Culture & History

U.S. Edelman to Close Russian Unit Following Labor Scandal

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Jul. 16 – U.S.-headquartered Edelman Imageland will close down its local unit in Russia this coming October. According to the firm’s management, the Russian subsidiary hasn’t met the parent company’s expectations. However, at the same time, the company is not leaving Russia.

“We’ve been undertaking a strategic review of the Russian operations since the end of last year. … Unfortunately, the Imageland business hasn’t met Edelman’s expectations over the last several years,” Edelman management told The Moscow Times, adding that it was impossible to continue business because of some commercial problems, which they didn’t specify. Continue reading…

Russia to Experience a Shortage of Qualified Technical Personnel

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Jul. 5 – As much as 86 percent of companies operating in Russia are experiencing a deficit of qualified personnel, while the quality of the county’s working staff is also declining steadily, according to a recent poll conducted by recruitment company Antal Russia.

The Antal Russia data is based on survey, conducted in June 2012, in which representatives of more than 200 domestic companies from all over Russia took part.

According to the poll, technical specialists, qualified retail workers, engineers and IT staff are the hardest to find. This shortage of qualified workers is expected to worsen in 10 to 15 years as Russia’s demographics show fewer people of working age. Continue reading…

‘Russia Today’ Doubles its U.S. Audience

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Jun. 7 – U.S. viewers of the Kremlin-backed English-language TV channel formerly known as Russia Today (RT) have more than doubled over the past year, making RT the most-watched foreign TV channel in five key U.S. urban markets, according to the Nielsen Media Research survey.

Viewership in New York alone nearly tripled, while the channel also made significant advances in Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the report. Nielsen Media Research, headquartered in New York City, operates primary from Chicago. Continue reading…

Russia to Acknowledge Diplomas from 210 Foreign Universities

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May 30 – No additional state evaluation will be needed for diplomas from a selection of 210 foreign universities now acknowledged in Russia, according to a government order published last Friday by Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

The selected universities, which represent 25 countries, have been featured on such lists as the Academic Rankings of World Universities, the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The government-approved list includes mostly world-renowned top-tier schools as well as mid-level ones. Continue reading…

Russian Businesses Losing Out Due to Language Inadequacies

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May 3 – Cultural differences and linguistic barriers are keeping Russian companies from expanding internationally, according to research released on Tuesday.

Unfamiliarity with foreign mores and a poor command of languages are perceived to be obstacles to global business success by 89 percent of Russian companies surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit and language-teaching firm Education First in a report titled “Competing Across Borders.”

The report, conducted in February and March 2012, showed that 49 percent of Russian respondents admitted that their companies had been hit by financial losses as a result of linguistic and cultural difficulties — 6 percent higher than the global average. Continue reading…

Flights between Alaska and Kamchatka to be Restored

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Apr. 9 – The air bridge between the U.S. state of Alaska and Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula will be resume this July five years after the collapse of direct flights between Anchorage (Alaska’s largest city) and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski (the urban and administrative center of the peninsula).

Yakutia Air, based in Russia’s northern Republic of Sakha, plans to offer direct flights over the Bering Straits starting in July, permitting direct travel to the isolated Russian peninsula for researchers, adventurers, businessmen and Russian expatriates living in Alaska.

Yakutia Air flies a fleet of 27 planes, including the Boeing 757, Boeing 737, and Russian planes like Tu-154, An-140-100 and An-24RV, according to the airline’s website. It flies to about 40 destinations in Russia and also flies to Asia and Europe. Continue reading…

Foreign Workers to be Sent Home from Russian Far East

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Apr. 5 – Moscow has forced Vladistok’s regional authorities to kick out foreign workers from the Russian Far East as soon as they finish their work on construction sites for the upcoming APEC 2012 Summit, which will be held in the city this September.

The majority of the foreign workers, mostly citizens of China and North Korea, came to the Russian Far East to work on the APEC Summit and benefit from a simplified foreign labor entry regime to Vladivostok, which was set up by the country’s Ministry of Regional Development upon mass requests by APEC contractors. Continue reading…

U.S. to Issue a Record Number of Visas to Russian Citizens

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Mar. 27 – The United States issued 221,888 visas to Russians in 2011, more than at any time in history and 27 percent more than 2010, U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul said yesterday at the International Travel and Tourism Exhibition in Moscow.

According to State Department statistics, the refusal rate for Russian applicants last year was 10.3 percent, which is slightly above the 10.1 percent in 2010. Continue reading…

International Women’s Day to Boost Russian Flower Industry

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Mar. 7 – Russia’s fresh-flower industry will make one-third of its annual revenue through International Women’s Day: prices for flowers more than doubled a week before March 8.

Flowers remain the most popular gift for International Women’s Day, which is celebrated in Russia on March 8. A total of 54 percent of men plan to give flowers as a gift this year, while 45 percent of women hope to receive them on their holiday, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing pollster Levada Center.

Women’s Day is an official public holiday in Russia and CIS countries, but also in Macedonia, Mongolia and Vietnam. Hungary, Poland and Romania also obey the tradition of giving flowers to women on this day, although it is no longer an official holiday there. Continue reading…

Court Awaits Ruling in Case to Ban Bhagavad Gita in Russia

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Dec. 21 – Indian parliament was closed Monday while protesters gathered outside a Russian consulate in Kolkata to protest the proposed ban of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, in Russia. The Bhagavad Gita is facing the prospect of being branded ”extremist” literature, effectively barring it from distribution in Russia.

Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk seek to include the widely distributed book, translated and commented on by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), on the Justice Ministry’s list of banned extremist literature, which includes Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Continue reading…

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