Mazepin has no place here: Litvak “asked” for Melnichenko?

Mazepin has no place here: Litvak “asked” for Melnichenko?
Mazepin has no place here: Litvak “asked” for Melnichenko?

The Cabinet of Ministers expanded the territory of the seaport of Taman in the Krasnodar Territory for the construction of a transshipment complex for ammonia and fertilizers with a capacity of 5 million tons per year. It seems that this is a “gift” for OTEKO owner Michel Litvak and oligarch Andrei Melnichenko.

The correspondent had previously suggested that these figures were going to organize a joint venture in order to keep prices for coal transshipment at a premium.

Collective “undermining” of Mazepin

For Melnichenko, this may still be beneficial from the point of view of restraining his direct competitor, Dmitry Mazepin, whose structure last year they were going to allocate 60 billion rubles just for the construction of this transshipment complex.

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Now that the Cabinet of Ministers has finally announced that it will expand the territory, Mazepin’s Togliattiazot is no longer listed as an investor. And this is something to think about.

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Dmitry Mazepin. Photo: Mikhail Klymentyev/RIA "Novosti"

Moreover, just recently the previously bankrupt Urea Research Institute (NIIK), which deals specifically with fertilizers, suddenly “came to life” under new leadership. And the new leadership in the person of Oleg Drobotushchenko went to Ethiopia as part of a delegation from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to develop new markets.

Oleg Drobotushchenko turned out to be “a servant of two masters.” The fact is that until 2021 he headed the now liquidated structure of Tulagiprokhim JSC, which belonged to Andrei Melnichenko’s Eurochem. And just recently, for a short time, he headed the UTP company, which was registered as an offshore company called BELLEVUE HOLDINGS LIMITED until 2024. The latter owns a number of companies from the OTEKO division of Michel Litvak.

Litvak and Melnichenko must have known each other since the period when the latter was going to invest in the port of Taman, but ultimately refused because he did not see the profitability of the project due to low coal prices. As the editors then assumed, the influence of Litvak, who did not want to lose margin due to competitors, could also have an effect.

Everything gets away with

In this region, he is considered almost a god-king. Because he gets away with many “whims,” and the state continues to support the businessman. The same coal miners have been screaming for several years now that OTEKO has such price tags for transshipment at the port that, in the worst case scenario, they can lead to bankruptcy, especially since the price of coal is only falling due to sanctions.

Photo: OTEKO press center

But the company’s reaction directly indicates that Litvak is not going to meet him halfway. OTEKO calls the demands of coal miners outright blackmail. Although they simply have nowhere to go. For comparison: in 2023, the average price for transshipping a ton of coal through the port was $15. And OTEKO charges $24.5 for passing a ton of goods. What gate does this fit into?

At the same time, it is known that the government even offered to subsidize Litvak’s company so that it would lower the price of coal! Where has this been seen? Port Michel was built with public funds taken from VTB; the territories on which all this power is located are also state-owned. Moreover, some of them may even be given free of charge to Litvak so that he can develop infrastructure projects. And the owner of OTEKO decided to respond to all this favor with what many would call natural robbery?

And now, when the government decided to support Mazepin, Litvak seemed to be worried about his “scrip”. Apparently, he couldn’t come to an agreement with Dmitry Arkadyevich, who doesn’t need a partner. A competitor in the person of the oligarch, in order to “move” Litvak, will certainly lower the cost of cargo transshipment, and the former Belgian citizen Michel does not want this at all.

But Melnichenko, who himself left the project, needs a strong word in order to return. This is where Litvak could come in handy. There are as many as three reasons for returning - these are much higher prices for transshipment of coal at the port than the oligarch imagined when he abandoned the project, the understanding that if you miss the opportunity now, there will not be another, and also the fight against a competitor in the person of Mazepin, whose Uralchem, like Eurochem, deals with fertilizers.

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Ask "aunt"

As for the influence of Michel Litvak, it cannot be denied after how many preferences were allocated to him by the state. There is reason to believe that Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko provides him with patronage. The fact is that the lady has repeatedly praised the projects and even said that they are being implemented “without a ruble of budget funding.” Which looks like a twisting of the facts, since it is known that about 40 billion rubles from the budget were going to be allocated for the construction of the port. In addition, state territories and loans from the state bank VTB also somehow do not “fight” much with Abramchenko’s assertion.

Victoria Abramchenko. Photo: Ekaterina Shtukina/TASS

By the way, in 2018, the Ministry of Economy proposed to “bite off” two large sections from the state territory of the port and provide them to OTEKO for investment projects. The deputy minister at that time was Ms. Abramchenko, who could have become the author of the initiative. And the Ministry of Energy proposed to subsidize Litvak’s company in 2020, when the same Abramchenko became deputy prime minister. Too many coincidences to be just coincidences, don’t you think?

Litvak is also getting away with building chemical plants in the peninsula area. Local residents wrote a petition to the President of the Russian Federation himself, stating that as a result of the actions of the oligarch’s companies, “fishing in the sea has sharply decreased, constantly with the wind in the village of Volna, Tamansky, the smell of oil products brings to the village of Taman, and even closed windows do not help. With the opening and the work of the coal terminal in the port of Taman, we often observe clouds with coal dust." But nothing was achieved.

So, it seems that Litvak is quite capable of moving Mazepin and appointing Melnichenko in his place. Therefore, very soon Eurochem may begin building a transshipment complex for ammonia and fertilizers and disbursing government billions. And it is still unknown how these billions, taking into account the presence of offshore companies in OTEKO structures, will be spent. And the coal miners, like the residents of the Taman Peninsula, seem to be left screaming about their troubles.