At the end of October 2015 OCA magazine was invited to the Russian Federation’s science city of Dubna. The trip was organised by Ross Sotrudnichestvo, Mayor of Dubna city. Although not well-known outside of Russia, the city is a hotbed of high technology set in a Special Economic zone. More than this, however, the city also has the benefit of hosting a Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna State University, enticing environment, a lively social life and plenty of art and crafts and tourism attractions. Dubna demonstrates that business development is possible in Russia, and not just inside Moscow.
Dubna is a science city, dating from the time immediately after the end of World War II on the bank of the Volga river, 120 km north of Moscow, where the Moscow canal joins the Volga river. With a population of over 75,000 people, a unique environment and atmosphere for a science city has been created for 50 years. And the nearest international airport, “Sheremetyevo”, is located just 80 km from Dubna, making it a surprisingly well connected location.
Dubna is twinned with La Crosse (Wisconsin, USA), Givat Shmuel (Israel), Alushta (Russia) Lincang (Yunnan, China), Goldap (Poland), Kurchatov (Kazakhstan) and Nova Dubnica (Slovakia). Modern Dubna is known worldwide as a centre for science and high technology. It is the only city in Russia, which is immortalised in Mendeleev’s Periodic Table, one of the city’s scientists synthesized the Dubna element with atomic number 105 and it was named ‘Dubnium’.
The history and development of Dubna is directly linked to town-forming organizations and enterprises located in the city. Since 1956 the city has grown and developed around five core enterprises: The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (est. 1956), Dubna Machine-Building Plant (1939), Engineering Design Bureau “Raduga” (1951), Instrument Plant ‘Tensor’ (1973) and the Research Institute ‘Atoll’ (1976). By the mid-1980s the city was fully formed and it was already known as the research and production centre of Russia. Half of the working population of the city at that time were in one way or another associated with science and technology.
By the mid-1950s the world had come to realise that nuclear science could not be locked in secret laboratories and that only wide international co-operation could ensure progress in this fundamental realm of human knowledge and peaceful utilization of atomic energy. In 1954 the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was established near Geneva to unite the efforts of West European countries in studying the fundamental properties of the microcosm.
About the same time, under the stimulus of the USSR Government, the countries then belonging to the socialist world took a decision to establish the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. The agreement on the establishment of the Institute was signed on 26th March 1956 in Moscow. The same year specialists from 12 countries came to Dubna and founded the city as we know it. Investigations in many fields of nuclear physics research were launched here, bringing it international status and recognition.
A Technological Innovation Special Economic Zone “Dubna” was established in the territory of Dubna, Moscow region by Government Decree #781 on December 21st 2005. Such Special Economic Zones were set up to increase the Russian market share in international hi-tech products and machinery development. Today many areas of activity have been developed beyond the nuclear sphere, including biological and medical technology and complex engineering systems. Some 96 companies are resident in the Special Economic Zone, which has special conditions for foreign companies investing in Russia, including a reduced tax burden (0-13.5% instead of 20%) and special measures for highly qualified specialist.
Far from being a poor neighbour of the capital, Moscow, Dubna is fast becoming a place of great international interest and success and demonstrated yet another success story for Russian industry. EU and US sanctions may have dampened the mood for foreign direct investment in the country, but this has not stopped Dubna forging ahead with its ambitious growth plans.
By Aleksandra Vlasova