A Quiet Place on the Russian Internet for Intelligent People – Chapter 2. Chief Strategist. To be continued – To be continued – "Elephant on the dance floor" Archive.

We continue to publish a book about Sberbank and its leader with comments by Vladimir Vladimirovich Shakhidzhanyan. Enjoy reading!

Chapter 2. Chief strategist. Continuation

The Russian economy, meanwhile, was developing contrary to the aspirations of the Minister of Economic Development. Gref and Kudrin, once the most influential members of the cabinet, have come to be called vestiges of liberalism in the government.

This is where it is incredibly important to stay calm. If you are a public person, then you can be accused of all sins. As they say, all the dogs will be hung up on you. And the best thing is not to notice, not to react, not to get involved in an argument, not to discuss, because you can get bogged down in this. Everyone will forget the meaning of the dispute, but they can remember the dirt that they will pour on a person and develop this line. Yep, it hurts! Here he is justified!

Ignoring is the best defense.

And be ready for it. At first it is difficult not to react emotionally, and then a smart person gets used to it and does not spoil his nerves from such reproaches, injections, attacks, accusations.

I really love the phrase: a properly trained conscience never gnaws at its owner. This primarily applies to those who organize the persecution of other people. They have a conscience trained, and it never gnaws at them. (V.V.Sh.)

The contraction of the public sector, for which Gref had advocated since the days of St. Petersburg, was replaced by the triumph of state capitalism. By the end of the 2000s, as ministry officials (for example, Deputy Minister Andrey Klepach) admitted, the state controlled half of the Russian economy, and this estimate was considered by many to be underestimated. In the international ratings of economic freedom, Russia received less and less comforting places. Rising oil sharply reduced interest in the reforms that had begun. On the foreign economic front, things were also not brilliant. Gref was the main lobbyist for Russia's accession to the WTO and once even threatened a US trade war if it didn't stop obstructing it. But emotions have not accelerated negotiations on this issue (it took several more years to complete them at the end of 2011).

“I think Gref began to experience growing discomfort from the fact that he is able to do less and less,” said Sergey Guriev, rector of the New Economic School and independent director of Sberbank. – Because Gref is a person who organically does not tolerate inefficiency. He clearly believes that he should do things for which he will not later be ashamed. Which he will be able to tell his children and grandchildren. For him, this intrinsic motivation is extremely important.”

I met Sergey Guriev a couple of times. The personality is interesting, talented, controversial.As far as I remember, he seems to have left Russia. There is some truth in the words of Sergei Guriev. Gref has a strong motivation and is confident that he is right, and that's great. I do not agree that the star of Gref-politician began to slowly roll up. The economy is too connected with politics, and Sberbank is always about politics: who and how to support, who and how to help. I remember the time when many people said every day: tomorrow Gref will be fired, tomorrow Gref will be dismissed.

Gref knew how to take a hit. (V.V.Sh.)

Gref's political star began to slowly decline. He himself later recalled that back in 2004 he decided for himself that he would be retrained from an official into a manager. From some point, he began to be considered the record holder for the number of rumors about his resignation. All of them, like waves against rocks, crashed against the constant support that the minister enjoyed from Putin. But in the end, the line was drawn. In the fall of 2007, Gref did not join the new government. He stated that he was tired and asked to be allowed to go into business. Years later, Gref admitted to reporters that one of the reasons why he could not remain in the civil service was a penny salary. “I have small children and I just needed to earn a living. If you don’t have any additional earnings, then it’s impossible to live on this money, ”he said in an interview with Forbes Kazakhstan.

Accurate explanation. I believe him. One thing confused me a little: that it is impossible to live on this money. There is deceit here. People live on less money.


They complain, but they live.

They suffer, but they live.

They are poor, but they live.

It seems to me that Gref would like to make everyone rich, but, alas, he is not a magician. (V.V.Sh.)

In business, as it turned out, no one expected Gref. Unable to prevent him from joining Sberbank, the team of Kazmin and Alyoshkina recouped by refusing to work under the new president. Gref is accustomed to personnel reshuffling. Before the eyes of the ex-minister, five prime ministers were replaced in the government. And yet he was discouraged. “Everything was done to ensure that I collapsed here as quickly as possible,” Gref recalled. With the resignation of top managers, almost all key areas were orphaned. Even the financial block left in full force, which for the bank was tantamount to a temporary cardiac arrest. “The stress was decent,” Gref admitted.

The newly minted banker plunged headlong into a new element. The former official shaved off the beard he wore for the eight years he headed the ministry and radiated the energy of a man confident in his own plan. For him, it was not an easy job change. It looks like he found a way out of the emerging impasse.

“I feel much more comfortable in the role of the head of the bank. Because after all, politics is a very complicated thing.”

From an interview with German Gref to Vladimir Pozner in the Pozner program (06/15/2009)

Ideas that stalled across the country could be embodied in a single company.Sberbank seemed to be an excellent object of application of forces. Like Russia, he made the impression of a rich, but poorly managed organization. Participation in such a project promised the backward minister a concrete tangible result, which he was often deprived of the government. Those who observed Gref in the first days of work struck his obsession with a new business.

Work from morning to night and night to morning. You become obsessed with your idea, you want to achieve, by all means. The world may turn over, but you should have a result. And Grefa is lucky, he has a result. And Germany Oscarovich was lucky that his health did not disappoint, withstand the overload. Of course, proper nutrition, sport, positive emotions, the ability to surround themselves by people who want to see, hear, listen, communicate (V.V.Sh.)

The president spent the first morning at the bank in inspections on the building of the central office. Eyewitnesses recall how Gref leisurely walked along the corridors, along which his predecessors had recently fadedly stepped. With some absent -mindedness, he examined the empty cabinets of members of the board, and then went straight to the local dining room, spreading the typical smells of Soviet catering.

Gref was surprised and at the same time angry with the musty that he saw at every step. He keenly wanted to prove to people that attitude towards them could be different. One of Gref’s first decisions was the order to create a gym for employees of the central apparatus, but above all, overhaul of the dining room. 29 days did not stop round -the -clock work. At their end, the bank’s employees were able to dine in a modern room, in which a separate hall for the authorities was eliminated to everything else. Under Kazmin, top management was fed here, access to ordinary employees was closed. On the site of the special distributor opened the restaurant of Italian cuisine. The price level there was noticeably higher than in the dining room, but no one limited the circle of visitors. “We did not faint from people with barriers,” said the deputy chairman of Stanislav Kuznetsov on this occasion.

The diversity of a new banking life woven from a huge number of processes for Gref required a devilish attention to details. Documents were continuously received to the president. At first, I had to hold them only in order to properly study. Gref was a workaholic of the most hopeless sense (adviser to the head of the bank, Roman Terentyev assured me that his chef costs four hours of sleep per day). Conventions or negotiations that ended after midnight were commonplace.

I emphasized these lines, immediately remembered Roman Sergeevich Terentyev.

Roman Sergeevich talked about the fact that German Oscarovich was sleeping four hours a day. But Roman Sergeyevich himself did not lag behind the boss. I know Terentyeva for a long time, and I can say: it lies late, gets up early, manages a lot, and always radiates optimism. (V.V.Sh.)

The director of Sberbank for IT Viktor Orlovsky met Gref at the end of 2007. He drove up to a meeting with his future chef at ten o’clock in the evening, out of breath and ready to apologize for a ten -minute delay. Absolute punctuality from Orlovsky could not even achieve in Alfa-Bank, where he once worked, and a fine for a minute of being late for a meeting of the reign there was Dragonovsky-$ 1000. Curlings headlong on a date with the president of Sberbank, Orlovsky could not assume that he would have to wait another five hours in the reception room.

I remembered my meetings with Viktor Mikhailovich Orlovsky. Awesome person, talent!

Smart, multi-sized, noble, honest, sincere and harassed.

I was interested in reading about the behavior of V. M. Orlovsky in the reception of Gref. (V.V.Sh.)

Important visitors came to Gref every now and then. There were so many familiar faces that Orlovsky began to seem that he leafing out the hem of the Russian Forbes. The next morning, he will whisper about this to his wife in a whisper – so as not to wake up a daughter, who was not even two weeks then. Gref also had a child recently, but at the third hour, when Orlovsky crossed the threshold of his office, even the most insightful psychologist would not be able to recognize a happy parent in the new president of the bank. Much more like a man who once gained a colossal burden of problems, which no one approached him.

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