Moscow Businesses Controlled by Ethnic Groups

The breakup of the Soviet Union did not split the nationalities living on its vast territory

It is an open secret that national minorities hold many businesses in Moscow. This does not mean at all that the businesses are connected with crime groups. When we come to Moscow markets we see that Caucasus people or Vietnamese prevail among tradesmen there. Let us leave markets aside. When we go shopping to large super markets or fashionable mega molls, fill up cars, have dinners at restaurants or buy domestic technique on credit very often money we pay goes to the pockets of some national diasporas.

As we see, the breakup of the Soviet Union did not split the nationalities living on its vast territory. People of almost all nationalities live and make money in Moscow. What is more, many business fields are already distributed between diasporas and clans.

Chechens and Ossetins hold the most paying spheres: gambling (Moscow casinos) and filling stations network. Chechen Umar Dzhabrailov is the owner of the Plaza group where the Rossia hotel and other 2-3-star hotels belong. Chechen Ruslan Baisarov is the vice-president of the Moscow Fuel Company keeping over 100 filling stations in Moscow and the Moscow Region. Even though the company is part of the TsRK holding and majority of the holding shares are held by the Moscow Government, businessmen say that Ruslan Baisarov "costs" $200 million (however it is not clear how the sum got formed). Saidullayev is Moscow’s richest Chechen whose fortune makes up $500 million. He is the owner of the Milan concern (the Russian Lotto group of companies). The Saidullayev Empire also includes restaurants, beauty salons, research companies and centers for construction technologies. 

Chechens have to share all profitable fields with Ossetins who also own casinos and filling stations. The Ossetia diaspora also has control over brewery: an Ossetin group headed by Teimuraz Bolloyev is at head of the Baltika brewery. The Stepan Razin brewery is held by the Georgian family of Gvichia; Georgian Naskid Sarishvili is the owner of the Khamovniki brewery.

Armenians have some control in show business, medicine (plastic surgery), food industry, transportation and service centers.

Azerbaijanians deal with commerce; it is said that Moscow's flower business is controlled by Azerbaijanians. Several large shops are held by Azerbaijanian Agalarov. The Moscow-Efes brewery that produces Efes Pilsner and Stary Melnik is controlled by Azerbaijanians and Turks. Analysts with Azerbaijan's Monitor magazine have estimated that 12 per cent of Azerbaijans' circulating capital fall at industry, 20 per cent - commerce, 23 per cent - at banking and 38 per cent - at criminal business. Total amount earned by Azerbaijanians in Russia is $25 billion. Special services state that Azerbaijan groups control 35 per cent of Moscow's narcotics market.

National diasporas of Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Georgians and Turks share commerce. At that, Tajiks deal with illegal heroin sale. Kazakhs deal with commerce, IT technologies and printing.

Jews are a particular group among national diasporas. They control exclusive fashionable stores in Moscow. They also have control over several websites such as with 1.7 million unique visitors - the owner is Yeugeny Goland, who also owns and Rusnews. Tatars have control over alcohol sale and banking.

Russians must realize that phenomenon of a clan is really dangerous in the business sphere. The medieval clan principle has transformed and adapted to the present-day reality. Today, we have clans of tradesmen, gangsters and even policemen who co-operate as a well-regulated system. Such people have their acquaintances in all possible spheres. In case of emergency they get united and solve problems together. All ethnic groups take each other as a single whole and are ready to help any of them any moment. These facts are actually rather dangerous not only for Moscow's economy, but for the Russian economy as well.

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Author`s name Michael Simpson