Yakunin’s resignation from Russian Railways. Year later

Yakunin’s resignation from Russian Railways. Year later
Vladimir Yakunin

How the state-owned corporation came through its loss and where did the the all-powerful railways master dissapear.

Exactly twelve months ago, the President of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin resigned from his post. The man, who gladly told how he ate capercaillie with Vladimir Putin, today is interesting to no one. The political analyst Alexey Mukhin is sure: through the Head of the state corporation manager the leadership of the country was in the crosshairs, that is why after his resignation, everyone has forgotten about him.

Vladimir Yakunin’s resignation from the post of the Russian Railways head was sudden, though expected for many of his detractors. A man of philosophical attitude of mind would say that this life circumstance in fact turned out to be a new step towards the new way of life which he has yet to experience and on which Yakunin may find himself in the face of unknown.

It is to be noted that it was the first one in a whole series of high-profile resignations with which it all started - a global personnel replacement of the President’s circle.

Yakunin chose the traditional path of iconic people: he is going to be an expert, and his desire to create a classic think-tank was not, in general, a surprise to those who watch the ups and downs of President Putin’s close associates. Involvement of the first line economists to work (one of the first public works within this project was written by Andrey Klepach, the former deputy minister of economic development and trade), in principle, it was a good starting point for such activity.

However, Vladimir Yakunin’s Institute’s headquarters in Europe made it hard to position it as the Russian Institute. It is clear that the idea was just to influence the Western audience, not standing out from it, but to evaluate the results of the Institute for Russia from distance is extremely difficult. However, Yakunin’s activity was focused also on the St. Andrew Foundation, and in the field of teaching. In general, the divorce of the former Head of the Russian Railways happened, apparently, smoothly and without any incidents.

A year ago, the public interest in this man was huge, then, it predictably waned over time. Opinions on the assessment of his activity in the Railways were the opposite. The situation is aggravated by the fact that there was minimum true information about this job, and disclosing all the cards in front of the audience warmed by the ill-wishers was not the best idea.

One year is a period too short to make far-reaching conclusions, but it is quite possible to evaluate the preliminary results of the company after Yakunin’s resignation. The Russian Railways continue to operate in its mode but also modernizing approaches to solving problems and implementing projects. The new team operates within the allotted competence and, moreover, as some industry experts claim, it is quite effective.

Lots of the projects that are currently being implemented by the new head of the company Oleg Belozerov began with Yakunin, it is, of course, should be remembered, though they had to be optimized in terms of costs, which, incidentally, had a very beneficial effect on the overall development of the dynamics of the market, and environment within the company. In part, this is the merit of Yakunin who resigned a year ago when these projects were beginning to be implemented.

It is interesting, by the way, that one of the tasks of the newly appointed management set by the Prime Minister Medvedev, was to get rid of non-core assets, in particular the football and hockey club Lokomotiv and the corporate TV. These assets under the former managers were developing quite intensively. And it is surprising that both positions had to be retained, since it was necessary to take into account both the increased interest in the development of sports in the country, which is stimulated, in particular, by the President, and the need to maintain the corporate spirit through modern media.

On the other hand, the new management had to make serious changes in personnel: about 10% of the managerial staff was dismissed due to the merger of the Railways’ Head unit and the company’s business management department. As part of the optimization, the company had to part with a lot of employees who came there before and some of them still have not found a job in the financial and economic crisis. In this sense, the social component of Railways’ policy, of course, suffered.

It is characteristic that, it was not possible to completely avoid the indirect subsidization of tariffs: in this year, it was done by the Government of the Russian Federation to 9%, so the current management to some extent was forced to copy the actions of the former one. However, the company still refused to receive state subsidies for infrastructure development and even restored the travel benefits for certain social categories of citizens.

It is to be noted that Oleg Belozerov continued the implementation of high-speed projects that can be considered, on the one hand, import substitution (the company now buys rails not in Japan but from the Russian companies - EVRAZ and Mechel), and, on the other hand, indicates indubitable benefits of these projects for the domestic transport sector.

For example, the requirement to increase the volume of container traffic within the company in order to increase its profitability today is combined with the need to increase their speed. On average, in Europe, the goods are moving at a speed exceeding 100 km / h, and in Russia, with its huge territory it is only 40 km/h. So a lot of work is yet to be done, and the groundwork that has been done during the previous 10 years, should not be underestimated.

Today, the drumbeat of Vladimir Yakunin obviously subsided and became more or less clear that it was initiated with the intention to discredit the leadership of the country, instead of the former Head of the Russian Railways. It is, in fact, confirmed by the sudden loss of interest in him from his enemies after the resignation.

These are, unfortunately, the peculiarities of the modern information wars: the true goals of their participants are usually hidden from the public which experiences emotion and passion, which drive media resources and works blindly.



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