— Mr Shulepov, please tell us a little about Vologda.
— Vologda is an ancient Russian city. This year we have celebrated its 868 years anniversary. It is the same age as Moscow. City is historic, but also dynamic. Vologda is an administrative, industrial and cultural center of one of the largest regions of Russia – Vologda region. We are just 460 km from Moscow, 650 km from St. Petersburg.
The population of the city now is 320.3 thousand people and it goes on increasing. Over the past five years, 27 thousand residents added to our population. This is one of the best dynamics indicators in Russia!
— Vologda is known to have concentrated significant economic, financial, labor and cultural potential of the region. Tell us, please, more about the activities of the city.
— Vologda is a city of mechanical engineers. One in three Russian bearings is made in Vologda. Our OJSK "Vologda Optical and Mechanical Plant" produces high-quality optoelectronic devices for special purposes as well as imaging IR equipment. Factories of OJSK "Rotor", JSC "SKDM" and LLC "Vologda Machine-Tool Plant", using the proximity of metallurgical giant PJSC "Severstal", have good opportunities for cooperation in the field of metal processing and metal production of any complexity. Our company JSC "Trans-Alfa Electro" produces quality trolleys that carry passengers, including those in Moscow and St. Petersburg; LLC "Immid" produces plastic pipes of large diameter.
Vologda is a city of woodworkers. The annual cutting area exceeds 29 million cubic meters per year. Today there is high-quality lumber, wood furniture and wood pellets produced in our city. Of our particular pride is quality, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient houses from Vologda forests. They are sold all over Russia. This year one of our companies, LLC "Biovat profile", started the delivery of the houses to India.
Vologda has always been famous for its butter and dairy products. For example, the company "TD Iceberry" annually produces 30 thousand tons of most delicious ice cream. Today Vologda can offer jams and comfitures of northern berries, fruit jellies, marshmallows, sausages and many other items. Today, we are actively developing cooperation with the company "Nestle Russia". In 2014, the city opened one of the largest factories in Europe producing cereals for children.
In 2015, the city realized more than 70 large investment projects, which can be found on our investment portal (www.invest.vologda-portal.ru).
We are systematically working on making the life in Vologda intense and interesting for both the residents and tourists. Every year we held more than 200 festivals in the framework of the project "Vologda - the cultural capital of the Russian North". For example, more than 1,000 Russian and foreign artists come to the International Festival "Voice of Crafts." The traditional international festival of young European cinema «Voices» each summer gathers talented directors and actors from all over the world.
— Mr Shulepov, how do you see the development of international and inter-municipal relationships of Vologda?
— Vologda has formed partnerships with many cities. In 2015, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of cooperation with the sister city of Kouvola (Finland). Since 2009, we actively cooperate with Strasbourg. We made friends with French city of Elancourt, Bulgarian Burgas, Grodno and Mogilev in Belarus, as well as Vorkuta, Yevpatoria and Sevastopol. Every year we implement dozens of joint projects and activities. For example, there is Strasbourg Square appeared 2013 in Vologda, and Vologda Square (Place de Vologda) appeared 2014 in Strasbourg.
In 2015, our city has been included in the joint project of the UN Human Settlements Programme ("UN-Habitat") and the Committee on Housing and land use UNECE “United smart cities: smart city solutions for countries with economies in transition and developing countries” (www.unhabitat.ru).
In addition to our membership in Eurasia section of the World Organization "United Cities and Local Governments" we are active members of other unions and associations: the International Assembly of Capitals and Cities, the Union of cities in the Center and North-West of Russia, the Union of Russian cities, the Hanseatic League of modern cities, the Union of Russian Hanseatic cities, the Russian Geographical Society, the Association of patronage of the Northern Fleet.
This collaboration allows us to learn from other cities, share experiences, exchange best practices. We are grateful to our friends - the leadership of these organizations - for their dedicated work and the opportunities they provide to us.
— Mr Shulepov, you are one of the authors of the book "Social corporatism: theoretical basis and experience in the implementation." Would you kindly tell us what "social corporatism" means?
More than 70 projects are being implemented in our city today with active participation of both our residents and business. Such projects are as follows: the "Care", aimed at supporting our veterans, the "Blooming city", designed to make Vologda beautiful and well maintained, the "City of childhood", allowing to organize leisure activities for children and students, the "Patrons", organizing assistance to educational institutions, and many others.
Through systematic work, which is conducted under the general brand named "Vologda-city of good deeds", today one in three residents of the city is really involved in our social projects. Each project is implemented in order to achieve the main strategic goal - to make Vologda one of the most comfortable cities to work and live. Joining forces out of love for native city we called the ideology of social corporatism. In our opinion, the future is in this very ideology!