Andrey Berezin: The History of the Country in One Man
Biographies of successful people are always a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is an easy way to learn something for free from the mistakes and achievements of others. On the other hand, however, you should always consider the survivor’s margin of error and be careful about putting other people’s experiences into practice. Nevertheless, success stories always become a portrait of an era because their heroes are always at the forefront of change, embodying the best or most effective society has to offer.
Andrey Berezin is one of the regular participants of the Billionaires Rating of Delovoy Peterburg magazine. His fortune is estimated at 10 billion rubles, and his main asset is the investment company Euroinvest, which has been working in the real estate development market for almost 30 years.
Over the past decades, he has tried his hand in various spheres: construction, industry, medicine, and education. He has consistently achieved high results in all of these cases, following the winds of change in the economy and society. His story is the story of the whole country, as much as it relates directly to business.
Education is an important starting point for his success. Andrey Berezin graduated with honors from Leningrad school N 239 with a profound study of mathematics. This is a prestigious educational institution, which in modern times was transformed into a physics and mathematics lyceum with the status of the President’s academy. Among its graduates, there are many famous persons: Grigory Perelman (our great mathematician who proved Poincaré’s theory), Boris Grebenshchikov, Vladimir Kogan (Forbes ranking member), Mikhail Zurabov (diplomat), Alexander Khalifman (international grandmaster) and many others.
Continuation of education was no less worthy: a red diploma from the D.F. Ustinov Leningrad Mechanical Institute, specializing in automatic control systems for aircraft. This university is also distinguished by an impressive list of famous graduates: Sergey Naryshkin (director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service), Vladimir Yakunin (former head of Russian Railways), Sergey Krikalev (a legendary cosmonaut and one of the leaders of Roskosmos).
We can always say that Andrey Berezin’s personality was formed in the circle of the intellectual elite, the people who immediately raised the bar of his expectations from life high, and this was directly reflected in the graduate’s ambitions. Immediately after graduation, he went to graduate school, published scientific articles, and scientific patents immediately accompanied his first work experience. There is every reason to believe that had the country not undergone drastic changes, he would have achieved outstanding success as a scientist and inventor. Despite this, the wind of change blew in the other direction, and soon the young engineer had the opportunity to try his hand at business.
The Beginning of Success
A characteristic feature of Andrey Berezin’s entire career is that all of his projects contained an answer to one of the most critical challenges facing the country and the economy at that time. It does not matter whether it was a cold calculation or the excitement of a young, ambitious man. What does matter is that each time he succeeded, he was allowed to strengthen his business and fortune to take on a new challenge a few years later.
At the turn of the decade, the country was in a food crisis. The market was struggling; supply chains were emerging and collapsing in a chaotic fashion, and after a series of miners’ strikes, a severe energy crisis caused a steep drop in production. It was a window of opportunity, which Berezin took advantage of; he organized food supplies from Great Britain.
It isn’t easy to reconstruct exactly what tools were used for this and what the names of the firms run by yesterday’s graduate students. This is not surprising since it is no coincidence that the 1990s are called the rogue years. Moreover, it’s not just the general atmosphere; documentation was extremely poor in the free market, and state institutions did not cope with their tasks. One thing is sure, though; Andrey Berezin’s first business project was successful because, in 1993, he had enough resources to start the North-West Fishing Company.
This was a typical startup for that time. The thing is that, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the largest state fishing enterprises were out of business: the largest fishing fleet was scrapped. By the beginning of the decade, this sphere consisted of thousands of small entrepreneurs, each of whom quickly became a poacher in the absence of adequate regulation. The result is already known; catching rate tripled in just a decade and a half because populations were undermined.
It was necessary to create large companies that would be able to restore order in the sphere – that’s when all the fishing giants of our time appeared. Andrey Berezin’s company was also successful and still holds a leading position in its segment, although the entrepreneur withdrew from the business over time. Nevertheless, the niche and the solution were chosen precisely, and we see the answer to the urgent problem of its time.
In 1994, Andrey Berezin changed his priorities and left the product market. We can only assume that this sphere had lost interest in him; it was gradually building up, and all the challenges were in competition with his colleagues. As the history of the businessman shows, this was not enough for him. In modern parlance, he needed the challenge to make money by solving global problems; the company Euroinvest appeared, taking over the real estate and development market.
At that time, this sphere practically did not exist. Privatization had led to complete chaos for several years, and even buying and selling for cash was done with the use of currency (it did not matter which money, dollars, marks, and everything available were used) and often with security.
There were almost no new buildings: there were about 10-15 new houses a year per big city which were built by private companies. Shared construction was still beginning, of which was accompanied by constant cheating; it was a real roulette. The public sector had fallen into a coma, and it would be many years before it came to its senses.
As Andrey Berezin’s story will show more than once, he is like a fish in water in such conditions. Nevertheless, it is his style and character to become the first, paving the way and solving the problems that seem unbearable to others.
Even today, Euroinvest continues to work in the most challenging areas. In the past, the main difficulty was implementing the project and bringing it to completion with decent quality at constantly changing prices and shortages; the main niche was an innovation. In our difficult 20s, the deficit and turbulence returned, and it is becoming a challenge. Euroinvest is implementing an ambitious, smart house project near St. Petersburg. In the sanction’s conditions, it is pulling up single domestic producers of the necessary equipment.
The developer’s 30 years of experience have brought him from a European-type neighborhood developer to the author of his unique concept. The construction is not a house but a full-fledged living space; it’s not a bedroom community, but rather a place for recreation, communication, and education. However, we will dwell on this in more detail when we move on to the humanitarian sector, which has chronologically become the last sector that Andrey Berezin has taken as his focus.
Only lazy people do not talk about the woes of Russian industry. Entire industries have recently been sold at the price of scrap metal. This is no exaggeration; the machine tool fleet in Russia has shrunk by more than four times in 30 years. Productivity rates of machine tools have also changed; nevertheless, this indicator gives a good idea of the overall state of the industry in Russia. Since the beginning of the 10-s, the industry has been gradually reviving, but the domestic production index is still below 100% compared to even 1991.
Berezin started with the reanimation of Svetlana, one of the oldest Russian research and production complexes that preserved its scientific potential but turned out to be uncompetitive in today’s market conditions. By the example of that asset, we worked out an algorithm that was later used many times: purchase of controlling interest, sale of non-core and loss-making assets, implementation of the investment program, modernization, and manual maintenance of flagship products.
Svetlana has already gone all the way, now promoting the latest robotic complex for cancer treatment. For understanding, the company had only a patent for a unique X-ray tube, and today there is a renewed industrial base, agreements with the most prominent cancer centers of the country for preclinical trials, and preliminary agreements on the inclusion of the purchase of the latest equipment in the national projects of Russia. Moreover, in addition to this flagship product, there is a whole range of the latest inventions in microwave technology for road construction, as well as technology for crewless vehicles in the Arctic.
The Rigel plant followed Svetlana. It is a battery plant that ultimately repeated the path of Svetlana with one exception; not much is known about the key deals in the process. The point is that its technology is used in the defense industry, which means that all the details are kept top secret.
However, there are also achievements in the civilian market. The investment program to modernize its facilities and the general financial recovery of the plant has been successful, so much so that its batteries are now being used permanently by Almaz-Antey, a Russian industrial giant, for example.
Together with Rigel, it is developing electric cars; E-Neva, one of these electic car brands, has already reached the stage of a finished prototype, which was presented in January 2022. But it’s not just about that; there are plans for a whole line of electric cars, including unmanned ones. The sanctions have not changed the goals, of which being a corresponding agreement between Almaz-Antey and Rigel was signed in September.
Almaz Antey is a manufacturer of air defense systems. These are S-300, S-400, Buk-M2, Buk-M3, and other complexes, which have gained particular relevance today in light of well-known events. Domestic air defense systems have proved their effectiveness dozens of times, giving hope for the success of other company projects.
Andrey Berezin’s third industrial project is putting the Recond plant in order. It is at the stage of modernization of the industrial base, and the whole path is still ahead. However, the prospects are still good here; the plant produces semiconductors, which are extremely scarce today. The so-called semiconductor crisis has been going on for two years, affecting the automotive industry, computers, smartphones, and tablets.
There is no end in sight for this crisis, and the renewal of the Recond becomes a vital state task. If the import substitution policy does begin to be implemented as declared, its capacities will become one of the key ones for the revival of domestic electronics.
The Circle Closes
Domestic science and education are both in deep crisis. The level of personnel and education in general in the country is falling. The state must solve this problem quickly; otherwise, it will be left without hands and brains. Business must help by investing in bright minds and supporting them with scholarships and grants. This year, we launched a personal scholarship named after cosmonaut Georgiy Grechko at Voenmech.
After many years of work in different fields, Andrey Berezin considers education to be the main challenge of the time. He knows what he is talking about as a person who made their first successful steps in business due to his brilliant education. There has been a fascination with personnel in his projects for a long time.
Over time, Euroinvest has grown its subsidiary, Euro Ventures, which deals with venture investments. Its approach is to search for a promising project among the projects developed by industrial giants under its control, to support the project’s authors, and to accompany the project to enter the market. One can infer from the psychology of unclosed gestalts that Andrey Berezin is helping an alternative self. Nevertheless, the same graduate student stayed in scientific development and gave up on his business. It is possible that this field would remain a youthful attraction for him because he probably still has many unrealized plans from that stage of his life.
Scholarship in Voenmech is also from this series because that is the name of Andrey Berezin’s native university. Even with the academy, we are making a full circle because the businessman has already announced the construction of a new academy for gifted children in St. Petersburg. Therefore, it is evident that the new educational institution will work closely with the holding enterprises, and the programs and the professional orientation course that will allow the creation of new specialists literally from the school years call for itself.
Andrey Berezin is still working on recreating the circle of communication. This is the already mentioned innovative house project in St. Petersburg, which could be more accurately called an intelligent environment. The complex is characterized by deep integration with the latest innovative systems and offers public spaces, transformable open spaces, and educational clubs. The result is a full-fledged structure for creating a successful person along the same path that the businessman himself has seen with his own eyes over decades at the very top of the wave of change.
It is only now that we see the hero of numerous publications on the biography of a successful man starting to create bios of successful people himself. Perhaps one day, we will read the story of how the new billionaire took his first steps thanks to his education at the Berezina lyceum, the Grechko scholarship, or his investments in Euro Venture.
Problems Solved by Andrey Berezin
- Grocery supplies in a scarce market
- Fishery during the collapse of the industry
- Development in a lacking real estate market
- Industrial development
- Venture capital investments in the Russian scientific environment
- Creating the infrastructure for creating successful people
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