The transfer process should be completed by the end of February, with production scheduled to restart under the new brand in the second half of 2023. It is worth recalling that today AvtoVAZ itself has accumulated huge debts, and its head, Maxim Sokolov, can hardly be called an “effective manager.” Numerous corruption scandals, problems in the implementation of large infrastructure projects when he was the head of the Ministry of Transport, the stalling of the transport reform in St. Petersburg, and much more are associated with his name.
The Sankt-Peterburg Post understood how realistic the plans to “restart” the former Nissan plant in St. Petersburg are.
The management of AvtoVAZ plans to produce at the St. Petersburg site of the enterprise cars of the Lada brand, if not premium, then approaching it. And besides, the e-Neva electric car, created by the Concern VKO Almaz-Antey.
It is clear that AvtoVAZ will not work for its own. The total debt of the structure is about 120 billion rubles. Sokolov was appointed CEO only in May 2022. It doesn’t seem to be responsible.
This is at first glance. In fact, he must share it in full. After all, it was he who from 2012 to 2018 was the Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, and before that – in 2009-2012 – the director of the Department of Industry and Infrastructure of the Government of the Russian Federation.
Given that AvtoVAZ has always been half or more state-owned, and the Government had to coordinate its credit policy as well. A critical mass of debts in the tenth years of the 21st century was accumulated under Sokolov.
Just under Maxim Sokolov in the Ministry of Transport – from 2012 to 2018, the enterprise was unprofitable. And only in 2019 it turned out to be a small plus. The efficiency of AvtoVAZ is assessed as low. At the same time, the company annually received multibillion-dollar subsidies agreed by the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
That is, the current deplorable state of the group’s enterprises is the result of actions, including those of Maxim Sokolov. However, it will be a great success if the plant in St. Petersburg starts working at all.
From 2019 to 2022, Sokolov was Vice Governor of St. Petersburg. He was responsible for several areas, but his main task during the appointment was the implementation of a large-scale transport reform in the city. Many consider it a failure.
Some areas of the city, as a result of an ill-conceived transport scheme, were not directly accessible to the metro. The “60 minutes” transport card proved to be incapacitated due to the long intervals in traffic, the cost of the road increased.
The reform hit the most vulnerable segment of the population especially hard – the elderly, for whom it became more difficult to get to clinics. About it writes RIA “FAN”.
Apparently, Sokolov was busy with completely different things. According to evil tongues, as vice-governor of St. Petersburg, he was engaged not so much in carrying out transport reform as in the systematic collapse of the state Metrostroy, the main (in the past) builder of the metro in St. Petersburg.
As a result, in August 2021, the financially struggling company was finally bankrupt. The structure has a large salary arrears to 3.7 thousand employees. It even reached unsanctioned rallies demanding the return of money.
Why they finished off Metrostroy is not difficult to understand. The total amount of state contracts of the enterprise amounted to over 226 billion rubles – a huge piece of the budget pie.
And it was replaced by the Metrostroy of the Northern Capital company, created only in 2020 (as if just in time for the bankruptcy of Metrostroy). The latter is only partly owned by the city. Most of the company’s assets are associated with the business of the oligarch Gennady Timchenko and structures close to the family of the head of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko. It is logical to assume that Sokolov lobbied their interests in St. Petersburg.
The Moscow Post wrote about this in detail in the article “Sokolov did his job: was the official credited for the collapse of Metrostroy and was blessed with AvtoVAZ?
One can make another assumption. AvtoVAZ under Sokolov, with so many debts, can also reach the peninsula, after which it will be sold for a symbolic price with all its factories in private hands. And then completely collapsed.
However, it was possible to predict the failure of the transport reform in St. Petersburg and other negative aspects based on the experience of Maxim Sokolov in the Ministry of Transport. During his six years of work there, he gave many reasons for criticism. Including at the highest level.
It was under Sokolov the minister that another landmark structure was brought to the handle – the well-known airline VIM-Avia. Bankruptcy, which finally took shape in 2021, could have been avoided.
Moreover, in 2017, Maxim Sokolov received a disciplinary sanction in the form of incomplete service compliance, signed by President Vladimir Putin.
The reason was just the situation with VIM-Avia, several hundred passengers of which could not fly at the appointed time due to financial problems of the structure. The Ministry of Transport was clearly in no hurry to solve these problems. This was written by the newspaper “Version”.
In the same 2017, Maxim Sokolov was sharply criticized by the presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, Yuri Trutnev. The reason was the situation with the financing of major infrastructure projects – the reconstruction of airports in the Far East. It turned out that part of the budget funds simply did not reach the addressees. The Rosaviatsiya supervised by the Ministry of Transport also fell under the “distribution”. RIA Novosti writes about this.
It was under Maxim Sokolov that the system of accounting for the collection of fees from trucks with a maximum permitted weight of 12 tons “Platon” was introduced, which caused a loud scandal and violent protests from the owners of transport companies.
RT-Invest Transport Systems became the operator. Its co-owners were the structures of Rostec, as well as the oligarch Igor Rotenberg. It feels like Sokolov worked for the benefit of billionaires, and not the entire transport industry of the country.
But this is not enough: in 2016, it was the Ministry of Transport who advocated the abolition of preferential tariffs of the Platon system, which allowed transport workers to somehow “breathe”. As a result, the recommendation of the Ministry of Transport became decisive in making a decision in the Government.
So in whose interests is Maxim Sokolov working now, as head of AvtoVAZ? And will that same former Nissan plant in St. Petersburg go under the hammer? Time will tell, but the prognosis is poor.