Russia – Islamic World: KazanForum International Economic Forum. Briefing at the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan

14 February 2023


On 14 February, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan hosted a briefing on the Russia – Islamic World: KazanForum International Economic Forum.

The Russia – Islamic World: KazanForum International Economic Forum, starting this year, has gained the status of an event of federal importance and will be held annually in Kazan, in accordance with Presidential Decree №17 of January 17, 2023.

This year KazanForum is scheduled for 17-19 May. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin was appointed head of the Organizing Committee.

It should be noted that the first session of the Forum Organizing Committee was already held on 2 February in Moscow. At the meeting Marat Khusnullin announced Russia’s intention to sign an agreement with the participating countries to create the Eastern Route, a railway line bypassing the Caspian Sea that will enable the development of direct international links with Iran, India, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Today’s briefing was broadcast live on the official portal of the Republic of Tatarstan. A videoconference broadcasting was also organized in the municipal district administration buildings, where there was an opportunity to ask questions to the participants.
The briefing was opened by Talia Minullina, head of the Investment Development Agency of the republic of Tatarstan. She noted that the Forum is the largest international event annually held in Kazan.

‘The official days of business events are 17-19 May,’ she continued. ‘The program is now shaping up so that on 17 May, intergovernmental commissions of the Russian Federation working groups will be held with the relevant commissions of the OIC countries. The confirmation process with foreign partners and heads of these commissions is going on these days.’

Talia Minullina also said that 18 and 19 May are the main days of the business program. ‘About 200 events are planned. The agenda is ambitious. Lighter events will take place in the city. They are the Russian Halal Market international exhibition, the Islamic Fashion Show and trips to UNESCO sites. On 21 May the Forum will finish in Bolgar at traditional Bolgar Zhyeny. The full program is posted on the Forum’s website, and it is formed by theme-tracks’, Minullina said.

She went on to list the main tracks of the forum, ‘The first track is “International Cooperation”, and we expect that apart from our traditional meetings with ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary, there will be interesting sessions, for instance, on general history. Together with the State Archive of the Russian Federation we have prepared a session entitled “Russia – the OIC Countries. General History”. Russia – the Persian Gulf inter-parliamentary hearings are planned.

Then there are a number of bilateral events. They are Russia – Türkiye, Russia – Egypt, Russia – Indonesia, Russia – Malaysia, Russia – Azerbaijan and Russia – Uzbekistan conferences. From these countries we are expecting more business association and more business.

The forum traditionally includes a course on Islamic finance. In addition to it, Sberbank of Russia will hold its annual Russia as a Guarantor of Partnership Economic Forum within the framework of KazanForum.

We are planning to hold a large number of sessions on certification, standardization, specialist training and other topics in the sphere of halal industry.

In the Islamic finance track, one of the most important sessions being prepared by Central Bank of Russia is “Partnership Financing as an Alternative to Traditional Tools”. The second important session is “Prospects for Legal Regulation of Partnership Financing in Russia”, which will be held jointly with the State Duma of the Russian Federation.’

Talia Minullina said that in connection with the aforementioned, a federal law had been passed in the first reading at the State Duma, where the financial regulator plans to conduct an experiment in the territories of four subjects of Russia, including Tatarstan. At the outcome of the experiment, a decision will be made to extend the legislative regulation of partnership financing to other regions. Experts in Islamic finance from Islamic countries have been invited to these sessions for discussion.

‘The Business Opportunity track will include the Forum of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Russia and the OIC countries, a summing-up of the Russia – Iran business mission, as well as sessions on commercial arbitration practices and investor rights protection,’ the head of the Investment Development Agency of the Republic of Tatarstan noted.

Speaking about the Technology track, Minullina stressed that today we are talking about technological sovereignty, which the country is striving for in various directions. The partners of the track are Skolkovo Innovation Centre, Innopolis, Agency for Strategic Initiatives, and others.

Talia Minullina continued, ‘The forum will also have interesting tracks on start-ups, youth policy, sport, investments, industry and logistics. Rich and engaging sessions have been proposed by the Ministry of Health.’

The scale of this year’s forum is evidenced by the space planned for the event. Thus, it is known that a separate lounge with the area of 2,000 sq. m. will be constructed for media representatives this year, while the exhibition zone will expand to the area of 20,000 sq. m. This information was presented at the briefing by Director General of the Directorate of Sports and Social Projects Maksim Denisov. He also added that the event will involve 800-900 well-trained volunteers who speak foreign languages. The official languages of the KazanForum are Russian, Tatar, English, Arabic and Turkish.

Aide to the Rais of the Republic of Tatarstan Gazinur Bakirov reminded the audience that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Russian President Putin’s historic visit to Malaysia, where Russia became an observer-state to OIC. ‘This decision launched cultural and civilizational rapprochement between the Russian Federation and the Muslim world. Apart from this event, the celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria last year and the Global Youth Summit, which was held as part of the Kazan – OIC Youth Capital 2022 international program, had a wide international resonance’.

It should also be noted that the KazanForum is an important component of great work carried out by the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia – Islamic world", chaired by Rais of our republic Rustam Minnikhanov. It is a platform for consultations at the level of public and political figures, business circles and representatives of academic community and clergy. KazanForum is an economic platform for these activities, where new areas of work are opened and old ones are expanded, such as the development of partnership investing in Russia, logistics and halal industry.’

Using the briefing platform, Mufti of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan Kamil Samigullin expressed his condolences to the victims of the recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. He further elaborated on halal industry and told about the experience of interaction between the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan and the main supplier of halal products for Hajj, Fambras Halal Brazilian company. He said, ‘Today there are 460 halal certification centres around the world, and the Brazilians are in the second place in the world. And this is not a Muslim country. If they have succeeded, why cannot Russia also succeed? Now we are actively cooperating with this centre.’

Kamil Samigullin added, ‘Over the past two years we have made significant progress in terms of Islamic finance. The council of scholars has developed five ready-made products: halal installments for buying real estate, a debit bank card, a halal investment tool, the Halal Securities Identifier mobile app and halal installments for buying cars and home appliances.’

The Mufti of Tatarstan pleased the briefing listeners with the fact that on 21 May, the day of Izge Bolgar Zhyeny (Muslim Assembly in Bolgar), holy relics – items belonging to Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) will be presented to visitors. Kamil Samigullin believes that these artifacts, which will be available for viewing for one day only, will attract even more people to visit Bolgar Zhyeny.

At the end of the briefing, journalists ask questions to the participants. One of the questions raised on that day at the meeting room of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan was whether Vladimir Putin would personally visit the KazanForum. Talia Minullina diplomatically replied, ‘We are planning the participation of the first persons of the country this year, taking into account the federal status.’ She noted that the list of invited leaders of the OIC member-states is being confirmed at this moment and all information will be posted on the main portal of the KazanForum.



GSV "Russia - Islamic world"