Krasnodar: ‘the best place to live in Russia’
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Krasnodar: ‘the best place to live in Russia’

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My taxi driver is adamant as he drives me from Krasnodar airport. “This is the best place to live in Russia. Probably in the whole world.” It certainly seems one of the nicer parts of Russia. Down in the south, on the Black Sea coast, Krasnodar Krai has one of the milder climates in Russia, and its pretty seaside resort of Sochi is positively balmy.

The region’s hospitable climate makes for a booming agricultural industry, with wine, bread, fruit and tobacco among the region’s main exports.

The banking sector, as in most of the country, is dominated by Sberbank but local banks are also doing well. KraiInvestBank is a leading example. The bank was set up in 1999 by the local administration, at the behest of regional governor Aleksander Tkachev, with a mandate to try to attract investment into the region. The administration retains a 90% stake in the bank, and its close ties to the governor are obvious – its headquarters are right opposite his home.

The bank has grown rapidly – its credit portfolio doubled in the first six months of this year, up to R4 billion.

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