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Anastasia Kazenkova, TVOI GOROD’s editor

“While living here and being madly in love with this city I have always felt hurt Russian tourists see Barcelona as a huge trade and entertainment mall”.

Category: Revista | 18 July, 2013
Editor: Maria Brú

We meet Anastasia Kazenkova at the early morning at the Santa Eulalia’s Café to know more about her and about her latest project.

Anastasia explains that it was love at first sight between her and Barcelona. After living five years surrounded by Spanish culture she has managed to pull out a great little project by herself: TVOI GOROD magazine, a guide to learn more about the city of Barcelona in Russian.

Know much more about the editor, who talks with passion about her job and the city.

Could you first talk about your personal experience with Barcelona? When did you arrive? How long have you been working in Tvoi gorod? Are you working in any other project?

I have moved to Spain about 5 years ago and have been so in love with Barcelona ever since. This city inspires me endlessly. I have noticed ages ago that if I’m in a bad mood or something doesn’t work out right, it only takes to go outside and wander down the streets to make everything change. Barcelona ignites a very powerful creative flame, literally makes you want to create something. I have just finished my book about Spain where I’ve brought away my impressions on life here.


How did TVOI GOROD project appear?

It had emerged absolutely by chance. And it looked like a major challenge. A year ago I was an editor-in-chief to another Russian publication in Torrevieja with a certain idea of launching a Barcelona project. But that opportunity didn’t cross my way. However investors from Russia noted and appreciated my work with that magazine and offered me to start up in Barcelona. The project concept was so vivid, lively and well-thought that it took no time to realize it.


When did you start publishing the magazine?

The first issue came out in December last year (2012).


With what purpose you started this project?

While living here and being madly in love with this city I have always felt hurt Russian tourists see Barcelona as a huge trade and entertainment mall. They come to buy tons of clothes and eat delicious paella. Ok, some of them will also picture Gaudi buildings and Magic fountain. And they miss out lots if really interesting places, like Montjuic with its catacombs, Gracia with its stories, and no one knows Barceloneta well. Back in the days I had always tried to be the best city guide for my friends that visited me. Now I found an opportunity to do it on a larger scale. Besides, I do think our publication is a very good tourist assistant in the city. We advise people on shopping and gastronomy while telling beautiful stories on cultural things.


How do you distribute the magazine and how many do you print?

Our circulation depends on the season. It’s 3,000-5,000 in winter and we increase it to 7,000 in summertime. The magazine’s distributed free in all the locations where you can track down Russian tourists. Those are hotels, tourist infos, bars and restaurants and, of course, Passeig de Gracia’s boutiques.


Which has been the acceptance within the Russian market?

To be sincere I have never expected such an overwhelming rush – can you imagine I am receiving heartfelt thank-you letters and emails almost every day!! That’s my job’s best part, I’d say.


What is the Russian tourist looking for in Barcelona? And in Paseo de Gracia? And the ones who live in Barcelona?

I guess you should tell ordinary Russian mass tourists from Russians that live in Barcelona. The first ones are more biased towards luxury since living in Moscow imposes its rules. We have a Russian saying: “Fine feathers ought to make fine birds”. So the way you look, what watch brand you are wearing and expensiveness of your today’s suit is really important there. And due to the price difference lots of tourists gladly shop here. But those residing locally have long forgotten that fine feather-a-do because Barcelona (and Spain in general) doesn’t care that much about brands and you can take it easy and attend a business meeting dressed without loud logos.


Could you give us some statistics of the growing Russian tourism and population in Barcelona? It will continue growing?

There are no official statistics – they are always publicized after the tourist season’s gone. But I believe the obvious example of Barcelona’s ever-increasing popularity among Russians is lots of new direct flights to regional Russia. They have started fetching people from Siberia, central Russia and Caucasus regions. Just a few years back Vueling had only two daily flights: Moscow and Saint-Petersburg ones. Today only Moscow serves 5 daily flights here. You can add up lots of charter flights here too. The Spanish Consulate Visa Section in Moscow is working in overdrive these days because about 1,000 people apply for visas each day. I’d say we are having a ‘Russian Rush’ in Barcelona now.


What do Russian like the most of our country?

Ah, actually, Russians love Spain as it is, in general, without knowing the cultural or historical background. It’s has such a wonderful image of passion, fiery spirits, tasty food, sea, sand, sun, mountains, beautiful music and dances. You just can’t but love it all!  And I guess lots of Russians find Spaniards a bit like themselves – Russians are not that gloomy and slow as it may seem. We’re also on the generous, lazy and fuck-it-all side as Spanish people.


Do you have any new future projects in mind?

I always have projects in mind. But I guess it’s a bit too early to talk about them.


Finally, could you tell us which is your favorite spot in Paseo de Gracia?

It’s unbelievable but it’s exactly the thing I can’t tell you. I just adore Paseo de Gracia as an inseparable whole. You can’t stand something out. It’s a fantastic merge of shops, business centers and incredible architecture. I equally love its beginning with a wow Apple store and its glorious Dolce and Gabbana ending with a tiny side-street before the boutique. Passeig de Gracia was one of my greatest impressions of the day I moved to Barcelona. It was a rainy September day and a taxi driver left me right in the middle of the Passage. The first thing flashing thru my mind was: “Gosh, it looks so Haussmann Boulevard in Paris”. And then the afterthought was: “No!! Damn, it’s ten times better than Haussmann!!”

Category: Revista | 18 July, 2013
Editor: Maria Brú




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