“369th day of the war. The railroad continues to operate on schedule. And I’m resigning. By a joint decision with Deputy Prime Minister Kubrakov, I will head the office for European integration of Ukrzaliznytsia in Europe“. Thus ended the 4-year contract of the head of UZ, concluded less than a year ago, in March 2022, writes Ukrrudprom.
Sudden departure on call from the center. A small report in the Small Council of People’s Commissars. Farewell scene and chicken on the road. Let’s go in comfort.
“Twelve Chairs”, Ilf and Petrov
The situation when the largest state-owned transport monopoly, Ukrzaliznytsia, is managed by a team of managers who come from the structures of its largest client, Rinat Akhmetov’s SCM (Metinvest and DTEK account for more than a quarter of the state-owned company’s cargo turnover), is abnormal by definition. Here you don’t even need to breed the traditional “blah blah blah” about deoligarchization – it has failed completely and irrevocably. This is a typical conflict of interest, which is obvious even without the commitments made by Ukraine in the summer of 2022 as a potential candidate for the European Union.
Back in August 2021 we told about the landing of Akhmetov’s managers to the board of Ukrzaliznytsia in the person of the already mentioned Kamyshin and a native of DTEK Orest Logunov, who took the place of a member of the board of Ukrzaliznytsia for technical development, service, renewal and construction of rolling stock. A little later, they were joined by the ex-general director of Media Group Ukraine, Yevgeny Lyashchenko, who became the financial director of UZ.
A classic of the genre of informal grabbing of state property is the first person loyal to you plus your people on cash flows and key purchases.
At the beginning of 2022, Anatoly Amelin joined the Supervisory Board of the state monopoly as an “independent member”, who had worked for several years in structures close to Dear (such as Altana Capital). By the way, it was Amelin, already in the National Assembly of Ukrzaliznytsia, who directly participated in the process controlled bankruptcy the owner of Ukrtelecom Akhmetov.
And all this, not counting dozens of appointments within the UZ vertical with a rank lower than the head of departments.
To be fair, at some point there was an impression that Kamyshin was ready to go against his former employer. Last July, the Ministry of Infrastructure agreed to increase freight rates by 70%, which would cost Akhmetov’s Metinvest alone about $110 million in additional costs per year to transport raw materials and finished products. And if before the war SCM successfully restrained the growth of UZ tariffs due to gray and black PR campaigns, this time everything went extremely well. As one of the leaders of Ukrzaliznytsia admitted, “we were even a little surprised that they did not start to wet us“.
As we see in the end, Akhmetov has an ace more interesting lurking up his sleeve than a public howl about the losses of a particular billionaire against the backdrop of the war. Kamyshin’s unexpected flight to Europe makes it possible to finally send the tariff increase plans down the toilet. Moreover, while he was the head of the board, Alexander also quite effectively sabotaged this initiative.
Suffice it to say that despite the decision of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ukrzaliznytsia did not include an increase in freight rates in its financial plan for 2023. As the financial director of UZ Evgeny Lyashchenko, already mentioned above, admitted: “We understand that it would be right to include the increase in tariffs in the financial plan, but we still need to discuss this issue with the market.” Apparently, the “market” is correct to read as “Akhmetov”.
Now, however, historical justice will finally triumph. After the flight of Kamyshin, Ukrzaliznytsia was headed by the same Lyashchenko. And it is clear that with such a head of UZ, both Metinvest and DTEK, and even more so Akhmetov, can certainly sleep peacefully. He won’t do bad things. The losses of Ukrzaliznytsia from the transportation of goods of “Dear” will be covered as usual by the treasury. After all, it’s not without reason that since August 2022, Lyashchenko has been continuously talking about the need for state support for UZ.
And Kamyshin is still turning around in safe Europe. Moreover, as we know from the DTEK cases (such as Rotterdam +), there is no extradition from there.