The Russian Business Club, which was founded in Atlanta in January, has applied to the U.S. and Russian governments to establish an honorary consul here, Val Nikishin, the club?s treasurer, told GlobalAtlanta.

According to Mr. Nikishin, the U.S. State Department and the Russian Ministry of International Affairs must approve its application before Atlanta may have an honorary representative of the Russian government.

Meanwhile, the club hopes to expand from its current membership of 45 people to 100 by the end of the year and bring together Russians in the metro Atlanta area to network and share business information quarterly.

“The club is needed because we are spread out in Atlanta,” he said, estimating that there are some 20,000 Russians living in the metro area. “Unlike other ethnic communities arriving here, we have chosen to assimilate into the local community.”

Once the club’s membership expands and the Russian business community here is more organized, Mr. Nikishin said that he would like to develop ties with similar clubs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Eventually, he said, he also would like to help establish a Russian-American chamber of commerce in Atlanta.

The club’s current officers are Igor A. Berkovich, executive vice president of Emerson Process Management, a division of Emerson Electric Co., president; Lawrence E. Eppelbaum, a physician; Mikhail Melomed, Internet director of Lanier Honda at the Mall of Georgia, vice presidents; Mr. Nikishin, Realty Professionals Inc., treasurer and Jana Kats of Allstate Insurance Co., secretary.

For more information, call Irina Nikishin at (770) 677-9347.