I love bookstores, I frequent 'Chitay-Gorod' in Koltso Mall. I love cafes, Kazan has many good ones. My favourite is probably 'Neft' on Dekabristov (big panoramic windows). Skuratov has really good filter coffee, I totally enjoy it. And then there's Botanika on Zhukovsky, I go there a lot for work, talk to their staff and owner. I don't go to clubs. I used to go to Kamal Theatre, but don't have the time now.
When I run or take a walk, I also find a way to meditate, analyze something, think about stuff at the same time. I love running near the Family Centre in Kazan. I always start the route from the big cup building, run past the Embankment, Millennium.
In summer in Arsk, my route is the stadium. I often walk my dog there. I have a chocolate Labrador. I kept asking for a dog since I was 7, I grew up and got one. Kicha is awesome, but is a bit stupid (laughs). He lived with me when I got the job at Gazprom. He was bored being home alone, and it was just ridiculous really — the skirting boards in the corridor had to be replaced twice because he would just chew them up. Now he's grown up and his Labrador "hunter setting" switches on more often, it's hard to keep a hold on him, it's hard to hold on to him because he's like real strong. Girls can't handle him, my mum doesn't walk him at all. Only me and dad.
Now it's like a tradition: I wake up, do my routine (sport, reading, breakfast), grab the dog and go down to the mosque, the station or the city centre with him. If I have a coin, I'll give sadaqah. The dog walks around, while I become spiritually enlightened. I read the book 'The Greatest Money-Making Secret in History' and it talks about how one of the principles of entrepreneurs is to give money to charity. And so I took that on for myself, that I will help at least in some way.
For half a year in the first cafe, we gave away part of the revenue from all our cappuccinos to charity. Part of the money, we invested back into the development of the rehabilitation centre in Arsk.
What are your thoughts: what might motivate people to return back to the city where they came from?
You probably need to take a look at your inner goals. What exactly can you and do you want to do for your city? I wanted to create something for the people in Arsk. I have many friends, acquaintances, people I've talked to, who I've visited. And I wanted to create something for them. The need was in such a place.
To contribute something, to be useful — that is developmental growth.
I do not plan on leaving Tatarstan. The key goal right now is to create more places like this. I want to open up a café in Kukmor, not by myself, but help someone else with a franchise. We had some negotiations but it hasn't come together so far.
Have you been overseas?
Yes, in Bulgaria.
Did you like it?
I liked it — I was 14 years old back then. I probably liked the atmosphere, the actual city. How it's built, like those bricks, the tiles…everything was made so beautifully.