‘KazanSummit 2023 will be held not just beautifully, but also qualitatively’
The head of the Tatarstan Investment Developemnt Agency, Taliya Minullina — about the new federal status, distinguished guests, the working version of the business programme, and apparatus work around the Kazan summit
“Vladivostok is Asian countries, St. Petersburg is the West and America, Kazan is the Islamic world”
KazanSummit International Forum has been held in Kazan since 2009. Initially, it was focused on dialogue with partners from the South and East, with an emphasis on the Islamic world, and therefore it is quite logical that now, in this form, it has finally received federal status. How has it become possible to achieve this and what exactly it gives? After all, even without this status, the summit in Kazan was very representative and quite productive.
Thank you for the high assessment. Together with a large team of colleagues, we have been doing serious work for several years to develop the summit to the state it is in now. We are waiting for the decree of the president of Russia on the support of the site. We plan the participation of the first official of the state in 2023 and further on an annual basis. We are now joining the line of federal events along with the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and the Eastern Economic Forum.
Is there no Forum in Sochi anymore?
It exists, but the president of the country does not take part in it. This is a forum of another level, now they are thinking how to reformat it, too. There is also Innoprom in Yekaterinburg, which is also a good representative forum.
Did you personally seek federal status for KazanSummit?
This has been achieved by a large team led by the president of our republic. He personally took an active part in this work and supervised it, he himself talked in those offices that we can't even enter. We must admit that the external political and economic situation, of course, contributed to our success. Vladivostok is Asian countries, St. Petersburg is the West and America, and here in Kazan is the Islamic world.
Although Qatar was the main partner of the SPIEF in 2021.
Yes, and in 2023 — the United Arab Emirates. Which suggests that we are doing everything right. Now KazanSummit is a big complex platform. In addition to the president of our country, his counterpart from Islamic states is expected to participate. To work out such a large programme, a federal organising committee is being created, which will be headed by Marat Shakirzyanovich Khusnullin. He has already held the first working meeting in Moscow with all federal and regional authorities, at which we worked out the areas of responsibility. We decided who would be responsible for what.
“Almost 150 sessions are planned, different forums”
Will Roscongress work?
There are no such plans. Our colleagues have extensive experience in congress and exhibition activities, are partners of the summit and, of course, we plan to carry out part of the work with their direct participation. If these are three federal events, we should tell about the SPIEF and the EEF on our site, present their capabilities, and ensure a synergistic effect.
The programme of the summit in Kazan at this stage turned out to be very complicated. Almost 150 sessions are planned, different forums. Russia-Indonesia, Russia-Turkey, Russia-Malaysia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, ASEAN, OIC. Volodin (Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Volodin — editor's note) supported our idea to hold inte-parliamentary hearings Russia-Persian Gulf. I think it will be very interesting and informative.
There is no Iran.
No, it is. The OIC includes 57 participating countries, we cannot make tracks for each. As for Iran, we are currently working with the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the possibility of a separate large business mission of Iranian businessmen, who will arrive in Kazan three or four days before the summit, visit our enterprises, work out possible joint projects with them. And the results of this work will be summed up at the summit site. That is, special attention will be paid to Iran. Just the other day we talked with the chairman of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they are preparing an interesting event of the interstate business dialogue in Iran in March. We would like to take part there, too.
So far, the summit programme is being worked out. We are planning a Sberbank business breakfast with the participation of German Gref. We are planning a course on Islamic finance together with the Sber University and AAOIFI. Sber traditionally supports federal forums.
Will our Ak Bars Bank participate?
Also with a business breakfast?
No. We have two business breakfasts planned. One is by Sberbank, the second is for foreign direct investment together with partners from the UAE. We want to gather world investment investors there, my colleagues who attract investments in different regions of the world. We want to talk about trends, technological development, and so on.
“So that our entrepreneurs find partners, and residents will receive not only inconveniences, but also pleasant bonuses”
A few years ago, at international forums in Russia, such a system of access levels to different zones was established, in which entrepreneurs who pay a lot of money for participation often cannot meet with their potential partners from big business or the right people from government agencies.
I think there is a certain security system and protocol requirements. We will try in Kazan to make sure that we have the most open and convenient communication platform. It is very important for us to work out and solve certain tasks for the republic. So that our entrepreneurs find partners, and residents will receive not only inconveniences, but also pleasant bonuses. For example, we will have a separate holiday for residents and guests of Kazan in the city. There will be an interesting fair, halal goods.
Will our Tatarstan entrepreneurs who would like to communicate with the federal ones, offer them their goods or services, have the opportunity to do this at the forum?
They can talk. But, to be honest, there are also questions for these entrepreneurs. I communicate a lot with entrepreneurs myself, I conduct the reception of citizens. Very often, people even come to me who have already passed even a certain selection through my protocol officers, but they themselves cannot formulate what they want. This is a big problem. They pull out serious people and cannot put two words together, formulate a need, prepare a document and discuss it in detail.
In general, I think that international forums in Russia have come to the scheme of zoning sites and dividing categories of participants by access levels for a reason. And because big people are being pulled by some guys who themselves don't really understand what they want to do. Before approaching such people with questions, these questions need quite a long and thorough preparation. As a rule, out of 100% of people who approach major officials or entrepreneurs, only 1% understands that he is going to the very person who will help solve this particular issue. The remaining 99% go just to take a picture or tell some incomprehensible stories.
“Real entrepreneurs count every penny”
How much will it cost to participate in the forum for entrepreneurs?
This should be determined by the federal organising committee.
Will prices be at the level of St. Petersburg and Vladivostok or more affordable for Tatarstan entrepreneurs?
We are working to make them lower. I'm doing my best for this. By raising the price, the organising committee will raise more money and make the exhibition greater, but we will get a decrease in the participation of real entrepreneurs. Because real entrepreneurs count every penny.
Will city streets be closed for the passage of motorcades?
We didn't plan to. There is no question about it yet. You should understand that the federal organising committee, the list of documents and instructions is still being formed. Then an organising committee will be created at the level of Tatarstan, an operational headquarters will be created under the Cabinet of Ministers of the republic. It consists of working groups. There is a group for the preparation of the city, there is a group for the preparation of accommodation and meals. Group on volunteers, on transport. We will not find such a large amount of transport in one place, we are collecting it all over the country now.
What is the status of the agency in this whole process?
As the head of the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency, I have always been the secretary of the organising committee of the summit. We would like this status to remain with us at least in the regional organising committee.
“We really would not like the summit to become political”
Will you handle such a forum? Do you have any doubts?
I think this is a very ambitious task for the Tatarstan team. But this is not just an event of the Investment Development Agency or the Republic of Tatarstan, this is an event of the Russian Federation. This is an international business event. The republic's experience in holding international events has already been highly appreciated by experts — and in the field of sports, we have held the Universiade, the World Championships in aquatics and football, Worldskills. We have experience, we understand the mechanism, we know how it works. Accordingly, if we have done this work before, why can't we apply these principles here? Is there any problem?
Of course, we plan to attract colleagues to work as well. There are currently 146 sessions in the working version of the programme. Some of them will leave, some will be added. Yesterday, I held eight meetings with federal authorities on this programme. A lot of work is being done every day — in order for this forum to be held not just beautifully, but also qualitatively. We are working on the number of agreements that will be signed there, the projects that will be presented there, what economic effect will be obtained from this.
We would like to have the entire infrastructure fully loaded. So that every major participant does both their business and cultural events. So that hotels, restaurants work to the fullest, so that everything is loaded. So that our small business, including, could earn. But our main task is the development of Russia's relations with the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the growth of trade turnover. We really would not like the summit to become political. We are working to ensure that we have the maximum economic agenda. Islamic banking, Islamic finance, revision of laws, customs issues — how can we open up towards international development. How to finish the logistics, build alternative transport corridors. This is a big, serious, complex, and interesting job.