"Everyone asked for money, and he asked for liberty": the life and deeds of Kakha Bendukidze

On November 13, Kakha Bendukidze died in London,, he was 58 years old. In Russia, Bendukidze was known as a businessman; in Georgia, as a statesman.
Origin source
"The man has gone from entrepreneur-Soviet Komsomol leaven before the economic philosopher who managed to successfully test their beliefs practice", he wrote about Bendukidze economist Sergei Aleksashenko. In Ukraine, with his name linked hopes for economic reforms.


Bendukidze was born in Tbilisi. His father was a mathematician who taught at the University of Tbilisi, the mother of the historian, and his grandfather - one of the first breeders in Georgia: having arrived in Tbilisi before the Revolution, in the 18 years he has had his own studio, and by 1920 the factory, which made cars. "I'm probably because careful attitude to money that a child could see how they are. Heavily, "Bendukidze said in 1996 interview with" Kommersant ".

The very future father "of the Georgian economic miracle" graduated from the Tbilisi University in the specialty "Biology". In 1981, the Moscow State University after graduation began working at the Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Pushchino microorganisms. Until 1990, Bendukidze was in charge of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Biotechnology of animal cells and lived,according to their own memories, modestly: "When I was suddenly appointed zavlabom, my colleague, Anatoly Altshteyn, told me, they say, Kakha, you're already on the candidate's position and go in such patched jeans. I told him: so because they have me alone. "

The first money earned Bendukidze, after leaving the institute, however, "not on the street, and the same science." In the late 1980s, he and his comrades (one of them was the future vice-speaker of the State Duma Mikhail Yuryev) founded the company "Bioprocess". "There was all simply because we are of the soviet planning system, in 1988, they knew how to produce a very narrow sector of the market an indispensable product of fine chemical elements. In the country, these compounds were not issued almost, while imports from some of Los Angeles and a half or even two years, it was necessary to wait "- recalled Bendukidze. - In 1987, I earned the biosynthesis of seven or eight thousand rubles a month. Then the money two machines could be bought or apartment. "

The money initially invested in production, and almost any - "even the fish bred." In 1996, "Bioprocess" office is locatedsmiling in an ordinary brick house in Cheryomushki, but Bendukidze had already been the owner of "Uralmash", which became eventually the center of his holding "OMZ" (OMZ).


"I did not like the program Chubais active, I thought and still think that it was some combination of unjust scheme ineffective scheme," Bendukidze shared in an interview with "Kommersant". Many years later he would be the ideologist of the state property sales in Georgia, and will say that sell really everything is possible, "except conscience" and that privatization is not subject only to the judicial system. But in the early 1990s Bendukidze, he said, "go and thinking because that's all wrong." And then I thought: "What am I, go-go, and privatization is coming. Regardless of me. " Taking the list of companies by the State Property Committee, he began to choose: the exclusion of all is where the competition has been great and without it, Bendukidze stopped to "Uralmash". The plant was in the top five, there was no decline in production, and of defense contracts, he is nothing but a howitzer, not produced.

Privattion was manna from heaven, said Bendukidze in an interview with Financial Times: «We were able to buy from the government all we want at a reasonable price. We have acquired a good chunk of the industry for a thousandth of its value. And it was easier than to take a warehouse in Moscow. "

"Kakha was a man with lightning speed to make decisions. All these planchik, byudzhetiki, presentations, prognoziki all this was not for him. It is necessary to buy a buy immediately, you have to sell at least sell to everybody for free, but would not incur losses on operating costs, "recalls worked with him for over 10 years the owner of the company" Metaprocess "Cyril Lyats.

Bendukidze added to the "Uralmash" a number of industrial enterprises, combining them into a holding company OMZ. "Kakha saw an opportunity to create a widely diversified engineering corporation in Russia. And in 2002, he actually created it: within OMZ were oil and gas, drilling, energy, nuclear, mining engineering and shipbuilding, "says Lyats. OMZ became the second Russian company, which floated abroad.

But in the end, "the idea multiproduktovoy engineering corporation beginning to stumble on the public interest, says Lyats. Bendukidze, for all his explosive temperament and firm conviction that the state can not be an effective manager, was a compromise man. And because "Atomstroyexport", and then OMZ themselves under the control of Gazprombank ".


In the early 1990s, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), where he held executive positions Bendukidze, has not yet been "union of oligarchs", but rather "club red directors", - says in the column for RBC Aleksashenko. - As in this circle I was Kakha do not understand! ".

But Bendukidze RSPP "achieved a lot more than those who went to public policy", cites portal Slon.ru his friend, the economist Andrei Illarionov. According to Bendukidze, for example, is largely prepared and lobbied for the current law "On Currency Regulation": "Not being an employee of any government agencies, without public office, he, on his own initiative has prepared the draft of this lawa. Caja participated in the discussion in dozens of classrooms argued, defended it, has ensured that this bill with small adjustments passed all stages and eventually was accepted. "

"Kakha was then the" economic anarchist ", he believed that the immediate destruction of the remnants of the Soviet economic machine will all benefit, says Aleksashenko. While the "red directors" have requested money, it represents the interests of the emerging class of entrepreneurs, I asked liberty. We were then often argued in my opinion, its desire for the destruction of the state machinery was excessive, and hope for the invisible hand of the market and the conscience of businessmen unfounded. " "His belief in freedom based on respect for the person, - wrote the portal" Open Russia "economist Sergei Guriev. - He believed that we should not take care of fellow citizens as children, the adult has the right to decide how to dispose of their time and money [...]. And Kakha not just doing what he thought was necessary, he told me about it so that it was obvious that the only way to live. "<br />

In 2004, having left the business in Russia, Bendukidze at the invitation of winning as a result of the "Rose Revolution" Mikhail Saakashvili became Minister of Economy of Georgia. Saakashvili has promised to quickly implement radical economic reforms. He needed a man, ready to act as a cleaner, unrelated to the former Georgian economic and political elite and has no political ambitions: ideology and administrator reform was virtually guaranteed by the people's lack of love. Accordingly cleaners agreed to become Bendukidze.

First, he started for the privatization of "only" forthcoming sale of about 1800 companies. Bendukidze was personally involved in some transactions, such as Batumi hotel "Intourist" (it went for $ 3 million, although the businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili offered to sell it 40 times cheaper). Then sold the former residence of President Eduard Shevardnadze, then the residence of the chief of the Georgian fixed-line operator "United Telecommunications Company", gas distribution company & laquo; Tbilgazi "Tbilisi water utility, medical facilities and more. In 2005, the budget received from the privatization of about $ 231 million, wrote Larissa Burakou in his book "Why Georgia turned out."

"He insisted that the state should not be anything, even a health and hygiene inspection should be abolished because of the high risks of corruption, - says the vice-president of RSPP David Yakobashvili. - He is told: "How to do it? If will produce bad products? And suddenly, there will be spoiled milk? ". He replied to this, that the best sanepidemstantsii will our people. They have it worked. In such a corrupt country, which was Georgia, defeat corruption it was a miracle, a fantasy. thanks to him failed to do so. "

"He understood what real reform, then what academic economists would call" shifting equilibria ", - says the vice-rector of the Higher School of Economics, Konstantin Sonin. - He understood that any reform has a cost for the first time that those who lose from reform, are organized much better than those from the reform benefits, and hence reform mzhno only be carried out "jump". And I wonder how consistently he used this theoretical insight into their practice. "

Georgian reforms came to be called economic miracle. In the ranking of countries on the ease of doing business, which is preparing the World Bank, Georgia in 2004-2007 has risen from 137th to 11th place, ahead of Germany and France (in 2014 report, she took 8th place in the world for ease of for business). Reformers led by Bendukidze, in particular, dramatically simplified business registration procedure, reduced the number of licensed activities, canceled 16 out of 22 kinds of taxes and lowered the rates others zeroed import duties on 90% of imported goods. According to Transparency International, the level of corruption perception Georgia from 2003 to 2013 rose from 124 th to 55 th place, however, there is great contribution reform the courts and the police.

"In 2006-2008, a rare discussion in Moscow took place without reference to the Georgian experience, without hearing another arrived from Tbilisi to" Updated butspines "- writes Aleksashenko. The rapid advancement of Georgia up in the world rankings, in his view, and now it seems fantastic, "Yes, the country is small, and a lot easier to do there. But small countries with similar problems a lot, but to find ways and means to cope with them could one. "

In parallel with the work in the power Bendukidze has supported education in 2007 created the "Foundation of Knowledge", which established two new Georgia university. He invested in them more than $ 50 million.

"In the world there are many young people who want quality education, and much less places where you can get a quality education, - Bendukidze told journalists RBC. - In this case, I do not believe that education - is something special. The same business, like everything else, nothing sacred. Just the kind of service that some people have another. " Compared with other types of education services, Bendukidze said that his idea - to create in this segment of what is called affordable luxury (luxury is permissible). "For example, Starbucks. Go there and millionaires, and people who earna hundred times smaller, because you know that there is good quality, clean, not a poison, it is tasty enough, pleasant atmosphere. Or there is the Swatch watch - go exactly stylish, made in Switzerland, young people like, although they are a hundred times cheaper than here these [my -. RBC] watch, which turn up, by the way, do not differ. The question is, what could have been this affordable luxury in education. " He said that he would like to create institutions which are not "grow or Nobel laureates teach Classical Philology, neyrokompyuteringu or even something super complicated species." This formation will be connected with finance, law, economics - with business and money, "a Starbucks or McDonald's, that is, you do not do anything extraordinary, but on the other hand, it is coffee that you can drink every day, and everything will be fine ".

In 2009, Bendukidze left the civil service. At this point, the Georgian miracle tarnished due to the global economic crisis: in 2009 GDP fell by 3.8%, while it grew by more than 9% in the 2005-2007 year. Saakashvili's government has faced growing opposition. Against the economicreforms undertaken Bendukidze, the traditional argument put forward: he privatized the economy in favor of a large and foreign businesses, but could not cope with poverty and unemployment.

It's time to fire cleaning, Saakashvili said later that Bendukidze "literally drove from Georgia." In 2014, several criminal cases were instituted against him.


In the spring of 2014 the new Ukrainian government has decided that it is useful experience of the Georgian radical reforms. Bendukidze lot happened in Kiev after the flight of President Viktor Yanukovych and shared with the representatives of the new authorities their views on the economy. He shared sarcastically, but constructively, Illarionov writes: "He had a remarkable ability to express very unpleasant words to say painful things tough to criticize [...]. But those to whom his remarks were addressed, kept him sympathy and respect. "

Bendukidze entered the economic advisory council at the Ukrainian government and the National Council of reforms under the President of Petro Poroshenko.

"Our latestI was meeting with him a month before his death, - says Aleksasheno. - We spoke with bitterness about what a real chance to change the situation, we have almost no in our country. With each additional day of existence of the Russian political regime of the country makes the future more and more gloomy, and out of the impasse all the more severe. On this sad note I did not want to leave, and Kakha said: "All the same, we will go through them and do it!". Did not work out".

Kakha Bendukidze


In 1977, Bendukidze graduated from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Tbilisi. Three years later he moved to Moscow, where he defended his PhD thesis at Moscow State University. He worked at the Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1985-1990 - Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Biotechnology.


In 1988, Bendukidze created cooperatives for the production of biochemical products and led the company with the right business "Bioprocess". In 1992 he founded Promtorgbank. In 1993, to hisMpano "Bioprocess-NIPEK" acquired at voucher auctions 60% of Uralmash, the largest enterprise in the Soviet Union, which produced drilling equipment and equipment for quarry mining. Later, "Uralmash" added "Izhora Plants" in St. Petersburg, shipyards "Diamond" and "Red Sormovo". In the early 2000s, all industrial assets were merged into "OMZ" (OMZ). After an unsuccessful attempt to the OMZ merger with the "Power Machines" Vladimir Potanin Bendukidze sold with partners in 2005 OMZ companies within the group of Gazprombank.

Politicians and public figures

In 2000, Bendukidze joined the Bureau of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), was an active member. In 2004 he moved to Tbilisi, becoming at the invitation of the newly elected President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, Minister of Economy. In December of the same year he became Minister for the Coordination of economic reforms. In early 2009, he has left the civil service and has invested about $ 50 million in the fund of knowledge he foundedFirst - an organization for the support of science and education in Georgia. Since May 2014 was a member of the Economic advisory council under the government of Ukraine, where he called President Petro Poroshenko.