If I were a rich man, dah-dah-deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle dum…
~ Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof
I fear I will disappoint my loyal readers today (both of you) since I am really hitting a wall on this one. I can’t think of anything to tell you about Russian Entrepreneurs…because I’m not sure there are any. There is an association of Russian Entrepreneurs, but it is staffed by government flunkies. I know several people who have started and (more to the point) sold successful businesses in Russia…but they are all foreigners. Nowadays, everyone wants to either work for the government or for a foreign company. No one seems to want to start a business, and, you can't because the paperwork is so complicated. Even HRH, who started off with a kiosk selling cigarettes and beer, has decamped to higher ground.
I was having a very interesting conversation on just this very topic with the father of one of Velvet's classmates last week. He noted that Poland seemed to have done very well after the Fall of the Wall.
"Well," I said, "that's the whole Roman Catholic thing."
He was riveted. We talked between Hayden concerti and acapella singing groups about how the countries with an Orthodox Christian heritage don't have any tradition or understanding of an individual's sense of his own place in the world, or an ingrained conviction that you can, and should better yourself. Think about it: Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, The Baltics and so on are all predominantly either Roman Catholic or Lutherans. They are doing well, whereas Russia, Serbia, Belarus, Ukraine and Romania, the Orthodox counties, are still struggling to implement positive change 20 years after the Wall came down.
I wracked my brain while writing this post, and as I was on a train with no wifi, I couldn’t turn to my friends in cyber space for any inspiration. I wanted to come up with a shining example of 100% Russian entrepreneurial success that:
1. Wasn’t linked to either the wild 90s acquisition of former Soviet industries like Norilsk Nickel or Severstal.
2. Was not in someway connected with a foreign manager, foreign investment, or foreign know-how.
3. Is not a government or semi-government company
4. Is still a viable business…by which I mean the CEO is not in financial exile in London.
There is this Russian Silicon Valley getting up and running: the pet project of Blogger-In-chief Dmitry Medvedev and Ashton Kucher, but until that begins to bear fruit…we’ll just have to have a modest celebration today.
I don’t know…this is like a flat pancake day.
This post is not the finest example of The Stunt.
Thank you for stopping by Dividing My Time. I'm sorry today was not as sparkling as usual. It makes you think, though, doesn't it....why I couldn't come up with anything. Do you know some Russian entrepreneurs? Like real ones, not the ones who run your cab company.