As Alexander Verkhovsky has become a fishing tycoon

Island “Gidrostroy”

22 Aug 2015 to Iturup island came Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. After inspection of the new airport of the island with a population of 6,000 people, the head of government, accompanied by the Moscow and Sakhalin officials went to the village of Whale, where they built a port with deep-water pier, the seaport and a modern fish-processing complex with a capacity of 500 tons per day. Impressive object to the Prime Minister was represented by the Governor of the Sakhalin region Oleg Kozhemyako. “Modern, everything, — said the Medvedev. — The program is going to continue?” And immediately received an affirmative answer of the Governor of Sakhalin: “of Course!” It was Smoked on financing from the Federal budget. Standing behind them, the Senator Verkhovsky to this dialogue did not react, even though his business is tightly connected with the development of the budget. According to the Federal target program (FTP) “Socio-economic development of the Kuril Islands for 2007-2015” was allocated 20 billion rubles. 12 days before travel to Iturup, 10 Aug 2015, Medvedev approved a new Federal program of development of the Kuril Islands for 2016-2025 with funding of 70 billion roubles (in October 2017, the amount was increased to 80.9 billion rubles).

Александр Верховский (справа) и генеральный директор «Гидростроя» Юрий Светликов.

The motorcade Dmitry Medvedev traveled to Iturup’s roads and bridges built by the “Gidrostroy” Verhovskogo. And wherever the Prime Minister arrived to inspect the new facilities — at the airport, school, kindergarten, hospital, cultural and sports centre, a geothermal power station, a fire station, are also erected “Gidrostroy”. Of all allocated for the development of the Kuril Islands of budgetary funds of the company Alexander Verhovskogo, according to conservative estimates, has mastered the quarter.

“The Kuril Islands are very difficult to draw the line, where the public interest, and where private, on the Islands everything can only develop in partnership, — said Alexander Savelyev, head of the Information Agency for fishery. — Construction and maintenance of roads is “Gidrostroy”, port “Gidrostroy”, the construction of the airport — “Gidrostroy”, hotels — “Gidrostroy”. Someone may be choking envy, but why should a company build it all exclusively on your own money? This is just a vivid example of private-public partnerships”.

The venue for the all-Russian youth forum “Iturup” is also prepared by the builders of “Gidrostroy”. “The first time I got here most recently, it was all different — shared with the youth Dmitry Medvedev. — You to understand that there was not a single kilometer of asphalt roads. I hope that at least some of you will come back here to work.” On the same day, the Japanese foreign Ministry in connection with Medvedev’s visit to the Iturup declared to the Russian Ambassador a formal protest. “This hurts the feelings of the people of Japan, who want the return of these territories”, — said in the Japanese foreign Ministry. Japan considers the Islands of Iturup, Shikotan, Kunashir and Habomai his and puts them to return the main condition for concluding a peace Treaty with Russia.

In the early 1990-ies on the initiative of Japan, was launched the program of visa-free exchanges of Japanese citizens and residents of the Kuril Islands, which should create conditions for the return of the disputed territories. In organized groups visited the Japanese in the Kuril Islands the graves of their ancestors, and the Russians were acquainted with the benefits of a developed economy and received humanitarian assistance. Iturup, for example, the Japanese built a power plant, a clinic. The intent of the Japanese, the Russian population of the Islands had come to understand that the future of the Kuril Islands are the only part of Japan.

In 1998 Boris Yeltsin has sent to the Kuriles his press Secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky to appease the islanders, concerned that the rumors about the imminent return of the Islands to Japan. “I was on the Kuril Islands for the first time and was literally overwhelmed by what he saw — life on the Islands was barely warm, had described Yastrzhembsky your trip. — Iturup everywhere were seen signs of trouble: boarded-up Windows of abandoned houses, rusty skeletons of old fishing trawlers, poorly dressed people. The islanders in all the meetings I requested, demanded, implored the Federal center to give them only one thing — elevating money to leave forever the Kuril Islands”.

The Executive Director of the Russian Association of fishery enterprises, entrepreneurs and exporters Igor Karpman from 2001 to 2006 he headed the Kuril urban district. He recalls that the Japanese were at that time very assets. “The Japanese have bombarded the printed materials, talked about cohabitation and development, specifically, when you ask, you learn that they have plans of their authorities, budget, clinic only for the Japanese, even your hairdresser — only for the Japanese,” he says.

In the end, a small clinic for the residents of Iturup Japanese still built, says Karpman, and a full-fledged hospital of the five buildings on the Federal target program in 2009, built “Gidrostroy”. The creation of “Gidrostroy” transport infrastructure and the construction of social facilities in the Kuril Islands was the alleged reason Verhovskom was denied a Japanese visa. “Because of the “Gidrostroy” people are strengthened in the opinion that Iturup is possible to live and work,” says one of his friends.

The first partnership

The story of “Gidrostroy” began in 1991 with a meeting of Gregory Bodily, Alexander Verhovskogo and Sergei Gryaznov. Bogie since 1984 led to Iturup municipal joint-stock company and was a member of the district Council, and by the beginning of 1990-ies he was already the largest fishing areas on the island. Verkhovsky — military construction — served on the Iturup island from 1984 to 1989, then he moved to Leningrad, where in 1991 he retired from the army with the rank of Colonel, and almost immediately returned to the island. From Gryaznova was a small business in Kurilsk, the main village of Etorofu. Verkhovsky and Gryaznov suggested that Boyle to develop the fishing enterprise, and he agreed.

“I opened the company, I gave him the land that gave 20 000 tonnes of salmon a year — says Bogie. — Verkhovsky became CEO, and we Gryaznov — chairmen”. In the new company, the future “master Smoke” received 40%, and his two partner — 30%. First project was the construction of a plant for production of frozen fish in the village RAID on the sea of Okhotsk. Verkhovsky was distilled bought for a penny, decommissioned military construction equipment moved and had previously served under his command military construction, who agreed to go to work in a new company.

“We in the Union, how the fish doing? Caught, salted and in a barrel of it — that’s the whole simple operation, recalled in an interview Gryaznov. — Technology of the prehistoric period. Only in our country did so. And who needs it — salted fish? Well, someone certainly needed, but the possibility of its use is very limited. Throughout the civilized world fish goes first into the ice. Then placed in vacuum packaging and is sent to the consumer in the form in which it is most useful, for example, as fillets. So we went that way.”

Partners built a processing plant at the site with ready-made utilities, according to Gryaznov, it was an example of public-private partnerships. In the future the company and worked to build their complexes and fish processing, at the expense of the state was brought to him of the road and created infrastructure.

Three major Kuril Islands have different field of specialization. The closest to Japan, Kunashir with a mild climate is sea urchins, crabs, sea cucumbers and shrimp, Shikotan — salmon, Iturup with its lakes and rivers — salmon and coastal fishing. Putin Iturup lasts from July to September, when salmon return to their Natal rivers for spawning. On the way to spawning grounds fish catch nets with a small ship and sent for recycling. The first years for the “Gidrostroy” was successful, earnings measured in millions of dollars, according to Gregory Bodily, the profit was invested in production. “The most expensive nets we had,” he recalls.

Bogie was responsible to the company for the sale of fish abroad, Gryaznov for the sale of products in Russia and supply, Verkhovsky was a General guide. But a couple of years the partnership was dissolved. “When I came to Japan, Boguila has behaved badly, something with finances was, says the former head of administration of village Burevestnik Valentin settlers. And they broke up with him”. Bogie said that the two partners threw him out of the business. He left Iturup in 1994 and started a small family business in the Volgograd region. In Sakhalin oblast it arrived in 2010, having sold for this latter’s visit “KAMAZ” of the company. By the time Verkhovsky from Gryaznov quarreled, and the last, the stories of his friends who just stopped to let the objects “Gidrostroy”. Gryaznov decided to enlist Boylu, promising to restore his rights for share in “Gidrostroy”. Sergei Gryaznov Forbes could not be reached.

Even then, at stake was a fortune. In 2007, the “Gidrostroy” acquired group “Pilenga” with its own oceanic fleet, by 2010 he opened his own Bank “Iturup”, built and launched on the island two fish processing plants with processing capacity of 900 tons of fish per day and one company on Shikotan (300 t per day) and Sakhalin (200 t a day). Plan Gryaznov did not work, to prove in court that Bogie can claim a share in the company, failed. Soon after he Gryaznov ceased to be a partner Verhovskogo. Friend Alexander verkhovskiy said that former partners he agreed. Gryaznov now lives in the town of Belorechensk of Krasnodar region and owns the company “Basalt”, which produces inert materials for construction. In July 2016 Gryaznov, unlike Gregory Bodily, was invited to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of “Gidrostroy”.

Rich fish

Allowing a dispute with former partners, Alexander Verkhovsky went into power, October 25, 2012, he became the representative of the Sakhalin oblast in the Federation Council. On Sakhalin “Gidrostroy” came in 2008, suggesting the program of improvement of the bankrupt “Fishing collective farm of a name of Kirov”. Verhovskogo the company paid off debts of the collective farm, has upgraded and launched the production of fish processing — 200 tons per day. In the Federation Council Verkhovsky lobbied the interests of the fishermen. Second of July 2013 adopted amendments to the Federal law on aquaculture (fish farming), which promoted Sakhalin Senator. Amendments to the coastal fisheries allowed fishermen of Sakhalin and the Kurils additional catch of about 100 000 t of fish. In April 2015 the management of “Gidrostroy” has begun negotiations about purchase of one of the oldest on Sakhalin fishing companies — “Tunica”, which went down because of the conflict of shareholders. According to one of the owners, Sergey Kireev has already been carried out by the company. “Even the agreement made, they were ready to buy “Tunica” for $65 million,” he says. But in the end the buyer backed out and the deal never took place.

Since 2009, the “Gidrostroy” is actively developing aquaculture, building on the Iturup and Sakhalin fish hatcheries, every year the company grows 350 million juvenile chum and pink salmon — more than a third of artificial reproduction of Pacific salmon in Russia. Artificial production of juvenile chum and pink salmon significantly increases the number of returning fish to spawning grounds. Another significant addition to the total catch are the so-called Rusa — fish counting fence on the river on the way of fish to spawning grounds hatcheries. A special Commission on regulation of extraction of anadromous fish species determines how many fish entered the spawning grounds, and in the case of filling to avoid fish kills from lack of oxygen, river block of the RUz, to whom stuffed the “extra” fish so that you can cut it with excavators. “If the fish will drop massively, oxygen decreases, and dozens of tons of it will fall to the bottom. The river a few years later to revive the will”, — explains Igor Karpman.

At the end of 2016, it became known that “Gidrostroy” is preparing for a much more serious purchase than a “Tunaycha”, Transfiguration base trawl fleet, owned by the family of the Governor of the Sakhalin region Oleg Kozhemyako. The deal is worth $400 million was closed on July 5, 2018, from this day, getting PBTF quotas on catch of 150 000 tons of fish, “Gidrostroy” was the second-largest fishing company in Russia with quotas nearly 427 000 t of fish (a little more than just a company “Norebo” Vitaly Orlov — 437 000 tons).

Как Александр Верховский стал рыбопромышленным магнатом

Moscow office of “Gidrostroy” is located next to the Federal Agency for fisheries Rozhdestvensky Boulevard. Verkhovsky in July 2018 dressed for the weather: jeans, a light summer shirt and flip flops. Talks about the company willingly, but the record refuses to speak. Verkhovsky in a hurry to complete all the work in Moscow and to go on vacation. He can relax. Salmon fishing season in the far East in 2018 promises to be a record of oceanic fleet of the combined company exceeded three dozen ships (not counting small vessels in coastal fisheries), with the purchase of a PBTF “Gidrostroy” there were quotas for the catch of the most coveted for any fishing company product — crab. With public-private partnership is also doing well. In June 2018, the Minister of economic development of the Sakhalin region Alexey Uspensky said that the government of the region continues to attract investors to the territory of advancing socio-economic development. One of the possible investors in the Kuril Islands was named “Gidrostroy”. In the Kuril territory it is planned to implement 22 projects with a total value of more than 19.3 billion rubles, including 7 billion rubles will be invested by the state.