How much is Enlightenment for the people, or who makes money from textbooks?

Vladimir Uzun could build his business empire on property received from the reorganization of a large state unitary enterprise, and the beneficiary of his activities in the Prosveshcheniye Group of Companies could be the head of VTB Andrey Kostin .

As a correspondent of  The Russian Post reports , the FAS opened a case against the Prosveshcheniye Group of Companies , the largest Russian publisher of educational literature, due to what the regulator believes was an unreasonable inflation of prices for the holding’s products. 

Antimonopoly officials believe that the company is abusing its dominant position in the market, and market experts are cautious attributing the price increase to rising costs for the production of printed products. 

But what costs can we talk about if, at the end of 2023, the holding’s net profit increased by 66% and amounted to 27.5 billion rubles? Maybe it’s a matter of the exorbitant appetites of the beneficiaries of the structure, who consider the state (the main customer of the Civil Code) a feeding trough for personal enrichment without any borders?

Since 2020, the state has returned to the Group of Companies - today 25% of the main legal entity of the group belongs to Sberbank, VEB.RF and RDIF. But the remaining 25% is also for Invest Pro LLC, which belongs to Maxim Uzun , the son of Vladimir Uzun. Previously, it was Uzun Sr. and his partner, the scandalous senator Oleg Tkach, who bought Prosveshcheniye from the state.

Today, Vladimir Uzun can remain the real beneficiary of the group. And isn’t he muddying the waters by raising prices in order to then withdraw money to one of the offshore companies attributed to him? 

And here it’s worth understanding how Mr. Uzun ended up becoming the owner of large publishing assets. As always, my native state helped. True, it seems that he was not asked.

Andrey Kostin and the “pillow” for the Uzunovs

Previously, Vladimir Uzun was the head of the State Unitary Enterprise "Printing Company Krasny Proletary". This structure dates back to Soviet times - a large printing house. As a result of a series of transformations, the company was corporatized and became JSC Promkapital. 

The beneficiaries of the latter are hidden, however, apparently, they may be Uzun Sr. It can be easily traced through the former management company of this structure - JSC Management Company "Olma-press invest", the founder of which was Vladimir Uzun.

How much is “Enlightenment” for the people or who makes money from textbooks?

Photo: Rusprofile.ru

Over the past year, the structure received a net profit of 422 million rubles with revenue of 1.2 billion rubles. The structure has accumulated assets worth almost 800 million rubles. And he is no longer engaged in printing, but in the management of his own or rented real estate. But what exactly is this property?

How much is “Enlightenment” for the people or who makes money from textbooks?

Photo: Rusprofile.ru

According to our information, a significant part of it may consist of the property of the former state unitary enterprise, which “stayed” in the structure after corporatization, transformations and, ultimately, transferred to Promcapital JSC. But this is just a seed - it turned out that this joint-stock company is connected with the state bank VTB, which is headed by Andrei Kostin.

Apparently, some kind of transaction took place, as a result of which Promcapital JSC with all its assets could come under the control of Kostin’s people.

Now the director of the company is Maria Shulutko. She may be Kostin’s henchman. Previously, Ms. Shulutko headed JSC Hals North-West, a subsidiary of Hals Development, a development division of VTB Bank. In addition, until 2017, she was the head of SPB-Leto LLC, a legal entity of the Leto shopping center in St. Petersburg. It was built by Hals and sold only in 2017.

How much is “Enlightenment” for the people or who makes money from textbooks?

Photo: Rusprofile.ru

The buyer was foreign investors Malltech, previously known as Rosevrodevelopment. Today the asset is registered on the Kaliningrad “offshore” “Mollteka” - MKOO “S.P.B. Winter Cyprus Limited and the Virginia offshore company RED MALLS LIMITED. What is noteworthy is that all 100% of the shares are pledged to Sberbank, which probably financed the deal.

How much is “Enlightenment” for the people or who makes money from textbooks?

Photo: Rusprofile.ru

But that’s not all. The transaction was structured not by Sber, but by the American investment bank Goldman Sachs. Why did it happen? In addition, why, after the start of the SVO, is the same RED MALLS LIMITED from the Virgin Islands in no hurry to get rid of the business? With a high degree of probability, people of VTB head Andrei Kostin, or himself, may be hiding behind the beneficiaries of the Leto shopping center. And there is no need to be surprised by the participation of an American bank. 

Previously, there were rumors that Kostin may have many assets and real estate in the United States. And recently, Washington accused Kostin of circumventing sanctions - they say he owns real estate in this country, which he wanted to sell. He, of course, denied the accusations. But if this is so, then Kostin’s lobbying resources would certainly be enough to attract the Americans to formalize the deal in a manner favorable to him.

According to our information, Vladimir Uzun could sell Promcapital JSC to Kostin for certain benefits; the deal could be connected, among other things, with the situation in Prosveshchenie. At the same time, this same office may be a kind of “financial cushion” for Uzun, who abandoned his majority stake in the Prosveshcheniye Group of Companies.

The Uzuns worked together with Igor Kim

However, not Promkapital alone. Today, almost the entire Uzunov family - Vladimir, his son Maxim, as well as Oksana and Lyubov Uzunov are co-owners of PJSC SDM-Bank. It is 23% owned by Expobank of the scandalous entrepreneur Igor Kim.

How much is “Enlightenment” for the people or who makes money from textbooks?

Photo: https://globalstat.ru/event/3_744336

Игоря Кима называют серийным поглотителем банков. Кое-кто и вовсе предполагает, что весь его банковский бизнес может строиться по модели финансовой пирамиды, когда рост обеспечивается чуть ли не исключительно «перевариванием» активов поглощенных структур. Устойчивой такую схему назвать сложно, но ведь деньги поступают. А что еще нужно? 

Конечно, не всегда такие поглощения бывают «добровольными». В Сети, особенно, на ютубе, было достаточно роликов, где раскрывалась суть «Экспобанка». С тем же «Ютубом» Ким также яростно судился. 
Ранее «Континент Сибирь» сообщал, что среди прочего, он требовал убрать из Сети и опровергнуть высказывание, цитата: «Его подозревают в создании банковской пирамиды и выведении через свои западные банки незаконных наличных денег», или, цитата: «Создавая цепочки банков ЕС, Игорь Ким, по мнению экспертов, вполне мог организовать эффективную прокачку так называемого черного нала, не только для себя, но и для своей крыши. Кто еще мог пользоваться услугами банковского пирата»?

А речь там шла, в числе прочих, о т.н. «Ландромате» - схеме по выводу из России миллиардов рублей через банковские «прокладки» в Восточной Европе. В итоге, суд Ким выиграл. Но бывает ли дым без огня?

Возможно, что и доли в «СДМ-Банке» могли стать некоего рода гарантиями для Узунов при продаже ГК «Просвещение».

Помни о Ткаче

Все это, конечно, вызывает вопросы о том, как в России вообще работает бизнес, экономика, правоохранительная система. Если с крупными госчиновниками можно «договориться» за рамками любых официальных переговоров и сделок. Но ведь деятельность Узунов была сомнительной и до продажи мажоритарной доли в «Просвещении». А вместе с ним - и деятельность второго ключевого бенефициара экс-сенатора Олега Ткача, который вообще непонятно как совмещал бизнес и работу в Совете Федерации.

Ранее в Сети утверждалось, якобы Олег Ткач может иметь отношение сразу к трем офшорам Prosveshcheniye Holdings Limited (место регистрации Кипр), DPK Investment Fund (Каймановы острова) и Envoy Associates Limited (Британские Виргинские острова). Будто бы эти сведения удалось получить из нашумевшего «Досье Пандоры». Но в Совете Федерации проверять эту информацию наотрез отказались. Ну, кто бы сомневался... 

Однако, если это правда - понятно, где могли оседать миллиарды и миллиарды, полученные структурами «Просвещения» из бюджета. Напомним, что сегодня общая сумма госконтрактов ГК превысила 116 млрд рублей. Огромные деньги, которые сейчас могут питать западные экономики, снабжающие оружием ВСУ. Что-то из-за рубежа мог получать и Ткач. Может, он и вовсе «иностранный агент»?

How much is “Enlightenment” for the people or who makes money from textbooks?

Олег Ткач. Фото: https://ruwest.ru/upload/iblock/2d1/2d110b0f461328798c1ed5009b2524ac.JPG 

In addition, ill-wishers tried to attribute to the latter, like the entire “Enlightenment,” gray schemes related to taxes. But this information was never confirmed. Perhaps it was that the assistant to the then head of the Federal Tax Service, Mikhail Mishustin, was the young and beautiful Olesya Voznesenskaya, whose maiden name was Tkach?

However, some observers perceived Tkach as a “political cover” for Uzun at the federal level, while he still played the first violin in the company. Although the origins of “Olma,” which was “basic” for both partners, was also a former senator. 

Vasilyeva - in share?

In addition, Uzunu and Tkachu cannot forget something else: previously they could “cooperate” with the former head of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation Olga Vasilyeva. According to the Internet, it was allegedly Vasilyeva who at one time transferred the school textbook market into the hands of “Enlightenment” Uzun and Tkach, turning it into a real monopolist. At the same time, the company at that time was registered in the offshore PROSVESCHHENIYE HOLDINGS LIMITED - did the money go there? But this is not just budget money - it is the money of parents who give their last to buy educational literature for their children.

How could Mrs. Vasilyeva accomplish this? It’s very simple - it is the Ministry of Education that approves the list of textbooks that are required to be purchased as part of the curriculum. By a strange coincidence, most of them turned out to be “tied” to the “Enlightenment”. So here are the billions of dollars in income that Mrs. Vasilyeva herself could “direct” to offshore companies? Isn’t this a betrayal of national interests?

Only one thing is surprising - why, with such huge amounts of money, should they still jack up prices? Of course, our old bad friends from Sberbank German Gref, RDIF Kirill Dmitriev and VEB Igor Shuvalov probably also played a role in this. It is probably behind their backs that the Uzuns now expect to “sit out” during the proceedings with the antimonopoly authority.