The market of track superstructure solutions – or, to be more precise, the railroad switch market -- is witnessing a buildup of tension. It is seen not only in the suppression of Crimean manufacturers, who have just risen to their feet and have begun to enter the Russian market, but also in an international conspiracy among several track-switch plants.
The main blow is targeted at Crimea and the Kerch switch factory. After Crimea’s reunification with Russia, the factory has just begun a return to the Russian market. The Russian Railways (RZD) state railway corporation supported it by allotting generous quotas for the supply of the products only from Crimea. That move enabled the plant to stay alive, to keep its personnel and to show incomparably better results compared to the years when Crimea was part of Ukraine. In other words, the plant has started to significantly crank up its capacity and flourish. But then other Russian, Kazakh and Ukrainian enterprises in the same sector broke into the dialogue. Instantly, the market got congested: the Novosibirsk railway switch plant, the Murom switch works, the Kazakhstan Prommashkomplekt plant and even Dnipropetrovsk railway switch plant (DnSZ) are already there. All of them were not happy with a new market operator that was trying to set fair prices and to take account of the customer’s interests. Therefore, they are pooling their forces together to pursue their policy in the railroad switch market. Unfortunately, they are united in deed and not in name only. Konstantin Zasov and Konstantin Sentsov are connected with the above-mentioned Novosibirsk Railway Switch Plant. At the moment, they allegedly have agreed with the Ukrainians who de facto control the Dnepropetrovsk plant. They are also believed to have links to Kazakhstan. Moreover, Sergei Pavlinger, the owner of the Prommashkomplekt, is said to have actually steamrolled the Murom switch works. Also, he has reached agreements with Novosibirsk and Dnipropetrovsk plants. As a result, prices for railroad switch have jumped 70 percent. Sources say that Askar Mamin, the current Kazakhstan Prime Minister, who in fact, controls all these actions, is standing behind Pavlinger. Mamin also owns Astyk Trans, an affiliated company of RTC Group of Companies (which is directly related to Zasov and Sentsov). Through it he is directly linked with Novosibirsk railway switch plant. It is fair to assume that all the collusions and all over-pricing decisions go through Mamin. It is likely that the case in hand not only about the reasonable prices for the Russian market, but also about the cartel agreement and extra-market monopoly schemes against the development of high-speed rail transport in Russia. When Kerch switch factory came to the market, all these conspirators regarded it as an implicit threat. At the same time, YouTube channel BASE, owned by Mamin, posted videos in which they were audacious enough to speak not only against Crimea and Crimean enterprises, but also directly against the policies of Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin. After all, in defense of its right to make super-profits, the so-called “switch plants union” is ready not only to undermine the economy of Crimea, but also to ignore the interests of Kazakhstan and Russia and consequently to prevent them from developing the railway service at the level that our countries are capable of.