Railway "insider" Makhmudov
Whose interests will be lobbied by the new first deputy head of Russian Railways, and will his long-standing ties with Transmashholding lead to the monopolization of the market for the supply of rolling stock for railways?
According to the correspondent of The Moscow Post, JSC Russian Railways, led by Oleg Belozerov, decided to replace the first deputy director. Instead of Anatoly Krasnoshchek, his place will be taken by Sergey Kobzev, who now, as an ordinary deputy, deals with environmental issues in the company.
Experts unequivocally interpret such a change as the weakening of the position of Oleg Belozerov himself. The reason is banal: from 2009 to 2011, Kobzev headed the Kuibyshev railway, but from 2014 until his second arrival in the structure of the railway monopolist, he worked as technical director of Transmashholding CJSC (TMX).
CJSC Transmashholding is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of wagons and other elements for railway equipment. Its owners Andrei Bokarev and Iskander Makhmudov have repeatedly been called kings of the Russian state order.
More importantly, both are co-owners of one of the largest coal mining assets in Russia - Kuzbassrazrezugol UK OJSC (KRU), where Andrei Bokarev takes the position of chairman of the board of directors. Thus, assuming that Kobzev lobbies the interests of his former leaders, his position in the structure becomes simply ideal.
If Kobzev really acts in the interests of Transmashholding and Kuzbassrazrezugl, he gets into his own hands all the opportunities to provide the two companies with state orders through Russian Railways - including coal supplies and prices for its transportation with monopolist capacities. In this case, the position of Russian Railways and on interaction with the state in the framework of various programs will probably correlate strongly with the positions of the owners of TMX and KRU.
Insiders say that it was Sergey Kobzev who acted as an "arbiter" from Russian Railways in a recent dispute between TMX and Dmitry Pumpyansky's Sinara group of companies, which is also actively working in the rolling stock production market for railways.
We are talking about a conflict on the transfer to the concession of the Yekaterinburg municipal unitary enterprise Gortrans, which was claimed by the Sinara Group of Companies Pumpyansky. It was assumed that in this case it would be the Pumpyansky structures that would supply rolling stock for Yekaterinburg electric transport.
But Trasmashholding unexpectedly intervened in the negotiations on the concession in the person of an affiliated structure, Movista Regionals. It was she who, in the end, became the concessionaire, as the "Znak" wrote about. According to the authors of the "Mediakiller" telegram channel, it was Sergey Kobzev who allegedly resolved the TMX and Sinara dispute at the highest level on the issue of transferring railway orders in favor of TMX.
Whose interests will Sergey Kobzev observe?
Kobzev is not seen as a possible conflict of interest in Russian Railways, and since then he has only strengthened his position. He, Kobzev, should be credited with lobbying the Samara telecom company SMARTS JSC to introduce the so-called "quantum networks" for Russian Railways - devices that are mounted on a fiber optic network and allow them to work at quantum speed.
Then the Russian Railways stated that about 16 billion rubles would be needed to build 10 thousand km of such quantum networks, that is, a kilometer should cost about 1.28 million rubles. 200 km - 250 million, but from the press release of SMART JSC it follows that the cost of the device with installation is about 25 million (200 km).
It turns out that Russian Railways agreed to install devices at a price 10 times higher than the company's prices? The first such quantum communication line for Russian Railways was launched in June 2021 (700 km). It is also interesting that soon the creator of the device Arthur Gleim was taken to Russian Railways to lead the Department of Quantum Communications.
Two comrades worked
The appointment of Kobzev successfully falls on the processes that take place in the companies of Makhmudov and Bokarev. Now KRU is actively expanding its business. The company aimed at acquiring the bankrupt mine "Alexievskaya" in the Kemerovo region. At the same time, Makhmudov's partner in the KRU, Andrei Bokarev, is a co-owner of the Kolmar coal mining structure, another major player in the mining industry.
As for the production of wagons for Russian Railways and other structures, Bokarev and Makhmudov were recognized as kings of the Russian state order back in 2015. About this wrote "Forbes".
Iskander Makhmudov and Andrei Bokarev
Shortly before that, in 2014, Transmashholding, recall, received a Moscow Metro contract for the supply of cars and their maintenance for 30 years worth 130 billion rubles. A similar contract for 30 years, but in the amount of 144 billion rubles and the supply of 832 cars was received at the beginning of 2014 by Metrovagonmash holding.
Not without a scandal. TMX was the only one who participated in the tender. At the same time, according to rumors, auction documentation was thus developed, although the Moscow authorities stated that the tender would be international. As a result, TMX competitors (consortia of UVZ and Sinara) turned to the FAS, as RBC wrote about.
But for TMX this did not end in anything bad, the contract went to this particular company. The strangest thing began after, because TMX immediately requested help in the supply of wagons from the state. The company requested budget subsidies for compensation of interest payments on loans raised for the production of wagons in the amount of 7.8 billion rubles. Such a step caused bewilderment in the market.
Interestingly, now information about TMX state contracts has disappeared from open sources, but there is information about its subsidiary Metrovagonmash (actually a manufacturer of rolling stock). As of the summer of 2021, the portfolio has government orders for almost 240 billion rubles. The majority falls on the State Unitary Enterprise "Moscow Metropolitan".
Why is TMX and other companies Bokarev and Makhmudov so lucky in Moscow? Perhaps the reason lies in the identity of the transport deputy mayor of Moscow Maxim Liksutov, who was previously a partner of Bokarev and Makhmudov in TMX.
According to "Forbes", Liksutova sold his stake in TMX to them, and did it back in 2012. The catch is that even then he served as head of the transport department. Why the official owned business assets while already in the civil service is a question for the Moscow City Hall.
He, Liksutov, was previously attributed to the family to own shares in Moscow Aeroexpress, a company that was a supplier for state contracts in the amount of over 900 million rubles. But in 2020, after a series of media publications dedicated to Liksutov and Makhmudov and Bokarev, the latter withdrew from the company's capital. But suddenly "went" JSC "Russian Railways," which now owns 25% there.
To summarize, Iskander Makhmudov and Andrei Bokarev were not only not lost under the new head of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov, but now they can claim monopolization of the railway supply market at all. And any monopoly, regardless of its genesis, is always an increase in cost and a decrease in the quality of service. Not to mention what it costs the budget.