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Past Issue
September, 2014

The USRCCNE Monthly Newsletter
For those with interests bridging the US and Russia

USRCCNE Welcome!
From Josh Wilson, General Editor, USRCCNE

The crisis in Ukraine continues to be a major influence on world events and Russia's business climate.

While violence continues, it does appear to be abating and that the endgame may be in sight. Join us tonight for a discussion on what comes next! Vladimir Golstein, an associate professor at Brown University and Ilya Ponomarev, an opposition politician in Russia, will offer differing, informed opinions about the events in Ukraine and what their effects might be.

Also – don't miss the USRBC Annual Meeting in October. This extraordinary event will feature an all-star cast of speakers ranging from Alexei Kudrin to Harry Kissinger. Reserve your space today.

This month, as always, the USRCCNE newsletter has lots of news on transport and travel in Russia, as well as many articles on Ukraine, business in Russia, international relations, and culture. As always, we try to include interesting articles that you may have missed or which provide unique viewpoints.

We hope that you will continue to follow our newsletter and events. Please let us know if you have any comments, questions, or requests!


Don't Miss This Month!

As always, this newsletter is dependent on you. If you have an announcement or a news item to be included in our newsletter, or if you would like to subscribe to this free publication, please contact us.

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Upcoming Events

A Discussion: “What Is the End Game for the Ukrainian Crisis?”
(September 25, 2014 - Boston, MA) Will the Ukrainian civil war lead to a global war? Will it result in a continuing decay of US-Russia relations? Will the Iron Curtain continue to fall? Or will there be a cease-fire and a gradual return to “normalcy”? What will be the new world order and the new regional order? Please join us for an informed discussion of these critical issues.

Film: Rails Across Russia
(September 25, 27; October 9, 2014 - Clinton, MA) The film follows a renowned train called The Rossiya as it thunders across Russia, linking the world’s largest country. This journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad takes the viewer from the palaces of St. Petersburg and the busy streets of Moscow to the vastness of Siberia.

Concert: Russians in America
(October 2, 2014 - Clinton, MA) Concert with Arkady Beletsky, cello, and Marianna Rashovetsky, piano. Music by Glinka, Tchaikovsky, and other Russian favorites.

USRBC Annual Meeting: The New Economic Reality of Today's Russia
(October 14-15, 2014 - NY, NY) The 2014 U.S.-Russia Business Council Annual Meeting will start with the Gala Dinner at Gotham Hall on October 14. Business sessions will take place the following day on October 15 at the Grand Hyatt New York. USRBC is pleased to announce that Alexey L. Kudrin, Chairman of the Committee for Citizens' Initiatives and former RF Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, will deliver the keynote address at the USRBC's Gala Dinner on October 14, 2014.

Traditional Russian Tea
(October 18, 2014 - Clinton, MA) Join Russian hostess Larissa Dyan for a fun and educational program that celebrates the central role of tea in Russian culture. Learn about the history and social aspects of enjoying tea in Russia, and see examples of how it is depicted in Russian art. Experience tea service from a samovar, practice some Russian vocabulary, and engage in lively conversation while enjoying a variety of teas and traditional Russian accompaniments.

Salon Concert by the Rimsky-Korsakov Quartet of St. Petersburg
(October 30, 2014 - Boston, MA) In 2014 the Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet marks the 75th anniversary of its founding. BRCP presents the last concert of the quartet's tour of the US and Canada. Join them to celebrate its contributions to the musical life of St. Petersburg, as well as to the appreciation of Russian music in the US. The evening includes a wine and cheese reception and viewing of select works by Boston-based sculptor Konstantin Simun, who also hails from St. Petersburg.

Film: Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
(October 23, 2014 - Clinton, MA) With Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog takes viewers on yet another unforgettable journey into remote and extreme natural landscapes. Herzog presents this visually stunning documentary about the people living in the heart of the Siberian Taiga.

Ukrainian Snowflake Eggs
(November 7, 2014 - Clinton, MA) Join us as we create Ukrainian Snowflake Eggs, or pysanky. Unlike traditional Easter eggs that are dipped multiple times, these one-dip eggs bring simple beauty to the season.

The Nightingale Ball to Benefit the Ballets Russes Cultural Partnership
(November 22, 2014 - Boston, MA) Save the date for the BRCP's annual ball, inspired this year by Igor Stravinsky's opera, The Nightingale, premiered a century ago by the Ballets Russes. Enjoy choreographic and voice performances and dance the night away to the hot jazz of the Red Hook Ramblers, all while supporting the BRCP's mission of cultural exchange and understanding between the US and post-Soviet countries.

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USRCCNE and Member News

Daniel Satinsky at Triple Helix International Conference XII
Daniel Satinsky, Chamber Board President, represented the Chamber and his company, Foresight Science and Technology at the Triple Helix International Conference XII in Tomsk from September 11-13.

The State of Study Abroad in Russia and Ukraine
SRAS carefully monitors events everywhere we have students. With continued developments in Eastern Ukraine, we'd like to assess what effects those events may have on study abroad in general and on any students who are on the ground in Russia or Ukraine.

Auriga Invites You to the AmCham’s Business Fair in Moscow
Auriga will participate in the first business fair organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia (AmCham) on October 22, 2014, in Moscow.

Alinga Sponsored Event on Construction and Real Estate
Alinga proudly sponsored the AEB North-Western Regional Committee’s Construction and Real Estate subcommittee's regular Open Event in St. Petersburg on “Market and regulatory update in construction and real estate industry of North-Western Region.”

SRAS Announces Service Learning Grant
Students can receive up to $1500 for dedicating part of their time abroad to bettering their adopted communities.

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Travel and Transport

Tourists in Sevastopol Get 3-Day Visa-Free Regime
Sevastopol is not the only port city to offer more lenient visa rules for foreigners. Currently, Russian law allows all tourists visiting port cities by cruise ship or ferry to stay for up to 72 hours visa-free.

SVO: Special Offer for Storing Winter Gear
Prior to flying away to warm countries you now can leave your winter coats and shoes in the luggage storage rooms of terminals C, D, E, and F. This special offer will last till April, 30 2015.

SVO: Radisson Blu Hotel Opens
Radisson Blu Sheremetyevo offers guests direct access to the terminals by a covered pedestrian gallery. Another distinctive feature of the hotel is a multifunctional conference center for meetings and events.

Economy Plus Seating Comes to Sapsan
(Article in Russian) Sapsan is launching a new "Economy Plus" seating. For about $10 more, you can get free Wi-Fi, wall sockets, more leg room, and a free sandwich and drink.

Russia, Mongolia to Sign Visa-free Travel
Russia and Mongolia are planning to sign an agreement on visa-free travel as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit scheduled for September 3, presidential aide Yury Ushakov said on Tuesday

Russia, Belarus Working to Launch Joint Visas
Soon, you may be able to travel to Belarus on your Russian visa.

China, Russia to Build Huge Seaport in North Asia
The new seaport will be located in Russia’s Far East, just 18 kilometers away from the Chinese border and will be capable to handle up to 60 million tons of cargo a year, China's state-run People's Daily Online reported.

Russia Secedes Control over Murmansk Commercial Port
Russian Government will cease to be a holder of a “golden share” in the port stake. Since 2010, this special privilege has been a guarantee that no serious decision could be taken without a nod from the authorities.

Russia to Develop Yacht Infrastructure on Black Sea Coast
New yacht ports will be constructed in Sochi and Crimea.

Russia's to Bypass Ukraine with New Rail
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced the budget plans, saying that infrastructure spending including the railway project would total 500 billion roubles ($13 billion).

Russia to Unite Rail of Belarus, Kazakhstan in New Iron Silkroad
Russia's government green-lighted a joint venture between the state railway companies of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan that aims to grab up to a 2 percent share of container traffic between China and Europe currently worth a $1 trillion a year.

Agreement Signed to Develop Mongolian Railway
The Mongolian Ministry of Roads and Transportation has signed an agreement with JSC Russian Railways to modernise and extend Mongolia’s rail network.

Chinese to Invest $10 Billion in Moscow-Kazan High-Speed Railway
Trains with a top speed of 400 kilometers per hour will service the line, cutting the journey time from about 14 hours on regular trains to just 3 1/2 hours.

AeroExpress to Get Double-Decker Cars
Aeroexpress’ new double decker train systems will increase the company’s combined passenger and cargo capacities by 30 to 40 percent.

Crimea's Simferopol Airport Upgrade to Cost over $1 Billion
The first and second runways must be repaired and a new airport complex built.

What would Happen if Russia Closed its Airspace to Western Airlines?
If Russia banned Western airlines, it would also face direct economic consequences. So far, Russia earns so-called "royalty payments," which are comparable to taxes imposed on foreign airlines that want to fly over the country's airspace.

Aeroflot Sets Up Subsidiary to Replace Sanctions-Hit Low-Cost Airline
Aeroflot’s new subsidiary was officially registered as "Budget Air Carrier."

What Planes Will Russia Fly If Boeing and Airbus Ditched Over Sanctions?
The Moscow Times has examined the options.

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Business and Economy

14 Ways Russia Can Retaliate to Western Sanctions
The Moscow Times looked at some of the options that may have landed on Putin's desk, ranging from the plausible to the fanciful.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2014 - 2015
Russia is up 11 places in the Global Competitiveness Report, sponsored by the World Economic Forum. It now ranks 53rd out of 144 countries.

Russia Widens Ruble Band as Free-Float Plan on Track
The ruble is now essentially free to weaken to as much as 39.70 per dollar.

Russia's Decision to Float the Ruble Constitutes Risk in Turbulent Times
In the long run, however, the removal of currency controls will lead to a healthier economy that favors sustained investment rather than speculative trading.

US Business in Russia Willing to Weather Sanctions
Despite sanctions, trade turnover between U.S. and Russia actually grew since the beginning of the year, and over the period from January to July 2014 went up to almost $15 billion, compared to only $12 billion in the same period last year.

Kudrin: Russian Economy Will Stagnate Over Sanctions
Taking aim at the generous spending pledges Putin made when he returned to the presidency in 2012, Kudrin said Moscow did not have the funds to invest in an economy, which was flagging before the West imposed sanctions over Russia's role in Ukraine.

Russian Inflation Is Increasing
Estimates differ from analyst to analyst, but it entirely possible that year-end inflation will be north of 8%. This isn’t particularly high compared to the inflation that Russia experienced in the not too distant past, but it represents the reversal of a broadly positive trend of lower inflation that had been years in the making.

High Taxes Push Russians into Informal Sector
According to the academy, up to 40% of the economically active population is currently employed in the informal sector. The Rosstat Federal State Statistics Service cites the figure at about 20%.

Russia to Launch Unified Database of Citizens
According to the current plans, the unified database will also include information about immigrants, giving the police and Migration Service more tools of control.

Egypt, Russia Reach Preliminary Arms Deal Worth $3.5 Billion
Russia is the world’s second-largest arms exporter and has recently sought to expand its military ties with Egypt amid a souring relationship between Cairo and Washington.

Russian Manufacturing Grows Despite Sanctions
Russian manufacturing showed a second consecutive month of growth in August, propped up by new orders, suggesting that Western sanctions haven't yet impacted the sector, the HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index showed Monday.

Russia to Join International Renewable Energy Agency
IRENA is an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.

What Russian Agriculture Needs
(In Russian) An American farmer in Russia talks about what Russian agriculture really needs: better access to land ownership.

Russian Regulator Seeks Leverage Over Moody's, Fitch and S&P
International ratings agencies may soon have to create Russian subsidiaries governed by the Central Bank to continue operating in Russia.

Sanctions Raise Cost of Using Visa, MasterCard for Russian Banks
If a year ago these guarantees cost 2 percent of the sum of a contract, now they cost 3 percent.

Russia Launches China UnionPay Credit Card
Russia’s biggest banks - VTB- Gazprombank, Promsvyazbank, Alfa Bank, MTS, and Rosbank- are already making technical preparations, running tests on Union Bank cards.

New Sanctions to Stall Exxon’s Arctic Oil Plans
As part of the latest round of sanctions against Russia, the United States government took aim at Exxon’s project in the Arctic Ocean, ordering American companies to cut off exports to Russian oil exploration within 14 days.

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Politics and Relations

How is Russia Viewed around the World?
A poll of the citizens of several countries. The results may surprise you.

Putin’s Approval Rating Rises to 80% – Poll
Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating has reached 80 percent, with a majority of Russians saying the country is heading in the right direction, an independent pollster said Wednesday.

8 Things Masha Gessen Got Wrong About Russian Demography
Gessen’s article is so littered with factual errors that it would actually subtract from a non-specialist’s knowledge of the topic: someone who knew nothing about Russian demography before reading the article would end up believing a number of things that are not true.

Russia’s New National Strategy
Amid the ongoing crisis over Ukraine, the Kremlin has adopted a new national strategy that crystallizes trends that have been gaining ground in Russia over the past two years.

US, Allies to Hold Drills in West Ukraine as Fighting Rages in East
In addition to staging air force exercises, the U.S. is moving tanks and 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for joint maneuvers in October, replacing a more lightly armed force of paratroopers.

John Tefft sworn in as US Ambassador to Russia
Tefft, unlike his predecessor, is a career diplomat. He was Ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia, and Lithuania. As Tefft himself put it, he assumes the position of Ambassador to Russia at a time when Russian-US relations are in a fix, and their future is uncertain.

Russia's Total Fertility Rate Is Rapidly Converging With America's
You often hear that “every year, fewer and fewer people in Russia are having children” but this is not true. Over the past fifteen years Russia has seen a tremendous and long-term increase in its TFR, an increase that has played a vital role in stemming the population losses it suffered during the chaotic 1990′s.

Just for Fun: 17 Best Russian Films from the 21st Century
It is widely believed that modern Russian cinema is facing hard times, that it’s in serious crisis and urgently needs to be saved. But could it be things aren’t so bad? The editors of AdMe.ru present our picks for top Russian films of the 21st century. Subscribe to the SRAS Newsletter

Just for Fun: Russian-English Translation Challenges
Translating between any two languages can be difficult, and translating between Russian and English is no exception to this pattern. Due to certain grammatical differences, some meanings within the languages can be difficult to translate. Subscribe to the SRAS Newsletter

Language Connections: How Many Ways Can You Say Popcorn?
English has many regionalisms, or different words used to describe the same thing depending on the geographic location.

Russian Corner: Certification of Work Conditions in Russia
This article prepared by specialists of Alinga Consulting will discuss similarities and differences of two systems, explore necessary actions and provide answers to other questions related to the special evaluation study of labor conditions. Subscribe to the Alinga Market Update

Marchmont: Russian Venture Capital Market Overview (PDF)
Marchmont is pleased to present the latest issue of the Russian Venture Capital Market Overview by RMG Securities and East-West Digital News, offering a detailed analysis of Russia’s VC market in 2Q 2014. Subscribe to Marchmont News Service

Marchmont: Angel Investors in Russia
Russian business angel investors last week convened for the 2014 International Business Summit in Nizhny Novgorod, in the mid-Volga area, to discuss problems and prospects of angel investing in Russia. Subscribe to Marchmont News Service


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