recently, the Agency for strategic initiatives (ASI) launched a suspicious flurry of activity in the media. Recently the Ministry of education and ASI announced the launch of digital children’s platform “Navigator education.” Before this in social networks on television “Soloviev LIVE” Director General of the organization Svetlana Cumshewa presented the Navigator support measures to Russians in the period of the pandemic. Earlier the head of the ASI surprised everyone with a proposal to give the epidemic the workers a full package of social rights. Initiatives puzzled: too shallow and they are secondary to the stated 9 years ago of the organization’s mission — “creating opportunities for self-realization of young ambitious leaders, capable to lead Russia to the advanced positions in the world, to build a country in which you want to live and work.” The impression is that the media raised a wave is intended to wash away the recent high-profile stories involving top managers of ASI who were not able to overpower the President’s task is to help Russia rise in international INVESTRATING Doing Business from the 120th to the 20th place.

Elite order

ASI me something like an elite Catholic Dominican order. Its motto “to Praise, to bless, to preach” — largely coincides with the goals of the ASI: to support the policy of the state to development, to help the good deeds and undertakings, to preach honesty and compassion. ASI, like Dominicans, can affect the selection and placement of the “Kremlin bishops”: Svetlana Cumshewa included in the Commission under the President of Ukraine for civil service and management personnel pool. People who believed both organizations have access to social mobility.

But, of course, there are differences. If the poor Dominicans went to the monasteries, loudly preaching austerity and modesty, the staff of ASI received from the state billions of rubles, they took their expensive offices on Novy Arbat, to “build a country where people want to live and work.” Nothing should be a distraction from such an important process. Understand, these “grandmother” in the accounts of spinning! Why can a hand to wave at the request of “MK” to talk about the fact that over 9 years has made ASI for entrepreneurs, investors and ordinary citizens? Really nothing to brag?

in addition, organizations have different social and political weight. For many centuries the Dominicans had won the respect not only among Catholics, but also representatives of other faiths. The unquestioned authority of ASI, it seems, recognized mainly in some offices of the Government of the Russian Federation, the security Service of Ukraine, which seriously considered Svetlana Coursewo one of the two main doubles of Vladimir Putin in the Russian presidential elections of 2018. Of course, too… Large seen from a distance.

In search of meaning

However, do not rush to throw stones in the direction of the Agency. Who served in the army knows how to set a task so it will fail. But, to put it mildly, not very in a hurry. On the establishment of ASI was announced in may 2011 in Volgograd at inter-regional conference “United Russia”. As explained by then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, “the modernization of the country is satisfactory pace, and therefore needed a new, strategic, breakthrough initiatives.”

In August, the government established the Agency in the form of Autonomous non-profit organization. The favorite to head the ASI was considered the President of the consulting company “neo centre” Artem Avetisyan (Vice-President of the company employed the son of the President of the savings Bank Oleg Gref). However, Putin chose a little-known 31-year-old CEO of the criminal code “Ruskompozit” Andrey Nikitin. This company is known by the fact that in 2011 sponsored the forum “Seliger” and manage the enterprise Dmitry Calendarscope, partner at brothers Rotenberg SMP Bank.

a New “incubator” of innovative business projects special originality did not differ, and duplicate the functionality of other development institutions. For example, the development of human resources programs and key performance indicators (KPIs) for government agencies and regions entrusted to ASI, engaged in “open government”. The modernization of the country was already listed in the priorities of the SKOLKOVO Foundation and the Commission on modernization under President Medvedev. It was not clear how the ASI, not having sufficient powers to identify and remove administrative barriers. These tasks are performed by the Ministry of economic development and FAS. A roadmap for economic recovery was prepared by more experienced experts RSPP, TPP, “Business Russia” and “OPORA Russia”. They at first, apparently, “brought to mind” breakthrough initiatives and managers of ASI.

Questions to the new site journalists, there have been many. Wrote 9 years ago “MK” in the article “Putin has chosen the main lobbyists of the business projects”, “the White house does not hide the fact that there is a risk of turning the whole “shop” in the PR interests of individual companies”. “Kommersant” considered the creation of ASI a fool’s errand. According to the newspaper, the Agency would have to find yourself “application, funding and raison d’être”, as its aims and working methods were not spelled out clearly enough.

And heads of agencies looked for the “meaning of existence”: there were defined three main directions — “New business” “Young professionals” and “Social projects”. Then came new directions (“Best practices”, “Networking development”) and offices (project, corporate and international relations) and human capital development. Note also�� National rating of investment climate of regions, which traditionally are announced at the St. Petersburg international economic forum and raise interest, especially among the governors and journalists.

the decree of 7 may 2012 “On long-term state economic policy” President Putin has set the Agency a clear strategic goal is by 2018 to raise the Russian Federation in the international rating of the world Bank’s Doing Business rankings from 120th to 20th place. To perform an important job in ASI has developed the “national entrepreneurial initiative” (NPI) to improve the investment climate in Russia. But the strategic task of the President of ASI is not pulled either in 2018 or in 2019 In Doing Business in 2020, our country took the 28th position.

it could not afford the current top managers of the ASI and their level — handing out advice on social rights of labour migrants and on site for students?

For whose account a Banquet?

In this regard, a reasonable question arises: how much this “fun” cost the taxpayer? Unfortunately, ACY missed his deaf ears. Had to walk the sites of business Newspapers. As reported by “Vedomosti” in the article “ASI village on the budget,” “in the 2013-2014 budget, the government in coordination with the Ministry of Finance is going to allocate the Agency’s 400 million rubles, and in 2015 — 100 million”.

Note that funding ASI receives not only directly from the budget, but also through banks and corporations that are controlled by the state. So, in 2011 VEB has transferred to the Agency RUB 100 million, But for great things, of course, require a different scope and different financial motivation. For reference, in 2011 the starting salary of the head of ASI was $ 300 thousand. It is no premiums, bonuses, insurances, company cars luxury, respectable offices in the centre of Moscow and assistants.

At the inception of the ASI “has eaten” about 40% of revenues. As reported by Nikitin “Kommersant-Power”, “in 2012, the ASI budget for operating expenses amounted to almost 1 billion rubles., of which about 400 million were spent on rent and salary of employees”. But as they say, appetite comes during meal. In 2015, according to buhotchetnosti in “SPARK-Interfax”, the cost of the ASI rose to 1.4 billion rubles.

As the questions “MK” on the sources of funding of the ASI ignored, had to find open databases. It turned out that in 2013, “Rosneftegaz” has voluntarily transferred to the address of ASI 6 billion rubles In 2014, the us donated new projects to the Agency of 1.8 billion rubles, specified in the annual report of “Rosneftegaz”, signed by the ACTING Director General Larisa Calanda. The lion’s share of the money, according to Nikitin, was spent on the project appraisal. For priority programs such as NPI, ASI has attracted the best and most expensive on the market toSultanov from the Boston Consulting Group, Ernst & Young. In their native homeland worthy of experts not found?

it’s a Pity that such a qualitative examination a little than helped priority projects. To fulfill the strategic instructions of Putin sharply increase the investment attractiveness of the Russian economy — with the help of elite international consultants failed. Covered with a copper basin and other high-profile projects. For example, in shops did not appear queues for “educational toys from national Russian philosophy” is made in Sergiev Posad. Although 8 years ago, the ASI General Director Nikitin promised in the teleair “KP” with the Agency’s assistance to create in the “toy capital” of Russia cluster, the brands which will press on the shelves of Barbie dolls and Batman. It did not, there were more important tasks: to 2017, Nikitin had “stood up” a depressed economy in Novgorod region. No doubt, such a master will promise to raise anyone!

Banker and Advisor

Remember the famous nursery rhyme “We with Tamara go in pair…”? Now, the vacant chair was occupied charming Svetlana Cumshewa (pictured). Interesting point: prior to joining ASI from March to October 2011 she worked as an adviser to the Chairman of the Board of KB “the Regional credit”. A shareholder in the credit institution was Artem Avetisyan. The one which is not approved Putin. In 2016, the “Regional credit” was renamed Modelbank, and Avetisyan became its major owner.

In late 2011, the banker, and, apparently, a particularly valuable Advisor moved to ASI. First — for the post of Director of a direction “New business”, and the second for the position of corporate Director. This is really good. In 2015, Svetlana V. earned double promotion: he was the Director of ASI in the direction of “Social projects” in parallel and a member of the Board of Directors of “Uniastrum Bank”. Take a wild guess who owned this Bank? Right: Avetisyan. We add that this “bread” position Cumshewa and kept after the merger, “Uniastrum” with the Bank “East”.

we can only envy the amazing efficiency and dedication of mothers, have time to get everything together. Soon Cumshewa makes a new bold steps in his career. In 2017, it was headed by ASI, managing to avoid charges on withdrawals “Uniastrum” before the merger with the Bank “East” in Calvey.

Club leaders-debtors

an interesting pattern Emerges. Director of New business through Avetisyan created with the support of ASI NP “Club of leaders on promoting business initiatives” is ambitious businessmen, helping them to regions through the Agency to get a powerful administrative and Advisory support. Then through his Bank�� heard a proven credit borrowers.

of Course, such a competent campaign allows Avetisyan significantly reduce the risks and increase the interest margin of banks under his control. According to this scheme, for example, received loans from the businessmen Alexey Bakulin, Igor Esin, Vyacheslav Zykov, Daniel Lebedev and others and, as time has shown, not all of them were able to service their loans: some to repay the loans due to new. A number of companies of the corporate portfolio is not managed to avoid bankruptcy. As he wrote, “Forbes”, Bank “East” bought shares (4.99%) in nine companies associated with the “Club of leaders”, if they pay 1.6 billion rubles while the revenue of these companies by the end of 2016 amounted to 7.1 billion rubles.

Striking the scale of this business. Judge for yourself: 55% corporate loan portfolio of the Bank “East” (more than RUB 20 billion, after merging with the “Unistream”. — Ed.) were in companies related by Zykov and Bakulin, reported in August 2018, the auditors of the Central Bank. I.e. more than half of the loans were issued to two friends of the principal owner of the Bank for the “Club of leaders”.

Responsible for the climate

unfortunately, such schemes are costly as the basic owner of Bank “East” (ex-partners, founders Modelbank, went to trial and require the court with him a total of 650 million rbl.) and the rating of Russia on the international investment market. Remember the sensational story of the murder of Michael Calvey. The American entrepreneur created the Baring Vostok is one of the largest Western private equity funds specializing in investments in Russian assets. In 25 years of operation in Russia the Fund has attracted in our country investments totaling $3.7 billion.

In early 2017 Calvey and Avetisyan become partners, combining banks controlled by “East” and “Unistream”. The number of disputed transactions team Avetisyan in the Bank “East” with the holding company BMG Bakulin and “Agro-Volga” Zykova, as well as disagreements about the option Avetisyan has caused discontent in Baring. After that, “Pinvin” Avetisyan and Baring broke the main corporate conflict 2019, which led to the criminal case against Calvey.

it’s No secret that the main mechanism is not quite fair competition in Russia is the transfer of cases from the Arbitration court to the criminal. It is significant that to gain control over the Bank “Eastern” opponents Calvey have used exactly this way. And the Director of a direction “New business” ASI created just to combat this scourge, even not lift a finger to prevent it. In the West, it Calvey has caused investors huge negative response. Unpleasant image of Russia, the hype is not over. The courts between “Finviz” and Baring continues in England, undermining Moscow’s efforts ��replace investors. It is noteworthy that for the creation of the ASI roadmaps to improve the investment climate in Russia responsible Avetisyan.

Is true concerns “MK” nine years ago about the possible transformation of the Agency into the shop to promote the interests of individual companies? But even worse, that model “factory”, created to increase the investment attractiveness of the Russian Federation appears to be developing into the shop to promote the business interests of top managers of ASI.

“MK” will continue its investigation.

P. S. “MK” does not lose hope to get answers to their queries.