Rotenberg to the rescue: Is Barmaley targeting VAD contracts?
Rumors about Arkady Rotenberg’s desire to buy VAD may be an echo of the “appetites” of the “authoritative” Vladimir Golubev and the oligarch’s desire to strengthen his position in the fight for the market with the clientele of Marat Khusnullin and the oligarch Gennady Timchenko.
The A120 “St. Petersburg Southern Half-Ring” road will be reconstructed for 4.5 billion by JSC “VAD” – a large Vologda contractor, notorious for the construction of the “Tavrida” highway, where almost immediately after the opening part of the lane and the side of the road collapsed.
Recently, reports appeared on the Internet that the owners of VAD, Valery Abramov and Viktor Perevalov, received an offer to sell the company for 100 million US dollars, it seems like even from the well-known Arkady Rotenberg, who has his own interests in road construction, but they refused.
This allegedly provoked a subsequent drop in the company’s government orders from the Vologda region. As we found out, this stuffing could have been done with the aim of pushing VAD away from receiving the contract for the A120.
Barmaley takes his toll
According to the classics, only one company entered the competition, but, they say, there were at least two interested parties. Among them could be the company “Buer”, which is associated with the interests of the “authoritative” Vladimir Golubev, better known in certain circles as “Barmaley”.
“Buer” also receives a lot from government contracts from St. Petersburg road workers. In the list of companies in terms of the volume of government orders from FKU Uprdor “North-West”, the company occupies eighth place. “VAD” is located on the first one. The company of Abramov and Perevalov traditionally takes over tenders without competition. But in November last year, another company decided to compete with it for a contract for the overhaul of the R-23 highway. Its name is not disclosed. But rumors claim that it was an office from Golubev’s “circuit”.
“Buer” won the competition for the reconstruction of another part of the R-23 – receiving 1.3 billion rubles for it. “VAD” took more than 10 billion rubles. And “Barmaley,” they say, harbors a grudge.
To understand who Abramov and Perevalov may have to deal with, let’s talk about Golubev. First of all, this entrepreneur is known as the owner of the Adamant holding with a significant portfolio of real estate, sometimes obtained, according to various estimates, in very dubious ways. Golubev’s influence can be judged by the high-profile case when Adamant sued the city for a mansion on Moika 74.
By the way, in 2021, the holding was searched in the case of its former co-owner Boris Berson, who was supposed to be responsible for the safety of another historical building in St. Petersburg – the Cherkassky mansion, but this house almost burned down. Just yesterday it became known that the case against Berson was closed due to the statute of limitations, Berson was released on all fours. It is possible that the property will now be recognized as beyond restoration and will be auctioned off to one of the developers.
Not alone, but with a retinue
Not only Buer is associated with Golubev, but also the ETS company, second on the list of contractors for government procurement from St. Petersburg road workers. Rumor has it that Deputy Minister of Transport Andrei Kostyuk is lobbying for Golubev’s structures. In Kostyuk’s biography there is the line “deputy head of the Federal Road Agency (Rosavtodor) Roman Starovoit.” It is known about Golubev that he may be (judging by the volume of assets in the region) on a “short leg” with the current governor of the Kursk region (Starovoit).
With such support, Golubev could really aim for a larger volume of contracts. Or even on “VAD” itself?
Andrey Kostyuk. Photo: Donat Sorokin/TASS
Roman Starovoit. Photo: Oleg Kharseev, Kommersant
Back in 2018, FKU was forced to cancel the purchase for the reconstruction of the ring road, on formal grounds, but, as suggested in the media, due to a complaint to the FAS about restricting competition. The main contender for the contract was then called “VAD”. It is possible that another supplier, perhaps ETS or Buer, wanted the contract.
Contracts with ETS were also blocked through the FAS, which did not prevent the company from still receiving agreements and government funds. All this smacks of a behind-the-scenes fight “for the clearing.”
“ETS” and “Buer”, by the way, are involved in no less scandalous stories than “VAD”. Problems with the execution of contracts arose with enviable consistency, and in 2015, Buer was even saved by Mr. Kovalchuk so that the company would not go bankrupt. It seems that the oligarch may also have an interest in what is happening – on Golubev’s side.
At the same time, VAD may be backed by the influential Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who further strengthened his position after the elections. During the inspection of that same long-suffering Tavrida, he called VAD one of the best contractors.
Two by two
Khusnullin has more of a rivalry with Rotenberg. As KO wrote, the Tyumen-Tatarstan alliance can compete with the oligarch’s structures.
They say about Golubev that he is part of Rotenberg’s social circle. Could Golubev have used the influence of his old comrade to “intimidate” VAD? Like, you guys have fallen out of favor, it’s time to know the honor, otherwise Rotenberg will take you into his hands, and you won’t be able to do anything.
Marat Khusnullin. Photo: Sergey Mikheev/RG
The fact that it was Rotenberg who actually “attacked” VAD is hard to believe, since many of his companies receive lucrative contracts in the capital and regions. St. Petersburg is also included in his zone of interests, but, in fact, the oligarch has nothing to complain about. In Moscow, he has his own beef with oligarch Gennady Timchenko – they often fight for contracts for road construction. Timchenko, by the way, can be considered an opponent of Golubev. “ETS” seriously squeezed out his companies in the St. Petersburg market, which the media reported in detail earlier.
Returning to our affairs, we note that in the current situation, Rotenberg could rather have given the go-ahead to Golubev, who wanted to get a “bigger piece of the pie,” to dissolve rumors in order to strengthen his position in the behind-the-scenes struggle for influence with the clientele of Khusnullin and Timchenko, than he himself tried to take away “VAD.”