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What cadres are able to accomplish much

Anti-crisis measures – around the world and in Russia – helped to mitigate consequences of the crisis, but recipes which could allow us to influence the underlying crisis processes have not been written yet. That is why one can expect another economic blow literally in a year or two, - suggests the Chairman of the Council of the Union of Oil and Gas Industrialists Yuri Shafranik. He is sure that a decisive role in exit out of the crisis will be played by cadres.

— Yuri Konstantinovich, they say that the word “crisis” translated from Greek means “a decisive moment”, and crisis itself – it is time to judge errors in life and business. Do you agree with such a view?

— These are subjective causes of crisis anly. But there is an objective cause: the world experiences its rebirth in a new quality. It has been experiencing it for a long time, but it is changing radically before our eyes. Globalization, eradication of borders, technological and communication boom…All this from the beginning of the 90-ties is developing in geometric progression. Our perception of fortunes of world population, attitude to energy and water resources, towards traditional approaches to economy, sociology, religion are changing torrentially. It must be mentioned that crises do not lead to everybody’s losses, they enable powerful players to make successful bets. In this case (and at global scale) it means China, India, Brazil. Though everything that has been said - only visible sprouts of inevitable and colossal transformation of world order.

— When will it end?

— Never because this process is endless. But the present stage of transformation will probably finish in about 25 years, but, I think, not later than in 100 years. And the whole period will abound with crises — small and very big, local and global. One can not cover the distance towards a new quality of existence without sufferings. A propos, a sensible perception of a nascent planetary society without them is also impossible.

The main cause of the last crisis is that excessive money supply has not found an appropriate usage for itself. Since the crisis of 1998 (let us call it Asian-Russian crisis) world money supply has been excessive and finances rushed into the most liquid assets – raw materials industries (production of gold, platinum, oil, gas). Oversupply of money in these industries and financial operations related to them could not help but explode world market. Though it started in U.S. mortgage market. But the law for Russia is: if American economy sneezes than our starts coughing, and if they start coughing there than we can not avoid pneumonia.

Our basic fault lies in a dangerous incomprehension of processes undergoing on the world market and not less dangerous hope for raw materials income (in all forms of it).

If our earnings since the 90-ties were put into reforming the base of our economy, into developing of machine-building industry, into concrete fundamental projects at state’s scale, we, I am sure, could have come through the crisis with sneers, to the utmost – with cough.

The measures undertaken by leaderships of many countries including Russia allowed to mitigate the consequences of the crises. But, as it seems to me, at the present moment nobody has solutions that enable to influence deeply lying crisis processes. If so than a year or two later one must expect a new economic blow.

— Of what kind?

— A weakened – if a reorientation on direct projects, direct reconstruction, purposeful creation of jobs takes place. Or a very hard one, if everything in our economy goes as it goes now.

Economic and socio-political well-being of a state is characterized by many factors, including the situation in education, healthcare, legal defense of citizens…

But there are only two determining factors. First, constant growth of quantity of jobs. Second, constant growth of average level of per capita income. Both indicators in our country are not good. As a result labor force is being exhausted, creative projects are not being pursued to the end. Just this we must fear.

But we must not fear crises as such. Beyond “judgement time” they represent testing periods for strength, creativity (for man, society and community). Moreover, there can be no development without tests (if they are not deadly). And man according to an old maxim shows himself as a man only when he turns hindrances into opportunities.

— This means that the guarantee of success is in developing human capital? And what on earth does it mean?

— You want to make me a Nobel Prize laureate? There are already three economists who received awards for creation of the basics of the theory of human capital. That is why I continue to adhere to the practical side of this problem. In that sense it is difficult to find a more meaningful thesis than the following: “It must be understood in the end that of all forms of precious capital in the world the most precious and decisive is people, cadres”. And further on: ”Cadres determine everything”… Yes, these quotes are from one source. (Josef Stalin – Editor’s note). And though their author understood quite well the essence of the term “human capital”, he treated this capital cynically.

It is worth to note also that during our time personnel problem of the state looks no less sharp than during the tragic and great epoch of industrialization of the country.

Let me remind you that in 2008 President Dmitry Medvedev conducted a meeting on problems in forming a managing cadres’ reserve. It was frankly said there that absence of professional and personal growth of people dooms the business that is entrusted to them. This is the cause of incompetence, and colossal losses in economy, and, as President D. Medvedev put it, of “giant corruption risks”.

There is no other way around, if there is no aim-setting in our country’s praxis, no striving to a socially meaningful aim. How can you prepare good cadres without striving to a socially meaningful aim, without a cause, programmed for this aim, and without readiness to achieve a preset result by all means. No way.

From the point of aim-setting, cadres training and placement as the most disastrous I consider the second half of the 90-ties when activities of odd people (i.e. not prepared professionally and may be even not burdened with moral principles) lead to devastating losses and not only in economy.

A typical example – the appointment of 28 years old Boris Brevnov as head of RAO “UЕS of Russia” — the biggest energy company of the country. And the most socially important company, because everyone of us literally everyday needs “the services” of many kilowatts. I would not judge moral qualities of that man. But should one entrust with such extremely important and complicated business a “professional” who has never worked in electric power industry? But he was entrusted with it. Why? Because they were pursuing aims other than improvement of one of leading energy industries and increase of effectiveness of RAO “UES of Russia”. To reach other objectives one needs different people. There appeared a lot of them then. It is not to offend Boris Anatolyevich (Brevnov’s first name – Editor’s note), but to give the most striking example – I call this period “brevnovtshina” (the Brevnovs’ time – Editor’s note). One can overcome this social phenomenon only, I repeat, due to precise and pragmatic aims-setting based on interests of the society as a whole and of the state; thanks to respective deeds and results, constantly under control of the state, shareholders and – where it is possible – public organizations.

One can not help noticing the fact that the President and the Prime-minister rather often show their concern with the state of native human capital. Politically this is an absolutely right approach. But this is not enough, to turn over family, school, all officials, parliamentarians and businessmen to human personality so that every individual not only feels attention of the society, but considers public opinion in judging what and how he does in his own interests, interests of his collective, his people and his country. Only so can the majority of people better appreciate and reveal their faculties and their personal capital.

— Could you, please, illustrate this with a concrete example?

— Large scale creative projects form personalities of great scale. Take Western Siberia Oil and Gas Complex - the most colossal economic project in the world not to be compared to anything in respect of construction period, volume of investment of human and material resources, tempo of achieving the planned objective. Several generations of specialists went here through a high school of professional training and civil upbringing at this project. And they constantly judged their work at the world’s level of professional competence. It is not incidental that in the fuel energy complex reforms were implemented in the most thought over and decisive way. How deadly terrible seemed the state of coal industry, but there were people to reform it in the 90-ties. Thanks to these people the industry under the conditions of today’s crisis and fall of production continues to stay afloat without turning into such a source of social tension it had been before the period of reforms.

The state reserve of management cadres being created now possibly will enable to change the situation to some extent. But you can not radically change it with just one instrument deprived of systemic basis.

Without a clear goal and right benchmarks, without forming in public conscience authentic spiritual and morale values we can not reproduce the cadres that are capable to determine almost everything. And without such cadres we risk to remain at the curb of world history that is fast changing the face of planetary society. I would like to stress once more: cadres are brought up over concrete deeds, on economically and socially meaningful projects, and thanks to Teachers-Creators who personally participated in implementing projects needed by society and state.

Interviewed by Konstantin Baskaev