The Samara region is located in the European part of Russia. It is similar to West Virginia in size (20.6 thousand square miles), and to Oklahoma or Connecticut in terms of population (3.2 million). The capital is the city of Samara, and other large cities include Togliatti, Syzran, Novokuybishevsk and Zhigulyovsk. The distance from Samara to Moscow is approximately 680 miles.
In 1586, Russian Czar Fedor Ioannovich ordered the construction of a fortress near the Samara River, which would eventually become the city. The fort served as a Russian bulwark against invading nomads for several centuries thereafter. Only in 1850 did the territory attain independent administrative status within the Russian Empire. The region's current borders were not established until 1936.
The Samara region is a leader in Russia in terms of industry and manufacturing. Exports include passenger automobiles, aluminum and aluminum products, oil products, chemicals and fertilizers - including ammonia - and synthetic rubber. The region is also proud of the rich history of its aircraft and space industries [see opposite page].
Governor Vladimir Artyakov:
We are confident in Samara's economic development, supported by a strong social base, in the 21st century.
Samara's natural picturesque features simply cannot be overlooked. Located on the Volga River, the Samara region gains critical economic advantages over other Russian territories because of its geographic location. The river, together with an extensive system of canals, links the area with the Caspian, Black, Azov, Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. In the Russian lexicon, the Samara and nearby Togliatti harbors are referred to as the "Ports of the Five Seas."
While the river is the area's primary transportation artery, Samara is also located at the intersection of several important railways and roads that connect Europe to the Ural Mountains, Siberia and Central Asia.
The region currently has direct trade relations with over 100 countries, and the number of foreign firms operating within Samara is rapidly approaching 200. They produce a wide variety of product, from food and agricultural produce to construction and transportation materials. One such example is the American firm Alcoa, which produces aluminum products at the Samara Metalurgical Factory.
In recent years, the most active investors have come from The Netherlands, Germany, the United States, Switzerland, China, Great Britain and Cyprus; all together, these nations represent 90% of the investments flowing into the Samara Region. In comparison to other Russian regions, Samara is ranked highly by international rating agencies. Standard and Poor's recently raised its international long-term credit rating from BB- to BB, and its national rating from ruAA- to ruAA. The agency cited rapid economic growth, financial and social stability, investment attractivenesss and increasing budgetary revenues as reasons for Samara's strong report card. These findings are congruent with international experts' predictions for Samara's maintaining a low level of debt, strong financial indicators and liquidity.
Samara is also proud to be among the top 10 most economically developed Russian regions, often finding itself behind only Moscow and St. Petersburg - the country's two cities with federal status - for a number of indicators.
Plenty of potential exists for the region's continued development.
The backbone of the local economy rests on manufacturing and industry: clusters of automobile components, aviation and space products and oil refining can be found across the region. The clusters are essential to Samara's development of internationally competitive hi-tech products in the 21st century.The region's competitive edge over other parts of Russia lies in its considerable scientific, technical and economic resources. Also important are Samara's strong business environment and plans to make the innovation economy central to its development in the upcoming years.
Dozens of organizations - both state and private - currently focus on research and development in the Samara region. Research in the fundamental sciences is mostly coordinated by the Samara branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which has seven laboratories in the city.
The city is also home to the largest education center in the Volga region, comprising 33 local colleges and another 35 branches of foreign universities. Samara's citizens are particularly proud of the fact that their city boasts 560 students per 10,000 residents.
Samara is often referred to as the "space capital" of Russia [see article on opposite page]. Many satellites, rocket boosters, engines and other aviation and space components are assembled in the region. Samara is also host to the Volga Center for Space Geography and Information. The Center's goals include solving a wide range of problems associated with mapping the earth's geography with the help of satellite navigation and other tools that can be utilized in outer space.
Samara is proud of its cultural traditions: the city is home to 10 theaters and a symphony. The theaters perform not only locally, but to audiences across Russia and the entire globe. Opera remains one of the most popular attractions.
Sports are also at the top of Samara's agenda: local gymnast Alexei Nemov has brought home gold from many international competitions, including the Olympic Games and several World and European Championships. He is considered one of the most medaled gymnists of all time. Success has also not escaped local boxer Oleg Saitov and a number of other athletes from Samara.
Perhaps the best words to describe Samara are "well rounded." The region has a diverse economy, diverse social sphere, diverse cultural scene...well, diverse everything. With our world becoming increasingly globalized, Samara is set to become a local leader in the 21st century. That is why it welcomes investment - Samara hopes to learn from the contributions made to the region by so many people from all across the world. -
Reasons to invest in the region
1. High level of diverse economic activity in Samara and nearby territories.
2. Enormous innovation and scientific potential. Our region is home to the development and production of Russia's aviation and space technologies. 55.6% of the working population has a higher education.
3. Legislation friendly to investment in innovation - tax breaks, no property tax and legal support.
4. A comfortable and friendly business environment and social sphere - close proximity to Western Europe, strong system of healthcare and high standard of living.
5.An effective strategy of attracting and supporting large-scale investment projects.
6.A highly-developed civil society and stable political climate.
Many factors, some naturally occurring and some developed through years of hard work and innovation, separate the Samara region from other parts of Russia. Here, we describe the area and try to find out whether it will continue to be a leader among Russia's international investment hubs.
Governor of the Samara Region:
Vladimir Vladimirovich Artyakov
Regional Government: 443006 Samara,
Mologvardeyskaya St., 210
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
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