Moscow paves the way to Paris

For a period of almost two weeks (June 1-12), Days of Moscow took place for the first time in Paris, Strasbourg and Nice. Business, cultural and athletic events, which were organized by Muscovites, were widely covered by the local media and attracted the attention of tens of thousands of regular French citizens, politicians and business representatives.

Days of Moscow in France, which started in Paris in the beginning of June, were not hindered by the strike, or the rainy weather, or even the fact that the river Seine burst its banks.

In the early hours of the morning, hundreds of Frenchmen that wanted to play the twelfth world champion and Vice President of the Russian Chess Federation Anatoly Karpov. He played opponents across 22 boards at the same time. The tournament was attended by both young chess players and older chess masters. Karpov won across 21 boards. The most persistent chess player was 12-year-old Anuk Shemla, who is the chess champion among teenagers in Paris. The match ended on a draw.

Anatoly Karpov set a positive atmosphere for all the other official events that took place within the scope of Moscow Days across three French cities – Paris, Strasbourg and Nice.

The mayors of Moscow and Paris, Sergey Sobyanin and Anne Hidalgo signed the Programme of Cooperation for 2016-2018 after chatting about Paris and the challenges the two megacities face. First and foremost, the new document entails the development of bilateral cooperation in the sphere of economic ties. There are hundreds of French enterprises that are accredited in Moscow today. According to Sergey Sobyanin, the programme should “give new impetus to the establishment of contacts between the French business community and Russian companies."

The conversation between the Mayor of Moscow and deputy of the Yvelines Valérie Pécresse was equally important. She said that the region currently does not have economic ties with Russia at all. However, the region’s administration is ready to develop cooperation with the Russian capital in terms of creating a cultural space, training medical personnel and education. The region is also interested in developing joint IT projects.

The central event of Moscow Days in the French capital was the plenary session for the business forum on cooperation called “Big Moscow - Big Paris.” Sergey Sobyanin opened up the discussion. According to him, the challenges facing the two megacities are similar in many respects. “Both Moscow and Paris are undergoing major changes right now. The ‘Big Moscow’ project entails the creation of new residential quarters, new service networks and improvements to areas around the Moscow River. Both megacities need a lot in terms of investment volumes,” the mayor of the Russian capital said.

The curator of the “Big Paris” project Maurice Leroy is of the same opinion. “Yes, big changes lie ahead for our cities,” he said, “We are going to erect modern houses, build convenient highways and work on meeting the needs of the poor. We have the same goal - to improve the standard of living for people. Parisians propose working with Muscovites on creating a city of the future – Intelligent City.”

“Big Paris,” according to Maurice Leroy, entails the improvement of the entire metropolitan area and the creation of a single management mechanism.

“Unlike ‘Big Moscow,’ Paris is just now starting this project, which totals about 30 billion euros in investment and will be completed by 2030. It will allow the department to create about 1 million jobs, so the investment in city development is an investment in our future,” the project curator said.

Alexander Orlov, the Russian Ambassador to France, thanked French companies for staying on the Russian market in spite of the sanctions. He also said that “France today is in first place in terms of investments into the Russian economy.”

Moscow Government minister, head of the Department for External Economic and International Relations (DVMS) Sergey Cheremin said the following about the forum: “Today, ‘Big Paris’ and ‘Big Moscow’ are the most ambitious projects in Europe. We hope to continue actively cooperating with Paris across all areas of the economy and life in general. I am confident that Moscow Days will become a serious foundation for active cooperation between our two capitals and the embodiment of the strong friendship between Russia and France.”

Muscovites brought an interesting cultural programme to Paris, which opened with an exhibition of works by the famous Russian photographer Sergey Chelnokov called “Russia and Europe at the Turn of the Century.” The Moscow dance ensemble Gzhel and the quartet KVATRO performed at the concert hall of the Russian Embassy in Paris. Ilona Bronevitskaya, the concert lead, impressed the guests with her knowledge of the French language.



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