Untouchable Waterway: why Viktor Olersky is bypassed by Russian problems
Belgian citizenship and the "raspberry" passport of the ex-deputy minister of transport continue to "dream," while sanctions are more real?
The mysterious personality in the image of Viktor Olersky did not give us, journalists, and five, and ten years ago... How did the holder of a Belgian passport, large real estate, both in Finland and in Belgium, manage to join at one time a few high-ranking government officials of the Russian Federation?
By the way, the fact of Mr. Olersky's Belgian citizenship is even in the official certificate on the TASS website, as well as the note that Viktor Olersky refused citizenship of Belgium (NATO countries) back in 2009. True, the Olersky family, spouse and two children seem to have lived as well as live in the suburbs of Brussels. And this did not prevent Mr. Olersky from once taking the strategically important post of Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation.
Recall also that not so long ago, having already left the troublesome post of deputy minister, Viktor Olersky acquired the Arctech Helsinki shipyard in Finland, in a country where the latifundist Olersky has huge land allotments.
And what I would like to recall is the rumors that Olersky allegedly leads an acquaintance with members of the Kingisepp organized crime group. This, of course, needs confirmation, but Mr. Former Deputy Minister himself prefers not to extend on this topic. And yet, in this context, why are there no restrictions on the richest shipowner with his connections either in Russia itself or abroad?
Of course, Viktor Olersky is not Roman Abramovich, who was not allowed into Israel the other day. In addition, Mr. Abramovich's waterfalls were arrested. But no one is trying on the waterfalls of the former official of the Ministry of Transport. Is there a secret? This was understood by the correspondent of The Moscow Post.
How to get Arctech Helsinki
It should be recalled that as soon as Mr. Olersky left the civil service, he immediately began to buy up assets. However, apparently, he did this with the help of some people and being the deputy minister of transport. But how did former Belgian citizen Viktor Olersky manage to get the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard?
Recall that the shipyard was originally created as a subsidiary of STX Finland Oy and structures of the Korean STX Corporation. In 2011, the United Shipbuilding Corporation acquired 50% of the shipyard. This shipyard specializes in ice class vessels. USC completely bought the shipyard in 2014.
But then problems began, as sanctions fell on the head of USC. And it became difficult to attract money in foreign banks. The devaluation of the ruble, of course, played a role.
In addition, Arctech received significant losses from the construction of the Murmansk icebreaker. This was reported by The Moscow Post.
Icebreaker Murmansk Photo: murman.ru
As a result, Sovcomflot fined the company $50 million for delaying the construction of 4 ships. USC has been negotiating with Russian investors for several months to preserve and use the asset in the interests of Russia. Thus, Mr. Olersky arose in the buyer. He took the Arctech shipyard with all its debts.
But why did Viktor Olersky even need this shipyard?
Earlier it was suggested that allegedly Viktor Olersky was going to build icebreakers for the Northern Sea Route. In addition, the change of ownership then helped to remove the shipyard in Finland from sanctions. They say that when he was deputy minister, Mr. Olersky was extremely close not only to USC, but with the head of Rostec Sergey Chemezov.
Apparently, due to this, it was Mr. Olersky and his partners who could help USC, after the latter got into the sanctions lists of Western countries. Thus, USC decided on a contender for the purchase of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard. The owners were Viktor Olersky and his partner, co-owner of Vodokhod and Pola Group, Rishat Bagautdinov. This situation was examined in detail by The Moscow Post.
In addition to money, USC received the Nevsky GCC in Shlisselburg: beneficiaries - Rishat Bagautdinov and Vladimir Kasyanenko. In the portfolio of the Nevsky GCC, dry cargo ships and ships, tugboats, sea tankers, as well as ice class Arc4 vessels were indicated.
Who is the most "Vodokhod" here?
Next. Olersky became the owner of Vodokhod on April 30, 2019. The company's fleet then consisted of 25 cruise ships, 9 Meteor vessels and 9 Moscow-type vessels. The owner of Vodokhod is Volga-Baltic Cruise Lines Ltd (Cyprus). That is, in addition to Belgium and Finland, Mr. Olersky's "tourist" interests also extend to the island of Aphrodite?
Where else in the "civilized world" can you be so enriched in such a number of dubious circumstances? But for some reason, law enforcement officers have no questions for Olersky or his partners.
By the way, with the arrival of Mr. Olersky, Vodokhod announced that it had decided to change the "directions" in its work: to engage in cruises to the Arctic. For this, the company needs vessels of a different class. And such ships can be built at the Finnish shipyard Arctech.
As part of the new strategy, Vodokhod has this idea: to increase the cost of the tour by 50% and go on direct sales to foreign tourists. And later it turned out that Mr. Olersky was greatly attracted by cruise ships, so the four-deck cruise ship Mustay Karim was already launched for Vodokhod.
Untouchable water: why Viktor Olersky is bypassed by Russian problems
Mustai Karim cruise ship. Photo: Mikhail Solunin, Kommersant
The laying of the four-deck liner took place at the Krasnoye Sormovo plant in March 2017. The construction of the liner for Vodokhod was carried out as part of a tripartite contract with the participation of Mashpromleasing JSC (this is the structure of USC). The ship is designed for river transportation of passengers on long-distance cruise lines with the passage of the Volga-Don shipping channel.
This luxurious cruise ship corresponds to the level of a five-star hotel.
On board are restaurants, bars, a gym, an open walking area, as well as a beauty salon and a solarium. The liner seats 330 people. The ship is designed for river transportation of passengers on long-distance cruise lines with passage through the Volga-Don shipping channel.
The head of USC Alexei Rakhmanov, when launching the Mustay Karim liner, noted that passenger ships of this class in Russia had not been built for 60 years.
The head of USC Alexei Rakhmanov. Photo: Artem Korotaev, TASS
About 4 billion rubles were spent on the construction of the liner. Thus, the "water empire" of the former official of the Ministry of Transport continues to expand at great speed.
How to saddle the Griffin
After receiving the Mustay Karim cruise ship (apparently, the liner is able to compete with the yachts of Abramovich and Sechin?) Olersky still wanted to purchase the Griffin catamaran and the Comet hydrofoil vessel from USC.
Catamaran "Griffin." Photo: Angela Kuchuberia, TASS
Such vessels were needed by Olersky's Vodokhod company for the new passenger route "daughter" - the company "Vodokhod-Express" - "Novorossiysk-Gelendzhik-Sochi." The cost of one vessel is about 400 million rubles. Olersky has that money. And last October, 2021, the Griffin catamaran made its first flight to Abkhazia from Sochi.
It should also be recalled that almost immediately after the departure of the "water baron" from the Ministry of Transport, amazing events happened: the Nevsky GCC shipyard became the property of the cruise operator Algador Holdings Ltd, whose owners were called the owners of the Nevsky GCC.
But Victor Olersky himself could hypothetically be the beneficiary of the Nevsky GCC. The formal owners of the offshore are the companions of the ex-official - Rishat Bagautdinov and Vladimir Kasyanenko.
Rishat Bagautdinov works as the general director of Vodokhod LLC. And Kasyanenko used to be a co-owner of the Tuloma Marine Terminal - before the offshore Kapstans Holding Limited began to own it. Should I look for Viktor Olersky and for this structure? Moreover, several more companies that are large recipients of state contracts are "tied" to this offshore.
But the same key asset of Olersky, where he is the chairman of the board of directors, Vodokhod company is 100% owned by the Cypriot offshore Volga-Baltik Cruise Lines Limited. About this wrote "Vedomosti."
A few years ago, this offshore company had more than 70 million rubles in its "portfolio" of state orders. And many were received even before Olersky left the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, which in itself raises serious questions.
Mr. Olersky was well equipped in this life not only while working in the ministry. At one time, he was the head of Northwestern River Shipping Company OJSC, many of whose assets could eventually flow to him.
In addition, the ill-wishers of Viktor Olersky repeatedly tried to connect his name with the process of 12 members of the Kingisepp organized crime group and the case of former member of the Federation Council Igor Izmestyev.
Ex-Senator Izmestiev. Photo: Alexander Miridonov, Kommersant
It should be noted that more than 20 years ago Viktor Olersky very clearly defined for himself the goal to which to go. This goal is the construction of dry cargo ships of the river-sea class. And in 2002, the Volga-Fleet company (Volga Shipping Company), owned by the Korus oil trader, ordered the construction of 10 new river-sea vessels at the Krasnoye Sormovo plant in Nizhny Novgorod.
The contract for $60 million was concluded for 4 years. Recall that the chairman of the board of directors of Volga-Fleet was then Viktor Olersky. And of the Russian shipping companies, only the North-Western Shipping Company still invested such funds in shipbuilding. From him, Volga-Fleet bought documentation for the production of dry cargo ships of the Valdai project.
Volga-Fleet is one of the largest shipping companies. The company's fleet at that time totaled almost 300 ships. The control stake of the shipping company was owned by the Korus oil trader, a friendly company of TATNEFT.
Look for Timchenko and Sechin?
Recall the main milestones in the biography of Viktor Olersky.
In 2000, he joined the board of directors of the Volga Shipping Company. In 2001-2003 headed the board of directors. From 2003 to 2009 served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Northwestern River Shipping Company OJSC.
Victor Olersky. Photo: Arkady Kolybalov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
From July 30, 2009 to February 8, 2016 - Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation. From February 8, 2016 to June 21, 2018 - Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation and head of the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport (Rosmorrechflot). Member of the Board of Directors of Sovcomflot PJSC.
He was a member of the board of directors of SG-trans companies (2010-2013), United Shipbuilding Corporation OJSC (2010-2014), Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (2010-2015).
Note that the appearance of Olersky in the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation at one time could hypothetically contribute to Igor Sechin and Gennady Timchenko. Previously, this opportunity was analyzed by The Moscow Post.
Allegedly, it was they who at one time could "push" Olersky to the post of deputy minister, although then he allegedly still had a Belgian passport. Viktor Olersky moved to the ministry itself from Northwestern Shipping Company OJSC.
Igor Sechin. Photo: TASS
Why was such a person needed by Russian oil trader Gennady Timchenko and Deputy Prime Minister (at that time) Igor Sechin? There is an interesting version on this score.
Viktor Olersky, when preparing for the transition to the civil service, joined the board of directors of OJSC Seaport of St. Petersburg. Then he sold to Gennady Timchenko his stake in the authorized capital of Infotek-Baltika CJSC. This company controls Intransit Baltika. The latter specializes in transshipment of mineral fertilizers in the waters of the Seaport of St. Petersburg and petroleum products from the external raid of Kronstadt.
Gennady Timchenko, defining the policy of both companies and borrowing his man as deputy minister of transport, became the "number one" in the "sea gate" of St. Petersburg. And it seems very much that it was under it that there was a tangible share of the market for agency, forwarding and stevedoring services.
Gennady Timchenko. Photo: TASS
Soon, Gennady Timchenko became the owner of the terminal in Ust-Luga. He acquired Stroytranzgaz OJSC. This company specializes in the construction of infrastructure facilities in the fuel and energy sector. And then Igor Sechin also announced the buyback of half of the Ust-Luga refinery complex by the main operator of main oil pipelines - Transneft.
So, Viktor Olersky "did not pump"?
True, it was then that Sechin and Timchenko had to solve many difficult "technical" issues together. Allegedly, questions to Olersky could arise through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the FSB, and even the Prosecutor General's Office. As a result, these fears, if they were, did not materialize.
In today's situation, the question arises: will Mr. Olersky return his Belgian passport, which he passed when he received the post of Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation? After all, recall, the former deputy head of the Ministry of Transport has real estate not only in Belgium, but also in Finland.
In Belgium - a mansion of almost 400 square meters. m, as well as a land plot - more than 2060 square meters. m In Finland, owned - a land plot of more than 28 thousand square meters. m Coupled with considerable income, what else is needed to adequately meet calm old age in a cozy European country?