerly participated in a guessing game: “To many in Russia he is still a mystery. Very ‘closed’ (Advocaat: “Not a word about private matters!”), tough, organized and as has became evident, an absolute non-drinker”. Some of his predecessors would drown their sorrows over a defeat №8 (24) Summer 2012
with liberal quantities of vodka. But Advocaat declared, “Vodka is not included in the ‘recipe for consolation’. I prefer a cup of tea”. In European football things were no less spectacular with Zenit-underAdvocaat on the pitch. In scope and atmosphere the 37th UEFA Cup final in Manchester had the flavour of a Champions League end-game. Though Zenit goalkeeper Malafeev had a relatively quiet evening at the City of Manchester Stadium, he sprang to his side's rescue more than once. The 58
goalkeeper commented afterward, "Dick Advocaat is a great coach because we have become champions in Russia, we have won the Super Cup in Russia, and now we have won the UEFA Cup. He is fantastic." The story of the night was not the Zenit defense but the attack – Dutch style. The fluidity of formation created by Advocaat meant midfielders Denisov and Zyrianov were always ready to advance their sphere of operations. Anatoly Tymoschuk deftly and confidently anchored the team. When FC Zenit St. Petersburg www.RussianMind.com
Sport you, Dick!” People congratulated and hugged each other, and offered each other beer, regardless of nationality or ethnic background – Russians, Africans, and Arabs. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the allegations of ingrained discriminatory practices in the ranks of the Zenit legion. Observers concluded that indeed, “Football is one of those phenomena that can unite the country better than anything else”. On that glorious evening Dick Advocaat received compliments and congratulations from the highest quarters. The Russian Orthodox Church was one of the first to weigh in, calling the victory a sign of the country's revival. The Moscow Patriarchate said the game showed that "Russia is regaining energy, hope for a better future and for its own rightful place in the world”.
captain Tymoschuk stepped up to the podium he had to find the few last scraps of energy to lift the trophy as the octagonal UEFA Cup is the heaviest of all the UEFA trophies. Sixty-five cm tall, it tips the scales at 15 kg. Everybody on the team got to hug it, hold it, kiss it, and get photographed with it. Someone else probably had to help Tymoschuk by holding on to the 2.5 million euro check that came with the winners’ trophy. Once back in Russia, fans went to the Kempinski Hotel where coach Advocaat lives, and shouted “Thank www.RussianMind.com
The Advocaat engineered UEFA Cup win had an impact far beyond the St. Petersburg city boundaries and was a boost to the national football confidence. In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, joie de vivre was rare among Russian clubs. With a certain inferiority complex developing amongst Russian players and fans, any significant European victory was greeted with amazement, while an over-reliance on foreign talent at certain clubs said much about a lack of belief in the potential of Russian-born players. Despite the 40 million euro Advocaat spent on recruitment at Zenit and a squad containing Dutch, Korean, Croatian, Argentine, Slovakian, Belgian, Ukrainian, Turkish and Czech players, eight of the team’s players who lined up against Rangers were Russian. Guus Hiddink chose six players from Dick Advocaat's Zenit in his Russian squad for the European Championship, more than from any other Russian team.
coming in mostly for training camps and key Russian league matches. The Russian Football Union did not envisage that being a problem with Advocaat. "He worked 24/7 at Zenit", said Russian Football Union chief Sergey Fursenko, who should know because he was Zenit’s president at that time. "Advocaat will stay in Russia for longer periods than Hiddink. We are opening a new page in the setup of Russian football and Dick Advocaat, a world-class coach, will help us to do it. He knows Russian football perfectly from the inside and is the best foreign expert on it. He's a real workaholic. He knows all our players, which is a big plus? After a somewhat uneven Euro 2012 qualification series, the Russian national team ended top of their group. At the Kiev draw for the tournament, Dutch football legend Marco Van Basten had placed Russia in Group A. The national squads of co-hosts Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic became the Russian team’s rivals in Group A, considered the easiest at the tournament by most experts. I am very pleased with how the draw went? said Advocaat. There are four equal teams with equal chances to progress in the group. It could be worse – just see the group with Holland. In our group everything is possible for us to do. We have a possibility to go through?(to the quarter finals). The future looks bright.
Despite earlier successes, Guus Hiddink’s tenure with the Russian national team ended on a very sour note – his failure to qualify for a big tournament for the first time in his career. Hiddink was criticised for not spending enough time in Russia, 59
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Kuban Cossack Choir 31 July – 3 August 2012
2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony at Russia.Park 27 July
ussia. Park, the official national house of Russia and the home of the Russian Olympic Committee in London during the 2012 Games invites you to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony and celebrate the Olympic spirit – Russian style on 27 July, 7.30pm – 11.30pm. Guests are invited to take in a live simulcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremony on the big screen and to stretch out on the lawns with a picnic of Russian delicacies. As the ceremony livens up, so will the atmosphere at Russia.Park – with entertainment, music and renowned Russian hospitality.
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he Kuban Cossack Chorus is the brightest representative of the folk Cossack culture. It can be likened to a sweeping cavalry onslaught! The Chorus simply bursts out into a spectacular, captivating show in which the powerful energy of masterful, dynamic dances, recklessness of daring Cossack songs and touching sentimentality are combined. This is a veritable theatrical performance. There are at times up to 120 performers on the stage, for the Chorus consists of the vocal group, dance group and the orchestra of folk and wind instruments. The motley picture of flamboyant Cossack costumes and properties, such as sabers, daggers, lances, maces, etc. is breath-taking. And no wonder. In one show the audience can see as many as 840 different costumes.
Global Sports Industry Congress 2 August
he Global Sports Industry Congress was launched in London in 2009, and every year has focused on opportunities in ‘emerging sports nations’. It is an international event for experts from the sports industry to come together to focus on trends in this multi-faceted sector. The Congress is a broadranging international conference dedicated to the ‘business of sport’ – the multi-billion dollar industry that services world sport. As we enter a boom era for the Russian sports industry, it will shine the spotlight on forthcoming major sport events such as World Summer Universiade 2013 in Kazan, the Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games in Sochi in 2014, Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships and last but not the least the FIFA World Cup 2018.
Russian Investment Roadshow 10 August
Russian Rhapsody Gala 9 August
Moscow Motion 4 August
he Russians are coming to party in glitz, glam and style. Moscow Motion is a real meeting of Russia and ‘the West’ – an opportunity to find out what it means to party Russian style, and for some of the more intriguing rumours about Moscow nightlife and Muscovites to be put to the test! Expect nothing less than to be amazed. Make sure you don’t miss the chance to experience a fantastic atmosphere that will embrace you the moment you step in. It is your chance to see, be seen, and, put simply, to be part of the greatest party on earth.
ussian Rhapsody is dedicated to bringing the rich legacy of Russian culture into the spotlight with the support of the business community. It serves a critical role as a conduit between the worlds of art and commerce, and is a unique opportunity for companies to promote Russia’s image as home to both a rich artistic tradition and a dynamic and resurgent economy. Drawing on the best of Russian culture from throughout the ages, Rhapsody is designed to reflect the vibrant spirit of Russia today. Leading international musical stars who have taken part in the event have included the likes of Yuri Bashmet, Denis Matsuev, Ljuba Kazarnovskaya, Dmitry Bertman, Olga Borodina, Victor Tretiakov, Zurab Sotkilava, Igor Butman, Enri Lolashvili, Tom Rust and Incognito. Russian Rhapsody moves to the unparalleled versatile venue of Russia.Park this summer.
his year the Russia Investment Roadshow is taking place soon after the inauguration of the new Russian President and Russia’s long awaited official entry into the World Trade Organization. These two events will shape the economic climate in Russia in the coming years and will undoubtedly impact the investment opportunities that are available in Russia. The Russia Investment Roadshow (previously called the Russian Economic Forum) has a history of more than a decade of bringing together key players in the world of Russian business. This year’s event will once again be taking place in London at a time when the capital, as host to the planet’s largest sporting event, becomes the centre of world attention. In this context the Roadshow will be held at Russia. Park, the Russian National House and headquarters of the Russian Olympic Committee for the duration of the Games. For more info about Russia.Park events: www.russiasochipark.com Address: Perks Field, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4AQ
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State reception at the Russian Embassy in London
n 12 June 2012 an official reception was held at the Russian Embassy in London on the occasion of the national holiday â€“ Russia Day. Among the numerous guests were MPs, senior officials of UK Government departments and local authorities; cultural and business personalities; diplomats stationed in London, journalists and members of the Russian speaking diaspora. During the reception a presentation from the London bureau of the radio station "Voice of Russia" was shown to the guests. Photos by www.rusemb.org.uk
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Russian Summer Ball 2012
he 17th Russian Summer Ball that celebrated HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the 200th Anniversary of the 1812 Patriotic War was held at The Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace on Saturday 16 June 2012.
Funds were once again raised for the Romanov Foundation for Russia. The ball was held at the historic Whitehall Palace with champagne reception followed by dinner and an auction for over 300 guests.
The Russian Summer Ball was founded by Alexander I. Suscenko and members of the Russian émigré community and friends in London. Photos by Mike Sweeney www.capitallifephoto.co.uk
№8 (24) Summer 2012