How I was Soviet Businessman

At beginning of December I impatiently waited for the new 1987 year.

20 year old, full of hopes and plans, Just finished my 2 years of Soviet Army service, my Best Friends will return from the Army  during next few days and we going to have Huge Party after 2 years without friends, home, dating with girls and sex.



Today I look the same like fat and full of gray hair 🙂


Typical view of city boys in 80th

Meantime I started to recognize that returned into different country – while on TV translated regular XXVII Communist Party meeting that discuss next 5 year plan for USSR people talk on the street talk about totally different things than “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”.


Hidden inflation – these are pretty a lot of money in hands but nothing to buy. Dollar course vs. ruble at Black Market grow at daily level.


Recently approved cooperatives allows people to earn 3-5 times more than on government companies.


First American cars on the streets – 6 cars for 1.5 million population Minsk city, capital of Belarus.


First communists  became millionaires -all country discuss whether he should pay monthly fees for party?


                                                      This is Artem Tarasov -first communist – millionaire

It was clear for me and my that regular path forward – university, factory, pension does not work anymore.

We find out that Good wages in cooperatives was a half true – mainly for owner his friends and relatives.

Same if try to open company – you need money and friends in the right places otherwise nothing move, you can wait approvals for years. So I choose tactics to be a middleman in my own city  in big deals with consumer and office electronics and deliver simple and cheap goods like clothes and cosmetics into another cities of endless country named USSR.

From this day my life became Hollywood trailer – balancing between street gangs and police, both want to put on you “taxation”


I am between these two forces 🙂


Meetings with extraordinary tricksters, crazy wins and lost.. Do you familiar this feeling that you do not have place in you pockets to place more cash and you put it even in underwear? Or you surrounded by gangs, thus left everything and jump over 2 meter height fence-things that you never do before or after? Of course it were also solid deals made in offices but  with a time it deleted from memory.

After few years I understood that do not like either this business and country is going noway. Probably sad historic experience of many generations of Jews in Europe gave us these sharp senses.

These are 2 lessons from this period:

  • it always people -most of decisions have big emotional components
  • this is funny one -Big American corporate (and I’ve privilege to work for one of them) managed often on similar to USSR way – strict top down hierarchy, planning methods, budget spending, communication to employees.

I made first important adult decision in my life to leave USSR and never regret about.

2nd important decision in the mid of 90th changed my professional life, increase my incomes X5 times, allowed me to see whole World.

3rd shift in my life I am doing right now 🙂


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