My wife and I worked for 18 years in Russia, as entrepreneurs. As heads of a small company, which supplies raw materials to large producers of paper and pulp. Over time our company “SZLK” became one of the largest producers of paper and pulp in Russia.
We saw ourselves favored by the period of “perestroika” when “Iron Curtain” fell and gave freedom to entrepreneurs to build their businesses. The period lasted 10 years from 1993 to 2003, when the future dictator Vladimir Putin, began his war against entrepreneurs, the first most famous victim was Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He was captured at the time, when he declared disagreement with Putin dictatorship.
This person was richer in Russia at that time. Oil company “Yukos” belonged to him, but in a shorttime he was sentenced to 8 years in prison for not paying enough taxes, although his company paid much taxes per each ton of oil, tan other oil companies of Russia.
Shortly thereafter, he was sentenced to 8 years. Everyone knew it was false accusation. His company was kidnapped by Putin. That’s how it all started.
After putting pressure on thousands of businessmen, what Putin government demanded was not only to pay huge fees into secret accounts owned by Putin and his companions.
Another way to politically forced support the regime, was that workers and their companies, always had to vote for Putin and his party “United Russia”. Entrepreneurs had to participate in this game, finance publicly and declare their support for Putin.
Many of the businessmen agreed to be slaves of the new dictatorship. And many opponents, refused including us, The Bitkovs.
At the regions where our company worked, we built five new factories producing pulp, paper, notebooks and other products. That is why we supported the majority of the population of each region. We thought, that we could exist and also oppose to the dictatorship, but we were wrong.
In 2007 this opposition brought consequences, they kidnapped our daughter Anastasia, she was 16 years. Demanding us to paying the ransom in order to save her.
For us it was the clear signal that next time it would be worse. No criminal structure in Russia, can not exist without control of Russian intelligence service “FSB” before “KGB”
It is my own research that gave me the answer which I will tell you next week in the part two of this article …
To be continued…
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