Oh, when all that changed in the Soviet Union, still was Soviet
Union in '89, to begin there was an American guy, you must know
him, Mitchell. It's Norman Gershwin, who wanted to make some
business in Russia. And I helped him to create a joint venture,
which was packed a deal with all kinds of patents and license,
and so on and so forth. But this joint venture still exists.
But it never really worked for three reasons. First reason,
Norman, who's a very good broker of the stocks in New York, had
no idea of business in Russia at that time. And he was--he
couldn't judge about what happened, and he was mostly in the States,
of course. So it was not easy to make this kind of business,
especially because at that time there was no stocks in Russia, in
Soviet Union; it was '89, it just started. Secondly, at that
time Norman was in a very tough economic situation. Now I'm
happy he's okay, but he went through a very low period in his life
and had not much money. At that time investing here, coming
here and putting here, I don't know, fifty thousand dollars in a
year he could have fifty millions. But he had not this money
and had not this dynamic to it. So this business exists, a
service and so on, but it's a small business. What I was interested
always is to prove to people here and in the West that you can invest
in this country. Invest not only in buying metals, getting
them out of the country, selling them, making a lot of money, and
all that stuff. Investing in real manufacturing, and in industry,
not only in oil. And it happened that I met a French guy who
is in perfume manufacturing, who is a manufacturer of perfumes,
mass market perfume, not elite, mass market. And he was looking
for a glass plant to manufacture perfume bottles, so I helped him
to find this plant. And he invested a lot of money, with very
good result. That was, that started only in '93, and if he
would invest, like he invested from '93 through '95, '96, five million
dollars. If he would invest in '89 through '94, he would be
already billionaire. Today it's not the same. Still
he's making very well, but times change.
And you are in charge of ...
I'm in charge of this factory.
How many employees?
And what kind of gross, how much money does the business produce
The business I was in, not the plant, because the plant is part
of a business.
And the glass plant normally has not a big profit. The profit
is then on the finished product. I don't know exactly the
profit of the company, it's difficult to say, but I would say that
the turnover of the group, say the French part of the group, and
the Russian part of the group, commercial and manufacturing, the
turnover of the last financial year was 35 million dollars.
And you have plans to expand?
Sure. Our plan is to go up to a 100 million, in the two years
So you keep the business life going at the same time you keep some
of your academic interests?
I would say I keep them both going, plus a lot of other interests.
You know that's my way, I cannot do one thing at a time.
By '81 a Russian-American project expanded, which you joined.