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 155 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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Inheritance and Succession
4 June 2021
12:00—13:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Inheritance and succession need to be carefully considered

When considering inheritance and succession, we’re looking at something that runs contrary to living in the moment. We experience a phenomenon, a major dichotomy in our consciousness: we live one day at a time, and think that we are going to live forever. It is a strange combination of two incompatible things, and we think it won’t apply to us – we don’t want to think about it. But ultimately, the main thing is that when we speak about inheritance, we are not talking about death, but about a continuation. It is an acknowledgement that you want to leave something behind after you’re gone, because you may be leaving behind children, or the memory of what you have done — Ruben Vardanian, Co-founder, Noôdome.

In 2011, we <...> researched modernization in East Asia. One of the main factors for success was that there had to be a patriotic elite able to take a 20-year perspective. <…> That’s why I’m concerned about how we acquire a long-term perspective. It definitely exists within a family unit. <…> And there are probably other grounds for having a long-term perspective outside of family considerations, such as spiritual and intellectual considerations. Schools of thought can, for example, take a long view; however, the concept of succession in a family is the most common and understandable one. If we want to adopt a long view in the country in order to address problems facing Russia and the world, we should probably grasp at that straw — Alexander Auzan, Dean, Faculty of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University .

Inheritance and succession are partially about culture

When we speak about inheritance, about a legacy, we are not only talking about money, or about business. It goes much further than that. We are also talking about cultural values, family values, traditions, principles, and the spirit of a culture and family. And this is also very important, because we experienced a break in the chain linking us to the past. <...> The majority of people know, at most, three generations [of their family – ed.]. This is a big challenge, because we do need to restore this form of succession. <…> In 1917 it was broken, and now, for the first time in Russia’s history, we are faced with this serious endeavour — Ruben Vardanian, Co-founder, Noôdome.

We primarily should pass on spiritual values to children. When children believe that material values are the most important, they will never be satisfied – children will always squabble, and sadly, there will be war — Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of the Russian Federation.

ISSUES
Death and bequeathment remain taboo topics in Russian culture

Death is simply not an accepted topic for discussion in Russia. In Germany, they can have a talk about it with others round the table, but not in Russia. It is very much a taboo subject, since it is so wrapped up in the sacred, in superstition. And yet, the concept of “burial money” is widespread in society – it is the original form of savings for the Russian population. So, people think about the topic, but there is no discussion of it, as a cultural wall has been put up. The culture can change, but only with sustained effort over the course of several generations — Alexander Auzan, Dean, Faculty of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University .

The inability to pass on a business to the next generation

If a dad brings up his children correctly, in a way that they not only see what he does, but feel it and understand it too, then he will feel good about it, and about how he takes decisions. When he gets questions at work, he can come home and talk about it. <…> But people say that work and home life should be separate. I don’t think that should be the case – let the children get the inside view, so that they can see that life is not so easy for dad. And I think that this all forms a chain. If we are brought up correctly, then we need to properly pass that on further — Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of the Russian Federation.

Clearly, when you’ve not even inherited a business as such, but rather become a successor, you will regard yourself as someone who, in all likelihood, is not worthy or doesn’t possess the right qualities, and just got handed everything on a silver platter. <…> And if you lose it all for some extraneous reason, for example, <…> then you become that fool that lost the family legacy. So, it becomes very hard to come out well in this role. <…> Of course, it is a great deal of responsibility — Xenia Frank, Chair of the Supervisory Board, Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.

Sadly, we have the example of Natura Siberica [founder Andrey Trubnikov died in January 2021 – ed.]. It is a stark example of when there are three ex-wives and a manager fighting things out in court, and at that moment the company dies. So, there is the issue which is not so much to do with family relations, but with the fact that a huge number of businesses cannot operate, they cannot function. <…> It is crucial to understand that this [the problem of inheritance – ed.] is not merely a private family issue. It exists, and it is a separate subject, but more than that, it is an economic problem for society as a whole — Ruben Vardanian, Co-founder, Noôdome.

SOLUTIONS
Get young people involved in charity work

If one were to consider what should be done in the first instance when the parents work on charitable programmes, then the children need to be involved. They must know, if it’s our custom, that the family comes together and discusses where to spend money. A small child of 5–7 can already take part. Perhaps his voice isn’t the deciding one as such, but from childhood he understands that there is a goal in this. Perhaps we give a tenth or 20%, but the child understands that there is a goal, and he is part of the process of managing a family’s charity budget — Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of the Russian Federation.

It seems to me that we all want to pass on [to children – ed.] values, and the skills and resources they need to assume these values and live by them in the world. In principle, one of the best ways to do that is to create a multi-generation family fund, a charity fund. <…> Our foundation has always, since its inception, recognized the huge disparity in opportunities, quality of life, and resources offered between large cities and small towns and villages. <…> I have always been convinced and knew that a large proportion of our population – I would say 53% – live in small or medium-sized towns and villages. And I endeavour to pass this on to my children when I take them on trips, so they can see what the foundation is doing, and can evaluate its programmes. And it seems to me that the charitable work done by the foundation offers a very practical way to show and transmit specific family values, and to do so in deeds, not words — Xenia Frank, Chair of the Supervisory Board, Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation.

Speaking to children

The main thing is communication – we need to speak. Children need to feel what it is you are doing, so it doesn’t remain some abstract story — Ruben Vardanian, Co-founder, Noôdome.

Very often, children look at their parents and think that the most important thing to them is work, earning money, and saving – that’s their main aim in life. When a child looks at their dad, who is busy from morning to evening, what message does he get? He understands that dad is busy because he wants to earn more. So, the child starts to get the idea that the main aim in life is to earn more. That’s problem number one. Problem number two is when the child doesn’t understand why it is that dad works, what he does, what line of work he’s in, and why he went into it. And a big problem is how to communicate this all later. <…> And the child doesn’t understand why dad chose that line of work: the only reason is that it pays well, or there are some other values at play — Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of the Russian Federation.

It seems to me that the issue of a large family quarrel is a never-ending one in Russia. <…> I would like to find possible solutions which in Russia would not lead to a major conflict or revolution, because revolution strikes me as a kind of quarrel between children for their inheritance — Alexander Auzan, Dean, Faculty of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University .