Welcome message from Consul General of Russia in Cape Town Roman Ambarov on the occasion of the inaugural BRICS Youth Seminar in Honour of Former President Nelson Mandela held at the University of the Western Cape

This year South Africa took up the BRICS presidency again. The anniversary BRICS Summit in Johannesburg scheduled for the 25-27 of July will mark a decade of concerted efforts of the five countries, efforts that have been yielding tangible results. What made it possible is our adherence to such fundamental principles as continuity, sustainability, inclusivity and complementarity. It is quite symbolic that the South African Chairship coincides with the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birthday, who also stood up for the principles and values that the BRICS association shares.

The BRICS group has been continuously improving its architecture of cooperation mechanisms, addressing simultaneously three main pillars of intra-BRICS partnership: 1) policy and security; 2) economy and finance; 3) culture and humanitarian exchanges.

Most importantly, this partnership has been evolving in quality as much as in quantity. It is also based on a very firm foundation, which is a close connection to the vital demands of the modern-day life. This essential feature of BRICS makes the format responsive to the requirements of building up a truly multipolar world. The BRICS format reflects cultural and civilizational varieties of the present-day world, setting an example of how joint work can and should be based on equality and consensus.

Cooperation in BRICS – the strategic partnership of the five countries is based on the UN Charter, the universally recognized principles and norms of international law, as well as openness, pragmatism, solidarity, non-block nature and non-aggression towards third parties. This type of cooperation is not aimed against anyone. BRICS does not threaten anyone, but serves as a remarkable role model of how to reach goals set through dialogue. BRICS is always “for”, not “against”.

The BRICS association has moved beyond the initial modest expectations of facilitating the objective processes of the redistribution of power and influence in the new multipolar world. Today BRICS stands as an important factor in international affairs and an efficient mechanism for harmonizing positions on contemporary and most pressing challenges.

BRICS cooperation architecture comprises around 100 annual events, including over 25 ministerial level events and meetings of heads of specialized governmental bodies and agencies. As of now, there are more than 50 tracks of collaboration. An impressive amount of cooperation agreements, joint declarations, memorandums of understanding and other meaningful documents have been signed and implemented. As for people-to-people contacts, one would find it extremely challenging to track all of them. And this is certainly a most positive development because it proves that the BRICS format of cooperation is self-sustainable and generates a genuine interest among ordinary people.

Deepening the strategic partnership within the BRICS format is one of the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. Russia is making every effort to ensure that the BRICS association remains successful, functional and results-oriented project with a positive outlook of fostering mutually-beneficial and equality-based relations as well as strengthening the universal norms of international law, the UN Charter and the multilateral foundation of international relations and global economy.

It is very gratifying to witness a successful increase in cultural, sports and humanitarian contacts. Cooperation is flourishing among the academia, civil society and youth organizations. The BRICS countries take it in turns to hold forums of experts, politicians, civil society organizations, youth representatives, young diplomats, trade unions, sister-cities and many more.  Cinema, theater and other festivals have emerged.

Once again, the strength of BRICS lies in its cultural and civilizational diversity. In the light of this, the governments of the BRICS countries are working on implementing the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Culture (2015) and the BRICS action plan to advance practical cultural cooperation. For example, 2017 saw the emergence of four alliances: libraries, art museums, national galleries, theatres for children and young people.

The Russian Federation supports deepening the BRICS-Africa dialogue, which was launched in Durban in 2013 during the first meeting with the African Union leadership and the heads of 8 leading regional integration associations. This year the tradition will be continued. And thanks to the BRICS Plus concept adopted last year, the dialogue between BRICS and Africa will expand beyond the South African Chairship.

Mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa is one of the national priories of the Russian Federation envisioned by the updated Russian Foreign Policy Concept, approved in 2016. Russia’s relations with African countries have been traditionally friendly and based on the principles of equality and mutual respect.

Russia has contributed actively to the achievement of independence by African countries as well to strengthening and integration processes on the African continent. Today, we continue maintaining friendly relations with a focus on the future. At present, the relations are progressing both on a bilateral basis and along the line of African regional organizations.

On the humanitarian track the Russian Government annually allocates federal scholarships for the training of African students at Russian universities. In 2017 alone, more than 1,800 young African people received federal scholarships and studied in Russia. Overall, around 15,000 young Africans are studying in Russia.

All such initiatives that engage young people – be it student exchange and scholarships or forums like the BRICS Young Diplomats Forum – are the cornerstones that help us build our common future characterized by strength and stability as well as the convergence of our diverse and vibrant cultures.

Russia unstoppable at the FIFA World Cup

Russia has shown up to the World Cup guns blazing, win their first two games. Russia came into the World Cup as the lowest-ranked nation and in dismal form, but two games in they have won against Saudi Arabia 5-0 and a 3-1 victory against Egypt making it the best start of any host side in World Cup history.

Ahead of the World Cup, Russia played seven friendly matches without any win and were ranked 70th in the world by FIFA. Russian National team are practically guaranteed a place in the last 16, barring a series of unlikely high-scoring results, which would be the first time they have reached the knockout stages since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

The next game Russia will play will be against Uruguay on the 25th June 2018 at Cosmos Arena, Samara.

Ntsikelelo Kuse

A budget breakdown of the spending for FIFA World Cup 2018

The Russians have invested billions of dollars to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the event will make FIFA hundreds of millions in profits. The Russian Government had budgeted $11.6 billion on projects for the World Cup which is less than the estimated $15 billion spent by Brazil on the 2014 World Cup. Construction and preparation for the World Cup has cost Russia an estimated $11.8 billion, according to USA Today, with more than 70 percent of the spending coming from public funding.


FIFA will top $6 billion for the four-year commercial cycle tied to this World Cup, beating its $5.656 billion target. The World Cup is the main source of FIFA income, FIFA gets its profits from broadcasting revenue, sponsorships and ticket sales. Ahead of the 2018 World Cup FIFA had four deals from Russia, three with Russian State-owned firms; three Chinese sponsors; none from the Americas or Africa and the Middle East.


Teams will win portions of the $400 million in total prize money, according to FIFA. The winner will get $38 million and runner-up $28 million, the 16 teams going home after the group phase will each get $8 million. FIFA has budgeted spending $791 million on teams and players for prize money, club compensation, insurance for players injured on national-team duty, and preparation costs for 32 squads. Clubs providing players will share $209 million from FIFA. A daily rate of $8,530 for the official involvement of 736 players is shared among each club they were registered with in the two previous years.


(Source: The Indian Express)

#FashionFindsWednesday: Ulyana Sergeenko built her antique and vintage empire

From graduating in the Faculty of Philology to becoming Russia’s big deal in the fashion industry.

Ulyana Sergeenko is a Russian-based fashion designer, who has worked with many celebrities, including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Natalia Vodianova.

The Ulyana Sergeenko brand was launched in Moscow in April 2011 with a first collection designed for autumn-winter 2011/12.

Her debut collection featured clingy knit tops, quilted skirts, floor-sweeping greatcoats, and enough sable to swaddle the Russian army.

Today, the designer has the Moscow-based company that has ready-to-wear women clothing, bags, jewellery and headpieces.

Sergeenko has always love fashion.

With all the love she is receiving, Sergeenko has built a fashion empire that consists of a a collection of antique and vintage clothes and accessories, ranging from the rare ancient jewellery to Soviet school uniform.

The designer frequently visits flea-markets and vintage boutiques as her way of inventing new styles, whereas all her fabrics and trimmings are bought in France, Italy and Japan.

Sergeenko collaborates with highly-skilled ateliers from Russia, along with numerous craftsmen from former Soviets republics. She did that to help them preserve their precious knowledge in the process.

In her 2018 collection called Haute Couture Spring Summer, she designed gowns with long bell-shaped skirts and puffed sleeves with vivid colours. She said that her collection was inspired by the 40s and 50s styles codes.






FIFA 2026 World Cup Votes: Morocco Vs North America

FIFA will meet today for their annual congress, ahead of the World Cup 2018 which commences in Russia tomorrow. The most important item on the agenda today will be the voting of who will host the 2026 World Cup. There is a joint bid by North America, United States, Mexico and Canada, against the African country, Morocco. Both North America and Morocco are confident about winning the votes.

Other items on the agenda will include the consideration of the proposed changes to the FIFA’s status, the potential suspension or expulsion of members, especially Ghana Soccer Association, which is in the middle of a corruption crisis that was exposed publicly, reporting from different regions and also talks about rules and committee assignments.

Related stories: Ghana Football Association Dissolved with immediate effect

By: Ntsikelelo Kuse

The voice of the Youth: The Future Team

The Future Team is an international community that serves as a meeting place for young people from all around the world. Future Team was an initiative by the participants of the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students of different educational and cultural backgrounds. The ideal was suggested by the young Joshua Fraser Dixon from Canada at the Festival.

The Future Team has created a platform both online and through events, where young people can discuss important topics, both global and local problems, initiating surveys for like-minded people and inspiration. The online platforms include pages and interactions on social media and also online blog systems where one can cover topics ranging from business, arts and culture, politics, education, HIV, sport and many more.

These platforms allow the young to express values and discuss these important issues.

Other initiatives by the Future Team include events, including the Web Conference in France earlier this year, the Keel Boat Program (Y2K) in Antigua and also the highlight being the Youth Economic Forum at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, this May.

At the forum, the young participants were given the opportunity to discuss economic and political key issues including those that were discussed within the framework of the main SPIEF business program with international and Russian business leaders, including international experts and scientists. The coming events this year include the Tavrida National Youth Forum in Russia in July and the World Youth and Students Travel Conference in Scotland in September.

The Future Team gives a voice to young people around the world, the platform keeps growing and gaining more weight. To find out more visit their website at

(Ntsikelelo Kuse)

Special exhibition during the 2018 FIFA World Cup

The Hyundai Motorstudio on New Arbat Avenue in Moscow, Russia will be hosting a major exhibition staged by the FIFA World Football Museum during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The History Makers is planning to open the exhibition for five days before the tournament kicks off, and run it until five days after the Final (20 July).

The Hyundai Motorstudio Moscow will be transformed into a giant 2018 FIFA World Cup™ scoreboard which will allow fans in the street to follow the progress of the tournament.

Visitors across the world who will be in Russia during the World Cup, will learn more about the history of the tournament that would be display on a giant circular LED screen, showing highlights and memorable moments from past games.

The exhibition will have a special and unique feature that will show case two FIFA World Cup trophies. The FIFA World Cup™ Winner’s Trophy will be the star attraction of the opening day of the exhibition on 9 June, while the Jules Rimet Cup will be brought from the FIFA Museum in Zurich which will be on display during the tournament.


FIFA 2018 World Cup opening Ceremony

In case you missed it, the FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off on Thursday, 14 June 2018, at the Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium which will also host the World Cup Closing ceremony and final match. The ceremony promises to be extravagant, with performances by opera singer Placido Domingo and Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez. 

Around 500 dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists will be paying homage to Russia’s culture, lifestyle, history and traditions. Also joining them on stage will be Pianist Denis Matsuev, global opera stars Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eivazov, Ildar Abdrazakov, Aida Garifullina and Albina Shagimuratova.

The ceremony will close with a fireworks display and the official World Cup song ‘Live It Up’ which features Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Kosovar Albanian singer Era Istrefi. The ceremony will be followed by the kick off of the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

There will be a concert held in the city’s famous Red Square concurrently with the opening ceremony. 


Source: The Telegraph UK


BRICS New Development Bank may finance two projects In Russia

The BRICS New Development Bank is considering extending a loan for two projects in Russia.


Russian Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov has confirmed that the BRICS New Development Bank is considering extending a loan for two projects in Russia: the Amur gas processing plant (GCP) and the petrochemical plant in Tobolsk. The Finance Minister says: “The New Development Bank is currently considering in respect of possible financing the application of Sibur Company for construction of the petrochemical plant in Tobolsk and the Amur GPP construction project, implemented in the context of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline construction agreement,”

However, the decision on participation of the bank in these projects has not yet been taken and applications have not been presented to the NDB Board of Directors. The Finance Minister stated that “the applications undergo review by the management of the Bank and proactive consultations with potential borrowers are held. If all conditions are negotiated, the issue of credit extension can be considered by the end of this year.”

The Amur GCP is scheduled for commissioning in 2021 at the earliest. The gas chemical plant will process fractions of the natural gas. The main feedstock supplier for the GCP will be the Amur Gas Processing Plant of Gazprom, which will be built within the framework of gas supplies to China over the Power of Siberia gas pipeline.


MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/.
Russian News Agency

Chinese tourists have shown an increased interest for the Russia World Cup

Major Chinese online travel agencies have confirmed that Chinese tourists are showing more and more interest in Russia, the host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

According to the agencies, the number of airline tickets reserved for major venues such as Moscow and St. Petersburg are up by 50% year-on-year for the period of 14 June – 15 July 2018.

Travel packages have increased, which means hotels around the 12 major arenas are being booked out, with less than a month to go before the world’s biggest soccer tournament kicks off.

According to the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, at least 1.5 million overseas visitors are expected in Russia during the tournament, with expenses amounting to over 140 million euros (USD 165 million).

The agencies also noted that Shanghai fans have placed the most orders for World Cup-related travel, followed by Beijing and Chengdu. About six of the top 10 cities with the largest number of World Cup game attendees are from second-tier cities.