Articles by Justin Varilek

Justin Varilek has worked at The Moscow Times since September 2011 covering various business topics, including IT, Skolkovo and the investment climate. He studied international relations and Russian culture in the United States as well as Russian language in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Q&A: Esther Dyson Matches Her Expectations to Russia's Opportunities

Investor Esther Dyson got in on the ground floor of giants like Yandex and IBS Group and helped other local technology leaders find their role models and partners in the West.

Will Smith Slaps Man for Trying to Kiss Him

Love can take over, overwhelm the senses and cause a person to act unceremoniously.

Nationwide Hunt Begins for Business Angels

This weeks $75 million injection into classifieds advertising site is further proof of the investment attractiveness of Russian startups, which are a key element in the governments push for diversifying the countrys energy-dependent economy.

E-Commerce Prospering as New Regulations Come Online

Despite 80 percent growth in domestic electronic payment transactions to 125 billion rubles ($4.2 billion) in 2011, the industry is jostling to maneuver through the changes it faces when regulatory legislation goes into effect on June 30.

Technology in Business Undervalued but Promising

Only 54 percent of Russian and Eastern European executives responsible for information technology believe that investments in technology facilitate decision making.

Skolkovo's MIT Seeks to Stop Brain Drain

"I'm probably not going to move back for a couple of decades," said Yekaterina Paramonova, a third-year undergraduate majoring in nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, echoing the sentiment of many Russians who have tasted life outside the motherland.

Wine Culture Takes Root

Finding good wine at a reasonable price in Russia is like finding a needle in a haystack, while limited growth in demand, new alcohol consumption rules and even the changing winds of international politics have all complicated the import industry.

Observation Wheel Could Tower Over Moscow

While $300 million has been pledged by investors, the design completed and a construction firm selected, the creation of what could be the world's largest observation wheel is stalled by the absence of City Hall's approval.

$27Bln IT Sector Could Help End Traffic Jams

Charging ahead at breakneck speed, Russia's IT industry grossed $26.9 billion in turnover this year, growing 20 percent over last year, according to the research firm IDC.

Dutchman, 23, Rowing Across Atlantic for Orphans

There are few things more challenging than scaling Mt. Everest or flying into space. A 23-year-old Dutchman who has lived most of his life in Russia is going to tackle one of them: rowing a small boat 4,720 kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean.

Little Partying for Opposition, But Plenty of Work

With Yabloko expected to win less than 3 percent of Sunday's vote, there was little talk of election results at the liberal party's headquarters, and Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin told The Moscow Times the atmosphere there was "business-like."

$2.7Bln Book Market Also Hit by the Crisis

Against a backdrop of two years of declining book sales in Russia, 250 publishing companies and literature unions from 20 countries have assembled in Moscow this week for the 13th International Book Fair Non/fiction.

Apple Co-Founder Gives Innovation Pep Talk

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak visited Moscow on Tuesday for the fourth annual Innovation Convention to inspire a room overflowing with young, aspiring entrepreneurs to abandon their fears and think "outside the box."


Strangers are apt to approach you and strike up a conversation, a grandfatherly voice wishes you well on the metro intercom "Vsego Vam Dobrogo," and the ruddiness of people's cheeks is due primarily to the cold.

Qiwi Teams With Visa for Card

Electronic payments using a Qiwi account have gone global now, thanks to a project announced by the local terminal provider and Visa — called Qiwi Visa Plastic, which will provide rechargeable plastic cards to the low-end segment.

Sberbank's Data Center Is the Biggest In Europe

During an opening ceremony Saturday, Sberbank flaunted the 16,500-square-meter data center Yuzhny Port the largest of its kind in Europe, demonstrating its latest capabilities through centralizing programs.

U.S. Ambassador Touts War Veterans, Dad

Move over stuffed turkey. The U.S. Thanksgiving favorite was replaced by butorbrody transfigured with turkey and cranberry to act as the unlikely symbol of U.S.-Russian friendship at a Moscow celebration of the U.S. holiday Veterans Day, which falls on Friday.

New Site Rents Apartments to Tourists

With the number of tourists growing at 11 percent per year, web site aims to lock in its position in the tourism industry by linking travelers with available apartments and houses.

Mariinsky Theater Complex to Cost $629M

St. Petersburg is making its own response of sorts to the reopening of Moscow's Bolshoi Theater by launching a cultural complex, set for fall 2012. Part of the complex will consist of the historic Mariinsky Theater.

Housing Prices to Rise as City Shifts Priorities

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's emphasis on developing infrastructure rather than the housing market could lead to significant price increases for residential real estate in Moscow, according to a recent realty agency estimate.

Nanotech Enthusiasm Peaks

In nanotechnology, size matters. But federal funding for the high-tech field has tapered off in Russia, flattening out at $1.88 billion per year through 2015 and losing ground in the race against the United States and Germany.

Nanotech to Play Big Role in Modernization Plans

President Dmitry Medvedev's modernization committee will review the status of the nanotechnology sectorduring its meeting on Wednesday.

Fairmont to Renovate the Hotel Pekin

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, known for iconic accommodations such as The Plaza in New York, said it will restore Moscow's historic Hotel Pekin. It has signed a deal with Hals-Development for the project.

Transparency Sees Progress and Issues With Rosatom's Purchasing

The purchasing practices of state nuclear corporation Rosatom leave something to be desired, according to the local chapter of Transparency International, following its analysis of tenders by the company in the first quarter of 2011, including one to purchase a Lexus automobile with a starting price of 9.3 million rubles ($290,000).

Police Cut Short PETA Strip Stunt

Two American animal rights protesters were detained at the World Trade Center while attempting to strip down to bikinis on a cold October day in central Moscow to drive home PETA's message, "Leave animal skin to animals."

Kudrin Publishes Manifesto

Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin systematically laid out the potential pitfalls of Russia's economic policy and described his own 5-point plan in an open letter Tuesday carried by Kommersant newspaper.

Watchdog Could Ban Transdnestr Cognac

On the heels of Kremlin statements against the extended rule of Igor Smirnov — leader of the breakaway Moldovan republic of Transdnestr Russia's consumer protection chief Gennady Onishchenko has announced a possible ban on imports of cognac from the region.

Wooden Homes Rely on Tradition and Technology

The classic Russian izba, or log house, is holding its own in the post-Soviet construction boom, with nearly 40 percent of single-family houses being made of logs. But contemporary construction methods aim to make building the traditional dwelling more efficient.

Young Entrepreneur Up for Global Award

A business plan to create rehabilitation devices for cerebral palsy sufferers, created by Perm's Denis Kashin, won first place at a ceremony at Skolkovo and will be Russia's entry at the international finals for young entrepreneurs in New York.

Q&A: Experience, Energy and Instinct in Film and Games

Springing from her desk, Blanche Neumann, the petite managing director of Moscow-based Fetish Film, leaps forward from her desk and frenetically engages her team members, organizing their activities to achieve the immediate task.