A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 160 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 75 countries worldwide.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian (t.me/Roscongress), English (t.me/RoscongressDirect), and Spanish (t.me/RoscongressEsp). Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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31 May 2019

The equal, the first, the only. A short story of naval fortune

According to experts, when it was completed in 1902, the Cruiser Aurora was not remarkable for its combat effectiveness or nautical capabilities. In the best case, the ship could be considered ‘an equal among equals.’ However, it is said that the naval fortune enjoyed by the first rank cruiser could be enough for an entire squadron. In its life, the ship survived several genuinely difficult voyages and travelled more than 120,000 nautical miles, which is more than five trips around the Earth’s equator. The Aurora survived friendly fire during the Dogger Bank incident and Japanese projectiles in the Battle of Tsushima. In the latter, despite having been damaged, the cruiser successfully evaded the attacks of torpedo boat destroyers. During World War I, the ship cruised along the Gulf of Bothnia, protecting the minesweeper fleet, studying channels, and providing gunfire support to land forces, successfully avoiding the attacks of enemy seaplanes. It survived three revolutions and the treacherous theft of its red revolutionary flag, which was stolen by the retired chair of the ship commission Korunov, who intended to sew it into a jacket

The cruiser’s service record also includes a terrorist attack in March 1918, when a time bomb was placed onboard. The ‘hellish mechanism’ was diffused by Aurora’s senior officer Boris Frantsevich Vinter, keeping the ship’s after magazine from exploding and averting imminent ruin. Having had almost no time to become a revolutionary legend, in 1919, when Nikolai Yudenich was marching on Petrograd, the cruiser was once again a hair’s breadth away from destruction. Preparations were being made to sink it in the Morskoi Kanal. The Aurora sailed out several times to the location where it was planned the ship would open its Kingston valves and block the channel for invading ships. But the deed was never completely done. The cruiser’s weapons were removed from and returned onboard the ship, and the sound of its 6-inch guns, set up on improvised floating batteries, echoed across the Volga near Tsaritsyn.

Following the end of the Civil War, it was suggested multiple times that the disarmed cruiser be broken down for scrap, but each time reasons were found to keep the ship afloat. Moored at the Kronstadt Naval Port, the Aurora sadly awaited its fate. However, fortune smiled on it once again. On 23 February 1923, the ship was put into service as a specialized training ship within the Baltic fleet, simultaneously becoming the first battle ready cruiser on the Soviet Baltic. Repaired and rearmed, it navigated around the Scandinavian Peninsula and then became a dumb training base for first year students of naval and submarine schools. On the eve of war, the Aurora was once again slated to be retired from the fleet, but fate had other plans for the ship once again. A war had begun...

The same story repeated once again: as Hitler’s forces closed in on Leningrad, the guns aboard the cruiser, made part of Kronstadt’s air defence system, were gradually removed and transported to Duderhof’s Battery A (which was almost completely destroyed by German fire in September 1941). The last gun taken off of the Aurora fired at the enemy off of the Baltiyets armoured train. The grounded ship continued to fight on land, sea, and by air. According to witnesses, during an air raid the Aurora’s anti-aircraft gunners took down an enemy plane. German planes and artillery bombed and fired at the cruiser up to the very end of the siege, landing several direct hits. But fate smiled upon the ship once again: it stood its ground and remained intact

In 1968, the cruiser received the Order of the October Revolution. And became the first in the history of the Soviet Navy to receive two Orders

After the war, the Aurora served as a museum and monument to the fleet’s history and as a training ship for the naval cadets of Leningrad’s Nakhimov Naval School. The cruiser was designated a branch of the Central Naval Museum and included on the list of protected state monuments. The ship faced major repairs, renovation, and the replacement of the underwater portions of the hull. In 2010, the Cruiser Aurora was retired from the naval fleet. It seemed like the legendary vessel’s fate was to age quietly and gradually be forgotten. Times had changed. However, in 2013, after an appeal by the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg to the Russian President to return the status of the Russian Navy’s flagship to the Aurora and preserve its naval crew, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu announced that the cruiser Aurora will be repaired and recommissioned.

After successfully being repaired, in June 2016, the ship returned to its permanent mooring place. The stern of the renovated Aurora was decorated by an uncommon flag of honour, developed by the Heraldry Service of the Russian Armed Forces: the St Andrews’s flag adorned with the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of the October Revolution, symbolizing an unbreakable tie between these ages. It would be curious to look back into the past and track the history of the unusually fortunate Aurora, starting from its early years as a first rank cruiser with three funnels and finally put to rest the arguments over the famous ‘first shot’ and the underwater concrete postament...

These long years have notably reshaped that fleet of ‘equals,’ leaving the Aurora to be the ‘first among equals.’ And history, having for some reason favoured this revolutionary cruiser, has added its final touches to the picture by granting the Aurora the unique distinction of being the oldest national museum ship. By a strange twist of fate, this famous first rank ship remains afloat and is the official flagship of the Russian Navy. And isn’t this series of events the best proof of the cruiser’s improbable fortune and luck?

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