Arkhangelsk top news in May

Have a look through the main events and arrangements that happened in the Arkhangelsk Oblast in May.

WEEK 17 (May 1)

Arkhnagelsk welcomes spring

According to different estimations from 15 to 35 thousand people in Arkhangelsk participated in the 1st of May parade along the central streets and in different arrangements on several arenas in the city. The column of demonstrators was almost 1.5 km long. Today May 1 is a city celebration to welcome a long-awaited spring. People are happy to gather together with their families, friends and colleagues. The main idea of the parade was to unite all the northerners. People spoke a lot about solidarity, common objectives to improve the life of working people, about fair wages, etc. Local ethnic communities were wearing their national costumes. The parade was headed by youth organizations wearing a huge Russian flag 50 meters long.

WEEK 18 (May 2-8)

Journalists are fighting for freedom of speech

Media sector in the Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Nenets Okrug is facing some challenges. The staff of the newspaper “Naryana Vynder” from the Nenets Okrug supported its Director because the Board of the newspaper and the administration of NAO are trying to hound him out of the position. It is said that the Chief Editor was offered to leave the post at his free will but he refused. There is another conflict in the journalists’ community in the Arkhangelsk Oblast as well. Reporters from the local TV channel Pomorye fighting for the freedom of speech wrote a letter to the Head office in Moscow where they expressed their objections to the new information policy of the editorial management.

Shtokman Viewed by the Press

Journalist competitions under the same topic “Shtokman Viewed by the Press” have been announced simultaneously in tree Russian regions – Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, and Nenets Okrug. The initiators of the competition are Shtokman Development AG, Governments of the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Oblasts, administration of the Nenets Okrug. There are several categories within the competition, including Safety and Environment, Project Importance for the Regional Development, Social Responsibility.

Days of Solovki in Arkhangelsk

Days of Solovki in Arkhangelsk were arranged from May 12 to 18and included a number of different cultural and educational events to help people learn more about the history, culture and nature of the White Sea archipelago. Among other events there were arranged: charitable concert, photo exhibitions, virtual excursion, and lectures about historical and cultural heritage of the islands.

Corruption level in the region is minimal

According to a sociological survey the Arkhangelsk Oblast is on the 8th position in the top 10 regions with the minimal level of corruption. The three leaders in the rating are the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Tyumen and Tomsk regions.

WEEK 19 (May 9-15)

Future of the mining industry is related to basalt and peat

The basis for the mining industry of the region is still development of diamond and bauxite deposits, as well as raw materials for manufacturing of gypsum and cement. Over the last two years the situation within the industry has improved significantly. Thus, in 2010 the increase in production was more than 20%, payments of the Mineral Extraction Tax are also growing. In 2011 most of the investments will be made by companies which are involved in diamond developments. Mineral resources that are expected to be of the greatest promise for the region are basalt and peat.

New international tourist product – “Silver Ring”

The Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Karelia Republic are making an application for financing of a tourist project “Silver Ring” to the European Union. The project will cover Arkhangelsk, Petrozavodsk (Karelia), Saint-Petersburg, and municipalities from the Finnish County Kaiinuu.

Specialists in cross-border relations will be educated in Arkhangelsk

The Northern Arctic Federal University will start in 2011 a new specialty – bachelor of international relations. The key profile will be international relations within the Arctic region.

Air Baltic has not changed its mind to fly to Arkhangelsk

Air Baltic is still planning to perform flights to Arkhangelsk. Initial plans of the company had to be changed due to the global economic recession, that is why there is no direct connection between Riga and Arkhangelsk now. But as soon as the air company has such an opportunity it will resume its flights to the capital of the Arkhangelsk Oblast.

WEEK 20 (May 16-22)

Days of Norway were celebrated in Arkhangelsk on a large scale

On May 16 and 17 Arkhangelsk for the first time celebrated the National Day of Norway on such a large scale. The main participants of the celebrations were students from the local colleges and universities. They were involved in several master-classes of the Pomor and the Norwegian cuisine, as well as a master class of the Norwegian folk music performed by a folk-rock band SVER. The festive meeting in front of the building of the Honorary Consulate and a parade were followed by entertainments and the SVER concert in the Arctic Museum.

Tourist and recreation zones to be established in the Oblast Arkhangelsk

Oblast is working on a law about seven tourist and recreation zones on the territory of the region. The all will be located close to the federal road M-8. A tourist and recreation zone is meant to be a part of the municipal territory with favorable economic conditions. Potential investors are supposed to be provided with tax preferences, transportation tax and property tax benefits.

Kibas – a symbol of the Pomor culture

In the result of an open contest the symbol of the year of the Pomor Culture was chosen to be a unique original Pomor analogue of the “horseshoe to bring luck”, an ancient part of a fishing net – kibas. The construction of a kibas is made up of a White Sea stone surrounded by a juniper withe and covered in stripes of birch bark. The composition of a kibas represents a symbol “cross within circle”, which is similarly interpreted in all the world cultures: a cross is a symbol of life, a circle is a symbol of eternity, unity of spiritual and material things.

“Polish Spring” in Arkhangelsk

Arkhangelsk welcomes the “Polish Cultural Spring”. The project implies demonstration of Polish movies, art and photo exhibitions, presentation of books about Russian-Polish cooperation, a concert by Polish musicians.

Aker Solutions is ready to cooperate with the local industry

Technical workshop arranged was arranged by Aker Solutions in Arkhangelsk for local companies which are interested to participate in the development of the Shtokman gas-condensate field. The main goal of the workshop is to increase local content in the project. More than 20 regional companies participated in the workshop. They are suppliers of materials, working clothes, special protective equipment, subcontractors for manufacturing of metal structures, paintwork, automation equipment, transportation, and others. Aker Solutions told about development of their activity in the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Oblasts, about requirements to subcontractors and had individual B2B meetings with every company present at the workshop.

Arkhangelsk Museums opened their doors for one night

For the first time only for 1 night from 21st to 22nd of May Museums of Arkhangelsk opened their doors for everybody who was interested to visit them at such an unusual time under unusual circumstances. The program included white night excursions, movies, concerts and performances.

WEEK 21 (May 23-29)

Journal-books from the expedition of Willem Barents translated into Russian

Famous journal-books from the Willem Barents expedition were presented in the Northern (Arctic) Federal University after being for the first time translated from the Old Dutch to the Russian. The publication was made under the bilateral cooperation program for preservation and use of joint cultural heritage of Russia and the Netherlands. In early June the book will be delivered to the libraries and the museums of Arkhangelsk, and in the mid June it will come on sale.

Shtokman Development AG and the Northern Arctic Federal University signed cooperation agreement

Shtokman Development AG and the Northern Arctic Federal University have signed a framework agreement for cooperation. Shtokman Development AG needs personnel to work on the production vessel and onshore. Total number of personnel will amount from 400 to 2.5 thousand people. The company is intended to develop programs for students for adaptation and involvement in the industrial process. Specialists trained for Shtokman will also be in demand at other similar Arctic development offshore projects. Thus Shtokman will become a sort of personnel incubator for the projects to follow it.

Delegation from SDAG in Arkhangelsk

On May 24 delegation from Shtokman Development AG visited Arkhangelsk. At the meeting with the Deputy Governor they discussed the whole range of issues for cooperation between the region and the operator of Phase 1. Also during the visit there was a meeting of the Committee for increasing local content in the Shtokman project.

Summarizing the International Tourist Forum

International tourist forum in Arkhangelsk has been the largest arrangement in the Barents Region in terms of the scale, number of events, level of experts involved and geography of participants. The main topic for discussion was tourism development in the Nordic territories. More than 400 participants arrived from 7 countries – Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Canada, and Hungary. For the first time the platform for such a representative forum was not Moscow or Saint-Petersburg, but one of the Russian regions. During the forum there were arranged a tourist workshop for young people, Pomor fish cuisine festival, presentation of tourist projects, celebration of the jubilee of the oldest in Russian wheeled steamer “N.V. Gogol”, International tourist fair ITFA and other events.

Airport at Novaya Zemlya to be used for the Shtokman project

Shtokman Development AG is intended to use airport at Novaya Zemlya during 50 years of the project implementation, since it is the closest to the field. The questions of the airport operation and the status of the territory have to be handled by Gazprom. It is necessary to develop interrelations with the RF Ministry of Defense, and the regional authorities for that purpose.

A submarine to be turned into a museum

A submarine will be installed on the bank of the river in Arkhangelsk to be used as a museum and attract tourists to the motherland of the nuclear fleet. The Governor Mikhalchuk also noted at the press-conference that in addition to other tourist projects the region should also develop tours to the Plesetk space launching site and the Severodvinsk shipyards.

Regional authorities will continue to create good conditions for investments

Arkhangelsk Oblast takes the fifth place in Russia in terms of the efficiency of the local authorities and the Deputies to attract investments and eliminate administrative barriers. The oblast took place 44 among 83 Russian regions after climbing 18 positions up. In 2010 the volume of investments to the regional economic sector amounted to 40 billion 700 million rubles. In 2010 economists also make forecasts for growth. The leaders within increase in investments are transportation, timber, communications, agriculture, and mining production. A considerable share of investments in 2010 was budget investments. Comparing to 2009 the increase was by more than 1.5 times. The regional authorities believe that their main achievement on the strategic level is development of a robust investment legislationлавным. They are now facing two basic tasks: to create facilitates for investment infrastructure (industrial parks, land plots available for construction of infrastructure facilities) and development of private-public partnership.

Duty-free shop opened in the Arkhangelsk airport

Duty-free shop is open in the international flights zone of the Arkhangelsk airport. Very soon duty-free goods will also be sold onboard of aircrafts flying from Arkhangelsk to foreign countries. The choice of goods in the shop is not so wide yet, but after the first year of operation it will be enlarged.

Reorganization of the NArFU completed

Reorganization of the Northern Arctic Federal University has been completed through merging with the Pomor State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Arkhangelsk timber industrial vocational school named after Peter I, and Severodvinsk technical vocational school.

Minister of finances Kudrin visited Arkhangelsk

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Government Alexey Koudrin arrived to Arkhangelsk with a working visit. He was chairing a joint meeting of the federal and regional steering committees for preparing and arrangement of celebrations devoted to the jubilee of M.V. Lomonosov.

International festival “Arkhangelsk-BLUES”

Arkhangelsk hosted the VI international festival "Arkhangelsk-BLUES". Not only Russian, but also American, French, Norwegian, Armenian and Arabic musicians arrived to the city. The organizer of the festival was traditionally Tim Dorofeev. Different styles and types of blues were played at the festival. The event lasted for 2 days.

WEEK 22 (May 30-31)

Kalistratov to quit from the position of Sevmash CEO

The Board of Directors at Sevmash has decided to suspend the CEO of Sevmash Nikolay Kalistratov at his own request. The interim appointment will be held by Andrey Djyachkov, Director General of design bureau Rubin. The final dismissal of Nikolay Kalistratov from the position of CEO of Sevmash and election of a new CEO will be discussed at the General Assembly of shareholders in late June this year.

10 local companies already bid for Shtokman tenders

Local companies from the Arkhangelsk region already participate in more than 10 tenders that are held under the Phase 1 of the Shtokman development project: manufacturing of subsea equipment (subsea, procurement, construction); pipes coating; integrated logistic base; operation of the ILB; helicopter services; charter flights; construction.

Quality of life in Arkhangelsk Oblast is better than in its NW neighbours

According to the Russian Institute of regional information North-Western regions of Russian are in the middle of the all-Russian rating of the Life Quality Index. Among the NW regions the leaders are – Leningrad and Kaliningrad Oblasts. Arkhangelsk Oblast takes the third position thus being ahead of all the neighbours: Komi Republic, Vologda and Kirov Oblasts, Karelia Republic.

Sevmash paid its debt to the Norwegian Odfjell

Sevmash has executed the decision made by the Arbitration court in the Stockholm Chamber of Industry and Commerce to pay 43 million USD plus court fees to the Norwegian company Odfjell. The court decision was executed on May 27.

SMBs in the Pomor Land do not agree with the opinion of the Forbes Magazine

Forbes Magazine has made a rating of 30 Russian regions best and most favourable for business development. Arkhangelsk Oblast takes position 27 out of 30. The top three regions in the rating are Tatarstan, Sverdlovsk Oblast and Krasnodar Krai. Behind the Arkhangelsk Oblast there are only Yakutia, Vologda and Astrakhan Oblasts. According to social parameters Arkhangelsk Oblast takes position number 23, regional wealth – 24, infrastructure – 24, favourable conditions for business development — 25, business climate — 27. According to the population prosperity the Oblast takes 11th place (this is probably due to a relatively high, in the scale of the whole country, average salary in the Oblast according to the official statistics – almost 17800 rubles). For an economically depressed region to be among top 30 Russian regions is an achievement by itself. However, small and medium businesses in the Pomor land never stop to complain of hopelessness and lack of perspectives for the development of entrepreneurship in the area. SMBs try to keep away from cooperation with the local authorities and with the first opportunity they are ready to take their business out of the region.