The choice of the venue for the EU-Russia summit speaks volumes – the booming hub of Khanty-Mansijsk acts as a window to Russia’s oil wealth. Russia’s second richest region after Moscow, it produces an estimated 60 percent of the country’s oil.
Boasting an array of shiny new buildings, including a glass pyramid by world-famous architect Sir Norman Foster, Khanty-Mansijsk has morphed from a backwater Siberian town to a rich, oil-producing city in the past decade.
But despite the relatively new wealth, life in western Siberia is not easy for the city’s 60,000 inhabitants, with extreme temperatures dropping to below 50 degrees Celcius in the winter and rising to plus 40 in the summer.
Conditions which the local people, who gave their name to the city, take in their stride as they go about their age-old traditional arts and crafts, in the shadow of the booming oil city.