Andrei Konchalovsky

In early September, film director Andrei Konchalovsky received the "Silver Lion" award at the International Venice Film Festival for his film "White Nights of Postman Alexei Tryapitsyn." This semi-documentary piece, in which only one role was performed by a professional actress, is the result of an observation of the lives of the inhabitants of a small village in the Arkhangelsk region. Upon learning of the decision of the Russian Oscar Committee to nominate the film for an Academy Award, Konchalovsky in an open letter said that he was withdrawing his film from consideration. "There are two reasons for this — one personal and one public.

In recent years, I have sharply criticized the Hollywoodization of the Russian market and the pernicious influence of commercial American cinema on the formation of the tastes and preferences of our audience. In connection with this, it just seems absurd to me to compete for a Hollywood prize. On the other hand, the "Oscar" itself today is extremely overvalued by a certain group of filmmakers, it creates the illusion of global recognition and is a kind of testament to indisputable cinematographic qualities, which, of course, are not written in stone," Konchalovsky said, explaining his decision. The Russian premiere of the film, at his insistence, was not shown in movie theaters, but on Channel One: The director decided to provide maximum access to the film's viewers.

Yelena Panfilova, Vice President of Transparency International

Panfilova founded and headed the "Transparency International — R" Center for Anti-Corruption Research and Initiatives in 1999, while working in the Organization for Economic Cooperation in Paris. The following year, the Russian Center became part of the international organization Transparency International, and just a year later Panfilova was recognized as person of the year. Over the 15 years of her leadership at the anti-corruption center, Panfilova and her team managed to, for example, promote on the state level the idea of a mandatory declaration of incomes of officials and their relatives — it is now a requirement of the law "On Civil Service." This year, Panfilova decided to run for the post of Vice President of Transparency International. Her victory became known on Oct. 20. Her new position indicates a clear recognition of the merits of the Russian Center of Transparency International in the fight against illicit enrichment of officials. And the fact that Panfilova won during a time when Russia's image in the world has been deteriorating makes it a particularly important success.

German Gref, President and CEO of Sberbank

"Today, the most popular announcement in business is not the opening of a new one, but going public. We all know that. And until we fix that, nothing can be fixed." While speaking at the VTB Capital forum "Russia Calling" on Nov. 2, the head of the country's largest retail bank spoke openly about the real problems faced by the Russian economy after the annexation of Crimea and Western sanctions — and he was greeted by a standing ovation in the hall, during which VTB President Andrei Kostin offered his colleague a hearty handshake. Until now, the main competitor of VTB had not been invited to the forum, but difficulties tend to unite, he conceded. On social media, the forum participants described Gref's speech as the main event of the forum this year.

Since first taking the reins of Sberbank in 2007, German Gref has transformed it into an effective modern bank on the Western level. It is considered to be perhaps the last serious economic reformer in the circle of President Vladimir Putin that still has a strong influence. That makes the bank's ability to publicly call a spade a spade even more valuable: "When they say that the ruble went down and that imports, thank God, stopped — I shudder. Of course, it's certainly possible to do without any food ... But I am thinking about how to build a high-tech company, I'm living off of imported food and I cannot do without the benefits of civilization: I do not want to spend two hours in a queue in the old Soviet Sberbank and I do not want to stand in line at an old Soviet shop."

Dmitry Chernyshenko, Chairman of the Olympic Organizing Committee in Sochi

In 2007, the founder of Russia's first sports marketing agency, Sportima, and a partner of the Media Arts advertising group, Dmitry Chernyshenko was invited to head the organizing committee of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. By that time, Sportima was well known in the State Sports Committee, just as he was in his hometown of Sochi — in his own words, "The chain of association was apparently quite short." He called Russia's bid for the Winter Olympics in Sochi "the happiest event in the career of an advertiser."

Based on the report released by the Organizing Committee of the Sochi Games, Chernyshenko was right. Since 2009, he signed marketing agreements with eight national partners: Megafon, Rostelecom, Russian Railways, Rosneft, Bosco Sport, Sberbank, Aeroflot and Volkswagen. The total income from the Sochi-2014 marketing program exceeded $1.3 billion. "This is more than three times the obligation in the bid book," according to the press service of the committee. And the calculated operating profit earned by the organizing committee amounted to 5 billion rubles ($261 million as of June 2014). They decided to use the money for the development of mass sports in Russia. As Chernyshenko put it, "The Games were an incredible commercial success."