TOGLIATTI LIES on the Volga River in central Russia, 1,000km from Moscow. The average age of the 723,000 residents is 33. There are more women than men. Unemployment is only 1 percent. With 0.5 percent of the population, Togliatti is responsible for 1.9 percent of the total GNP of Russia.
An airport between Togliatti and the region's capital of Samara has direct international flights to Frankfurt and Vienna.
Investment is booming in the region. Togliatti attracted $87 million in 1996. Foreign companies with joint ventures and offices include: accountancy firm Price Waterhouse, Burda Moden magazine, distributors DHL and Federal Express, and ice-cream maker Baskin & Robbins. AvtoVAZ has a joint venture with a local dairy company and the French yoghurt producer Danone.
Volkswagen, Hyundai and Daewoo have car dealers in Togliatti. Temperatures average -12 degrees Celsius in January and 20 degrees in July. During winter the Volga River freezes and is popular for ice fishing.