InformNapalm analyzes the grand plans and real goals of the Russian businessmen who announced the creation of a “Silicon Valley” next to the occupied Sevastopol. Taking into account the background of the Kursk businessmen, we can confidently say that instead of some brain gain to a Russian “Silicon Valley*”, they will at best be able to concoct some sort of a “Silicone Valley**” out of the best brains or whatever Sevastopol has to offer.
On May 26 ForPost, a Sevastopol propaganda web site, published an article with a forward-looking headline: A Silicon Valley to be built in Sevastopol.
A campus for IT professionals may appear near Sevastopol. Its construction is planned by RosMetr Group, according to a businessman from Kursk, the founder of Novy Kursk construction company Aleksander Tarasov.
We need just two things: land and utilities. Our task is not to build just residential housing, but to create a freelancer oasis…”
“IT campus” and “freelancer oasis” sounds promising, so we decided to have a look in the open sources at what is known about the Russian businessman Aleksandr Tarasov promising Crimea residents to make these golden dreams come true.
Background information on Aleksandr Tarasov
We have obtained an extract of the entry from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities of the Russian Federation on Novy Kursk Construction Company LLC (OGRN: 1144632024921). It was registered in 2014 in the city of Kursk with the statutory fund of 15,152 rubles. The director of the construction company is Aleksandr Nikolaevich Tarasov (taxpayer’s identification number (TIN): 461401261378).
Knowing the TIN of a Russian citizen, we can find other companies associated with the individual. Tarasov is listed as the managing executive of four companies (two of which have been liquidated), and the founder of eight more (including two liquidated ones). He is also registered as a self-employed entrepreneur.
With the companies’ TINs we could search for arbitration claims registered at the Commercial Case File.
Russian Federal Tax Agency’s Inspectorate in the city of Kursk filed two administrative lawsuits against Natspromstroy LLC for the collection of outstanding taxes, levies, fines and penalties. The Inspectorate lost the first case, (the lawsuit was filed too late), the second is still pending.
The Committee for Municipal Property Management in the city of Kursk won a case for the recovery of rent arrears from Trezvyi Kursk (Ed.: Russian for “Sober Kursk”), a regional youth NGO.
Let’s move on to Novy Kursk Construction Company. In 2015, Yumis LLC won a case for the collection of debts from Novy Kursk in the amount of 31,000 rubles.
In 2017, EuroStroy LLC filed two lawsuits against Novy Kursk. Claims under the first lawsuit amount to 19,262,470 rubles (plus a penalty of 239,742 rubles). Under the second lawsuit, the claims are 2,063,310 rubles of debt plus 10,316 rubles of penalty.
It looks like Tarasov is a serial entrepreneur and a serial business failure. It is also clear that Tarasov’s companies don’t like to pay their bills and taxes.
Given the situation in the IT sector in the temporarily occupied Crimea, it is hard to believe that the land will be used to build a “freelancer oasis”. Payment systems (Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Payoneer), as well as European and American freelance exchanges (such as UpWork) do not operate in Crimea due to the economic sanctions. Access to Google AdWords and Google Adsense is also closed because of the sanctions, and so are the accounts of Crimean developers in Apple AppStore. GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar, has stopped providing registration and hosting services to Crimea residents. These factors make Crimea and Sevastopol unattractive to IT freelancers. We believe that even building an IT campus would not help: Crimean freelancers would not be able to officially work with foreign clients and withdraw their earnings. Many Sevastopol residents understand all this. Tarasov must also understand it. This means that all this PR campaign with grand plans for an IT campus is nothing more than a smokescreen for just another scheme.
By the way, Tarasov is not the first to come up with the idea of creating a “Silicon Valley” in Crimea. And if some people buy such utopias, then they probably deserve to have their own Silicone Valley. Like the one in San Fernando, not the one in San Francisco, a place to get screwed.
Silicon Valley* is a nickname for the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. The word “silicon” originally referred to the large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers in the region, but the area is now the home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, including the headquarters of 39 businesses in the Fortune 1000, and thousands of startup companies.
Silicone Valley** is the San Fernando Valley also known as San Pornando, which has been home to porn film industry since 1970. The nickname was coined as a pun on Silicon Valley, but referring to silicone breast implants rather than silicon chips.
(Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International — CC BY 4.0)
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