The new Swiss Honorary Consulate was inaugurated on the 21st of February in Samara in the presence of the Ambassador Yves Rossier. The choice of this industrial Oblast counting over 3 million inhabitants confirms the growing importance of regions within the Russian Federation.
Swiss Ambassador, Yves Rossier
Nicolas Waefler was appointed honorary consul of Switzerland in the region of Samara (1000 km from Moscow) on the 21st of February. It has been 10 years since the Confederation last had honorary consuls in Russia and to celebrate this historic decision, an official ceremony was organized in the new Helvetic representation located in the city center. Yves Rossier, Ambassador of Switzerland to Russia, Swiss companies, representatives of the regional administration and some 120 representatives of the economic and industrial circles of the region took part in the festive reception which took place later on in the evening.
About Nicolas Waefler
Born in Neuchâtel, Nicolas Waefler got married in Omsk, became a father in Samara and settled in Russia in 2015 to create the Swiss Center Samara (SCS), a consulting company that helps foreign SMEs enter and develop their business on the Russian market. Officially appointed and confirmed at the end of 2018, the consul told the guests:
„Samara has become my second homeland and I project myself on the long term in this region with great potential. It is a privilege and a great chance for me to be able to represent the interests of the Confederation and Swiss companies.“
Honorary Swiss Consul Nicolas Waefler
Cooperation between Switzerland & Russia
The new governor, Dimitry Azarov, received the Ambassador and the participants of the Swiss delegation at his residence in the morning. Among others, the companies CSEM, Clemessy Switzerland, S.C.E. Experts or Nestlé were represented. The Swiss food giant based in Vevey has been controlling the largest chocolate factory in Russia since 1995 and has recently launched new product lines.
An example which shows that the region has fostered cooperation with European companies in recent years, despite economic sanctions against Russia. „We have organized more than a dozen events on both sides since the beginning of our activities and a company from Samara has recently decided to set up its European subsidiary in Switzerland“ comments Nicolas Waefler, and to continue „through our activities, we have created a dozen jobs and are currently realizing and discussing several commercial projects, including the setup of Swiss subsidiaries in Samara.“
Delegation to the Russian aerospace industry
The opening of the consulate coincided with the coming of a Swiss business delegation dedicated to the Russian aerospace sector, co-organized by Swiss Center Samara and Switzerland Global Enterprise. A dozen companies made the trip, including S.C.E. Experts, a company specializing in international production standards and operational excellence. Its director, Esther Mveng, came for the first time to Russia: „This country has always fascinated me, and this mission is a first step to take the temperature of the market and assess how our organization can contribute to the development of the Russian industry. “
Swiss space delegation in Russia
In terms of scientific collaboration, the Haute Ecole de Gestion Arc has developed new student exchanges with the universities of Samara and is currently running 2 projects with grants provided for in the framework of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and Russia. In 2018, the Samara Aerospace University has started working with a young Swiss IT engineer established in Samara. „I was originally planning to work in Moscow or St. Petersburg,“ comments Yann Donon, a former CERN collaborator, with whom he has set up a scientific collaboration in Samara. "I like it a lot here, there are many opportunities and skills to start new projects. I also recently started a PhD in addition to my teaching activities „ he concludes.
Located on the banks of the Volga river, Samara is famous for the construction of Soyuz rockets and has gone through tremendous developments in recent years. In 2018, the city that was once called „Kuybishevsk“ under the Soviet Union hosted a number matches of the Football World Cup and is now one of Russia’s most attractive and economically dynamic regions of Russia.
In addition to its large space cluster, the region also hosts many activities in the automotive industry. At 80 km from Samara, the town of Togliatti is home to the AvtoVAZ car factory, controlled by the Renault group.