The art of being a Russian farmer

John Kopiski is a British-born business executive who came to Moscow for a 3-day business trip and ended up staying for more than 20 years.

“I arrived here in December 1991. I went to some import-export companies, two bars, a hotel and Old Arbat (a street in central Moscow). And in this brief period I felt that I could start a new life here. Not a new business, a new life,” John Kopiski said.

Mr. Kopiski became the second British citizen to obtain Russian citizenship in 1993. He became an Orthodox shortly after.

Soon after he settled in Russia Mr Kopiski decided to shift his career from coal trading to farming. He invested almost all his savings – several million pounds – into a project to rebuild a ruined collective farm nearVladimir, an ancient  town located roughly 115 miles south-east of Moscow.

“Whenever we had spare money we helped the church, particularly in Vladimir. And just over 10 years ago the abbess of Murom Monastery was tasked with reopening a monastery very close by, in Pokrov. And we suggested that they could use this place as their farm. But when the abbess saw it, she said it was too big for her, but my wife and I liked the place and the life here. So we started farming.”

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