(KZN.RU, May 21, Ksenia Shvetsova). Issues of interaction in different areas of socio-economic development were discussed today at the Kazan Executive Committee with representatives of the delegation from Australia. Damien Brukard, the second secretary of the Australian Embassy, arrived at the meeting with Rustem Gafarov, the first deputy head of the Executive Committee. The parties agreed to work together and outlined the main areas of interaction.
Daria Sannikova, the director of the Tourism Promotion Committee, Azat Abzalov, the head of the Department of Culture, Zhanna Belitskaya, the deputy head of the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Rifat Khannanov, the head of the Directorate of Information Technology and Communications, Marat Fattiev, the deputy head of the Department of Education, and Natalia Smirnova, the manager of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission of the Australian Embassy, attended the meeting.
Opening the meeting, Rustem Gafarov welcomed the guests and noted that Kazan was on the path that had connected East and West more than three thousand years ago. “Trade cargo went along this path, but it was important not only for the development of the economy. Culture, traditions, the lifestyle of the West and the East met on this road”, he said. Today, Kazan is one of the largest industrial, financial, shopping and tourist centers in Russia, leading in capital investment and construction in the Volga region, said R. Gafarov. He added that last year the capital of Tatarstan met the 3-millionth tourist.
The number of Australian guests arriving in Kazan is also increasing. In 2017, 636 Australian citizens arrived in Kazan. Their number in 2018 amounted to 5635 people, thanks to the championship match held in Kazan between Australia and France, said R. Gafarov.
Damien Brukard said that he was visiting Kazan for the second time. “This is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia. You have a rich culture and you can be justly proud of it”, D. Brukard shared his opinion. “Kazan is interesting for us as for representatives of the Australian government, and not just in terms of tourism. This is a city of various possibilities. We could work together in business and in urban planning”.
It is necessary to enter into inter-municipal cooperation for full-fledged joint work, marked Daria Sannikova. “Kazan has 15 sister cities in China, Turkey, France”, she said. “This is an agreement on mutual cooperation, a kind of mechanism that prescribes the directions of work”. She also cited the example of the sister city of Braunschweig, with which Kazan has been implementing a joint school exchange project since 1988. Thanks to this, students learn about the culture and language of another country.
One of the promising areas of cooperation is the development of urban infrastructure. “The program “Comfortable Urban Environment” has been formed in Russia, based on the experience of Tatarstan, in particular, Kazan”, noted Zhanna Belitskaya. “Kazan is a pioneer in many directions. For example, we solved the issue of outdoor advertising, got rid of unnecessary signs in the city. Now we have a course on quality”.
Kazan and Australia have already begun to cooperate in the cultural direction. One of the main goals of the arrival of Australian guests is the festival of Australian short films, which today starts in the capital of Tatarstan. According to D. Brukard, the films included in the festival program are aimed at destroying the myths and stereotypes about Australia.
Azat Abzalov suggested holding joint events and holidays that will be able to acquaint citizens with the atmosphere of a friendly country. “Since 2004, there is a network of creative cities under the auspices of UNESCO. 4 cities of Australia are included in this network: Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, and Adelaide”, he added. “Kazan prepared an application for UNESCO to join this network in musical direction. We will appreciate your support and cooperation in the direction of music with Adelaide”.
Joint projects in the field of business development can be equally promising, added R. Gafarov. “We have a Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which works with business. The Investment Development Agency is also an important direction for our republic”, he said. “We need to find out your exact interests, identify the most important areas”.
At the end of the meeting, R. Gafarov suggested that the guests form proposals for further cooperation, identifying the most interesting areas, and continue the discussion on specific projects.
“Of course, Russia and Australia are separated by a huge distance of almost 15 thousand kilometers. But in our opinion, this should not be an obstacle to the further development of friendly relations and an exchange of experience”, concluded the first deputy head of the Executive Committee.