Leigh Miller for GlobalAtlanta
A Russian-American Chamber of Commerce has been formed in Atlanta to encourage business ties between Russia and the former Soviet republics and Georgia and to bring investment to the state.
The chamber, which officially incorporated in May, is seeking new members from Atlanta’s business community, Sergio MilliÃ¡n, the group’s president, told GlobalAtlanta in an interview.
“In the former Soviet republics, like in Russia, the official language is Russian, so that’s how we communicate in our chamber here,” Mr. MilliÃ¡n said, noting that chamber members hail from various Russian-speaking countries.
“Russian-speaking people in Atlanta are typically well-educated and well-integrated into the broader community. We want to be a uniting force,” he said, adding that there are some 60,000 Russian speakers in the metro Atlanta area.
The chamber aims to assist American businesses to access the Russian marketplace, and vice versa, through commerce, sports, tourism and cultural, educational, political and scientific exchanges, he said.
Delta Air Lines Inc.’s new non-stop flight between Atlanta and Moscow will boost the chamber’s efforts to facilitate business ties between the regions, he added.
Some 100 members representing 50 companies are currently affiliated with the chamber, but Mr. MilliÃ¡n said he receives numerous phone calls every day from people interested in joining or learning more about the group.
Most of the chamber’s members are from Russia, but some are from the 15 former Soviet republics, including Mr. MilliÃ¡n’s native Belarus. The majority of members speaks Russian, and most are first generation immigrants, he noted.
Some of the members have ties with high-ranking officials in their home countries that may be helpful in attracting investment to Georgia, he said. Mr. MilliÃ¡n himself attended a business administration academy hosted by the president of Belarus before coming to Atlanta five years ago.
Speaking six languages fluently, he now is a translator for the Atlanta-based translation firm Interchallenge Inc. He also owns his own real estate firm, the MilliÃ¡n Group, and has started a Russian business magazine called Va-Bank.
Mr. MilliÃ¡n said the chamber has joined the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to reach out to potential members and make contacts in Atlanta’s business community.
Atlanta companies already supporting the Russian chamber include Actavion Inc., Interchallenge, MilliÃ¡n Group, nadia D photo and Atlantic-West Group.
The chamber’s officers include Andrey Shperling, audit and enterprise risk services consultant at Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, as executive vice president; Alisa Abdullaeva, partner at Interchallenge, as vice president; Nadia Dziskavets, owner of nadia D photo, as public relations director;
Tatiana Osipova, president and CEO of Atlantic-West Group, as internal affairs director; Ilya Kunitski, project manager at Atlantic-West Group, as press attachÃ©; Michael Spann, marketing director at nadia D photo, as administrator and Viktoria Sazonova, estimator at W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co., as student relations adviser.
Another Russian organization, the Russian Business Club, also exists in Atlanta, but is not affiliated with the chamber.
The next event planned by the Russian-American chamber is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 25. The networking event, to be held at Midtown Plaza, will invite primarily businesspersons from small- and medium-sized companies, Mr. MilliÃ¡n said.
The chamber also plans to host a yet-to-be-announced event in October, and will be a sponsor for the December performance of the Mikhailovsky State Male Ballet coming from St. Petersburg to the Gwinnett Arena.
Contact Mr. MilliÃ¡n at (404) 667-9319 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.russianamericanchamber.com for more information.