Civil defense: how a former pilot flooded the West with Russian weapons

Over a two-year period, Michael Judelson sold 300,000 automatic rifles in the United States and Europe under the utilization program of the Ministry of Defense of Russia. How military weapons became civilian ones?
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Former Air Force pilot Michael Judelson Israel carried away arms after watching the movie "Shooter": "There's the main character was a sniper rifle CheyTac m200 Intervention, shooting more than 2 km. He saw it and said to myself: I want to "In 2010, he raised the qualification of civil aviation pilots in Dallas Texas, and the nearest gun shop was found in a three-hour drive - in Arkansas!. Buying a coveted rifle Judelson conversation with owner Larry Knisekom store. He shared: "I would like to work with Russia, so many people want Russian rifle!" Judelson said he might be able to help. A year later he had a contract with the Tula arms factory in 2012, it has begun shipping in the US. For two years, from Russia to the United States and Europe through Judelson passed 300,000 barrels.

When asked how he did it, the businessman modestly replies, "Lucky."

By 2010, the Russian Defense Ministry warehouses accumulated about 16 million firearms issued to the 1980s. The military department planned in 2015 to dispose of about 4 million outdated rifles, machine guns and pistols. "On thepoint for the disposal of the gun TT state paid 152 rubles for a machine gun - about five hundred, - says one of the Russian arms. - Money is not enough, and a lot of hassle - storage, security, all highly formalized: the destruction of each stem, for example, you must remove the video for reporting. "

The hassle and really had no end. "Izhmash" (now the "Kalashnikov" Concern) engaged in disposing of the Ministry of Defense weapons commissioned in 2011. In January 2012, the company has sold the driver of a local resident in the wood seemed unnecessary weapons crates. Buyer found them 79 old Kalashnikovs and immediately informed the police. The weapon was returned to the factory, it was a criminal case, the deputy head of security, "Izhmash" fired. About how things are now with the disposal of weapons, "Kalashnikov" refused to talk.

Michael Judelson undertook to work with the Russian arms, fell under the scrappage program, according to the scheme, which arranged all - and the Ministry of Defence, and a weapons factory, and himself.

International lawyer by training, not a single dayworked in the profession, Judelson was born in Russia, grew up in Israel and studied in Germany at the Free University of Berlin. After graduating from university in 1999, he went to serve under contract in the Israeli Air Force.

"I would not go away ever," - recalls with obvious longing former fighter pilot.

Hazardous occupations had to leave in 2003 at the urging of his wife. Then he moved to New York, got US flight license and got a job in an airline Warren Buffett's NetJets. Four years later, he received a tempting offer from Moscow.

Business airline "Avcom" Judelson called for the post of Director of Flight: given a huge salary, rented an apartment in Moscow - in general, it was a sin not to accept. However, according to the president of the group of companies "Avcom" Evgeny Bakhtin, Judelson worked only senior pilot. Whatever it was, in November 2008 due to the financial crisis, it was hit by a reduction of staff. After spending several months with nothing to do, Michael figured out how to start your own business. From a former colleague at the BBC, who worked in the Bank of America, he learned Thuon the bank's balance sheet has 13 business jet Hawker 1000 that need to be converted into cash. Unemployed pilot suggested a combination of: the bank issues a credit for the discovery of the airline called Jetshares, Judelson and sells aircraft on terms of share ownership (for three shares in each jet). The buyer in this case may use any business jet fleet of Jetshares.

For the year as the founder says Jetshares, he sold all business jets. And thanks to this project got connections that come in handy when he learned about the demand for Russian weapons. Services Jetshares often used top-managers of Russian state corporations. On one of the flights Judelson asked "one of the leading people," Russian Technologies "question: How many weapons, which should go for recycling, stored in warehouses? "Tens of millions! - Was the answer. - Do not know what to do with him. " "What if sold in the United States?" - Thinking businessman.

As military weapons from military depots to reclassify a civilian?

For SKS explains Judelson, only need to change the name: to reflect in the documentah, that is not the SCS and "SCS Model". With guns a little more complicated: we need to remove Kalashnikovs automatic firing mode and restrict special barrier holder up to 10 rounds. Anyway, battle rifles and machine guns may well be converted into a sports and hunting weapons.

To implement a new idea, Judelson needed a company with a US license for the arms trade. Then he and Larry Knisek handy with his desire to cooperate with Russia. Judelson described his perspective and for the $ 700,000 he had bought 51% of the company, which renamed Thor Global Defense group - in honor of the Scandinavian god of war. Where did the money? Michael Judelson says that in 2010 sold the management company Jetshares for $ 50 million (Evgeny Bakhtin of "Avcom", however, remembers only one aircraft, which Judelson managed jointly with the American investor).

In 2011, according to the businessman, Thor Global Defense contracted with Tula arms factory (TOZ). On TOZ altered trunks, buy in small batches at the Defense Ministry, but Judelson set his sights on another. February 16, 2012 Minister Anatoly Serdyukovapproved the list of firearms subject to gratuitous transfer of the seven weapons enterprises of the country for alterations in sports and hunting and so-called model. The list was also TOZ. Driving Judelson earned.

For each point of the treated arms Tula plant by Thor received an average of $ 50. The company sold weapons to the European and American wholesalers with wrapping from 15% to 100%. So, sniper rifle Mosin, for $ 150 converted to a "sniper rifle model 9130", sold in opte for $ 250. "But the average margin was about 30% - insists Michael Judelson. - Regular "mosinku", which cost me $ 50, I was selling for $ 65, and she left American retail for $ 100. About 60% of weapons coming to us from Russia, had just to "mosinku".

Before Serdyukov order arms companies could buy from the Ministry of Defense legacy trunks. For example, the gun for about 500 rubles, rifle - for 1000 rubles. Money is small, but considering the cost of selection, delivery, storage, preservation, alteration weapons attractiveness of the operation is greatly reducedalas.

"Conversion of military weapons in the civilian has long existed in Russia, - says Director of Development of the Nizhny Novgorod company AKBS Igor Chygrynskiy. - In mid-1990 the best selling samples were civilian version of the Mosin rifles and carbines, SKS, SVT (Tokarev rifle). In the Tula factory in 1999-2000, several thousand of captured rifles "Mauser 98" were converted into hunting rifles.

Serdyukov Order on the transfer of weapons of mass free for alteration in the civil was unprecedented, but it is absolutely correct and beneficial to all.

I am specifically interested in then: in 2012 Mosin rifle became the leader of sales in the United States. This, too, can be proud of. "
The success mosinskoy rifle is nothing surprising in the foreign market, according to the editor "Arsenal Fatherland" magazine Viktor Murakhovski: long barrel for long-range shooting, robust design, low cost cartridges. "For it has fueled interest in the war the Americans in Afghanistan: Taliban from" mosinki "pulls target to 800 m, and from the American M-16 - not" - adds Igor Chygrynskiyd.

"It's for the good of Russia. It is necessary to release stocks, I give the possibility to do it three times cheaper than plus give work to Russian enterprises ", - says Judelson (Russian Ministry of Defence on the Forbes request for the present and the future disposal of obsolete weapons program did not respond). Turnover Thor Global Defense, according to its main shareholder, reached $ 10 million. AKBS Company, accepting the entire production chain for the transformation of military weapons in 2013 in civil less fortunate.

Established in 1993 AKBS in 2012 became one of the leading companies in the Russian market of self-defense weapon - the company produced traumatic pistols and revolvers, gas cartridges and hunting weapons. According Chygrynskiy in AKBS long wanted to do remake of decommissioned military weapons and submit their applications to the Ministry of Defense. As a result, the company was included in "serdyukovsky list" and she received the second largest lot - 127 300 units of small arms, including Kalashnikovs 36,000 (assuming that part of machines will be upgraded and returned to the Ministry of Defense).

AKBS Specialists timesehalis across the country selected for the alteration of pistols, rifles, submachine guns, machine guns Maxim. Collect weapons would be enough for ten divisions. Weapons were brought to the protected area of ​​the plant. Sverdlov in Dzerzhinsk and storage plant under AKBS Bogorodsk (Nizhny Novgorod region). But when law enforcement authorities in Moscow have found an underground arsenal of grenade launchers, Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammo, the investigation determined that the weapon could get away from the warehouses of the Nizhny Novgorod enterprises.

On AKBS audited, searches. All weapons on the spot, however Nizhny Novgorod FSB arrested the entire batch of 127,000 barrels and echelon returned in an unknown direction. In July 2012, criminal proceedings were brought against the management of the company - the general director Yury Sankina and his subordinates Gudym Anastasia, Alexander Domracheva Chygrynskiy and Igor was accused of arms trafficking. After spending several months in the detention center, they all pleaded guilty. Gudym received three years probation, Domracheva - five. Sankin and Chygrynskiy still awaiting trial. In the summer of 2014 PCof AKBS filed an arbitration court for insolvency. Chygrynskiy regards the incident as follows: "This is a coincidence. There would be a party of only 5,000 barrels - no one would have touched. "

By the end of 2014 of the Russian arms trade came out and Mikhail Judelson. On the business began to affect western sanctions against Russia, complicated relations with Russian partners.

"I'm tired of this mess, to be honest," - says the businessman.

In the spring of 2015 it plans to launch in Austria, its own plant for the production of sniper rifles. After the Russian weapons history, he stayed with the money, the network of distributors in Europe and the US, and most importantly - with the experience.