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Ufa: Soviet Cafeterias and IKEA Furniture

Published: October 19, 2011 (Issue # 1679)



  • Attracting investors to Ufa is a priority for Bashkortostan, whose finances were supported by its oil-refining and mining industries before tax law changes.
    Photo: FOR SPT

  • The striking Lya Lya Tyulipan mosque.
    Photo: FOR SPT

  • Eat at Akbuzat restaurant while watching races at Ufas hippodrome.
    Photo: FOR SPT

  • Many Ufa men wear black workers hats, popular in the Soviet Union.
    Photo: KHRISTINA NARIZHNAYA / SPT

  • The 10-meter-high Yulayev statue.
    Photo: FOR SPT

UFA Ufa is best seen fromthe window ofa landing airplane inthe early fall. Theconcrete center is surrounded bymulti-colored cottage roofs sprinkled onrolling hills, covered inyellow, green, orange andred trees, cut byrivers andlakes as still as glass.

Despite being amanufacturing andoil-refining center, thecapital ofBashkortostan has some ofthe best-preserved nature inRussia. Nearby are hundreds ofkilometers ofvirgin forest andmountains where some ofthe worlds finest honey is produced bywild honeybees.

Not surprisingly, customs fromthe long-gone Soviet era remain preserved along with thepristine nature. Government officials serve inan imposing white block ofa building with endless hallways ofcreaking lacquered parquet floors covered inred carpets. They dine ata real Soviet cafeteria, with white cloth-covered tables andtraditional Russian food.

Journalists andother visitors ofthe government a reporter for The Moscow Times, the sister newspaper of The St. Petersburg Times, visited Ufa ona government-organized press tour are accompanied bya member ofthe government atall times andare told not tomeet with anyone or go anywhere alone. Themain hotel forout-of-towners is located far fromthe city center, ina wooded area near ariver.

Themajority ofthe Ufa men wear black workers hats, wildly popular inthe U.S.S.R. andubiquitously worn byformer Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

But modernity is starting tocreep intothe republic. Swedish furniture giant IKEA opened its first store inthe republic inAugust. French supermarket chain Auchan opened its first Bashkortostan location earlier this month.

Since President Dmitry Medvedev appointed atop RosHydro manager, Rustem Khamitov, as Bashkortostans president in2009, great strides have been taken tomodernize therepublic. Attracting investors became apriority toreplenish therepublics budget, which had been supported byrevenue fromits oil-refining andmining industries prior tochanges infederal tax law during themid-2000s.

Therepublics government, previously closed tooutsiders politically andfinancially, has set up adevelopment corporation tohelp investors realize their local projects.

Traveling businessmen fromother regions said thebusiness climate has grown more open since therepublics former president, Murtaza Rakhimov, who held thepost fornearly 20 years, was replaced.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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