The New Russian Business Leaders
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The New Russian Business Leaders

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Stanislav V. Shekshnia, Konstantin Korotov and Elisabeth Florent-Treacy

Based on extensive interviews with the pioneers of Russian business and the authors’ own experiences, this perceptive new book attempts to decipher the enigma of Russia’s new generation of business leaders. The authors present six in-depth case studies focusing on companies of vastly differing sizes, ranging from a newly-privatized operation, and the creation and organization of an oligarch’s empire, to several entrepreneurial start-ups in different service industries. The case studies document the changes and developments that have occurred in Russia since the privatization era of the 1990s, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging business leadership orientations.
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Chapter 10: Hindsight and Foresight

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Stanislav V. Shekshnia, Konstantin Korotov and Elisabeth Florent-Treacy


No one can deny that clouds are once again gathering over Russia, promising great storms. Maxim Gorky There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out. Russian proverb As we have seen, the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and the economic liberalization that followed created an unprecedented opening for business leaders. In just over a decade these New Russians built empires worth billions of dollars; transformed inefficient mammoth State enterprises into cashproducing machines; created whole new industries; and changed the lives of tens of millions of people. This book attempts to provide enough insights to answer the intriguing questions that most people ask when they consider the tremendous changes in Russia in the past decade: ‘Are we seeing a new kind of Russian leadership? Can the lessons learned by the handful of successful New Russians be shared with their compatriots? Are they the right role models, as imperfect as they might be, for a stable social and economic future for Russia?’ It is worth another short detour into historical context in our search for answers. RUSSIA’S ROBBER BARONS? Americans like John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould, J.P. Morgan, and Collis Huntington and their peers were long thought of as ruthless and unscrupulous ‘robber barons’ whose primary goal was to accumulate personal wealth at any cost.1 This view was criticized by later historians for being too simplistic and sometimes inaccurate, but the fact remains that there was a high level of...

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