German business in Russia from 19th to 21st century
On December 12, honorary president of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce, senior adviser of Ernst & Young company, Andrea von Knoop, gave a lecture in MGIMO “Great Future - Germans in Russian Economic Life."
Andrea von Knoop is considered to be one of the leading specialists on German business. In 1993, she headed representative office of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Germany in Russia. Two years later she took post of chairman of the board of the German Economy Union. She worked at both posts until 2007. For her merits, she was awarded the Order of Friendship - highest award for foreigners.
According to Knoop, today German business community is the largest in the Russian market. Representatives of German business work in almost all regions of the country, and it's not a coincidence. Economic cooperation between the two countries began in the 13th century, and after 500 years, German merchants became leaders in the Russian Empire market.
"In the middle of 13th century, German entrepreneurs were the majority among foreign merchants in Russia. Situation is similar today. German entrepreneurs were extremely valued in the Russian Empire since the beginning of 19th century. They operated in different regions of the empire, largely independently of each other. Until the 1860s, foreigners worked almost exclusively on their own, using their own funds, family ties, and private partnerships.
Merchant from Bremen, Ludwig Knoop, became pioneer in the Russian cotton industry. Deals Knoop signed since the 1840s with Savva Morozov and other Moscow textile entrepreneurs were based on trust. Written agreements didn't exist. Handshake secured millions of deals.
Production of the “Einem” confectionary factory, founded in 1867 by a Ferdinand Theodor von Einem, is still popular to this day. "Einem" was one of the largest confectionery companies in Russia, which received honorary title of “supplier of the court of His Imperial Majesty”. Today it is known by its later name - "Red October".
There's also Heinrich Schliemann. Most people know him as a prominent archeologist, but few know that he earned his large funds, through which he financed his researches, in Russia," Andrea von Knoop said.
According to him, throughout 800 years, coopearion between two countries was suspended only in times of difficution conflicts, such as the Second World War. Today, despite sanctions regime, Germany remains Russia's key trading partner. "Trade turnover between Russia and Germany in 2017 amounted to 44.2 billion euros and in January-April of this year, it grew by 23.1%," Andrea von Knoop noted.
During her lecture, she presented her book, in which she tells about the history of cooperation between Russia and Germany. After lecture, she answered students' questions and showed her Russian passport. In 2016, at her request, Vladimir Putin signed a decree on granting her citizenship.
Acting head of the Economic Theory Department of the MGIMO, Olesya Ryazanova, told about activities of the guest of honor and said: "We hope that our cooperation will continue in the long term."