- By Irina Filatova
- May. 13 2012 18:55
Population: 990,600, according to the 2011 census. Its 1 millionth resident was born in early April.
Acting mayor: Edkham Akbulatov
Founded in 1628 as a military prison.
Interesting fact: The major symbols of Krasnoyarsk — the Chapel of Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, the Kommunalny Bridge across the Yenisei River and the Krasnoyarskaya hydropower station — were depicted on the 10 ruble banknote that was recently withdrawn from circulation. A monument to the banknote was installed in the city center in 2011.
Acting Mayor Edkham Akbulatov (93 Ulitsa Karla Marksa; +7 391- 226-1025;
Nikolai Khudykh, chairman of Central Siberian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (26 Ulitsa Kirova; +7 391-268-1585;
Sister cities: Sault Sainte Marie, Canada; Daqing, Harbin and Heihe, China; Cremona, Italy.
KRASNOYARSK — One of the oldest cities in Siberia, Krasnoyarsk boasts sights like picturesque churches and fountains with dazzling night lighting. But none of them can compare to its main attraction — majestic Siberian nature.
Surrounded by rocky mountains blanketed with deep forest, Krasnoyarsk is spread out on both banks of the Yenisei River.
Writer Viktor Astafyev, a Krasnoyarsk native, once described the Yenisei as "sometimes kind and quiet, broad, sometimes locked in cliffs, sometimes furious, foaming or raging with its white waves in a storm."
The mighty river flowing through the heart of Krasnoyarsk is one of its symbols and the stuff of legend. One legend says Yenisei was a wizard who reigned over Siberia in ancient times and turned his two beloved daughters into rivers after they dared to thwart his will.
The locals' idea of Yenisei is reflected in a sculpture in the city center that depicts the river as a brawny bearded man sitting on a rock and holding a sailing vessel in his right hand.
Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant (40 Ulitsa Pogranichnikov; +7 391-256-3898;
Krasmash (Krasnoyarsky Machinery Plant) (29 Prospekt Imeni Gazety Krasnoyarsky Rabochy; +7 391-264-6601;
Magistralniye Elektricheskiye Seti Sibiri (Siberia's Main Power Transmission Lines) (117 Ulitsa Ady Lebedevoi; +7 3912-659-500;
The ships that dock in Krasnoyarsk look somewhat different. Modern passenger and cargo vessels arrive at the port, one of the biggest in Siberia, with shipments of equipment, construction materials and other supplies.
For one vessel, Krasnoyarsk has become a place of eternal rest. The Svyatitel Nikolai — a cargo-and-passenger paddle wheeler that was one of the fastest ships on the Yenisei in the late 19th century — has linked two different eras of the country's political life. In 1891, it brought future Tsar Nikolai Romanov to the city. Six years later, it delivered Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin from Krasnoyarsk to the place of his exile in the village of Shushenskoye almost 500 kilometers south of the city.
The ship has been turned into a museum and stands on the city embankment (84 Ulitsa Dubrovinskogo; +7 391-223-9403), a favorite place for locals to take a walk.
Q: What challenges do you face?
A: The medical business is overregulated in Russia. It also has high-entry barriers for human resources because employees need to have a certain professional background. This business also requires a big investment in equipment. Finally, it was rather hard to obtain a license, involving a long bureaucratic procedure.
Q: Which sectors would be good to invest in here?
A: We see a deficit in food services because cafes and restaurants are usually packed in the evening. Construction should be developed, with the city's population growing and a need for housing. The development of the social sector is also crucial.
Q: What would you advise an entrepreneur considering a startup in Krasnoyarsk?
A: You should work hard and start by learning the legislation relevant to the new business. Today's entrepreneurs should focus more on their legal literacy.
Q: What is a must-see in Krasnoyarsk?
A: Take a walk along the Yenisei River's embankment. Visit the Museum of Local History and the Astafyev museum in Ovsyanka.
— Irina Filatova
The wide Yenisei embankment is an attraction by itself. A short walk is enough to understand that Krasnoyarsk deserves its name, which is derived from the ancient words "krasny yar," which mean "beautiful shore."
The city was founded as a military prison by Cossack voivode Andrei Dubensky in 1628 and obtained city status in 1690.
The turning point in its history was in 1895 when the Great Siberian Railway — now the Trans-Siberian Railroad — linked Krasnoyarsk to the biggest Russian cities and facilitated its fast growth.
In 1976, Astafyev — who lived here for the last 20 years of his life — noted in one of his best-known novels, "Queen Fish," that the city was becoming foreign to him because it was growing bigger and noisy.
Since then, Krasnoyarsk has turned into a big industrial city, with rich mineral deposits making it one of Russia's biggest metallurgy centers.
Once a year, the country's business and political elite fly to Krasnoyarsk for an annual economic forum. The city also plans to bid to host the Winter University Games in 2019.
Until the 1990s, foreigners were barred from Krasnoyarsk, designated a closed city because chemical manufacturing facilities for the country's defense needs are located in two nearby towns. But now it welcomes foreigners, with students coming from abroad to study at the local university.
The city has also attracted a few foreign companies in recent years, including French retailers Auchan and Leroy Merlin and Germany's Metro Cash & Carry.
What to do if you have two hours
Given the size of the city, choosing an activity that will last a couple of hours is a tricky task. Other than a walk along the Yenisei embankment, locals unanimously recommend visiting the Chapel of Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, a symbol of the city depicted on most local souvenirs. The white octahedral chapel with a red roof crowned by a small golden dome is located atop Karaulnaya Mountain, about 30 minutes from the city center by taxi.
Q: Why did you choose Krasnoyarsk?
A: We opened our first store in Krasnoyarsk in 2007 following openings in Novosibirsk and Omsk because we made a decision to expand into Siberia. The major reason why we came to the Krasnoyarsk region was the rapid development of its economy and infrastructure. This market has great potential for B2B [business to business] wholesale business.
We also work with many local suppliers, who provide up to 40 percent of our food assortment in the Krasnoyarsk store. It allows us to reduce logistics costs and to offer our customers well-known local brands of the highest quality. The Krasnoyarsk retail and wholesale market is by far not yet saturated, and we see potential for further growth there.
Q: What major challenges do you face working in Krasnoyarsk?
A: The main challenge is common for the whole of Siberia — long distances and a severe climate. Metro Cash & Carry was a pioneer in this region and supported the establishment of an efficient supply chain infrastructure. We had to learn many things that only Siberia could teach us. The trucks, for example, have to be equipped with the latest air-conditioning systems to cool the food in summer and "heat" it during the glacial winter months. This is the only way to ensure that professional customers always find high-quality products on the shelves.
Q: What has made the strongest impression on you in Krasnoyarsk?
A: It's a very beautiful and modern city with rapid development and a developed food-service sector with many good restaurants, bars and cafes. It has a lot of young open-minded people. And there's the very beautiful Yenisei River.
— Irina Filatova
According to one legend, a local merchant built a wooden chapel on the moutaintop site of a former Tatar heathen temple in 1805 after he escaped a river whirlpool. Another legend says locals built it to commemorate their ancestors' victory over enemies.
The shabby wooden chapel was later replaced by a stone one preserved until today. An observation point near the chapel provides a stunning view of the city.
What to do if you have two days
Another symbol of Krasnoyarsk is the Stolby nature reserve (
Stolby occupies nearly 50,000 hectares on the right bank of Yenisei, with a stunning view of the city, the river and the surrounding mountains from a height of 90 meters. The reserve is open for visitors from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.
An alternative destination is Divnogorsk, which stretches along the right bank of the Yenisei 35 kilometers southwest of Krasnoyarsk. The small town is known as home to one of the world's largest hydropower stations, the Krasnoyarskaya, which provides electricity to regional manufacturing facilities. Its construction took 16 years and was completed in 1972. Divnogorsk's name is derived from the words "divny gory," or "amazing mountains," a nod to its location facing a long stripe of high rock formations on the opposite bank of the Yenisei.
A breathtaking view of these rock formations covered in a green carpet of trees can be found at an observation point atop the mountain Sliznevsky Byk, a popular tourist attraction. A sculpture depicting Astafyev's sturgeon — the Queen Fish — stands at the observation point.
Commuter trains to Divnogorsk leave from Krasnoyarsk three times a day, with a one-way trip taking about an hour.
Krasnoyarsk has dozens of museums, but locals strongly recommend visiting the Museum of Local History (84 Ulitsa Dubrovinskogo; +7 391-265-3481;
Q: Why invest in Krasnoyarsk?
A: The city has everything needed to set up manufacturing. We have energy, water supplies and transportation infrastructure. The city is a big transportation hub. The Trans-Siberian Railroad goes through Krasnoyarsk, we have an international airport, which is second after the Frankfurt airport in terms of cargo traffic volumes for Lufthansa. We believe that a number of other companies could use the Krasnoyarsk airport for their freight operations.
Q: Which industries could be potentially attractive for investors?
A: We have good potential to attract investors because the Krasnoyarsk region's economy has been radically diversified over the last three to four years away from traditional industries like metals and mining and energy and toward oil production, which requires the use of high technologies. So we'd like to have factories here — including those of foreign companies — to make oil-manufacturing equipment.
We also want to create a special economic zone based on the local airport, Yemelyanovo, with beneficial customs conditions. Krasnoyarsk could have a number of competitive advantages compared with other hubs. Some European airports, for example, don't work at night.
Investors are also welcome in housing construction. This market could be interesting for them, because it's developing at a high pace, with 700,000 square meters of housing being built annually. We see high demand for affordable housing among young people, so we are interested in light-frame construction, which is popular in the United States and Germany. Krasnoyarsk has a good raw material base in timber.
Q: What benefits can you provide to investors?
A: We already provide land tax breaks to some companies. In addition we could introduce corporate property tax breaks and income tax breaks to stimulate manufacturing. These benefits could be provided to companies building new production facilities.
Q: What will the city look like in 10 years?
A: I see it as a city with modern housing and a number of entertainment parks created on the surrounding islands. It's also likely to turn into a metropolitan area with nearby suburbs like Zheleznogorsk and Divnogorsk.
Q: What do you recommend seeing in Krasnoyarsk?
A: First of all, the Stolby natural reserve with its rock formations is a favorite of locals. The Museum of Local History is worth seeing. It was built more than 100 years ago with residents' donations and is shaped like an Egyptian temple.
— Irina Filatova
If you're not limited by time, don't miss a chance to visit Astafyev's native village of Ovsyanka and visit the house that the writer bought in 1980 when he decided to settle down in his birthplace. The house, a small wooden izba, contains Astafyev's personal belongings (26 Ulitsa Shchetinkina, Ovsyanka village; +7 39144-270-55;
What to do with the kids
The Krasnoyarsk Circus (143a Prospekt Imeni Gazety Krasnoyarsky Rabochy; +7 391-233-1455;
Royev Ruchei (293 Sverdlovskaya Ulitsa; +7 391-269-8101;
The James Shark Pub (155a, Ulitsa Karla Marksa; +7 391-26-62-300;
For those preferring more physical activity, check out the Barton Pub with its pool tables and bowling alleys (160 Prospekt Imeni Gazety Krasnoyarsky Rabochy; +7 391-236-0126).
Where to eat
Don't miss a chance to learn the region's history while enjoying a meal at Chemodan (2a Ulitsa Oborony; +7 391-211-21-91), which claims to be a restaurant and a museum of the 19th-century Yenisei province. The menu offers local period dishes, including grilled deer meet served with cabbage and apples and locally caught fish grilled or roasted and served with vegetables. A meal for one including alcohol costs 2,000 rubles ($66).
The interior design of Shkvarok (102a Prospekt Mira; +7 391-265-13-04) is reminiscent of a mazanka, a traditional Ukrainian village house, and menu offers Ukrainian national dishes like borshch and vareniki, pastries made of unsalted dough and stuffed with potatoes, cottage cheese, or cherries. A meal for one with alcohol costs 1,500 rubles.
A more affordable option is the local pizza chain Pertsy (
Where to stay
Hotel Metelitsa (14/1 Prospekt Mira; +7 391-227-6060;
Dom Hotel (16a Ulitsa Krasnoi Army; +7 391-290-6666;
Other helpful hints
Like any of Russia's big cities, Krasnoyarsk has traffic problems, so the 30-minute drive to the airport from the city center might take an hour or more during rush hour.
If you plan to eat out at night, choose a restaurant and reserve a table in the afternoon. The most popular places are packed in the evening.
How to get there
Regular flights depart from all the three Moscow airports and take about 4 hours 30 minutes to reach Krasnoyarsk, which is located in a time zone four hours ahead of the capital. Ticket prices start at 7,000 rubles ($230) one way. Krasnoyarsk's Yemelyanovo Airport is an international airport with charter flights to major sea resorts like Antalya, Turkey, and Phuket, Thailand.
The 4,100-kilometer trip by train takes almost three days, with prices starting at 3,200 rubles one way. Trains depart from Moscow's Yaroslavsky, Belorussky and Kazansky stations and travel through major cities like Yaroslavl, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Omsk and Tyumen before reaching Krasnoyarsk.