The Best of Moscow from Business to Culture

Foreign Direct Investment of the Year

Despite economic sanctions, Schneider Electric has not changed plans to invest 700 million euros in Russian electrical equipment. Last year, it completed an agreement with the Russian company Avelar Solar Technology to equip solar power plants.

Volkswagen unveiled a motor plant in the Kaluga region to produce 150,000 engines a year. The project cost is 250 million euros. Engines are assembled from imported components, but before the end of 2015, they will begin to buy from local suppliers.

In 2015, Ford made the decision not to leave Russia, but rather to increase its investment here. It has already invested $1.2 billion to build an assembly plant in Russia, and by the end of this year it plans to open an engine factory worth $300 million.

The president of EkoNiva, German Stefan Duerr, has been engaged in agriculture in Russia for over 25 years. He is the only German who invests in Russian agriculture. Most importantly, EkoNiva has become the largest producer of milk.

Lotte Group announced its intention to invest more than $1 billion in the next three years and become the largest Korean investor in Russia. One of the proposed sites for investment is the Atrium shopping center, which the group intends to acquire for $500 million.

Angel Investor of the Year

Education and medicine are Igor Ryabenkiy's particular interest, where he has a few exciting projects. His comfort range for investment is$150,000–200,000.
Projects in portfolio: more than 60.

Alexander Borodich is the founder of FutureLabs, which invests in companies in the very earliest stages. Projects in its portfolio: 59. Average check: $25,000–150,000. The portfolio contains projects in the IT sector, from Internet startups to robotics projects.

Vitaly Polekhin is head of the Moscow Skolkovo School of Management investors club. Fields of interest: health informatics, online education, e-commerce, gaming, IT, etc. Projects in his portfolio: at least 25. Average check: undisclosed.

Julian Zegelman is one of the best known Russian angels. Often provides not only cash, but also legal services and assistance in in exchange for a stake in the company. Projects in his portfolio: at least 26. Average check: $20,000–50,000.

Konstantin Siniushin's focus: communications technology, interior design, scoring on the basis of information from social networks, content services and marketing analytics tools, offline retail. Projects in his portfolio: at least 21. Average check: $250,000.

Igor Shoifot plans to work most actively with e-commerce, gamification for business, crowdsourcing technology and platform solutions, as well as startups at the intersection of online and offline. Projects in his portfolio:18. Average check:$50,000.

Strategic Venture Investor of the Year

The founder and main shareholder of Sberbank is the Central Bank, the other stake is owned by Russian and international investors. The company made two deals as a strategic venture investor in 2015 (Platius and Segmento).

1C specializes in the development, distribution, publishing and support of computer software for business and home use. The Russian company made four deals as a strategic venture investor in 2015.

Yandex is a Russian Internet company that owns a search engine and web portal. The company made two deals as a strategic investor in 2015 (Rostaxi and AddFox).

QIWI is a payment service in Russia and the CIS. It owns an integrated payment network that allows users to make payments by physical means, on the Internet and through mobile channels. The company made three deals in 2015 (Box2Box, Contact and Rapida).

Rambler & Co is a Russian group of companies operating in media, technology and e-commerce. Its audience is more than 40 million people per month, and it made two deals as a strategic investor in 2015 (RCO and AgentOn).

Best Business Event

The annual VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" is a top event to attract portfolio and strategic investments to the Russian economy. It contributes to effective interaction between Russian business and international investors.

Russian Business Week took place for the eighth time. Representatives of business and government discussed the financial and tax systems, the investment climate, removal of administrative barriers, the labor market and social investments.

The motto of the Business Russia Forum this year is "Proactive Movement." Business Ombudsman Boris Titov presented the report "Portrait of Russian Business in Figures," which contained more than 200 initiatives to improve the business environment in Russia.

During the plenary sessions of the International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development (organized by The Higher School of Economics) possible scenarios for the development of the Russian and global economies were discussed.

The National Oil and Gas Forum is the first federal-level event jointly organized by the Russian Energy Ministry and business associations. The forum determines the decision-making strategy in the current geopolitical situation.

Country Partner of the Year

Switzerland was the only European country not to join the Western sectorial sanctions against Russia and continued to supply Russia cheese, dairy and meat products. In addition, it has continued the large-scale cultural project "Made in Switzerland."

Business France, the state agency for trade and investment, launched French Tech, a joint project with the Skolkovo fund and hosted a large-scale Day of Innovation at Skolkovo. The agency has also organized study tours to the regions for French farmers.

Argentina was one of the first food exporter countries to fill the Russian market with its products after the imposition of the trade embargo. In the first half of 2015, that growth continued, and the import of Argentine beef rose to 2,500 tonnes.

Indian investments are estimated at about $7 billion. It exports pharmaceutical products, hardware, clothing, tea, coffee and tobacco and purchases military hardware, nuclear power equipment, fertilizers, power engineering products, steel and diamonds.

Singapore celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence in 2015. It actively publicized tourism and business opportunities and also supports the Changi group project to modernize the airports in the Krasnodar territory.

Best Business Center

Bolshevik is located on the site of a confectionery factory of the same name. The complex will be transformed into a modern cultural and business center housing a business center, museum of Impressionism, cafes, restaurants and shops.

Nagatino i-Land is the second-largest town planning office project and the first banking cluster. It is located on the former grounds of ZIL. The concept for development envisages the construction of housing, social facilities and recreational space.

Dominion Tower is the first facility in Moscow designed by the award-winning Zaha Hadid, the winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. It is built in avant-garde style that changes the traditional conception of space and architectural geometry.

Technopolis occupies a total area of 30 hectares. There is a modern logistics center with rooms designed for companies working in microelectronics and biotechnology. A modern convention center can accommodate up to 600 people.

Evolution Tower was built in the Moscow City business area on Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment. It is the tallest tower in the world made of cold-glazing, measuring 255 meters in height. From the panoramic viewing platforms you can see almost all of Moscow.

Humanitarian of the ear

Sergei Parkhomenko is the initiator of the Last Address project, which aims to perpetuate the memory of compatriots who were victims of repressions and state tyranny in the Soviet era. He based it on the European Stumbling Block project.

Svetlana Gannushkina is the chairman of the Civil Assistance committee and a board member and director of the Migration and Rights network of the Memorial human rights organization.

Nyuta Federmesser is a Russian public figure, the founder of the Vera charitable foundation for the support of hospices and a board member of nongovernmental organizations to protect the rights of patients under the Department of Health in Moscow.

Elena Alshanskaya is president of Volunteers to Help Orphans, a charity foundation for children without parental care. Members contribute to the eradication of child abandonment and ensure children's basic rights to life within a family.

Natalia Vodianova founded Naked Hearts. The foundation is engaged in the Every Child Deserves a Family program aimed at breaking of the current Russian tradition of abandoning children with disabilities.

Natalia Rostova is a graduate of the Faculty of Journalism and senior correspondent at She highlights problems in the media and launches projects focused on freedom of expression.

Polina Gershberg is a handicapped person and cancer patient in remission who is one of the most active fighters against illegal construction in Friendship Park in North Tushino.

Person of the Year in Culture

Diana Vishneva is a Russian ballet dancer, prima of the Mariinsky Theatre and holder of two Golden Mask awards. In May 2015, Vishneva celebrated the 20th anniversary of her artistic career in a gala concert at the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky Theaters.

Vladimir Urin is a theatre critic, director, teacher, professor, and general director of the Bolshoi Theater since July 9, 2013. In its new season, the theater is planning nine premieres — six operas and three ballets. Most of them will be debuts.

In 2015, film director Alexander Sokurov won the prize for Best European Film from the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean Fedeora competition at the 72nd International Venice Film Festival for the film La Francophonie.

Thanks to the efforts of Gorky Park's former head Olga Zakharova, it became the most popular holiday destination by number of Instagram geotags, overtaking the Louvre and Red Square. In four years, the park's revenues increased nearly fivefold.

Elena Gremina is a writer, director and playwright of "new drama." Gremina — co-founder and director of Theatre.doc, operating since 2002 — is one of the leaders of "documentary theater."

Yevgeny Mironov has been working as director of the State Theater of Nations since 2006. One of the central events of the upcoming season is the staging of Chekhov's Ivanov. Mironov is also launching a new regional project: the Theater of Nations FEST.

Best Cultural Event

The 12th Chekhov Theater Festival opened with Parisian troupe Des Bouffes Du Nord's production of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Moliere. It packed the house four nights in a row. It ended with a farewell performance by French ballerina Sylvie Guillem.

The main achievement of the 15th Tchaikovsky Competition was the beautifully orchestrated webcasts on More than 10 million people around the world watched it. But the main sensation was audience favorite French pianist Lucas Debargue.

The second annual modern art fair took the place of Art-Moscow. Cosmoscow relies on young artists, and also organizes non-profit programs and a charity auction to benefit Natalia Vodianova's Naked Heart philanthropic fund.

The theme of this year's sixth Lexus Hybrid Art exhibition, held in the Rossiya Cinema, was "Creating Senses." The dark auditorium was turned into a mysterious amusement park in the spirit of David Lynch.

The Archive-M exhibition of the collages, video, diaries, posters and costumes of the most prominent Russian artists of the 1990s occupied the premises of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. It allowed critics and public to rethink the legacy of Mamyshev-Monroe.

For the first time in many decades, the Books of Russia Festival returned to Red Square. In late June, the square was filled with stands from leading publishers of literary fiction, non-fiction and children's books.

Best Cultural Center

For the close of the temporary building and opening of the new Garage, an exhibition of world contemporary art stars Katharina Grosse and Yayoi Kusama was mounted. After that, it brought in a retrospective of sculptor Louise Bourgeois.

In 2015, the renovated Stanislavsky Electrotheater opened with a production of The Bacchae by Greek director Theodoros Terzopoulos. In the foyer are exhibitions, performances, lectures on art, showings of films, dance master classes and a bookshop.

Moskvarium has a total area of 12,000 sq. m. There are 8,000 marine and freshwater species from all over the world — from Lake Baikal to the Galapagos, Icelandic fjords to the Great Barrier Reef, Greenland and to Kamchatka — living in it.

ZIL House of Culture is one of the biggest in Moscow, built in the 1930s in the Constructivist style. Its most notable events: the opera of Handel's Messiah by the Questa Musica, ballets by George Balanchine and festival of Japanese Butoh dance theater.

The Tretyakovsky Gallery made admission to its exhibitions free on Wednesdays. This year, a mobile app was also created and a grand jubilee exhibition of Valentin Serov was mounted.

In 2015, Museon Park held several unusual outdoor festivals. The most notable: Fields Music Festival, the Island of the '90s Festival, a poetry marathon; 1990s fashion shows and the best Russian films and a concert by rock group Auktsyon.

Best City Improvement

Transformations at Danilovsky Market began in 2011. Maxim Popov was appointed to the post of market director, while he was working for the Ginza Project and, in four years, he transformed a Soviet collective farm market to a cult place.

Triumphal Square opened in September after reconstruction. Architects from Buromoscow closed the area to automobiles, paved it with granite tiles, and made the space completely pedestrian. The renovated square conveys the feeling of youth and romance.

The number of international parcels and small packets processed by Russian Post in the first half of 2015 increased by 50 percent, the average delivery time for foreign shipments is 7–10 days in Central Russia and 15–20 days in the rest of the country.

The Moscow land transportation operator introduced 11 night routes this year for the first time. In 2015, Mosgortrans also initiated a project to equip municipal ground transport with wireless access points to the Internet free of charge.

The Moscow Department of Culture opened four Swimming Pools in city parks in the summer of 2015 and completely renovated 15 recreational areas near water in parks, out of 38 operating during the summer.

MTS WowMoscow is a project for young people with an online component, which includes a useful educational and entertainment content— and an active part. Among the activities: master classes, free buses, free Wi-Fi, public space improvement.

Corporate Citizen of the Year

The purpose of Good Deed, initiated by MGTS, is to provide low-income Moscow residents with modern digital equipment. Those who have a digital device in working condition but do not use it donate it to socially disadvantaged citizens who need it.

Hometowns is a social investment program of Gazprom Neft, the purpose of which is to improve the quality of life in the 23 regions where the company operates, improving access for inhabitants to a high-quality a urban environment, education, culture and sport.

The Angel team was created in 2015 and is based in the Moscow Heliport center. This voluntary organization uses helicopters to search for missing people. More than 30 people were found, 6 of them children.

In the Perekrestok, Pyaterochka and Karousel retail chains, customers can buy X5Group's Candy Compassion for 15 rubles, 5 rubles of which goes to the surgery ward of the Life Line Foundation. More than 6 million rubles have beed donated.

The objective of Philip Morris's Status: Online program is to increase the computer literacy of the elderly and disabled, help them to adapt socially and digitally, improve their quality of life, and help those who are willing to find employment.

Ferrero Russia provides financial support to create Videopassports. This is an information retrieval system for adoptive parents, is one of the most effective ways to get quality information about children without parental care.

Channel Five began the Day of Good Deeds campaign in February 2015. Every Thursday, presenters introduce viewers to the "hero of the day," telling the story of a child in dire need of treatment.

Samsung's Education for All social charitable program is targeted assistance for children and adolescents with disabilities and long-term illnesses that force them to study from home.

Person of the Year

Since August 2015, Leonid Slutsky has been the head coach of the Russian national team. In taking on this ambitious challenge, he will coach about 30 games as the head of the Russian national team and CSKA by the end of the year.

according to The Moscow Times online readers

Ruben Vardanian is a Russian-Armenian entrepreneur, who has founded a United World College for teens — UWC Dilijan College and launched the 100 Lives project, which was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Yury Milner is one of the richest businessmen in Russia. He is known for his support of the sciences. In 2015, he announced the creation of Breakthrough Initiatives, a program to search for extraterrestrial life, in which he plans to invest $100 million.

Sergei Kapkov became the head of the Moscow Department of Culture in 2011, and left in 2015. In the time Kapkov occupied that office, he managed to popularize city cultural institutions and parks, especially among young people.

Doing Business in Russia 2015
Doing Business in Russia 2015
The business community in Russia has reasons to be optimistic, as there really does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel.
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