Does Victor Olersky Retain his Ties With Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transport?

Does Victor Olersky Retain his Ties With Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transport?

Photo: https://www.dp.ru/

Victor Olersky made a mark in the wild 1990s. He was the Head of Volga Shipping Company and North-Western Shipping Company. In 2009, he became Deputy Minister. After having gained control over the carriers and the Ministry of Transport, he came into possession of the whole Rosmorrechflot.

Victor Olersky has no longer been deputy minister of the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport. He resigned at his own request in 2018, after only two years in the high post. Of course, this is the official reason. The unofficial one is unlikely to be voiced except for Olersky himself, but it happened that his farewell to public service surprisingly coincided with the revolution in the Finnish shipbuilding industry.

Back to USSR

Obviously, the shipbuilding industry as well as other sectors of the planned economy in the USSR was able to exist largely thanks to state orders. First of all, Soviet shipyards satisfied the needs of the military. Civilian orders were of little interest to anyone, and they tried to dump them abroad. Finland was best suited for these tasks. The country was ahead of the USSR in technology, producing, in particular, diesel ship installations, where the Soviet industry was frankly lagging behind. Then the unbelievable happened: the great, invincible and powerful Soviet Union collapsed. Finnish shipbuilding industry was on the brink of the abyss. It was impossible to compete for the market with South-East Asia even in the most dreadful dream. As a result, Finnish shipyards were in a perfect storm of mergers and acquisitions, but selling the business to the successor of the USSR, Russia, to the “decaying West” was out of the question. The domestic military-industrial complex would have taken the Finnish technologies without a trace of regret.

Sovcomflot and United Shipbuilding Corporation Rush to Rescue

That is why the purchase by the United Shipbuilding Corporation in 2010 of 50% of STX Finland Oy, the Finnish division of the Korean STX concern, which owned the Helsinki shipyards, was received positively.

All the more so because the shipyards purchased in 2010 received the first order from Sovcomflot to build two supply vessels for the Exxon Neftegas project in Sakhalin. It was obviously not just a deal, but a whole combination. In 2011, cooperation between Rosmorrechflot and the Ministry of Transport began, which involved the construction of new icebreakers.

The situation changed drastically already in 2014. Since the summer of 2014, the state corporation and all of its subsidiaries came under sanctions due to the events in Ukraine. As a result, in December 2014 the partners left the company, and the United Shipbuilding Corporation had to become a wholly owned shipyard, which could no longer use Western credit resources. At one point, the United Shipbuilding Corporation turned into a simple set of structures and mechanical devices. Since 2016, USC had received no new orders, began looking hard to sell the asset, and even considered bankruptcy of the shipyards. The search dragged on until the happy managers of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy announced in May 2019 that they had new owners.

They were Rishat Baugadtinov and Vladimir Kasyanenko, well-known shipbuilders in Russia, beneficiaries of the Nevsky shipbuilding and ship repair plant in Shlisselburg, and ship managers, owners of the largest Russian river cruise operator Vodokhod. Baugadtinov and Kasyanenko are also business partners of Viktor Olersky, who has also been called one of the beneficiaries of Nevsky Shipbuilding Plant.

The companies did not deny this information, but they did not confirm it either. However, it became more than obvious after it became known that the chairman of the Helsinki Shipyard Oy, which will build ships at the old site, was... Viktor Olersky.

As a rule, such a position in any company is held by representatives of shareholders. The formal owner of the Helsinki shipyards is Algador Holdings Ltd, registered in Cyprus, the beneficiaries of which are considered to be Baugadtinov and Kasyanenko. How, apparently, they have other partners. In theory, Victor Olersky has nothing to hide now that he left his government post beforehand. Nevertheless, Algador Holdings Ltd has its own historical footprint. It was this offshore that became the buyer of Nevsky Shipbuilding-Shiprepair Plant.

This Cypriot company was established in 2010, just after Viktor Olersky left to work for the government. At the same time, it turned out that the traces of unknown to anyone Algador Holdings Ltd lead to another Cyprus company - Flandria Logistics, registered in March 2008. The latter specialized in transporting cargo from the ports of the Northern, Baltic and Mediterranean seas, as well as the Persian Gulf to the ports of the Caspian Sea through the inland waterways of Russia.

This could be found on the company's corporate website but in the past. In the present, there is only an archive copy of this site, although no one seems to have closed the firm. The last date of the changes is July 24, 2019, some time after the closing of the deal with USC.

If Viktor Olersky's historical connection with Algador Holdings Ltd is confirmed, it inevitably raises the question of which private business received preferential treatment during his tenure in state administration.

Public-Private Partnership

It was not only Finnish shipbuilders who benefited from the deals under Viktor Olersky. The state supported the projects of Ziyavudin Magomedov's Summa Group, which built a transshipment terminal in the port of Zarubino and the coal production and transshipment complex Severny in the port of Vostochny, with budget money. State co-financing was also assumed for the construction of a coal terminal in the Muchka Bay of the port of Vanino and other projects.

According to insiders, Viktor Olersky's departure from the ministry can only represent his legalization. The ex-official has retained all the most important connections in the state administration, and only his will determines how to use them.

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