Not long before VympelCom AFK System was born, and our paths crossed in unexpected ways… there was a short romance, which I remember with gratitude… And there were the sudden, offensive and undeserved attacks on VympelCom, attacks that were very dangerous for us…
But in the end, we survived and have a normal relationship, which for my part is even romantically nostalgic. The relationship took a turn for the better thanks to the positive role of a smiley young guy from AFK, whom I met for the first time, I think, in the winter of 95 – 96. His name was Sasha Goncharuk. We resolved our differences usually in my office, which lasted sometimes till after midnight and was accompanied by emptying of a bottle of cognac between the two of us. Nowadays I can afford such pleasures only in memories.
I am not envious by nature, but I envied Yevtushenko for having employees like this. This was the only thing, otherwise I don’t envy him, – especially now, but then again, I don’t envy almost any of our businessmen.
Alexander Yuryevich Goncharuk bears no resemblance to a dove of peace carrying an olive branch. Nevertheless, as a result of our hanging out with a bottle, we resolved everything and found acceptable compromises. Years of heated competition followed, full of twists and turns.
I don’t have enough talent to describe those dramatic years. Perhaps Boyev, whom I’m about to tell you about, will do it some day; he promised it long ago…
At this point I recalled the words of a very good, if unnamed, poet: “One does not pick the times – one lives and dies.”
After Murin there was yet another institute – MRTI, and one more director, Alexey Arkadyevich Kuzmin. It’s quite possible that people who worked with A.A. know his shortcomings, which he of course had like everyone else. Thus, some said that Kuzmin preferred time spent with an oscilloscope to his directorial duties. An unseemly story happened around the candidacy of M.L. Levin to become a member-correspondent of the Academy of Sciences. For my part, I had the privilege of being with Alexei in informal settings outside the walls of the institute: he is a charming, gregarious, smart and cultured man.
This photo of him was taken, I think, in Gudauri, the best Soviet skiing resort, at the end of the 80’s.
The next two pictures are from Cheget, in the late 70’s. We were celebrating two birthdays at once in the Cheget Hotel: Kuzmin’s and Aizin’s. This event the participants remember to this day.
One of the organizers of the party was a researcher at RTI Yuly Lib. In the photo he is in the background, administering a casual kiss.
A smart guy and a friend, Lib immigrated in 1992 to the United Sates, and now lives in Los Angeles. As far as I know, his life in America has been pretty good.
Gennady Batskikh followed Kuzmin as director of MRTI. By then we had pretty much parted ways. I want to show you Gena Batskikh in various poses from the long-ago 1960’s when Mintz was still our director; we were all working in one institute and had organized a water-skiing outing to Serebryanny Bor, which I have already mentioned here. By the way, we managed to install the engine from Mintz’s ZIM to a motor boat to tow the skiers.
In the lower photo you can see my son in the boat. Lord, how young we all were, and how good it all was.
But let’s get back to the RTI directors.
After RTI was privatized, Sloka, who was my age, was replaced as director by the young talent Sergei Boyev. I had some influence over the transition of power, since VymapelCom owned a sizeable number of RTI shares. How we had obtained these shares, and how later they have floated away from us, is a subject of a separate dramatic account.
I think that Boyev was quite adequate. A different generation is taking stage and may God be with them. Here he is visiting me in my presidential office at VympelCom (the upper picture), in the building that used to belong to RTI, around the year 2000.