Alexey Miller, head of Gazprom

Alexey Miller, CEO Gazprom

In the 1990s, Alexey Miller worked as an assistant to Vladimir Putin on the international affairs committee at the St. Petersburg City Hall. He was also known as Alexey ‘Soldier’ as he was right-hand of Putin in corruption deals. In 90’s Russia was ultra-corrupted and to solve any question (get some license for business or rent some city property) in city hall of St. Peterburg you must pay.

As businessman Maxim Freidzon remembered, when he visited Putin in his office and asked for license for his new buisness:
“Putin simply wrote the sum during the conversation, and his assistant Lesha Miller always took the money”.

At that time, the businessman was engaged in the production of weapons.

“A special program was set up to create police weapons, and under this program we would meet several times with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who was then engaged in foreign economic activity. And, it goes without saying, our joint venture was registered by the [St. Petersburg] City Hall’s foreign economic activity department headed by Putin,” Freidzon said.

“At that moment, he [Putin] was, among other things, in charge of law enforcement agencies, and it was his department at the City Hall that we were drawing up a program with to introduce police weapons for use by law enforcement agencies. Originally, the program was designed for the regions, then it was supposed to become federal because it required a change in the so-called 01 Order [supposedly the Russian Law on Militia (Police) – the translator’s note] about which weapons should be used to arm the police. All this was to be agreed with Vladimir Putin, FSB chiefs, Interior Ministry heads and the Moscow department, which was also engaged in this. Against this background, we had been working quite productively,” Freidzon said.

According to the businessman, he was forced to give bribes to Putin, who simply wrote sums on a piece of paper during meetings.

“The money would be picked up by Vladimir Vladimirovich’s assistant, Alex Miller. And Vladimir Vladimirovich, in an FSB-like manner, would simply write sums during conversations. <…> I didn’t hand over money to him in person. Yet, Alex Miller quite successfully coped with that pleasant job. Of course, he might have kept [the money] for himself, but for some reason, I doubt it,” Freidzon said. (Read more on UNIAN)

Minimal “fee” was 10.000 usd for small cases and for big projects, for sure, it was much more.

Also Millter linked with mafia:
After mayor Sobchak lost his re-election bid in June 1996, Putin moved to Moscow and Alexei Miller joined Sergey Vasiliev’ organization. In 1996, Miller assisted Dyukov at POT, he also assisted Traber in the formation of OBIP in 1997 and in the effort to buy the employee shares of the privatized JSC “Sea Port of Saint Petersburg”. On August 18, 1997 the Vice-Governor Mikhail Manevich who had attempted to keep 29% of those shares under City control, was murdered. On November 18 1997 an extraordinary meeting of shareholders of JSC “Seaport of Saint Petersburg” transferred the management of the port to OBIP. Miller was then reporting to Ilya Traber, as the Director for Developments and Investments at OBIP (manager of the Port of St- Petersburg). Traber was one of the “untouchables” or “too close to the gangsters and Vladimir Putin in the 1990’s”. From 1999 to 2000 Miller served as Director General of the Baltic Pipeline System and in 2000 he became Deputy Minister of Energy.

He was one of the “untouchables” or “too close to the gangsters and Vladimir Putin in the 1990’s”

Because of his absolute loyalty, he was appointed by Putin as the head of russian biggest gas company Gazprom in 2001. So the biggest company was under control of Putin’s good and well-corrupted friend. Miller is ABSOLUTELY non-effective manager. He calimed the market capitaliztaion of Gazprom will hit 1 trillion of dollars in 10 years.

With Putin’s arrival at the highest state post in Russia, Miller opened up the most optimistic career prospects. In July 2000, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, responsible for the development of international cooperation in the fuel and energy sector. Knowledgeable people said that Aleksei was “on probation” before taking the place of minister, but in May 2001 he took over Gazprom, not the Ministry of Energy, replacing Rem Vyakhirev in this post.

It is noteworthy that Putin’s decision came as a complete surprise to the management of Gazprom. Thus, the company management learned about this an hour before the start of the board meeting, during which Miller was presented as the head of the corporation.

As a result, he not only carried out this purge, but also managed to turn the gas giant’s treasury into an inexhaustible source of money for the needs of the Kremlin. President Putin was pleased with the activities of Alexei Miller in this post. Miller successfully disrupted all plans to reform the gas monopoly, in the course of which it was supposed to take the gas transmission system into a separate, state-controlled structure, and also to extract the extractive and processing systems from Gazprom.

Gazprom capitalization fallen from $380 billion in 2008 to $50 billion in 2018. For example Apple in 2018 hits $1 trillion market cap (it was about $45 billion in 2006).
Read more about this: How Gazprom’s $1 trillion dream has fallen apart

The speed of Gazprom’s decline is breathtaking. At its peak in May 2008, the company’s market capitalisation reached $367bn (£237bn), making it one of world’s most valuable companies, according to a survey compiled by the Financial Times. Only fellow Exxonmobile and PetroChina were worth more. Gazprom’s deputy chair Alexander Medvedev repeatedly predicted that within a decade the Russian energy giant could be worth $1 trillion. That prediction now seems foolhardy. Since 2008, Gazprom’s value has plummeted. In early August it had a market capitalisation of $51bn – losing more than $300bn. (Read full article on Guardian: How Russian energy giant Gazprom lost $300bn)

Sberbank oil analyst Alex Fak was fired on May 21 2018 after he published his second controversial report highlighting the fact that two top stoligarchs, businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, are profiting from $93.4bn worth of gas pipeline construction contracts to the detriment of state-owned gas behemoth Gazprom’s profitability.

“Dear all – I was dismissed today for writing the recent report on Gazprom. What took them so long, you ask? Bureaucracy, paperwork, a vague hope I could yet be reformed…” Fak wrote in an email to clients.

Fak, who worked as a reporter for bne IntelliNews at the start of his career, highlighted Gazprom is involved in three giant pipeline projects: the Power of Siberia (Sila Sibiri), Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream, which will cost the company a total of $93.4bn, Fak said in the report he co-authored with Anna Kotelnika.

Fak objected to the deals, saying that investing in pipelines does not yield high margins, and notes that “we find the decisions of Gazprom very clear once we assume that the company is managed in the interests of its contractors, and not for extracting commercial profits,” as cited by RBC business portal.

The deals to build the pipelines have been awarded to Stroygazmontazh, which is owned by Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Putin’s, and Stroytransneftegaz, which is half owned by Gennady Timchenko, another close Putin associate, and his family. Both men have been included in the US sanctions on Putin’s friends.

Read this report here (it was deleted from official sites): Sberbank-CIB-OG-Tickling-Giants.pdf

The Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank, reckons that although Gazprom posted nominal profits of $46 billion in 2011, it lost $40 billion to corruption and inefficiency. Oddly for an energy company, it has bought television stations and newspapers, all of which are now friendly to the Kremlin.