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Articles by Lena Smirnova
Without a Team, Chinese Fans Still Flock to Russia's World Cup
China is second place behind Russia in the number of football fans attending matches, and many of those fans are also shelling out.
Football Supporters Hit the Pitch at the Fan World Cup
Football supporters from 16 countries will play and live together at the Fan World Cup, set to take place this weekend in St. Petersburg between June 29...
Meet the Brain Behind World Cup Mascot Zabivaka
"When I see people walking around with [Zabivaka], that probably means that they like him and I find that more touching."
School's Not Out: Students at Elite Russian University Take On the World Cup
Thousands of rowdy football fans will descend on the campus of Russia’s top university during finals.
Hundreds of Abandoned Children Meet in Russia for Street Child World Cup
The football tournament gathers together more than 200 children from 20 countries.
Moscow Hears Political Saber Rattling in Fresh U.S. Sanctions Vote
Top Russian officials on Wednesday slammed a U.S. House of Representatives vote in favor of fresh sanctions
Tatarstan, the Last Region to Lose Its Special Status Under Putin
Kazan looks on as a deal granting it special status expires
Let the Campaigns Begin! Putin and Navalny Tussle for Media Attention
“It is a politically hot summer in Moscow, despite the weather”
Russia’s Die-Hard Surfers Want to Be Olympians
Against a current of skepticism, Russian surfers are vying for recognition
Nemtsov Killers' Sentencing Brings Little Closure
The man who shot Boris Nemtsov in the back in 2015 has been given a 20-year sentence.
Tributes to Anton Nossik, Pioneer of Russia's Internet, Cut Across Divides
The Internet's 'Pushkin' died on July 9, just days after turning 51
Winzavod: 10 Years at the Cutting Edge
When the Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art opened to much discussion 10 years ago with its first exhibit, it looked destined to become a revolutionary...
Cashiers on the Front Line of Battle Against Teenage Alcoholism
University student Darya Kiriyichko has an allergy to alcoholic beverages. She had a drink during her coming-of-age birthday party and ended up in hospital...
Arts and life
Fairy-Tale Characters Celebrate Holidays in Belarus
Folk heroes and traditional figures from throughout the former Soviet Union gathered together in Belarus for a celebration.
Olympic Village Apartments Going on Sale
The Sochi Olympic Village, set to house athletes during the Games from January through March, will then morph into a premium-class residential resort...
Shake Shack Bets on Moscow in 'Unusual Expansion Plan'
It's unusual for a company to expand into a foreign country - perhaps especially Russia - before conquering its home market. But with Russians flocking...
New Signage Rules to Take Effect Next Year
If a bright advertising sign outside your window does not let you sleep or you find the oversized letters on store signs you pass on the way to work are...
Perceptions of Environmental Challenges Acute
More than a quarter of Russians consider the ecological situation in the country to be "close to catastrophic" and 59 percent said that there are...
Young Architects Visualize an 'Awesome' Moscow
Muscovites were asked to imagine what would make Moscow an "awesome" place to live and had their dreams visualized in 84 sketches by professional...
High-Tech Investors Say Accounting Rules Slow Them Down
Overly bureaucratic accounting rules are one of the biggest hurdles that Internet companies face when they try to start doing business in Russia, executives...
Suburbs Await Transformation Into Hubs in a New Polycentric Moscow
Moscow will get a new master plan by 2015 to reflect its forthcoming transformation into a polycentric city, in which peripheral areas become alternative...
Report Says Moscow Should Prioritize Quality over Cost to Attract Investment
It is hard for Moscow to compete for foreign investment with other metropolises because it offers below-average quality at above-average costs, according...
40 Years On, Polar Bears and Threats to Their Habitat are Multiplying
Environment ministers and delegations from the five countries bordering the Arctic met in Moscow on Wednesday to voice continuing support for polar bear...
Q&A: Oriflame CEO Says Conquer Fear and Take Risk
When Magnus Brännström was 12, he and his family, suppressing their fear, crossed the Iron Curtain for a vacation in the Soviet Union, their friends'...
Local Car Parts Manufacturers, Clustered With Foreign Firms, Face Annihilation
Russian auto parts manufacturers face complete disintegration if the government does not support them inside specialized automobile clusters, industry...
Young Entrepreneur Raises Houses and Business Out of Bottles
When a young Interior Ministry intern from Volgograd decided to build a house for himself, he chose unlikely construction materials - recycled plastic...
First Generation With Wealth Shape Philanthropy Culture
The first Russians to dispose of free wealth in nearly a century are putting down the institutional roots of philanthropy, but donations trail behind...
Russia Loses, but Proud to Host Miss Universe
Miss Venezuela, Maria Gabriela Isler, swept aside 85 contestants to give her country its seventh Miss Universe crown during the competition final in Moscow's...
Miss Universe 2013 Competition Kicks Off in Moscow
Miss Universe pageant's arrival in Moscow, the first time the contest has been hosted here in its 62-year history, brought out all the glitter and sequins...
Food Price Inflation Reaches Double Digits
Potatoes, eggs and caviar are among the food products that have seen double digit price growth in 2013, according to information released by the State...
Print Losing Out to Digital in Battle for Advertising Spending
Print media is being hit the hardest by a slowdown in advertising spending, as companies trim their marketing budgets and shift focus to digital platforms...
New Kempinski a Long, Quiet Effort
Moving to Moscow from Dubai, the general manager of the Nikolskaya Kempinski luxury hotel, Burkhard Wolter, was initially put off by what he saw as...
Putin Creates Construction and Utilities Ministry
President Vladimir Putin has created a new ministry for construction, housing and utilities, and appointed former Ivanovo Governor Mikhail Men as its chief...
Siberian Shoe Retailer Plans to Raise $63M in Local IPO
National shoe retailer Obuv Rossii, or Russian Footwear, plans to carry out an initial public offering on the Moscow Exchange by the end of the year, the...
Coastal Erosion Could Threaten Olympic Sites
Extensive construction that was carried out in preparation for the Winter Olympics in Sochi has led to coastal erosion, which increases the risk of damaging...
Sochi Risks Fumbling its Olympic Tourism Opportunity
With 100 days left until the Winter Olympic Games, tourism industry insiders fear that the country has missed its opportunity to capitalize on the...
Turkish Low-Coster Forces Rivals to React
Competitors' ticket prices are falling due to Turkish low-coster Pegasus Airlines' addition of Moscow and Sochi routes this month, the carrier's commercial...
Medvedev Talks Straight With Foreign CEOs
Russia's economy has hit a plateau and will grow 2 percent at best in 2013, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the heads of 48 global companies...
Car Ownership Easier, More Expensive
With new rules simplifying registration of automobiles going into effect Tuesday, the country's rapidly growing number of motorists will find the time...
Seagal to Promote Russian Rifle Model
American action film star Steven Seagal will become the face of a new Russian firearm, the actor announced at a Moscow news conference Friday.
Q&A: Bachurin and 'Stalingrad' Galvanize Russian Film
It takes Ilya Bachurin mere seconds to choose his favorite movie. But when asked to choose his favorite Russian movie, to say that it takes him a long...
Economy Faces Stagnation Unless Productivity Increases
The Russian economy will stagnate if companies do not increase their labor productivity, which currently averages at 40 percent of that of the Fortune...
Health Official Lambasts Lithuania
Chief Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko criticized Lithuanian officials for what he called "hysterical" statements about Russia's ban on the country's...
Arts and life
Circus Unveils World of Madness and Sport
Cirque du Soleil's "Kooza" is as close you can get to falling through a rabbit hole into a Lewis Carroll-like crazy world: either that or sitting in the...
Deputy Mayor Slams Affordable Housing
Deputy Mayor Marat Khusnullin spoke against building affordable housing in Moscow, arguing that expensive apartments are a key ingredient in controlling...
More Passion Than Financial Hardnoses at Moscow Cat Show (Photo Essay)
The hundreds of savvy entrepreneurs who descended upon Moscow over the weekend came equipped with all the essentials: market plans, business cards...
Female Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Awarded
They can juggle the demands of work and family on a daily basis and, on special occasions, attend award ceremonies in their honor.
Eco-Consciousness Growing, One Package at a Time
Russian consumers have more interest and demand for environmentally friendly packaging than their counterparts in some developed countries, but still...
Demand for Real Estate Drops in Moscow Region
Demand for real estate in the Moscow region fell over the summer and this market stagnation is expected to continue until the winter months, according...
Q&A: Akimov Provides Good Food While Building Trust
The return of the artichoke to Russia was a personal triumph for Boris Akimov, a former journalist who serendipitously turned his passion for eating well...
Developers Face Green Building Certification
Real estate consultants predict healthy growth in the number of Russian properties that earn internationally recognized green-building certificates,...
For Regional Real Estate Investment Success is in the Niceties
In the midst of an exodus of foreign capital, Russia's regions are in a fierce competition to attract investors to their local real estate markets...
Pork, Tolstoy Latest Players in Potash Drama
Belarussian Prime Minister Pyotor Prokopovich said Saturday that "there is no politics" in the dispute between fertilizer producers in Belarus and Russia...
Ecologists Link Far East Floods to Global Warming
When President Vladimir Putin flew to the Khabarovsk region on Thursday to survey the damage from the record flooding in the area, ecologists said...
Walrus Study Seeks to Prove Family Ties
The 2,000 to 3,000 walruses living in the remote Laptev Sea could be threatened due to increased oil exploration in the Arctic, according to the...
Counterfeits Flood Antiques Market
At least half of the items in circulation on Russia's antiques market are counterfeits, which cost scammed collectors millions of rubles every year...
Moscow Region Invests in Amateur Athletes
When director Nikolai Lebedev decided to film part of "Legend No. 17," a well-received biopic about the legendary Soviet hockey player Valery Kharlamov...
Presidential Order Bans Protests in Sochi During the Olympics
Public protests in heightened security zones in Sochi will be prohibited during the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games next year, according to a...
Battery Recycling Project Launched
Waste recycling moved one step ahead in Moscow as the Krasnoselsky district launched a pilot project for the systematic collection of used batteries...
Onishchenko Seeks Quality Control System for Ukrainian Products
In the midst of an escalating trade war between the former Soviet republics, Russia's Chief Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko attributed the ban...
Iconic Luzhniki Gets Set for Makeover as Championships End
The stadium will be revamped to meet FIFA’s requirements for the 2018 World Cup, but residents fear it may lose its character.
Athletes Left Lonely as Championships Fail to Draw Big Crowds
A record number of delegations came out to compete at the World Athletic Championships in Moscow this week in what the organizers had hoped would...
Dutch Businessman Traces Footsteps of Amur Tigers
The tiger is the undisputed poster-boy of the animal kingdom. In terms of glitzy publicity and glamourous acquaintances — including President Vladimir...
WWF Says Red Tape Impedes Moscow's First Eco-House Project
The Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund is ready to build Moscow's first eco-house, but red tape has been holding up the project for more than...
Crackdown on Artificial Food Additives Ineffective, Say NGOs
Non-profit organizations are accusing the government of not doing enough to protect consumers from potentially dangerous food additives despite a recent...
IAAF Athletes Have no Problems With Moscow's Air
Air quality in Beijing and London ruffled plenty of feathers among athletes and ecologists when the megapolises set out to host the Summer Olympic...
Private Raceway Set to Boost Motorsport
It's a sight that few will experience. Blazing through a Russian racetrack at more than 270 kilometers per hour, a local world-class driver comes to a...
Consumers Feel No Benefit From WTO, Producers Suffer
Russians were promised lower prices when the country joined the World Trade Organization, but one year on prices continue to rise — at least for consumers...
Jail Sentences Introduced for Illegal Hunting
If you have a polar bear skin in your house, get rid of it. As Russia toughens its hunting laws, this is the advice from Natural Resources and Environment...
Ukrainian Confectioner Suspends Exports to Russia
Ukraine's leading confectioner Roshen has suspended its exports to Russia after chief sanitary inspector Gennady Onishchenko banned the products, saying...
State Unveils $9Bln Program to Aid Countryside
The government and private investors will spend 300 billion rubles ($9 billion) to increase the investment potential of rural areas and make them...
Sharonov to Leave Moscow City Hall
Deputy Mayor Andrei Sharonov will leave his position after the city elections in September, Vedomosti reported Wednesday based on information from unnamed...
Moscow River Passing on Its Pollutants
The quantity of industrial pollutants in the Moscow River significantly exceeds safety standards, according to a study by Greenpeace Russia.
Children's Products Sector Set for Government-Sponsored Boost
The Industry and Trade Ministry wants to increase the share of locally made children's products on the domestic market from 20 percent in 2012...
Kazan Gives Sochi a Lesson in Transportation
As drivers in this city muddled through the winter months sitting in traffic jams and avoiding the multitude of streets under repair, many looked...
Georgian Wine Comes Back to Russia
It was meant to be a triumphant comeback that would patch up sour diplomatic relations between former Soviet republics and satisfy Russia's thirst for quality...
Illegal Logging Battle Puts Forests in the Red
Illegal logging costs hundreds of millions of rubles each year, but the offenders are difficult to catch and even more difficult to punish.
Vague Rules Spell Doom for Protected Forests
Tree cutting in formally protected forest areas has increased dramatically as timber companies look for new sources of the diminishing natural resource...
Hals Chief Synchronizes Personal and Professional Development
When Sergei Kalinin came to Moscow from Kazan in early 1992, he was much like Alexandre Dumas' mischievous musketeer, d'Artagnan, arriving to conquer...
Fairy-Tale Tourism Budding in Remote Places
If there is one social function you can't miss this year, make it Baba Yaga's birthday.
Onischenko Calls for Food Patriotism, Early Working Hours
Chief Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko implored Russians to temper their interest in exotic, foreign foods and instead, to stick to a "patriotic"...
Sky-High Apartments at Soaring Prices
A Saudi prince is considering Moscow as one of the possible locations for the tallest skyscraper in the world, and though it faces competition from Shanghai...
Ikea Growing Humility in Russia One Employee at a Time
With the coveted title of Russia's biggest shopping mall operator, Ikea Shopping Centres leads in a market that is expected to become Europe's second largest...
Hiring Professionals Challenged By Generation Gap
The current wave of young job candidates entering the labor market presents unique challenges to hiring managers, experts said at a forum dedicated...
Boutique Business Tests Entrepreneurs Stamina
French vendors of gourmet foods were eager to make a triumphant return to Russia almost a 100 years after the Bolshevik revolution swept out their...
Ministry Funding Healthy Lifestyle Advertisements
The Health Ministry is pushing ahead in its efforts to wean Russians off tobacco and drugs through a series of television advertisements that promote...
Businessmen Eagerly Await Recycling Law
Business is urging the government to expedite legislation that would introduce recycling fees for household waste to attract investments into the...
Entrepreneurs See Dollar Signs in Garbage Piles
The million tons of waste that lie in Russian landfills are an eyesore for ecologists and those who reside nearby, but some ambitious entrepreneurs...
'Smart' Solutions to Reduce Congestion
Cell phone warnings about traffic jams, a network management center to monitor all of Moscow's transportation activities in real time and metro passes...
Russia to Switch to Electronic Customs Procedures
The customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan plans to ease customs procedures in an effort to improve the investment climate.
Soviet Era Hotels Awaiting Capitalist Saviors
Hulking, bleakly grey and occasionally claustrophobia-inducing, Soviet-era hotels are ready to be spruced up - if investors will have them.
Russian Airspace a Greenfield for Budget Carriers
But even budget carrier veterans say it remains to be seen if their model can overcome local geography and mentality.
Arctic Activity Heating Up
When the virtual hammer came down on the country's Arctic real estate last week, state-controlled Gazprom managed to get the largest slice.
Candy Maker Ferrero Expects Russia to Become No. 1 Market
While the economic crisis has soured the European business climate, Russia's sweet tooth could be the perfect cure.
McDonald's Will Fuel Gold Medals in Sochi
Despite his best efforts, McDonald's Russia founder George Cohon did not manage to have his golden arches planted on Russian soil in time for the 1980...
Students Favor State Firms as Employers
When it comes to Russian college students' career aspirations, Gazprom's gas fields might as well be described as the fields of dreams, according to an...
Number of Dissolved Contracts Specified
The termination of land lease contracts freed up 600 hectares of land.
Environmentalists Cool on Arctic Council Results
The member countries of the Arctic Council have signed its second legally binding agreement, this time on combating oil spills in the region, and accepted...
Officials Gear Up for Wildfires Amid Record Temperatures
Over 50 wildfires have blazed through the Central Federal District since the beginning of this year, and with the current record-setting temperatures...
Real Estate Deals for 30 Million Square Meters Dissolved
Moscow authorities have dissolved real estate contracts totaling more than 30 million square meters since the end of 2010, Vedomosti reported, citing...