How did Mikhail Abyzov get from ketchup supplies to the minister’s chair

On March 26 in Moscow, the FSB detained ex-minister Mikhail Abyzov. He is suspected of embezzling 4 billion rubles. What is known about the businessman and the ex-official.
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Mikhail Abyzov is 46 years old. He was born in Minsk, studied biathlon in his childhood, and began working as a laborer at the age of 14 as a family needed money after his father died. After winning the Physics and Mathematics Olympiad, he received an invitation from Physics and Mathematics Boarding School 18 at Moscow State University and moved to Moscow. The future founders of MDM Bank Evgeny Ischenko and Andrey Melnichenko studied at the boarding school with Abyzov. After graduating from boarding school, Abyzov entered the Moscow State University. Being in the first year of university, Abyzov registered his first company Intershops, which was engaged in the sale of things and office equipment from Turkey.

In 1992, together with fellow student Milen Mitsik, he created the joint venture “IMB Group”, which was selling leche and ketchup from Bulgaria. Soon the company began to supply for the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. “In the early 1990s, non-payments had already begun, and budget organizations still had real money, so working with them was beneficial. But times were not easy, there were also difficult situations. Once, we were not allowed from AvtoVAZ to ship a large batch of cars and spare parts already paid for by the Moscow Central Internal Affairs Directorate; guys from informal structures demanded extra pay. A week later, a riot squad arrived in Tolyatti - after that there were no problems anymore, ”recalled Abyzov.

In the mid-1990s, Abyzov created the United Russian Fuel and Energy Company (ORTEK), which was engaged in the sale of goods from the largest enterprises in Western Siberia - from fertilizers to grain. In 1996, he became a shareholder in the enterprises producing components for miners and oilmen Sibirgazservis, Novosibirskenergo and Novosibirsknefteprodukt. 51% of ordinary shares in the latter belonged to the Yukos company. After a dispute over the company’s operational control, Abyzov’s share was acquired by Sibneft merged with YUKOS for $ 70 million.

In 1998, he began working at RAO UES of Russia, where he headed the department of investments and business projects. A year later, he became deputy chairman of the organization. “He is tough, stubborn and frostbitten. He was well versed in the psychology of people, knew who had what interests, and used it, ”the then Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov told about him. In 2005, Abyzov left the company. In his own words, this work has ceased to inspire him.

Since 2006, Abyzov has served as chairman of the board of directors of the RU-COM business group, which manages its assets in the energy sector (Sibeko, Elsib) and agriculture (Copitania). From 2007 to 2011, he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of OJSC Mostotrest.

In 2011, at the suggestion of President Dmitry Medvedev, Abyzov headed the project of “big government”, which he himself financed. The idea of ​​a “big government” Medvedev explained as follows: “I propose to think about creating a so-called big government that will act together with the main party, along with civil society, together with experts, together with regional and municipal authorities, along with all voters ready to vote for us. And even with those who completely disagree with us, if they are ready for this, of course. " In December 2011, as Forbes wrote, Abyzov took part in a rally on Bolotnaya Square against the results of the Duma elections, he said, “in order to assess the situation and understand the mood of people. He left the square with a feeling: openness of power is what society needs at the moment. He did not go to other meetings. ”

A few months later, Abyzov became Medvedev's advisor on the work of the “big government”. At the same time, commenting on this news, the press secretary of Medvedeva Natalya Timakova for the first time called the “big government” open. On May 21, 2012, Abyzov joined the new government as the minister responsible for organizing the work of the government commission to coordinate the activities of the “open government”. He held this position until its abolition in May 2018. One of the main results of his work was the reloading of public councils under the authorities and the launch of a portal for discussing drafts of normative legal acts.

In 2017, Abyzov was included in the “Kremlin list” of the US Treasury - a list of oligarchs and high-ranking officials, according to the US government, close to the Kremlin, falling under sanctions.

In 2015, Abyzov became the richest minister, earning 455.6 million rubles a year. In 2018, Forbes estimated Abyzov’s fortune at $ 600 million. He ranked 162nd in the ranking of the 200 richest businessmen in Russia.

Abyzov was married. He has three children. In 2016, the media reported on the ex-minister’s divorce.