Book 2. Ringing cedars of Russia (1997)
Who sets the course?
Seated on the airplane I closed my eyes. The plane’s course was set with precision. It was headed for Moscow. The course of the rest of my life was still to be set. But I was thinking more about entrepreneurs.
Many people today still tend to regard entrepreneurs as people who are constantly working out business deals, having amassed their initial capital by some illegal means and multiplying it at the expense of those around them. Naturally, just as in any other segment of our society, there are entrepreneurs and then there are entrepreneurs. However, having been right at the centre of entrepreneurial life in our country from the very beginning of perestroika, I can tell you that the majority of the first wave of post-communist entrepreneurs made their initial capital by looking for unorthodox solutions for producing new merchandise or goods which had been in short supply, and finding more efficient ways of structuring manufacturing operations.
It was a peculiar characteristic of Soviet and Russian en-trepreneurs to make money from scratch — i.e., starting with nothing, not even credit. After all, the first wave of entrepreneurs had no access to privatised factories that the next wave enjoyed. They had to fly by the seat of their pants and hope they would be lucky. And they did make money from scratch. By way of proof, let me cite an example from my own experience.