Russia House in Davos
Russia House served as the official Russian residence in Davos. The venue was hosted by the Roscongress Foundation, a major Russian business forum operator, and Ulmart, Russia’s leading e-commerce company. Russia House welcomed a record number of high-profile guests during the World Economic Forum. The debates and events at the official venue for the Russian business community were among the most talked about in Davos. The Russia House business programme included a virtual presentation of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will be held on 1–3 June in St. Petersburg.
The main aim behind Russia House was to demonstrate Russia’s openness to dialogue and collaboration, and to focus on business successes.
On the basis of the initial results, it can be confidently stated that the organizers of the official residence of the Russian business community in Davos have achieved their objectives.
Events at Russia House were attended by over 3,000 people, including government officials, international business leaders, and representatives of the investment community. Among the guests at Russia House were President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, and founder of the social network VK Pavel Durov, as well as the leaders of major global e-commerce companies, economists, bankers, among them Global Managing Partner of Ernst and Young Carmine DiSibio, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Suma Chakrabarti, Chief Executive Officer of SUN Group Shiv Khemka, President and Chief Executive Officer of Carlsberg Breweries Cees ‘t Hart, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Novartis Joerg Reinhardt, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bank Christian Sewing, European President of Procter & Gamble Gary Coombe, Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo ESSA Ramon Laguarta, and Senior Vice President of ABB Alanna Abrahamson.
In 2017, Russia House drew the attention of the Russian Government, with an official visit to the Russian residence by Maxim Oreshkin. “The Forum in Davos is very important to us, as it affords us the opportunity to hold essential meetings with international companies investing in Russia, and to conduct negotiations with colleagues from other countries”, Oreshkin said.
On 19 January the Minister held a meeting at Russia House with members of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC), bringing together Russian and international business leaders and heads of non-profit organizations.
Alexander Ivlev, EY Country Managing Partner, Russia, says: “The participants touched upon a number of issues that are high on foreign investors’ agenda, in particular, the activities of the Customs Union, as well as challenges surrounding the tax system, doing business, and production localization. There was also a proposal to revitalize the work of a dedicated task force aimed at supporting Russia’s image abroad, as many foreign investors are not yet aware of the country’s immense investment potential. As a result, Russia House has proved to be the perfect platform both in terms of form and substance.”
Summarizing the work of Russia House, CEO of the Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev noted that one of the chief aims of all events is to promote Russia as an investment destination: “Thanks to the business sessions and private meetings hosted by our venue, international guests and partners are now better informed about the opportunities for doing business in our country. We are seeking to show that Russia is open for dialogue, and to achieve this we are initiating projects like Russia House in partnership with Ulmart.”
Andrey Kuzyaev, President of ER-Telecom, said: “Participating in the Davos Forum gives us the opportunity to understand global economic trends, to learn about best practices in the industry, and to discuss them with our colleagues. Events like Russia House help to create a communications platform that can be used to talk about key economic trends and new strategic opportunities.”
Russia House served as a centre for international dialogue on 17 January, the official opening day of the Davos Forum. As part of a business breakfast event, leaders in the tech sector discussed the role of major companies in technological progress and the development of the digital economy. The day’s business agenda continued with the session ‘Russia–US Relations: Post-Election Dialogue’. This event was the most popular in the history of Russia House. More than 120 people attended the discussion on the outlook for improving economic relations between the two countries and opportunities for business development.
The second day of the project opened with a panel discussion titled ‘Digital Disruption: 10 Years On’, organized by financial and corporate communications agency and Russia House partner EM. Participants discussed changes already unfolding in culture, the media, banking, and other spheres of public life as a result of the growth of advanced technologies. The panel was moderated by Tom Blackwell, CEO of EM. Participants at the event included: Brian Pallas, Founder and CEO, Opportunity Network; Hanna Aase, Founder and CEO, Wonderloop; Tatiana Lysova, Editor-in-Chief, Vedomosti newspaper; Michael Hecker, Managing Director, Redline Capital Management; Andrey Kuzyaev, President, ER-Telecom; Egor Yakovlev, founder of VOD service Tvigle; and Fyokla Tolstaya, Development Director, Leo Tolstoy State Museum.
The third day of the World Economic Forum was a critical one for the Russian delegation in Davos. Chairman of the Board at Ulmart Dmitry Kostygin spoke on behalf of the Russian business community at a session on ‘Russia’s Role in the World’, which welcomed First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov as its key speaker.
“I myself have played the role of investor for many years, and I know that Russian business is undervalued as an investment opportunity. I am sure that 2017 will be a good year for Russian business, and therefore the national economy. There is of course, the danger of ‘black swans’, but we can already begin looking for ‘golden swans’”, Kostygin said at the opening of the discussion.
Throughout the Forum, Russia House gave visitors the opportunity to take a virtual reality walking tour of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is set to take place on 1–3 June in St. Petersburg. Over 400 Russian and international guests and participants at business programme events, as well as visitors to the official Russian residence, viewed the high-tech presentation promoting SPIEF.
“Great to see the SPIEF team using virtual reality to market the hands-down number one annual conference on Russia. In fact, we at EM are huge fans of VR (and SPIEF) and are actively engaged in using VR to find innovative and efficient ways to help Russian companies to present themselves to the international investment community. 2017 will see some major breakthroughs in this regard. Thanks to the SPIEF team for leading the way”, said Tom Blackwell, CEO of EM, after watching the SPIEF VR presentation.
About the Roscongress Foundation
The Roscongress Foundation was founded in 2007 with the aim of helping to develop Russia’s economic potential and strengthen the country’s image by organizing congresses and exhibitions with an economic and social focus. The Foundation develops the substantive content for these events, and provides companies and organizations with advice, information, and expert guidance, as well as offering comprehensive evaluation, analysis, and coverage of the Russian and global economic agendas.
Today, its annual agenda includes events held in locations ranging from Montevideo to Vladivostok, which bring together global business leaders, experts, the media, and government officials to create favourable conditions for dialogue and the promotion of new ideas and projects, and to assist in the creation of social enterprises and charity projects.
Ulmart is Russia’s largest privately held Internet company specializing in e-commerce. The company was founded in 2008, and its headquarters are located in St. Petersburg. As a coordinator of Russia House, Ulmart has taken part in the World Economic Forum since 2014.
Ulmart has over 400 representative offices (fulfilment centres and collection points) in more than 240 cities and towns across Russia. Ulmart.ru is a nationwide, multifunctional online trading platform offering a wide range of products and services. Its product line includes items for the whole family: from DIY and home furnishings to children’s products, automotive and sports goods, e-books, flights, and much more besides. Twelve million SKUs are available 24/7 in convenient locations.
Russia House 2017 Partners: ER-Telecom, EM Communications, Tenzor Consulting Group, Simple, and the National E-Trade Association.