Grigory Pasko: The King of Russian Railways

______082808Master of the iron arteries Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. Probably the only kind of roads in Russia about which you could say that they exist are railroads. Of course, there aren’t enough of them. Of course, the locomotive pool all needs to be replaced. Of course, the conditions of transportation in the railcars aren’t the most comfortable. Of course, the tickets are expensive. But the reliability and the popularity of this form of transport are long known in Russia. In much this popularity, it is true, reminds one of the Soviet phrase: “Fly the airplanes of Aeroflot!” How else could you fly during the times of the USSR, if you consider that there was nothing else besides Aeroflot. It’s the same with the railroads: everything else is either expensive (airplanes), or worse (buses on the non-roads). In recent times OAO «RZhD» [Russian Railroads], which is headed by Vladimir Yakunin (photographed), is loudly declaring of itself with non-core undertakings. Recently in Moscow there took place football matches for the RZhD cup, in which took place not only RZhD’s favorite child – the team «Lokomotiv», but also such football clubs as «Chelsea», «Milan», «Sevilla»… Day in and day out, in the mass information media and on TV flashes an advertisement for RZhD in the capacity of sponsor of this or that festival or exhibition.

It is as if though they’re letting us all know that with the arrival at OAO «RZhD» of Vladimir Yakunin the company has become very successful. It is noteworthy that last year Yakunin was named by many political technologists in the capacity of successor to Putin at the post of president.Analysts reasoned thus: under Putin the former place of work of a candidate for this or the other post has no significance whatsoever. Putin himself was, as is known, director of the House of Soviet-German Friendship in Dresden. The second secretary of the embassy of the USSR in Great Britain was today’s vice-premier Sergey Ivanov; the head of the Leningrad committee for external relations was today’s president Dmitry Medvedev; Igor Sechin occupied the position of translator in Africa. Vladimir Yakunin was secretary of the Permanent Representation of the USSR at the UNO.It is obvious that behind such a solid position of RZhD stands not only the fact that RZhD – is a large natural monopolist, but also the figure of its head. Putin often took Yakunin with him on trips during the time of state visits to India, Italy, Algeria… No doubt he had his reasons to do this.Famous too are other achievements of Yakunin in other, non-railroad fields. As the Spanish newspaper El Pais noted, «in the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, before a large audience of religious leaders and international analysts Yakunin raised the question of «absolute and universal forms» of human values and contrasted the pluralism of humanistic conceptions to the «European humanism» of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Yakunin expressed the opinion that democracy must not imperatively look like the American kind. In these utterances is clearly discerned a Surkovo–Putinist style.Until the year 2030 in OAO «RZhD», according to the state programme for the development of railroads, proposed by Vladimir Yakunin, 4.7 trillion rubles are going to be directed – such is the proposed volume of budgetary assistance. Such generous «kindly souls» Putin threw about only to his people – for example, in the state corporations «Rosvooruzheniye» and «Rosnanotech».While new president Medvedev attempts to place his people in positions, Putin’s people continue to gain weight. Yakunin – is one of these. He, like that steam locomotive from the old Soviet song, for now is standing on a siding. Comes the time – and they’ll let get down to business. Big business.