Halal Expo 2015 opens in Moscow

The Crocus-Expo Center in Moscow has opened Moscow Halal Expo 2015. Over 200 halal companies from Russia and other countries will be presenting their products until May 23. The main theme of the exposition this year will be growth and development of national manufacturers and international commercial and investment relations with the Islamic world. Food, fashion, tourism, financial and medical companies are taking part in Halal Expo this year. Madina Kalimullina, the director of the exposition, explained that one of the main goals of the Halal Expo was to demonstrate development of the halal market in Russia.

Linar Yakupov: «Welcome to the main economic interaction platform of Russia and OIC countries – KazanSummit 2015»

"Islamic Finance for Constructive Global Trade and Investment" is the main theme of the VII International economic summit of Russia and member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – KazanSummit 2015, which will be held on June 15-16th in the third capital city of Russia – Kazan. The observer status of OIC that the Russian Federation received in 2005 provides the base for the improving interrelations between Russia and OIC member countries. Hence KazanSummit is the main platform for developing relations between Russian regions and OIC member countries that takes an economic cooperation to the international scene.

Russia seeks Malaysian expertise in Islamic Finance

Russia is looking to Malaysia to assist and build its knowledge and human capital in Islamic Finance, as it looks to introduce the system for its Muslim citizens. A delegation from Malaysia, consisting of representatives of a subdivision of the Central Bank of Malaysia for development of Islamic finance and University Tun Adbul Razak, visited Russia in February to assess the market. Earlier this year, two major Islamic banking institutions, Al Baraka and Al Shamal, announced that they are actively looking for partners in the Russian market at a recent banking summit. Working with a local partner will allow them to operate legally in Russia.

Azerbaijan’s Islamic banking skills to drive Russian Islamic finance development

Russia hopes to learn from the experience of Azerbaijan in the field of Islamic banking, said Sergey Drobyshevsky, the scientific director of the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy in Baku. He said the presence of IBA Moscow, a Russian subsidiary of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, must contribute to this. Drobyshevsky believes it will be easier for the Azerbaijani banks and businessmen to work in Russia than the Malaysian specialists of that sphere. Behnam Gurbanzada, the director of Islamic banking at the IBA, earlier called Russia a "promising" platform to further the development of Islamic finance.

New leap of faith

Geopolitical entanglements and new Cold War era tussles with the west, compounded by lower oil prices, have brought the Russian economy to its knees. Investment prospects for the Eurasian giant appear bleak, with credit ratings agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's downgrading its economy to 'junk' status earlier this year. For support Russia is turning its attention to the Muslim populations of its various republics. Around 14 per cent of Russians follow Islam. However, the tradition of centralisation in the Russian Federation offered until now little room for the growth of Islamic finance. This, however, appears to be changing.

Russia seeks UAE investments to boost its economy

Russia is trying to increase its cooperation with the UAE, especially in Islamic finance, as the country is seeking to strengthen its trade ties with the UAE and other Gulf countries, according to Igor Egorov, the Chairman of the Russian Business Council. Egorov said the country has brought in new regulations to attract Islamic financial institutions from the Middle East and Asia as demand for financing grows in Russia. He added that the trade figures between Russia and the UAE stand at $2 billion and are set to grow in the coming days. Moreover, the Eurasian Economic Union provides opportunity for UAE companies to invest.

A draft law on Islamic Banking was submitted in the State Duma

As reported in the lower chamber of parliament, the draft law that removes barriers for implementing Islamic banking in Russia is submitted in the State Duma. If the document is accepted, the appropriate amendments will be made in the federal law on «Banks and banking activity». The explanatory note to the draft law mentions that attracting Islamic investments is an extremely effective tool in conditions of difficult economic situation. It is stated that within economic development strategy of Russia giving a chance to Islamic finance means to attract a large number of additional investment, in conditions of crisis economy to help Russia develop a new economy based not on raw materials’ money.

Russia to Lift Barrier to Islamic Finance as Western Sanctions Continue

Russian lawmakers have introduced to parliament a draft bill to support Islamic finance, aiming to attract capital inflows at a time when an economic slowdown is intensifying and Western sanctions show no sign of being lifted. The draft law, sent to parliament's lower house, the State Duma, this week, proposes allowing banks to engage in trade activities, a concept central to many of the structures used in sharia-compliant financial products. While many other obstacles remain, the bill is seen a first step to spur development of the sector. The draft law must pass three readings in the Duma before it moves to the upper house and then to President Vladimir Putin's desk to be signed into law.

Two Islamic Banks Planning to Enter Russian Market - Bahraini Official

Two Islamic banks, Al Baraka and Al Shamal, are currently in talks with Russian credit organizations to enter their capital market. Both banks have been interested in the Russian market but had trouble trying to enter it independently due to a lack of regulations that let organizations work with Islamic banks and abide by their rules in Russia. The main sphere of their interests is corporate financing. First Vice President of Al Baraka bank Khalid Qattan confirmed in a comment that his institution was currently holding negotiations with several Russian banks, with no final agreements reached yet.

In search for economic 'blessings'? Russia's grand plans to tap Islamic finance

The year 2014 brought changes for the Russian economy. The sanctions imposed by the European countries and the US and historically low oil prices have led to prices to double and businesses to lose access to traditional finance. At the annual Gaidar Economic Forum on January 14-16, a session was dedicated to Islamic finance and its development prospects in Russia. Indeed, 2014, especially its second half, was filled with economic and finance forums and seminars, which embraced among other topics, the issue of Islamic finance. The industry, which is capable of bringing new investments into the market, finally seems to be taken more seriously. Islamic finance is now being studied at various government bodies and institutions, both at the federal and regional levels.

Russian Banks Look to Build Islamic Finance Knowledge in Face of Sanctions

Russian banks are developing their expertise in Islamic finance to help broaden funding sources for local firms, though Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis could hinder those efforts. Banks in the Middle East and southeast Asia, the major markets for sharia-compliant debt, are wary of becoming tangled in the EU sanctions. So some Russian lenders are trying to build their own in-house knowledge of Islamic finance. State development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) is seeking help from Middle East firms to develop its Islamic finance expertise. VTB Bank is exploring sukuk deals for several of its clients. However, the lack of a Russian regulatory framework for Islamic finance is an obstacle.

In the crisis the Russian Banks look to the Shariah

Russian lenders would like to tap Islamic finance just as the international sanctions and a low oil price brings their country to the brink of a recession. The Vnesheconombank is currently seeking advice from Middle East lenders on how to sell Islamic bonds. Banks and companies are seeking Shariah financing after the Russian currency recently weakened to an all-time low.

Central Bank of Russia explores the subject of Islamic banking regulation

Elvira Nabiullina, the chairman of the Central Bank of Russia, stated in the Federation Council that they are exploring the subject of Islamic banking regulation. Previously, the Association of Russian Banks (ARB) offered to issue a different license for Islamic banking. Russian banks note the rising demand for Islamic financial tools.

Islamic insurance product will appear soon in Russia

Five days long advanced training courses regarding Islamic insurance has started in the Russian Islamic Institute. Islamic Business and Finance Development Fund (IBFD Fund), Kazan (Privolzhsky) federal university, Russian Islamic University and LLC IC “Alliance Life” are organizers of the course. Important issues of nowadays are implementation of Islamic economic products at banking, insurance and other spheres, development of education in the scope of Islamic economy. Lecturers of the courses are worldwide recognized specialist at Islamic economy. Islamic insurance courses will continue up to November 21. Round-table of Islamic insurance implementation is going to be held on November 22.

Azerbaijan's largest bank starts Islamic financing in Russia

International Bank of Azerbaijan OJSC will provide services on Islamic financing in Russia, the director of the Department of Islamic Banking of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) Behnam Gurbanzade said.

Russian center of Islamic economy and finances (RCIEF) will hold 5 days advanced training course and Islamic insurance roundtable.

On 17-21 November, 2014, RCIEF organizes an Islamic insurance course. On 22 September, the Islamic finances roundtable, with passing of resolution of Islamic insurance in Russia, will be held. International and Russian experts are invited. Courses will be held by Dr. Osman Babiker Ahmed, Maksatbet Kairgaliev, Kuralay Eldesbai, and Alfiya Salikhova at Russian Islamic University, 19, Gazovaya str, 319 lecture hall. Visiting of the course provides a practical guideline of innovative insurance products, which meet the requirements of Islamic law. For registered visitors entrance is free of charge. Deadline for application up to November 15, 2014, till 17:00. More Information is available at

Book of the Day: The Prince of Evolution

In The Prince of Evolution Dugatkin tells the story of the Russian prince, evolutionary theorist, and political radical Peter Alexeyevich Kropotkin whose Darwinian theory of mutual aid was the first to argue that cooperation was an integral part of natural selection. Dugatkin’s book is a précis on Kropotkin’s life and work, an overview that highlights the common theme of mutual aid in both his scientific and political ideas. The discoveries that Kropotkin made of glacial formations during the Quaternary Period in Russia were received with international acclaim and earned him invitations to join the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a Cambridge University endowed chair in geology.

Islamic Finance Budding Slowly in Russia

There are at least 10 million Muslims in Russia, but the country lags behind in the industry. Russian Muslims are slow to change their financial habits, while nonbelievers are plagued by a deep-rooted distrust of Islam — as are, to some extent, the financial authorities, who are in no hurry to adapt economic legislation to facilitate Islamic banking. Still, an Islamic finance industry has been budding over the past decade in Russia, and analysts and players show cautious optimism about its prospects. The industry still has plenty of room to grow — Thomson Reuters forecasts that Islamic banking assets in Russia will reach up to $10 billion by 2018.

5th Halal Expo in Moscow

The Halal-industry Expo will be the largest in Russia and Eastern Europe and will take place from 5 – 8 June, 2014. The Russian Muftis Council is organizer of the exhibition. The Expo will probably bring more than 200 companies together from all over the world. With Muslim numbers increasing there is a definite growing demand for Halal products and services. These are not only popular among Muslims. Halal products are well known for their quality. Besides that, sphere of Halal services bases on a mutual respect and honest cooperation. The Moscow International Halal Exhibition is a major event in the industry and a platform for experts and businesses.

KazanSummit 2014 will show the national festival Sabantuy

The participants and honor guests of KazanSummit will be able to visit one of the most important national festivals of the people of the Volga river basin - the Sabantuy. The KazanSummit Organizing Committee allows the guests of Russia and Tatarstan to get to know the cultural and spiritual component of the life in the Republic. On June 7, there will be the excursion on the national festival Sabantuy for the participants and official delegates of KazanSummit. The Sabantuy is the largest national, multiethnic festival of the people of the Volga river basin and Russia, which is on the list of the masterpieces of the cultural heritage of the UNESCO.

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