"Contracts with India, Cuba, before with Libya. Now they're negotiating with Iran. This year new rail-car construction has begun."
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Kaluga is called the birthplace of Russian Independence because it is here that Russia was liberated from the Mongol horde.
Today it is home to a growing auto manufacturing industry with growth everywhere you look. The following clip from Russian news with transcript below gives a great overview.
The Russian region being discussed today is the Kaluga area. Here, the largest world automakers have opened their businesses: Volkswagen, Volvo, Citroen, plus Korean Samsung and many others. Agricultural production is also growing. And, of course, there is much to see in the Kaluga region, a rich centuries-old history, architectural monuments, Orthodox churches, monasteries and the generous Russian nature.
Elena Erofeeva will tell us more.
It's as if he was ready to step off the granite pedestal into the world, the great Tsar of all Russia cast in bronze, on one knee. This is the first monument to Ivan the Third. He unified Russia and freed it from the Mongol yoke. The great stand on the Ugra river was his victory. On October 8, 1480, a bloody battle began on the banks of the Ugra river, a battle for Russia's independence. Since then, 5 centuries have passed. Russia is free and independent. Its sovereignty is behind a nuclear shield. Under Kozelsk, a city of military glory, the 28th Missile Guards Red Banner Division is stationed. The intercontinental ballistic missile “Yars” is here, our nuclear shield, Russia's might. The missile silo goes deep underground. No one can say how deep. There is also a command post with officers on duty.
Vladimir Samoilov, Senior Lieutenant:
"The responsibility is huge, because it's not a rifle, not a machine gun, here we have a missile carrying a nuclear warhead."
We are walking down a long corridor. A "postern," in military speak. It leads to the command post, where civilians are definitely not allowed. We’re only allowed near it, where it smells deliciously of borsch and fried kotletas.
"Attention, we received an order to conduct a rocket launch."
Before each shift, the officers go through a drill. Their life is constant training, so that there is always peace on the other side of the fence.
The Kaluga track vehicle plant is more than 100 years old. Its walls remember the Revolution. First there were railway workshops, then a huge enterprise with giants shops.
Sergey Pshenichnikov, General Director:
"Today we all know what the railway means for us. And without our machines, it's impossible to repair and build new railways and for them to exist."
Contracts with India, Cuba, before with Libya. Now they're negotiating with Iran. This year new rail-car construction has begun.
Igor Harin, Chief Constructor:
We decided to expand production and make one more machine, for laying down track, a motor-powered platform with a cabin."
At the turn of the 2000s, the Kaluga plants were mainly of the military-industrial complex, and were slowly dying out.
Then the new governor, Anatoly Artamonov, found a way to salvage the situation: he began to invite foreign investors to the region.
Anatoly Artamonov Governor:
"We have never allowed ourselves to step away from the promises we give to our partners. We are offering investors tax preferences. We really don't have any bureaucracy."
So, in 2007 a German company started producing cars in Kaluga. Over this time, more than one million machines have been produced here. Every 2 minutes a new foreign car leaves the line.
Kirill Ponomarenko, Quality Control Supervisor:
"Each car is for a specific client, which after it's ordered, we begin assembling, with specific features and specific color."
They moved from a large part assembly to the full cycle. Two years ago an engine plant was started. What's immediately noticed is that mostly women work here.
Jdana Trushkina, Head of Engine Assembly:
"Women naturally have better fine-motor skills, so certain operations are easier to master for them."
Besides the automotive industry in Kaluga, there's also a pharmaceutical one, with 50 enterprises. This insulin factory was built by a Danish company. Its capacity allows it to provide medication for more than 200,000 diabetes patients.
Anatoly Artamonov Governor:
"In the Kaluga region there are 12 industrial parks and a special economic zone where we have already created more than 26,000 new jobs."
Trout farming sends 2 tons of fresh fish to the market every day. In nature, 3 years pass from the egg to the half kilo of product stage, but trout grow in 7 months in these pools.
"It practically has one instinct, to eat. And another instinct, to survive among its peers, because there are many of them in the pool."
The fish is fed 12 times a day, that is, every 2 hours. When the trout is ready, it's sent to the packing department.
Looking at its eyes can help indicate its freshness.
"The eye doesn't move when sliding over it. Then we look at the gills, they should be bright red.”
To provide transport accessibility to enterprises, a logistics center was opened in Vorsino. There is a customs clearance for goods and warehouses for storage 80,000 sq. meters. 5 trains a week arrive from China alone.
Dmitry Ermolov, Executive Director:
"75% comes from China, and 25% leaves for export. Russian yogurts, ice cream, sweets."
Cargoes go from the ports of the Baltic Sea, from Nakhodka, from shore of the Sea of Japan. Container trains are formed here and sent to the farthest corners of Russia. In a few minutes this train will go to the Far East.
Almost 8,000 km and 8 days on the way to Blagoveshchensk. 65 containers are already on the train. The train will deliver furniture, building materials, and plumbing fixtures produced in the Moscow region to the Far East.
Optina Monastery is the center of spiritual life. It was 30 years ago, that the monastery, repressed during the Soviet years, was again handed over to the Church. Here in the 19th century in St. Vladimir's skete lived a monk Ambrose Optina. This is his cell.
"A humble person, to whom all of Russia came: everyone stood in line to see him, from peasants to Dostoevsky."
There are 200 monks living in Optina Monastery today. They have a farm, cows, horses, 800 hectares of land, a small candle factory, icon painting workshops. And, the main feature, praying that doesn't cease for even a minute.
"Any man can visit when it's convenient and fully immerse himself in a monastic life. He changes right before your eyes and becomes absolutely different."
Today the people are still going to the Optina elders. The Russian spirit grows stronger behind the monastery wall, just like five centuries ago, where an independent Russia was born on Kaluga soil.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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