Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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Who are the Far Eastern entrepreneurs?

The first steps (the first essay)

Who are the Far Eastern entrepreneurs?
Photo: MyTripStory.Ru

Leonid Blyakher

Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
About Far East businessmen write today a lot. And this is understandable. Logically, they should be investors in TOPs, TOSERs and similar free ports. It is their lives that should facilitate the "tax holidays", appeals "not to scary business" checks and other administrative measures to combat administrative measures. At the same time, it is much less likely to ask the question of who they are - Far Eastern entrepreneurs? What are they? What do they do? Particularly rarely are the authorities interested in the representatives of that very small business, whose appearance is conjured with spells and ritual actions from all the high tribunes.

It so happened that since 1996, I, more or less regularly, interviewed small business representatives in the region. People came across very different. They had a different business. They lined up the relations with the state in different ways. But it was also common. At least in every generation. On this general, and I would like to tell. Start over.

Long before the declared freedom, the Far Eastern crafts (fishing, hunting, homestead, picking wild plants, private tailors and cooks) were not only and not so much a pleasant pastime or form of self-sufficiency, it was also a way to somehow smooth out the "military" specifics of the region. Giant military factories and units of the KVVO - were the basis of the regional economy. To somehow feed all these right people, the Far East flowed streams of products, raw materials, equipment, finance. But they did not always flow rhythmically. That's why it was required to have something "in place". In the last Soviet years, they began to build huge poultry farms and cowsheds. But they did not hurry to refuse from local crafts. They existed in the shadow of the military region. Once they were legalized, like cooperatives and "handicraftsmen". Later they lived in an almost illegal situation. But they continued to catch and sell fish, grow pork, make sausages and smoke ham, sew dresses and costumes. In a word, to do something for which people were willing to pay.

They made up the first detachment of post-Soviet entrepreneurship. Not all. Someone preferred to stay in a cozy shadow. But many, especially, "guillotine" moved to the first second-hand Japanese cars and put on beautiful crimson jackets. They were joined by numerous craftsmen, in previous years repaired cars and water taps, who made repairs and a lot of other useful things. After all, in essence, this business, more precisely, the fishery was already rebuilt. Since the time of the first Gorbachev decrees, they have been given the opportunity for legalization. In a sad, almost forgotten era of cards (not banking ones) and coupons for everything and everything, they filled the stores' shops as much as possible, preventing the people of the region from starving. Of course, not at a loss. But they were not the only ones.

Already at the very beginning of the 90s, spontaneous "Chinese markets" emerge in the most unexpected places of the Far Eastern cities. Citizens of the Middle Kingdom trade there unprecedented bright sweaters and jeans, products and bags - they sell everything they buy. But very soon they are being replaced by our compatriots. Shuttles have become another group from which small business has grown in the region. People with huge trunks at train stations and airports are a sign of the times. The “shuttles” were representatives of various layers. There were workers of the reduced factories and teachers who were somehow forgotten to pay wages. There were musicians and journalists, doctors and scientists. Who just was not there. For some, it was a one-time action at a difficult time. Someone completely went into this fishery. It was their efforts, more than the efforts of the old “tradesmen”, that the trays and shops filled with goods, and the Far-Easterners dressed in Chinese jeans and sweaters, fur coats and hats, got home appliances.

A separate song about the main thing is second-hand Japanese cars. The first miracles of the Japanese car industry appear in the late Soviet years. Even very old "Japanese" turned out to be better than the products of domestic car factories. But only in the post-Soviet years this fishery is becoming massive. Nakhodka, Vladivostok, Vanino and Petropavlovsk, and behind them other cities of the region, more precisely, their inhabitants are transplanted from Zhiguli and Zaporozhye to Toyota. It becomes, in a way, a visiting card of the region. In the same years, almost simultaneously with the influx of Japanese cars, there are craftsmen, these machines are repairing. In the coastal regions, the import, sale and maintenance of this equipment becomes, if not the main, then a significant industry. Of course, most of it remains in the "shadow". But it is it that allows the survival of tens of thousands of Far Easterners.

A no less numerous detachment was composed of Komsomol and party workers, economic leaders who changed power over property. However, this group did not constitute the specifics of the Far East. The party is our helmsman not only in the far outskirts, but throughout the country. However, there was a regional specificity. The “Soviet trophy”, which with all the communist passion and enthusiasm was shared in the rest of the country, was very uniform in the Far East - defense production. Attempting to convert it into something that could be sold outside the region (to other regions or abroad) revealed its tremendous unprofitability. After all, everything was brought in plus or minus. Even those plants that did not work for the defense industry or not at all for the defense industry experienced great difficulties due to the disintegration of interregional relations.

Under these conditions, those that were mentioned in passing in the regional reports of the Soviet period were much more attractive objects of division. Like, and this too. These were forest plots and fishing fleets, ore deposits and fertile lands. Restoration of collapsed inter-regional and international relations became a separate field of crafts. For example, with "Balkankar", supplied in the Soviet years, equipment in the region. Components were needed for worn loaders and road machines. They began to supply new businessmen. If the first groups were mainly replenished in the small business, then the medium and even large business came out of the last group. True, with the legality and here was not all smooth.

You can talk for a long time about the terrible 90, about the criminal business in Russia. All this has already been said. Much more interesting to think, why was he like this? And here too there is no special secret. Up to the second half of the 90-ies the legislation remained Soviet. The law, and after him the state simply "did not see" a new reality. But any business needs to somehow guarantee a deal, provide a transaction, transfer money. Actually, this is the production of order - the main function of the state in relation to the economy, and not just the economy. But this function was not executed. The role of the state in this period is assumed by the criminals. It is he ("thieves", "bandits", "athletes") who performs the function of a guarantor for the first entrepreneurs.

It happened that the "roof" just robbed. But the "robbers" did not live for a long time and rarely stay afloat. Survived and flourished those "roofs" that took money for "solving issues", that is, performed the functions of the state. Performed badly. But other manufacturers of the order at that time simply did not exist. They "agreed" with customs and police, with loans and partners. When it is said today about someone that in 90, he was connected with crime, in fact, it is only reported about him that he did something significant, was noticeable. But the era of criminal "roofs" and a very small business did not last long. Already by the middle of 90-s, the Far Eastern business is beginning to desperately need another order maker. We will talk about the next generation of Far Eastern entrepreneurs and the next producer of the order in the second essay.
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