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Magnus Brännström: Conquer Fear and Take Risks

Published: March 7, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • According to Brännström, Russias strong women have helped turn the country into Oriflames number one market.
    Photo: For SPT

When Magnus Brannstrom was 12, he andhis family, suppressing their fear, crossed theIron Curtain fora vacation inthe Soviet Union, their friends warnings still ringing intheir ears.

You will never come back, andend up inSiberia, theBrannstroms neighbors said. Instead though thefear remained he became enraptured.

In Russia they say, if you dont risk anything, you will never drink champagne. Or that you will never get tokiss beautiful women. I believe that, Brannstrom said. This country is clearly rewarding therisk takers.

Related: Jennes de Mol - Russian Rock and Diplomacy

Brannstrom, 47, is not aman torest onhis laurels. After thepioneering preteen excursion tothe Soviet Union, he went intothe Swedish military. Later, deciding tolearn Russian andstudy thecountrys history, he worked as atour guide inthe last years ofthe communist state, going toLeningrad with Swedes who basically, wanted toget drunk. He also served as part ofthe original management team ofthe landmark Grand Hotel Europe inSt. Petersburg.

Trying todo business inthe anarchic 1990s, Brannstrom had tonavigate bundles ofred tape, contradictory laws andface off against alandlord who negotiated therent byputting alock onhis tenants office door. He rose tobecome cosmetics group Oriflames regional director forRussia andthe CIS, Baltics andAsia. Theexperience served him well he was appointed chief executive ofthe entire company atthe age of39.

Becoming regional director ofSwedish Oriflame, theBrannstrom family friends predictions about his winding up inSiberia became areality with one small difference. Rather than being exiled there, Brannstrom opted toconquer it, along with thecountrys other regions.

Related: Anna Anisimova - Coming Out For Human Rights

Russia is acountry ofstrong women, says Brannstrom. This has helped turn it intoOriflames number one market, andsales are expected toincrease further as thecompany opens anew factory inthe Moscow region town ofNoginsk this year.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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