Representative of the
Russian Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry
in Australia and New Zealand
RF CCI History
Since the day he was born Mercury (whom Greeks called Hermes) played the role of an intermediary between Olympians and ordinary people; acting as the guardian of traders and artisans, the bearer of good tidings and a diplomat. He was a clever, smart and cunning boy; he invented measures, digits and an ABC, educating ordinary people. The winged helmet that Hades, the god of the Kingdom of the Dead gave him protected him in his fights with the Titans. Flying on the winged sandals that nymphs gave him he could move very fast to get to a place where he was needed the most. And the caduceus, a branch of a nut-tree that Apollo had given him, had magic power - it could make the parties to a debate reconcile. Once Mercury threw his caduceus into a swarm of fighting snakes, they stopped fighting, coiled around the branch and began to look at one another with eyes full of love.That was how the famous Mercury's staff came to be known as a symbol of reconciliation and concord.
At present Mercury's caduceus is a symbol that chambers of commerce and industry on all continents use in their day-to-day activities when they look for ways to solve disputes between business competitors, and disputed between business an authorities, so that at the end of the day they come to an agreement.
Since the inception of trade and commerce as special forms of human activities the striving to come together with an eye at defending professional interests was one of the main trends of their development. Artisans' shops and merchant guilds in the Middle Ages were the first examples of institutional forms of such unification, so that they can be regarded as some kind of forerunners of present-day chambers of commerce and industry.
During Peter the Great's rule first guilds were established that had their elected representatives entitled to negotiate different issues of commercial; and industrial activities with municipal authorities.
In February of 1727 Catherine I issued a decree that bound "a certain number of factory owners…to come to Moscow at least once every winter for a month to take counsel, and if some urgent matters needed to be discussed in order to issue a special decree, to bind them to inform the Commerce Collegium about that." That was the first attempt at uniting merchants and industrialists socially.
The 1861 reform opened new ways and areas of activity of associations of commodity manufacturers. The 1869 charter of the Moscow Exchange Committee institutionalised the function of presentation of the interests of entrepreneurs entitling them to negotiate proposals regarding development of trade and industry before tabling them for the consideration of relevant state agencies.
At the start of the 20th century in the conditions of the growth of contribution the entrepreneurs made in the process of Russia's economic modernisation, the issue of establishment of councils of commerce and industry organisations began gradually to acquire practical dimensions.
December 29, 1910 the Statute of the Russian Export Chamber was approved. This chamber was an influential body in both Russia and abroad, being a standing member of the International Chamber of Commerce and a number of other international organisations.
Aside from the Russian Export Chamber, 10 more agencies of the kind appeared before WWI. They included the Russian Chamber of Commerce at the Embassy in Paris, the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, the Russian Import Chamber and the Russian-British Chamber of Commerce. They stood for the interests of Russian entrepreneurs promoting Russia's economic rapprochement with other countries.
In March 1910 a bill on "The Introduction of chambers of commerce and industry in Russia was drawn up but the statute "On chambers of commerce and industry" was approved only October 6, 1917 by the Interim Government. The document outlined principal goals, tasks and authority of chambers of commerce and industry in Russia.
After the end of the civil war in Russia and a transfer to the New Economic Policy (NEP) new forms of management of economic life began to de used. Commercial and entrepreneurial activities got a new boost with more orderly and vigorous financial system in operation and the emergence of preconditions for the establishment of the institute of chambers of commerce and industry.
November 11,1921 the North-Western Chamber was incorporated in Petrograd, aiming to ensure "... facilitation of trade relations between the north-western region with domestic and foreign markets as well as development and consolidation of the region's trade turnover."
In December of 1922 the Eastern Chamber of Commerce began its operations. In line with its Charter it aimed "to assist Russia's economic rapprochement with the Soviet republics Bukhara and Khorezm, as well as with Persia (Iran), Turkey, Afghanistan, Mongolia, China and Japan on the basis of safeguarding commercial interests and those of different industries."
On May 28, 1932 the USSR Council of People's Commissars approved the Charter of the All-Union Chamber of Commerce, based on two previously existing bodies with similar functions. The AUCC had its headquarters in Moscow's Kuibyshev Street. In 1972 it became the USSR Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 1982 the USSR CCI was awarded the Order of People's Friendship for its great contribution to the development of trade, economic and R&D relations of Russia and foreign countries.
In 1988 the USSR CCI congress approved the decision to reform the Chamber. The Charter the congress approved entitled the Chamber of open its regional and municipal affiliations. That was the time when the foundation of the present-day Russia's CCI network was laid down.
19 regional chambers of commerce and industry and several dozens of associations of entrepreneurs participated in the work of the foundation congress of the CCI of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in October of 1991.
On March 18, 1993 RF president signed the decree "On the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation." It was later updated and constitutionalized as the RF Law "On Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Russian Federation."
On December 14, 2001 the extraordinary congress of the RF CCI was convened. Evgeni Primakov was elected president of the RF Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In line with a new concept of its activities the RF CCI Charter was modified, and the Chamber's main goals as well as principles of interaction among the players within the network of Russia's CCI were outlined.
The follow-up activities of Russia's CCI ensured a qualitatively new stage of development of the entire system of Russia's chambers of commerce and industry, stipulating the emergence of the RF CCI as a genuine leader of the entrepreneurial community in Russia and ensuring the growth of its authority in the structures of the state and society.
The 5th Congress of the RF CCI approved the programme of its activities aiming at increasing its involvement in the achievement of strategic goals of the socio-economic development of this country and enhancing Russia's role in the present-day global economy.
An insightful scrutiny of lessons of the historical path this country and the entire system of Russia's chambers of commerce and industry have followed helps identify optimal solutions to complicated issues that this country faces in its day-to-day activities.
The VI Congress of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia in March 2011 adopted a policy document, "Priorities of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation in 2011-2015", defining ways to enhance the participation of the RF CCI and the entire business community of Russia in solving the problems of modernization of the national economy based on innovative, community-oriented economic system.
Sergei Nikolaevich Katyrin was elected the President of the RF Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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