English version of Dmitriy Yaromov's team's confertence, Lomonosov Moscow State University 26.02.2018 15:16:06
Vladimir Megre’ readers and Lomonosov Moscow State University present to your attention Dmitriy Yaromov’ team’s press conference in the framework of the International Scientific and Practical Conference "The Role and Conditions of Development of “Ancestral Estates” in the Social and Economic Transformation of Russia”.
Dmitry Yaromov’ team’s press conference “Arrangement of Ancestral Estates in the existing inhabited of country areas. The model of the transition from existing forms of arrangement of country areas to settlements consisting of patrimonies".
The previous speaker lifted my spirits. I was starting to drop off to sleep, and so I didn't want to say anything. Overall, holding a Press Conference suggests that we'll be asked questions – and those questions will naturally crop up, if you know anything much about us. So let me say a few brief things, that are intended to provoke your questions. In 2006 we started looking for a location where we could build a settlement, and we got on with that. In principle, we had the resources to choose any location we liked – and after discussions with the local administration, we talked this through.
There are very many abandoned rural settlements, where people began building homes, but then gave up and left them. Today these still stand empty. Even if we only look at Krasnodar Region, there are loads of such abandoned locations. They are absolutely abandoned, with no people living there at all – including corporate dacha developments.
Having read many books, I didn't only re-read them over a lot, but also remembered a lot from them. Reading them very carefully, two main trains of thought come through. The first is this - “wherever people have left a mess, the first job is to clear it up”, the books say. I'm always amazed when people choose virgin green sites. I used to have a close friend, Andrei Barkov – who, sadly, passed away without ever seeing this day – and he did that, too. He found himself a site in the Caucasus Mountain foothills, near to the Black Sea – he started building a place there, bought the land, and started giving places away for free.
It was this project, in my view, which brought his life crashing down around him. And there are lots more people, who take on a plot of land... fresh, virgin land, which could easily be plowed, or just left as it is... and they don't even consider the huge number of rural settlements and houses to be found in a derelict and woeful condition, in a complete mess.
So here's the question. If we don't bring these abandoned settlements back into order, then who will do it instead? And my second observation... people who obtain fresh greenfield land plots frequently fail to cope with the demands they make – which means that we need some kind of infrastructure.
At first it all seems that we just get to the location, put some tents up, and start to dream how everything there will begin to grow, and how well we will live there. But then it turns out there's no road to get there. Tractors have to pull each other out of the mud. To my sad disappointment, it all shows a kind of civil achievement. “Well look, we got to the location, and then, look how we got bogged down there and had to call out two tractors from the nearest village to winch us out – look how they dragged us out. It turns out that you can only really get to the location during good weather.” Now, let's have a show of hands, of those who dream of all that?
So what prevents us from making-over abandoned settlements and villages? And that's what we decided to do. We recruited a team of builders for an abandoned settlement. Our allies in the project were businesspeople... Just to explain, ,businesspeople think we're a bit odd, because we're getting involved in such locations... but they're our friends. The way they think is the way that most people think.
A lot of readers think we're arrogant, just because we're businesspeople. It's strange, because one of my favourite goals described in the book is establishing business communities who have more-or-less honest intentions. Take a look - “with more honest intentions”, it says in the book. Not specifically “honest”, but at least “more honest”. And among these 'more honest' people are those who aim to improve their location, and perfect its living conditions.
But for us, somehow, readers demand that we come to things “with more honest intentions”. Tell me, do you have honest intentions? Or dishonest? And if they're honest – then prove it? How are you going to prove your intentions are honest? Aha! So people thought we were odd, and people said to me “Dmitry, what are you getting into? There's only drunks there! That's all there are!”
And my comeback to them is this. “Guys! You can see what I'm doing doing, what I'm planning, and what we're going to do here.” You know what suits me about this location? There's already infrastructure built in here. It's got a road to it – that's the first thing. There's a water-main – in fact, there are two. There's electricity. There's even a phone line. The only it doesn't have is people. The land plots are half a hectare each, and they've already been planned out. So what have we done? We took a close, hard look. There's a good, strategically-advantageous location, half way between Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar. The distance to each is roughly the same, about 100-150 kilometres. To Krasnodar it's 100, to Rostov about 150.
The infrastructure is in good shape, there's the River Beisug – which, due to the road-building, and the construction of many dams and use of the river for irrigation, has practically turned into a bog, and no longer exists as a river. One of the projects we've been planning for, and are sure can be turned into a reality, is to make the Beisug River a clean, fresh-flowing navigable river once more – not with the actual idea of taking boats out on it, but in terms of its quality. One of the theories – 'water serves as a yardstick everywhere' – if you've read the book, of course – is really great, and water is the most precious and rare resource our planet has.
We really want to revive the river, and it can really be done. We've talked to hydro-biologists about it, and we're ready to get started. It's going to be expensive to do, but we'll find the funds and do it. If we remove the dams, then we can make the river navigable again using a natural approach. On top of that, the river will be cleaned up. What it means is that in a decade or two, there'll be fish here like sturgeon and shamaika. If we start talking about the economic benefits, then fish like shamaika and sturgeon would bring more money into the region than any kind of vegetable farming, for whose horticulture local farmers plunder the Beisug River to grow tomatoes, carrots, and beets. And frankly, the chemicals in the local soil, including nitrates, mean that it's really maybe better not to eat those vegetables anyhow
So, that's the plan. The first step has been to get to know the people in the regional administration, and talk to them about the ways we can bring benefit to the area. They answered: 'Well, frankly we don't really know what benefit you could bring.” Fair enough, we said, but we went to see them anyhow – and asked if they had an office there we could share, so that we could invite people for talks at the Regional Administration building.
It turned out that the heating for the site had been turned off twenty years ago. We provided heating, and people said “thank you”. The next thing was that we started to purchase the abandoned land plots. As you know, there is a habit in villages – they dump their rubbish in the courtyard, they build a big pit, into which they throw broken glass, old plastic bags, medicines and so on. I'm not even going to mention the dead cats and pigs... they dump everything in there.
The amount that builds up in typical villages in Krasnodar Region, in places like ours, I can tell you, is enough to fill, 6, 8, or 10 Kamaz goods trucks. That's how many it takes, simply to take the garbage away. That's not including the household rubble – I mean the remains of collapsed buildings, buildings eaten away by rats, places unsuitable for anything at all. I mean rubble, glass, slate, glass. Where can it be taken?
We began trying to lick the place into shape, and brought around fifty of these courtyards into good order. Our aim was to make one hectare out of the existing land plots. What I would really like to see enacted in Russian legislation, in all regions, is that if a citizen brings together an area of one hectare or more, and wants to assign the status of a patrimonial estate to it, as described in the books written by Vladimir Merge, is that the citizen will receive this special status, for special land use.
It's in this way, slowly and systematically, that we intend to bring abandoned rural areas back into good order, and thus create a number of patrimonial estates and existing settlements. They will slowly emerge from rural settlements and villages. If this is all done properly, they'll become settlements which consist of patrimonial estates. In our project we never have the problems which are frequently described here – with the regional administration, that they refuse to register something, or that they interfere with us. Quite the opposite – everything goes smoothly.
Coming back to that topic of “wherever people have left a mess, the first job is to clear it up”... We've spent nine years, rebuilding spontaneous rubbish dumps. They were used for all kinds of domestic rubbish, and also for non-domestic waste. It's a paradox. Imagine there's some careless citizen from a neighbouring village, and his pig dies. So he brings the dead pig, and dumps it on our rubbish dump. And the inspectors fine the head of the village administration 50,000 roubles – when their annual budget is 800,000 roubles, and their own salary is 32,000 roubles per month. It's simply shameful. To rebuild the rubbish dump had cost us money. We've been trying to establish a Public-Private Partnership for several years. Despite the complete collaboration of the administration, this mechanism is still not approved by the state.
To make the rubbish dump fully legal, and bring the project into partnership with the state authorities, can't in fact be achieve. In fact overall, to legalise the utilisation of waste resources of the project is also not permitted. In Krasnodar Region, these are – exceptions. All the others are illegal. You realise, of course, that doing so is subject to criminal prosecution. So what's our situation? They tell us - “go ahead and do it”. And we reply “No, we go ahead and do it, because no other kind of rules are permitted”.
If we were to observe the actual regulations, then the costs of removing the garbage would be higher than what was paid for it. What can be done about these prohibitive costs? But despite all this, we eventually found a waste dump where we could sign a contract – in fact, it was with the municipality. A contract for waste collection. And so we bought a garbage truck.
They reallocated it, in fact, for a purely symbolic price of 500 roubles, for rental to the rural settlement. The local contractor is called MUP. They signed the contract themselves, and went through every courtyard signing contracts, and set up a payment system. But y'know, it still didn't end right. The reason is because the staff who work for MUP are paid just 15 thousand roubles per month.
That's poverty pay, it's just appalling. No-one is going to work normally for that kind of money. So how much should they be paid? Maybe the minimum respectable salary would be 40 thousand roubles per month. But even that, although not exactly appalling, is still poverty level. We said they had to raise it. Adult employees need to be paid at least 60 thousand roubles a month. Why can't it be paid? Is the economic structure set up, that the driver of a garbage truck can't be paid a fair salary? What's the basis for saying so? What kind of insulting pay-packet is it? It's on the very limits of human subsistence! The level at which someone feels no self-respect, and has to go around with holes in their shoes. And I really mean, with holes in their shoes!
Let's come back to our idea of a community of businesspeople. The book says specifically, Vladimir, your readers will finance projects which are of interest to them – those very people who are setting up those settlements. It says so specifically.
I'm already sick of hearing, how people continuously moan that the State needs to allocate housing, with a guarantee for 20 years, so that the house won't fall down. So what the hell is all this, anyhow?
So come on, build those homes, with a 20-year guarantee. Do the people who live in it have to feel as though it's made of titanium, so that the 20-year guarantee will hold up? Russians, y'know, can even manage to break a building made of titanium. It's written that the system of financing will be from the residents, people setting up patrimonial residences. Vladimir, your readers are going to finance a community of significant projects, including the demolition of harmful production facilities. Well, it may not be much of a start, but anyhow, we can get clean land, build on it, and then see announcement made of the forthcoming sale. It's clear that enthusiasm for this is over. The resources are finished. We see adverts announcing “For Sale – Patrimonial Residence”. No-one wants them.
about the businesspeople. There are not enough of them. If there are 50%, as
proposed in Vladimir Merge's books, who will make up the membership of
entrepreneurs in settlements, then we can stop calling these places
'patrimonial estates', and call them as they are – agricultural producers. It's
a way of life for them, the people are happy with it, since they have a choice
there. How should they live? In the
city, or on a patrimonial estate? And, err, why? Because people want extra
freedoms, right? When they get them,
they are happier. So why, if I want to live on a patrimonial estate, but be a
lawyer... and my main earnings would come from my legal work... or if I'm a barrister, or a computer
programmer, or an Uber owner, or a surgeon, or a cardiologist, or whatever... You, probably, know more professions than I
Why can't I
have a family estate, not as my mode of life, for me to be able to pass it on
to my children, so that my grandchildren can live there too, remembering the
history of their family, their family tree.... Why do people have to regard me as an
agricultural producer, can you please tell me?
Thus the task of recruiting entrepreneurs into the organisation of settlements consisting of family estates seems – to me – to be one of the most important. The reason is because it's a resource-base, that can help us to realise an important principle that's also written in the books – people were born to manage everything.
That's what the books say. And the books also say … now listen up, dear readers, to this, please! It's written that 'the creator will never stoop to asking. The creator is able to grant it themselves. So if you are asking, then it means...” And you know the rest, right? Yet we won't start asking... instead we'll demand it from the state, right?
We don't ask... we demand. We're creators, after all. And the main task, which we resolve with our team, is creating a societal model that proves that a good life is possible in rural communities... the way that people will lead a modern and progressive way of life.
We don't demand that people are in clogs or straw clothes, either. It's a societal model. This means that we're trying to decide what direction to take, in three ways. The first is personal well-being. In our team it's normal for everyone to have their own income, as well as some reserve cash – enough, let's say, to live for a year. It's the minimum balance.
It all starts from the precept outlined by Sun-Tzu – that a poor country is one which has reserves available for less than three years. A more-or-less stable country would have reserves set by for at least 9 years, and a truly stable country would have enough reserves on hand to survive for at least 27 years. This is why we believe that it's important that an individual should have enough reserve resources put by to be able to live for at least a year. And, in consequence, we aim that our colleagues develop, so that they really have such a reserve. Saying how to manage your own affairs is what's known today as a 'business'. There are many business trainers, and I even admire a few of them – but some I don't like, because they really have no clue about business in reality. They just give people a headache.
We aim to set things up so that people earn a stable income – and show them how to do it. When people become successful, they acquire the potential and ability to become useful to the team, and they can contribute something useful. The third task we're resolving is the role of the collective, through its own strength and its collective strength, to be useful to society. What can be said about this, as you perhaps have heard, is that we've already held three festivals in Moscow, at CSKA.
Each of us has contributed to funding these festivals, along with the respected Suleyman Sarzhonovich Raymov. I've been very pleased to see that in addition to our team, an additional entrepreneur joined in support for the second festival. Unfortunately I had no chance to meet them again, although I would have liked to. He, too, contributed money, which was very kind of him. For all the other instances – just think! - we held the festival, and it cost averagely one and a half million roubles in clear expenses, and we didn't make a single penny back from it. And this is the third task we are engaging with – that of being useful to society overall.
We need to popularise this, clearly – because the principles which are enshrined in the books of Mr Vladimir Merge constitute a world view capable of providing society with a basis for development, and not only of the economy. You remember the principle, which Vladimir Merge outlines in his books, when an old man said to him – 'the material and the spiritual should be like two wings of the same bird – and then it will be able to fly'.
One wing is the material aspect – the other wing, the spiritual. But when one of the wings is biased towards the spiritual, and the material wing suffers in result – can a bird with one wing still fly? Or, the other way around, if the wings are biased towards the material, and the spiritual lags behind – we once again see a bird with only one usable wing.
These three festivals are the third aspect – doing good for society – that we are trying to promote, and make this world view popular for people – and this is why we are devoting energy to this aspect.
And so, we invested one and a half million roubles into the festivals. Personally, I made 14 or 15 visits to Moscow, purely to set up the stage, the sound, the video recording, the security and fire safety arrangements, set up all the agreements. This was CSKA, a major venue – but it's not possible to set up major social events at CSKA in Moscow.
Now, what have you heard about the settlements? 'I shall not permit sin or weakness in myself', remember that? I multiply your glory. Well, and what have we seen of the multiplication of this glory? We are so poor, let us in for free, huh? And what's that – glory or shame, would you say? This is the way we are guided by things, while I told you all my beloved ideas and phrases. But what really got me hooked were these two things.
Firstly... that day shall dawn, when the fathers finally understand that it is they who are responsible for the peace in which their children live. And before the child can be led to it, the child, too, must be happy. The catastrophe unfolding today, is that our children are giving birth to children, people are getting pregnant in rented apartments, giving birth to children in rented apartments. What kind of paradise is this? They are suffering. And then later on, with the memory of their sufferings, they find they can't live alongside each other, and get divorced.
And Mr Nikolai Merge has laid down all the bases for stopping all this, so that parents become more mature. Even birds – brainless, cawing beasts, you could say – first make their nests, and only then start having children in them. So what about humans, then? An apartment with a mortgage, and they give birth in it. They're still kids themselves – they can't fend for their family, and they shouldn't be allowed to have children.
All this has to be overcome – and the world view, and the principles which are laid out in the books of Vladimir Merge can help us to overcome it all. The next task – the task of one boy or of one man – is to make one woman, one girl, happy. Excellent criteria.
But can you imagine what kind of girl – young, beautiful – could be, if she follows the principles of Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer? I can't even begin to imagine it.
Well, I can't imagine it! And haven't seen it. I've seen loads of people who've laid out farms the way Sepp Holzer says – and I've yet to see a single happy face.
Have you ever met his wife? Have you met his wife?
That's it, that's all. Okey, I've sharpened myself up now, and I'm ready for your questions. Let's start the Press Conference.
Mikhail Yurevich Pavlov
Many scientists – both at Moscow State University and other major universities and institutes – are interested in the practical questions of how conditions are in Moscow Region, since you've been there many times and know the specifics – and how to use the experience of other Russian Regions in establishing our own estates, going there regularly and staying there. The number of days which scientists spend there can be three times a week. Of course, everyone has their own personal timetable. Is it possible, under that kind of set up, develop a patrimonial estate, and what are the practical recommendations you would make? And can one live there, let's say, in winter?
If you've got good heating, then you can live there in winter too. And if you've got good cooling, then you can also live there in summer.
Mikhail Yurevich Pavlov
The transport problem...
is a transport problem. But look – we set off on Friday, those of us from
Moscow who live there, and we leave on Thursdays or Fridays. Then on Sunday we
head back to Moscow, or maybe even early on Monday morning. The amount of
traffic is the deciding factor. If you
want something enough, then your intentions will always find the way out.
You know what interests me? I've looked at dozens of different management theories, and the shortest and we chatted through most comprehensible of them with Alexander Samokhin, when I wrote my paper. He liked the idea too, the system of five clear ideas. Man is born to lead, Vladimir Merge writes – and to lead in all matters,
But in what way will Man lead? Anastasia said the following to Vladimir Merge. “Energy is born of life, provided there are two goals – the short-term, and the long-term, Creating and establishing your own patrimonial estate – well, basically that's a long-term goal, and it requires much more than just setting up the plot of land. If there are no structures in place that will provide security – then you'll see the bulldozers, or fires, or whatever. You'll have Social Revolutionaries turning up, who knows – or Communists! Or some new apparition of governmental power....”
“And they'll say... 'Oh, how nice it is here! So you can get out!' And what patrimonial estate will you be left with, then, eh? Everyone's saying “I live on my patrimonial estate!” But there's no law about patrimonial estates! We live on designated farmland, we live on Personal Farm Smallholdings (PFS)! These aren't 'patrimonial estates'! That's just our dreamworld! To make it happen, we have to bring legislative measures into place!”
Yes, we need laws. And there will be regulatory laws. Laws that will regulate patriomonial estates. And when we have them, it will be the time to say that we live on our patrimonial estates. But meantime we are just a risk group, while we are investing our whole lives, all our resources, in order to set up these places properly. But if we fail in securing a legal basis for them, then the outlook for patrimonial estates is very bad. We're already finding it hard to pay Land Tax on the land's cadastral value – of one hectare. They're raising the cadastral valuation.
If we think back to the time when we used to pay 700 roubles per hectare, and that was just five years ago – well, now it's fourteen thousand roubles. And they're continuing to put the price up – this year it's going to be even more. What're your feelings about fourteen thousand? My grandfather's a pensioner – his whole pension amounts to fourteen thousand...
But he managed to establish his one hectare of land, thank God, and planted an orchard on it. This year, sadly, the crop was poor, but in the past his young orchard could produce up to 180 thousand. But this year – crop failure. And so what? They still set the cadastral value on the basis of 180 thousand. If he didn't pay it – what could have happened? Get off the land. What so-called 'patrimonial estate' do you claim here? And with designated agricultural land, the situation's even worse. On agricultural land, they can calmly show up with a bulldozer, and trample the whole lot down.
This situation has to be resolved. What we have to do, is articulate our intentions clearly, and work in close tandem with theorists and practitioners. We've heard some wonderful presentations today - one of the presenters is involved in land reclamation and improvement themselves, at Federal level. He has been a government minister, the Deputy Ministry of Agriculture – yes, on that level. He has offered his services, and he is involved in land reclamation profile projects.
He has even shown how it could be done. We have to legalise the status of settlements, which are currently established on statutory farmland. This is of critical importance – because there are already tens of thousands of people, whose land rights are no better than birds. In theory, their properties are at risk of demolition at any time. They don't get demolished, but I have no idea why not? Probably it's because the authorities don't have enough bulldozers, or perhaps there is no current interest in the land the properties stand on. But if even a flicker of interest appeared, those properties would be flattened – no matter that children live there, or that they have flowers in their gardens, or trees, or orchards – no matter about anything at all. They'll just bulldoze them, and not even ask the families first.
That's not true.
Oh, sure. You may like to believe - like mad people believe - that evil-doers do no evil. Okey then, let's say... patrimonial estates will happen, when there's a law governing them. What's the reason that we're working so hard to popularise the idea, and work in collaboration, whenever we can, with scientists? It's because they can bring the correct written formulations of the ideas, and can proceed from those towards preparing a Bill.
Tens of thousands of people – just a fraction of them are here today, the successful ones, for whom things have more-or-less worked out. But do you realise, that we are watching a huge number of people trembling in court, because their properties are under threat of demolition? This situation needs to be solved urgently.
May I put a question to you?
Yes, of course. You've come here especially, to ask your questions. Let me reply to the question put by Mikhail Pavlov. “People only light up with yearning, where there's something to burn” (quotation from V Merge). Where there is a difference between short-term and long-term goals, then the energy of life is created. The concept of a solution is quickly found. We just drive for one hundred kilometres, and you quickly find the road, and you take things from there. Yesterday there was a lot of discussion of alternative methods of doing business, or of study, or of education.
Where we are here today, I'd say, is still in the nineteenth century. Looks like we've got microphones, right? But what we're talking about will be the twenty-first century – when there will be different information, and completely different work algorithms, and of working together. Could it be possible? Just listen, you, or you... well.. well then Mikhail and I... we're just are friends, and sometimes I get carried away... You've been to our settlement, so you saw what we're doing there, with your own eyes! We have some time to relax, and we have incomes, more or less... and the local people respect what we're doing. The local administration respects what we're doing. You came along with us, and with local people, when we went along to the local adminstration offices, and you saw the model we presented. It's a real working model.
As well as that, you can see our business. It's a business that operates on clean principles. It's hard to pay taxes right now, to complete the stocktaking, we have to do something with that, we've got agentophobia, y'know? We even have to check-out the third counterparty! And you know, they even visit us from the Fraud Squad... something needs to be done about that, they have to quit putting the frighteners on us.
May I please ask our scientific colleagues to join in? This is getting impossible.
like to put two questions at once. There's a guy who is creating a patrimonial
estate on designated farmland in Smolensk Region. The patrimonial estates are
large. So my two questions are these... The first question, you raised the issue that the problems of designated
farmland have to be resolved somehow. And that is my situation. I have planted
red-leaf trees on designated farmland, which is not something prevented in
principle in the criminal codex. They've been supported by ninety courts. The
Russian State Assessors accepted a complaint filed by a neighbour, and a
furious dispute blew up. Because of the
land designation, the neighbour claimed I am not cultivating the land. He wrote
a letter to Putin, and subsequently a whole collective farm of officials get
sued under this article... well, maybe not exactly sued, but they don't support
me. But anyhow, the Commission of
Russian State Assessors sues me under Article 8.7 Section 2 – which means
'ground erosion has been found in the soil'. Yet moreover, in the evidence documents they write that no erosion was detected. So, we move on to the issue of the soil
itself, and it turns out that there is no breach of the Land Laws, yet without
actually testing the soil – they still manage to write that the condition of
the soil has worsened.
Now I, as a practitioner, repeat that ninety courts supported the case, as you see. Now, I have to apologise here that I am butting in with my own personal case, when addressing Irina Petrovna... she is reviewing the case, as a lawyer, and puts an emphasis on the fact that it's a classic case for Russia. So that makes it interesting, how the case could be resolved. What's your opinion?
Hang on a second, please... so you're saying that you're setting up a patrimonial estate... or is this something else?
Yes, yes, that's what I'm doing.
And the courts have ruled about the land, on which you're setting up the patrimonial estate?
Yes, but my problem is slightly different. I am planting red-leaf trees. Smolensk Region is one of Russia's most depressed regions, and they invite people to come and take over the land, so that patrimonial estates are built there.
Well, this is what I'd say. What we do, before we start planting anything at all, establish a plan for the improvement of the land, and then we send it up to the Head of Administration for approval. Next, here in Russia we have a system, when the Head of Administration gives approval, they approve it similarly with the Procurators and with the Environmental Agencies. We only start doing anything, after all these stages of approval have been gone through. We've spent endless years on this. Zhenya? In our clip we show how in one case we spent two years on doing all this. Just to get approvals.
Then, only after we get approval, we start planting things. People applaud us, no-one gets in our way. But what you are doing is what they call unauthorised seizure. It's a punishable offence, and will remain one. Don't count on whether what you're doing has a public good. It's only good from your own point of view. And if there's anything exotic....
Excuse me – but you've not listened to my question.
I'm not asking what I'm doing. And by the way, in law, and at first, and so on...
That's all irrelevant. What I'm asking is, what am I to do now? A very large estate...
Personally, I don't think people should grow gardens on farmland. That's my view.
So what kind of land are you using, and what do you grow? Have you got permits, that allow you to grow plantations there?
Since you're asking the questions now, my land is undesignated -no ploughing, no nothing. I have the right to grow crops.
To be able to answer your question, we need to look at the designation of your land, and what permits have been issued to you. It's not allowed, there's not a country on earth that would... Y'know, in Europe, it's even illegal to pull over on the hard shoulder..?
I'm sorry. I'm not asking my question on my own behalf.
I see. So on whose behalf are you asking?
I'm asking about farmland, about patrimonial estates located on farmland. What are your suggestions, and how can we make them legal?
In locations, where a settlement has already been established, you need to develop a special regime of legalisation and – as the very first thing – to establish the status of the land as a patrimonial estate. The second thing is to change the status of existing settlements there, to “settlement consisting of patrimonial estates”, and make sure every plot of land has the status of a patrimonial estate. You have to establish a land-use designation. It's a historic moment! You see, there's nowhere on earth where it happens, that a person is born, and there is a place which they already own, and they live on it!
Our dog has a place of his own to live, a hare has somewhere, so does the fox. Whales have a place, they're very large, and they have no intellectual work to do, no societal responsibilities – nothing. But still whales have a place to live, and they don't have to pay for it. But people? Wherever they want to live, they have to pay. Even if it's in an apartment, even if they've bought land and built a house on it – they still have to pay, at least they must pay property taxes for the rest of their lives!
Now listen to this bit. There was a mention of how to avoid double taxation. We paid while we earnt – VAT, profit taxes, NDFL Income Tax.. we paid the lot. We paid into the Social Fund. If we had anything left, we bought a plot of land, and bought building materials out of anything we had left after taxes. On the sweat of our own brows, we built our houses.
And then they want to charge us Property Tax. And not a one-off payment, but every year! What achievement did we make, that they tax us all the time? Whales pay nothing, mosquitoes pay nothing – but human beings are the only creatures on Earth, which have no right to their own patch of land. That's why there's a law, basically, which we are discussing here – it's so complex, so revolutionary, and alters the relationship people have with society...
If anyone fails to understand what's being said, they need to give it some thought. This is a radical shake-up of the Status Quo. This is something we've never seen before on this planet. This is what Mikhail Pavlov calls the increment of new knowledge. If this begins to gain traction, we'll see an enormous number of completely unfamiliar interactions.
Nor should you ask anyone now – not me, or Vladimir Merge, or Mikhail Pavlov, or anyone else either – how it will all happen? Dear Friends, we are at the right at the start of it. We realise very well, that the system is in collapse. It's outlived its use. But we also see that there is an alternative to it – a new system, clear from many examples. It's three hundred and seventy settlements, the energy of human striving, that exists right in those very settlements.
Now look... no other people have any aspirations left. We're dying, because of that. But this is something else, a truly new civilisation. A new paradigm for a new society. And because of this... yes... oh, and remind me what the question was, please?
Well, it was a good theoretical answer to the question given – but it was a practical question.
Just a second, and we'll give you a reply to the practical question!
What I can say as the Director of a Law Firm is this. You have a specific problem, which has to be settled within the framework of existing legislation. You just have to go to court. There's no magic about it.
So, what is it that you're saying I should do?
You have to commence your legal action. There's no magic about it. There won't be the decision, that we could tell you right here. The problem is that you took wrong steps at the outset. If you'd had the issue of having designated farmland, but you instead went and began laying out a patrimonial estate on it, then you began the whole thing wrongly. You committed infringements from the outset.
Now you will have to follow things through court procedures. There's no magical way out of it. Exactly as Dmitry said, while there is no law in existence, which...
The law says nothing about patrimonial estates. The law says that a hobby is a hobby, planting trees.
You know, I don't need to restate my question. If you'd prefer, I can set it out in detail, so that the legal consultation could be exact and measured. But right now, Dmitry Vitalevich is wasting valuable time...
Well, okey, but now my second question... Both you and I have carefully and lovingly read the words written by Vladimir Merge... specifically, that the people who move into these settlements will be the most spiritually motivated people on Earth. I have already made many friends among them, They are truly deeply spiritual people, and many of them have become deeply changed.
Actually in the text itself, the phrase is “spiritually and materially”.
And it's about the material aspect I'd like to talk now. It's clear why they would be rich in a material sense...
I don't get it yet...
Well, then let me give you my view on this – and you, perhaps, can explain, and add your own ideas. They'll be rich, because... because what they want to do, is to create the most pure, the most costly eco-friendly product – and what they have left over they will sell, not actually a product for sale. Their product involves all the labour, and work and so it improves. That's the question...
So was that the question? Or confirmation?
Well, okey, give us your question.
The moment was a bit unclear, and I permitted my own point-of-view to get in the way. Why does the production system that produces impure foods currently fail? What's your view?
Aha! It's winning right now, by a score of around a million-to-nil – just to bring you up to date. All of us – and I include here all of us who live in these settlements – consume our calories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates from foods which we buy, rather than from foods we produce for ourselves. Where do you see a 'win' in that? It's a complete lose-lose. How come you are giving information that can't be accepted?
Yes, but I'm talking about the future.
About the future?! Okey then, about the future. Let's make the question about the future.
I was asking, why is it winning, somehow, or perhaps?
It was a hypothesis. But if you were to take, let's say...
Merge, you mean?
What d'you mean?
Just a second. What's Merge go to do with this? Go ahead and ask your own question.
I've already put my question.
What was it?
Why is it, that right now the food production system...
Well, alright. As well as the food production system, Vladimir Merge has written that Russia will become the processing centre for all the world's finances. But you somehow aren't including that, right? It will include tourism, it will include scientific development, it will include innovation. Why are you keeping quiet about that? Why are you marginalising us all, saying that we all have to become agricultural producers? You understand, this is just going backwards, back to when there were peasant crofters? I got sick of hearing that stuff back when everyone was shouting that it was the main thing... well, you know, there were politicians who wanted everyone who read the books of Vladimir Merge would harvest their own output, just like that woman who suggested that the State was going to confiscate the entire output...
And you know, back even before that was an even more pernicious system, when you had to hand over everything each tree had produced... whether or not it had actually produced it...
Well, you know, a lot of attention is paid to that issue. So then, let's...
But why? The audience will tell you... You can you leave, if you....
I'm already leaving...
I believe that it's wrong to marginalise Merge's readers, and write them off as merely agricultural producers. Amongst us there's a very high percentage of highly-educated people, including a large number of scientists.
Very competent members of government are interested in these ideas. I'm a woman who has submitted a paper here, and the main thing is growing food... Well, you know, to identify the main point, it's a very special issue of interest, in my opinion, a paradigm – to make everything else seem damaged. What would you say is the most important – the liver, or the heart?
What about you, are your eyes or ears more importa nt? Who is most important for you – your father, or mother? What is more important – the ground, or the sun? Choose just one. Choose the most important, and do the most important thing. Guys! This is nuts! Paracelsus put it correctly – only I'm not a good reader, as you can imagine, I'm just a primitive individual, but I managed to graduate from Farming Academy, and down in the Russian Kuban at the Farming Academy they say “Everything's poisonous, but everything's medicinal – it just depends on the dosage”.
So what is really the main thing? Maybe today the most important thing is getting something to eat – because there might be a tomorrow. So. Today the main thing is breathing, or sleeping. The three controlling factors are food – what else? Reproduction, to put it gently, and domination. We need to show ourselves. That's all. Bye.
Professor Dmitry Platonov, Moscow State University
Actually I have many questions. We'd like to express our deep gratitude in thanking Dmitry Vitalievich for the enormous enthusiasm he brings to such events. I'm hard to convince on such things, but I felt his enthusiasm
Yes, it's those, you know, and it's very important. And here are his assistants – a very clued-up group. My question, as a historian of Russia and foreign countries, and it's connected with this topic. Can there truly be implemented a... I'm not sure what to call it... a fourth... or perhaps a fifth economic revolution?
Are we already on the sixth?
They figured it out, and we have.
Fifth... sixth... tenth... Well, whatever, it'll definitely be something very serious, it seems. It's because mankind often suffers. It's because the State behaves extremely strangely, most especially the top officials. They behave strangely, they behave... very badly, to put it mildly. And so, the question is as follows. Insofar as they don't give us the opportunity, as creative people, to develop such ideas, or bring them to fruition. It's quite obvious – everyone knows understands why. Yet none of us, for some reason, raises any kind of connection to society... and thus everything... remains the same as it was before.
However, I think that the opinion of society today will now gradually change. Why? It's because the creative principle is the foundation of our lives. Everyone understands this. It's a further question, that we absolutely have to stand together. On this basis, it's only a united people that will have the ability to overcome the strange difficulties that we encounter among our kind of people.
With this in mind, many such people agree, and I've spoken with many of them - “Yes, we're in favour”, but then – maybe not. As a historian, there's one thing I should say. I've sat and listened to Dmitry Vitalievich – and Dmitry, you really need to collaborate actively with historians, because there is a huge volume of interesting information, which could be put to use. It's obvious. Since you were talking of approaches.
You couldn't say I made a point of studying them... I simply found some time, when I saw how peasants do their work. And on the question of animal waste, which can spread all kinds of disease... But you know, the peasants in the European part of Russia had so-called 'cow cemeteries'. They were everywhere along the edge of the forest, and even today people know where they are. And those are the places to keep away from. It's where they buried animals that were infected.
These corpses are dangerous for humans, and for other animals too. What I'm saying here is very real, and not Old Wive's Tales, I must say.
Cattle cemeteries fell out of use, regrettably.
Cattle cemeteries – that's another issue. But it's still a huge problem, connected with archaeology. People told me such terrifying things about them, that I found it hard to sleep later.
It's absolutely true.
I'm being completely honest with you. And it's because of the financing. Well, the first point I should mention is that when times are hard, people unite. And that's how money is found for things. And there are, at least, communal mutual credit schemes. These were at the beginning of the twentieth century. We had them in Russia. Another thing, quite recently there was a very serious report by the St Petersburg historian Karelin, titled “Communal Mutual Credit and its era”. The material is very well-researched. He manages to bring together all kinds of things. You could look it through, and find things that you could use.
Why reinvent the bicycle, if we already have it? They had a lot of experience. Communal mutual credit. Why can't it done? Meanwhile, however, you're right – it needs new legislation, and all that goes along with it. Then, the next issue... I'd like to mention, that the most valuable point you made, was the need to find the money.
I agree. Yet history shows that there were experiments including printed material, even artificial money – and this was allowed by the Soviet authorities. I was recently studying how hard things had been in the period around 1922 – when suddenly everything stopped, because of so-called 'scissor prices' in the history of the economy. And when those 'scissor prices' cut in, the peasants began to hold onto everything. They wouldn't sell a thing. And then, do you know what the State did?
The Soviet authorities were very sensible, and at that time the Secret Police was being run by Felix Dzerzhinsky. He brought a rather interesting project to the table. “Let's do it like this. We will issue Bonds, which we will later repurchase – in other words, we'll pay the money back to the peasants. But back then, there were absolutely solid guarantees about such things. It was a superb idea. Do you get it?
An excellent idea. Why can't it be put into practice?
There is answer. It can be done.
But it's just not needed! Simply not needed. Allow me to tell you why. It's because the quantities of resources which entrepreneurs have now is so great, that it would easily cover the entire movement's needs. The real problem is the huge marginalisation of life in villages – that's the first thing – and a high marginalisation of power, a huge level of marginalisation of the police – this is all very important.
Then there's the low status of those who live in rural areas. If we could return things to something closer to normal, and set up structures which would make entrepreneurs happy to contribute to the development of villages and village life, then we'd have no need to reprint anything, you can see with the naked eye that those resources are more than enough – you know the size of the system!
Oh, I agree, I agree! But if shortages arise, there's nowhere to fall back on for resources. It could be that this is all completely realistic – if only the authorities had the will to do them? Everything depends on the good sense of the authorities. Everything depends on them. They could put all this through. It's completely realistic.
I'm in full agreement.
Completely. And another thing, a final thing – we were talking about the timescale. Well, twenty years - it's not enough.
It might take two generations – about 49 years. Then the idea would finally begin to take hold. It's impossible to do it under a twenty-year guarantee. It's not long enough. But if it's on our own land, why not for ninety-nine years?
If we're talking about a Law for Patrimonial Estates, it should not be 20, but 49 years.
With an unending guarantee.
No, there must be checks. In reality, there are many who won't be able to withstand that kind of life. They will have to leave.
And the option to leave should also be guaranteed.
Yes, of course. Of course.
Well, and why not? If it hasn't worked out for them?
But for those who make it, the guarantee should be unending. Not just 20 years.
Well, for two generations, at minimum. Minimum. That's why I say 99 years.
years, then limitless.
We have to reach a decision.
Of course, of course.
We've only just started. Just started.
No-one knows the exact answers. We're looking for solutions. Meanwhile it's just a hypothesis.
Then the next thing is about common land. Both in Russia, and in the West, abroad, common land always had special stipulations concerning its use.
And the forests, too. That's not such a simple question.
It's been well described.
It's a serious issue. Forests have rivers and lakes, and collective farm pastures used to be there, I know. Everything you might need.
Thank you very much.
It's another serious issue.
Well, thank you.
And thank you, too.
It's great to find there are such enthusiasts.
You mentioned animals, and birds...
No.. Well, what I said, I can remember. Please give us your full question.
Dr Nikolai Khozhainov, Moscow State University
A specific question, please? Please be specific.
Why should people have to pay twice, or three times, and so on?
They needn't. It's what I've been saying.
That's not right.
A short answer to a short question.
Do you know of anyone among your colleagues, who has a grasp of the legal framework?
I don't quite get your question - you'll have to excuse me.
What I mean to ask is, why we have to pay twice, or three times? Don't you have anyone who's human? You might be a registered entity, or a private citizen, or anyone at all – but there are no actual people.
Okey. Alright, I will take your question...
You understood me, I hope?
Sure, I understood you.
I'm asking a purely professional question.
Of course, I understood your question. I'll answer it now.
We're just not people. I don't even have the status of a person.
Thanks, I got your question, let me answer, please.
It's the reason why all this stuff is happening to us.
Let me answer, then, in brief.
There's a category of people this happens to. But there's another category, who follow their own will instead. Both groups are made up of people. People! Those people with a bit less nous or free will generally show some creative freedom – everything happens with them, and is somehow solved for them. But for those who demonstrate a greater level of free will and organisational ability, very little happens to them, yet more depends on them.
What I'm saying is this... the more a person displays their free will and intelligence, the fewer bad things happen to them, and the more things depend upon them.
This is why I hope you'll be able to know more and more, to be able to manage your lives successfully. That's my reply. You're a person – I can see. You have arms and legs, you talk, you have a purpose in mind, to improve your living circumstances. It's that very purpose that distinguishes people from other kinds of species. People are capable of dreaming, planning, thinking. What do I mean by thinking? I mean modelling your future life in your mind, what you will be doing in the future. These are the things which make us human – or, as you might put it, which make me... a person.
You're a person. Everything is fine with you. Yet little depends on you. They told you to pay – and you paid. Well, and very little depends us, either – yet we are trying to develop, and trying to influence the situation, so that rather more depended on us. And it's working. We get fewer unexpected payment demands or requests for additional payments. It's good, isn't it?
Next question, please – if there is one?
There was a reform of environmental policy in 2011 – of the only organisation which protected rights, and which protected the environment. This reform was...
What's the question?
Get to the question!
Yes, please get to the question.
The reform was... municipal activity is carried out only in Moscow. My question is this: could this be done as a Federal activity?
It could be.
So who would do it? And how?
Well, the State.
And who would initiate it?
I don't know.
Okey, that's the end of the question. Any other questions?
On the question of who is with us. We're not playing the police today.
I have a question. What kind of difficulties do you experience at the moment – in generally successful cases? I somehow get the feeling, reading your report. How do you resolve those issues?
The high degree of marginalisation of power, of the police, and of entrepreneurs – these are the main problems. We have the support of the mass media, and generally of the community of most helpful people – good administrators, good scientists, good police, and good entrepreneurs... believe me, they mash up everything. They marginalise, and leave everything in a really bad way.
Their professors are the same, local beat police officers the same, chief constables the same – we know the whole story about them, and government administators - there's only one thing they want, and entrepreneurs have only one thing on their mind. It all results in the marginalisation of layers of society. The guilty parties are the people themselves, who engage in this behaviour.
But why? What do they hope to gain by this?
Why? It's obvious. Let me tell you. They do it to blacken everything – in order to look whiter-than-white yourself. That's their main aim. In response to your question, I would say – there's never a pragmatic explanation for idiocy, and that's why things are getting worse and worse in this regard. There's a very high degree of confrontation. We reached a lot of valid conclusions after watching the presentation given by Alexander Auzuan – who is Faculty Dean here. I really recommend watching them – they are magnificent lectures.
They can offer you a deeper understanding of how to connect modern scientific work with what we find written in the books of Vladimir Merge. Auzan describes the same things about which Merge writes – but in different language, more suited to a scientific analysis or social critique, and in less flowery language than Merge.
Let me give you an example. You probably know – or maybe not – that he's an institutional economist, one of the world's leading figures. He has acted as an advisor to a series of presidents in that field. He writes that social capital is the most essential resource any economy can have. If it begins dropping, the economy crumbles. If there's social capital, which can be called trust, and it grows – then the economy grows with it. He's firmly convinced of this.
Let me run this by you. In our settlement we've achieved a high degree of trust between the authorities, local people, and entrepreneurs. I'm giving you just a tiny, tiny example. But it works. Trust is growing. Cost are down, down hugely – because there are no conflicts. Where could the conflicts be? Better to ask, where are the costs? Costs come with conflicts. The problem isn't that some guy stole a six-dollar thumb drive from my house. The problem is that in order to steal a thumb-drive costing six bucks, he broke a window that cost 50 bucks to fix, trampled all over a rug that cost 100 dollars, and stole data that I needed the next day for business talks, and I had to pay six bucks to get a fresh printed copy. On top of all that was all the time I lost due to the break-in, and going to get the local duty police officer. How many people had their time wasted due to all this, huh? A team of seven workmen got called out to make emergency repairs. I lost two or three days waiting around while the house wasn't left secured. So my actual loses were huge.
If you start to add up all the costs in that burglary they run up to thousands of dollars – and I'm not kidding. He stole a $6-dollar thumbdrive – but the level of conflict it created was gigantic. Not to mention lowering the level of social trust. The social structure which we're working to instil in our community can be seen. With the right level of social interaction, that we're establishing, everyone here is discussion the idea of interaction itself.
None of this needs any special laws. Cooperation is the ability people have to work with each other, to agree on things, to find the best solutions to issues, and trust each other. There's no trust. Instead, people are suggesting that you can replace trust with some kind of Treaty Of Cooperation? That's never going to come about! Everyone will find a loophole to avoid compliance. And the reason is that in my view, cooperation on that level has no future at all. It's already conked out many times before. Genuine cooperation comes about with an improved level of social trust.
This is why I keep saying that I have hugely enjoyed in appreciative detail the lectures given by Alexander Auzuan. It's what we find in Vladimir Merge's books – it's what we put to the test in our own settlement. It works in precisely the way that sets out the development direction for society. As an institutional economist, Alexander Auzuan has established the institutions which enable the correct development of society.
Well, if that's all, then thank you all for coming.
Hello, I'm Dmitry, from Belarus, and I have a question. A great deal of what you have described fits perfectly alongside what we've been doing, especially regarding land reform. The difference is that we have no available land at all. We have villages. You described how entrepreneurs have huge potential, with bonuses being paid, and so on. But here's my question. What would you say to a Union of Entrepreneurs, how would you see it? And if you see there could be such a structure, then how could it be brought into being? I mean in the terms of Vladimir Merge? Thank you very much.
That's something I'm always thinking about, and we even demonstrate a kind of model of the way it could be. There are three of us, as you can see. Three entrepreneurs. There used to be more of us – but some of them got more involved with their own projects, and others drifted away, although they continue to be involved. So, how do I envisage this structure? Frankly, I don't have a clear idea of such a structure. Instead I can see a number of different possibilities, but I don't really like any of them much.
I can see, and feel, that there is enormous potential. So of course, a proper structure is essential. In Merge's books, if you remember, there was a strategy outlined. The first stage was to write the books themselves. The second stage is the creation of a community of entrepreneurs with purer intentions. That means that if we say there are two wings – the Spiritual, and the Material – then this can be conceived in management terms as the synthesis of rational and irrational management. This information is all set out in the books, but we then need a resource base and a way of proceeding. These are the two wings of a single bird, and one wing cannot function without the other. The second step is the creation of a community of entrepreneurs.
How do I see the way forward, overall? This is what I think is the most realistic way. When the settlers, finally, the people work to develop the public movement – then funds will start to be made available for the social development of these projects.
Let me give you an example. We were looking the way to involve entrepreneurs in the movement, and we asked how we could do it. The first time we were able to involve entrepreneurs worked out due to the efforts of Maya Vladimirovna Ladilova. The Foundation finally published a Financial Proposal, and we invited sponsors to participate in the organisation of a festival. I was one of the first calls. That was a project. It was very rough'n'ready.
Next, I and Suleyman Sarzhanovich – who addressed this conference yesterday – spent several hours preparing a contract for how I, as an entrepreneur, could pay him as the organiser, so that everything would be properly legal and legitimate. Of course, you can imagine – you want to provide assistance to a hospital legally, and the whole headache begins. Or try providing money to a school, and the headache is even worse – they'll put you in prison.
But anyhow, back to the Foundation – very luckily, we found a mechanism for it, we got a lawyer, a project manager, then we got a specialist lawyer, looked through all the documentation, and worked out how the Foundation ought to operate. We persuaded Maya Ladilova to bear with us, and finally we were able to sign-off on some other papers. Eventually, the final situation was that we financed it ourselves. What I mean is, there was a rational proposal, for a rational project – and we financed it. Then we financed the second one, then the third one, and so on.
The upshot is, the community could happen – if real projects for it appear, and for which financing could be found. As soon as there projects which entrepreneurs are willing to finance, the entrepreneurs will come forward. But we need to assure them that 'you are really needed' – because entrepreneurs are people too, remember? Some people even believe that they're not people.
Oh, I knew that – which is why I asked such a leading question. Is there at least one entrepreneur in all the settlements there are at the moment?
More than that, a lot more.
Of course there are more, right! But they are scattered all over the place, and are often involved in solving the same issues, and stepping on each other's toes. The result is that you sharing this wonderful information with us now, and I'm certain that many people admire your experience, like what you are doing, and how you do it. I'm sure that many entrepreneurs attending this conference would – if it weren't a conference, but a congress of the Association of Entrepreneurs – be drawn in, and find it interesting, would share their different experiences and reactions, and perhaps such an Association could really come about? To make a website where they could always stay in touch and assist each other – where projects could appear, where they could find out what projects are taking place, to assist in bringing things to fruition...
I want to add a note of sedition here. We need to help the disabled! Entrepreneurs don't count themselves among the disabled, and never ask for help. But it's entrepreneurs who are most attracted by the phase in the book which reads 'the creator will never ask – the creator can only give themselves'. There is a kind of bravery I see in that. Those who seek help, need to recognise themselves as disabled – or at least, enemies of courage.
Dr Nikolai Khozhainov
Dmitry Vitalievich, I have a question for you. How can we bring together entrepreneurship in life, with entrepreneurship in patrimonial estates? Of course, a patrimonial estate is no kind of dacha. Nor is it a country house. We are getting to it. It's a special kind of status, unique amongst the dwellings of mankind, which mankind chooses as his primary place for living for practically the whole year.
Yes, that's where we are heading. A place where someone can realise their own potential, and develop. Moreover, he can establish and develop his own human capital, and grow. Of course, this is the very crux of a patrimonial estate – it's not what it may seem. There are even scientists who step forward for this, and I have personally witnessed them doing so this year.
Let me answer your question. Dear Dr Khozhainov, what I should say... how to put this... a woman may carry a child for nine months, and then give birth to it. But you can't ask three women to do the same in three months. For an airport to begin receiving flights, and for flights to leave from there it needs, with the best modern technology, around three years.
A patrimonial estate needs more time – to establish itself and grow, to provide for the full range of functions which you've just described. But it can't be done in five years. Five years is enough for the very first fruits. We'll plant seedlings. Then in another year those seedlings will put out shoots. That's provided, of course, that we don't eat the seeds. Then two years later there might be some flowers, but even so there won't be any crops. It's only in the third year that they'll produce their first crop. But in the fourth year, there won't be any harvest, because usually in the fourth year they don't produce a crop.
They'll be barren, producing flowers only. And then you'll get a crop harvest finally, only in the fifth year – although still not enough to feed the family. It's only when plants have been bedded-in for nine or ten years that they start to produce worthwhile results. And that's only for orchards. If we start talking about the land overall, then that space has to be thought through, in detail. If people only realised that, and took a year over it, or maybe two, so as to lay the space out in accordance with their needs, they would spare themselves a lot of wasted energy, and could instead enrich their imaginations with more worthwhile knowledge, and make a conjectural model of how the space will eventually be used.
Well then – how to do it? Gradually, one year after the next. In our case, we got the land in 2006. Eleven years ago. You've seen how our orchards are now – eleven years ago it was just an empty space and a rubbish dump. Today you can see the crops we enjoy from our trees. You've seen the results of our hard work. We can talk about it, because it was us that did it. Our kids are so acclimatised to it, that it's a punishment for them if they have to live in the city, and not go to the countryside for the weekend. It's a real punishment. But when we come to our estate, they say “we don't want to go back”. And all the children are just like that. There hasn't been a single exception among the kids.
And so, my answer to your question. Just as an airport gets built steadily in different stages, we have to proceed in planned stages, layer after layer, and definitely not quickly.
Dr Nikolai Khozhainov
One small addition to that – how reliably, and how actually can entrepreneurs grow like this? So that they don't drift away, but remain like this one, to continue their horticulture...
The answer to your question comes from the very mouth of someone who has built up their patrimonial estate over 10 or more years. What would be your wish come true, Evgenia?
My dream would be a law governing patrimonial estates. This question never goes away.
And what alarms you most? Speaking as someone who knows.
The worries are simple – if only our government understood that different setbacks can afflict entrepreneurship – including legislation, bankruptcy, or to have your property confiscated. All these can really happen.
And the biggest fear is a patrimonial estate – which is a patrimonial estate at the moment in law – could simply just be confiscated, even though it's your property. So in reality it's not actually your patrimonial estate, but it's your overall capital – which they can take away from you.
Is that an answer to your question, did they get it? It's the most important point! That's why it's on a level children can grasp. It's why children value it, and love it. Children adore this place so very much, and so strongly, that if it were ever taken away from them, it would be a drama and a tragedy for the kids of those entrepreneurs, who have already established their estates.
We love our children, so of course we don't want anyone to upset them.
I should say that I've really noticed it, how the kids got accustomed to it. They're already at school, in their eighth or ninth grades. And they've grown accustomed to it. We've seen it, things are really like that. They're accustomed to it. They don't want to go back to the big city, they prefer to live at their patrimonial estate. It's great.
Well, if there are no more questions, then...
No, in fact I'd like...
Please stay seated a little longer...
Please step forward, if you want to ask a question...
Please, take your seat.
I have a question for Boris Lyovin. the extremely successful director of the 2GIC corporation – his whole career has been extremely professional, as the modern world understands it. That's how it is possible to combine activities aimed to developing your own patrimonial estate entrepreneurial activities and a career. Does one interfere with the other – or, quite the opposite, does one assist the other? How does it work out with the time – do you work on a part-time basis, or with a flexible schedule? There are new models of work life, yet still have to be kept within the framework of the daily 9-till-6.
Boris Yurevich Lyovin
Yes, but how does it help? It helps very well, and I relax when I'm in the village. When we get here, I'm able to recharge my resources much faster here, than I could back in town. In an apartment, or during business trips it's hard to relax. Right at the moment we're staying in a hotel – and it's hard work! About my career... when you're living in this space, you start coming up with solutions that operate even without you, and which enable you to do the same jobs with less work, or which enable you to solve difficulties at a distance, without any loss of quality.
Yes, of course., there can be difficult moments when you're getting ready to leave, live there for a while – but I spent almost the whole of October at home, and was very happy with that too
It can be a very successful synthesis, Mikhail. A very successful synthesis. A very good rest.
Today you've all been talking about one hectare of land. But how do you combine that with a situation in which you have children, and then maybe grandchildren come along – and these hectares are indivisible, and one person inherits it. One son, for example – but you have two sons. How do you see that? Wouldn't it be better to take three hectares, working on the basis that you will have children? And that you will probably have grandchildren. Can you see how the problem looks? And this should be backed up in law, for one family?
There's a simple answer to that, in the books. It's written there, that if a young man and a girl fall in love with each other, they can choose a place where they'll live. And we have to live, ready for when the child who will be last to leave the parental home finally finds their other half. So if there are two children, and one has already left to marry, then the second must equip the patrimonial estate for their own future married life. We are left to hope that they will want to inherit the patrimonial estate. But if they don't wish to inherit the patrimonial estate, then it will eventually stand empty, and will be passed on to others.
Fine, but wouldn't it have been a far wiser move to think of all this ahead of time? In other words, divide the single patrimonial estate, so that the family is left gathered in one place? And here we are specifically talking about the dynasty, the family. A dynasty consists of the parents, their children, grandchildren, and grandparents. You see, where are you going to house them all, so that they can inherit without disputes? Wouldn't it be better to start with a bigger home in the first place?
The dynasty is kept, as a dynastic line, from successor to successor, from generation to generation, and the dynasty is always preserved. I can't see – well, at least not from the viewpoint of formal dialectic logic – any kind of obstacle, nor any possible misunderstanding. It means one of the dynasty will live on at the homestead. The dynasty is only going to grow, in any case. and their rate of growth is going to be greater than one-to-one – and so, as often happens, there is no chance of them all fitting in.
I understand what you're saying. There is a similar problem nowadays with cemeteries – people come to bury the wife, and while they are there, buy a plot for themselves too. But the eldest daughter will be 58 soon too, so she will also need a plot in the near future. Then you go to the graveyard, and you find a fenced-off little spot, with one monument – and they all dream, that they too, are going to lie right there. But it's not going to happen like that. The dynasty will remain at one single estate, on grounds of just one hectare, from generation to generation.
There's just one problem – bringing up our descendants so that they'll want to look after this place – preserve, protect, and cherish it for the sake of their grandparents. I see that we have a three-hundred-year-old oak-tree in the village. Very large. I'd have bought a land plot there just on account of that oak tree, but it's not for sale. But if the great-grandchildren believed that Dima Yaromov had planted it – which means me – I'd be in ecstasy with that single thought.
If I were able to bring up my own son or daughter, so that they, too, would bring up such children who would want to preserve this place, then I'd rate it as an achievement. Now, this is already a completely separate topic, about bringing up children. Look, today, as soon as the parents are dead, the kids are rushing to get rid of all that old junk, as fast as possible – and sell the place off as soon as possible! No desire for memories whatsoever.
We've already said that a law of this sort would radically change the lives of people, and of society as a whole. It would make them better humans. But how can we raise our children, so that when we die, they wouldn't want to just chuck everything out that's connected to us?
From our childhood...
Yes, from childhood. There's the answer to our question. The only thing that'll help is to raise our own kids, so that they would want to preserve this place. But they can't both live there in the one place – every bird needs its own nest, and you can't live in a one-room apartment if there are five of you. It won't work. They have to look for their own.
If I'm talking about my grandson, I tell him that I'm his gran, and I've got two grandchildren, well brought-up kids, and they can come to stay with me on our land. And they both already want to. One of them says to me “Gran, I'll build another house right next to yours. And it will be mine.” And my granddaughter also wants to come. That's why I've been thinking about this, and well, so that they will be able to live together, and keep our family dynasty together, I'd prefer to obtain three hectares.
If it all works out, and you actually have those who could fill up your three hectares, then that is wonderful. But I don't have anyone to share mine with.
thing, of course, is that you've chosen a tricky path. It may, of course, be a
very worthy idea, but...
Which path is that?
Garbage. Garbage. Garbage dumps, and all that. But we have a different way. We've chosen a location...
Why do you call it a difficult path?
Because you have to clear away other people's garbage dumps. Then you have to have to live next to people, who fail to share...
They're not strangers. They're our people.
They're not strangers. They're our people.
I'm talking about my own situation. This is a very noble, very nob...
Question-and-answer, discussion. That's different, question-and-answer. Question-and-answer.
I have one other question?
Please, ask it.
Merge's books have information, about how they chose a location for their estate. Do you remember that? They chose a location at the edge of the village. It means, they were in a place, where they had the option to choose. Do you have such a place, where children would be able to choose?
I can say – yes. But about the nobility of it... Comrades! There is no nobility, no Three Musketeers in any of our activities! Nothing of the kind, that could be labelled 'spiritual', or 'good people' in our work! The whole thing is purely rationalism. It all pays off after just a few iterations. It reaches break-even after just a few steps.
You need to bear in mind, that it's mass-producers who are profitable in business – and in society, and in families. There is no 'good deed' involved in the fact that we cart away garbage, or repair things for the administration. We are simply earning points for ourselves. So I ask you, please to jettison all that 'noble deeds', and 'spirituality' stuff. There's really none of that. We simply do something that's beneficial. There's nothing which could be called 'noble' about what we do.
We just have to do it. But how? It's essential. It's not because I am such a campaigner for the environment, but simply to make my life better, that I have to do it. Then, it becomes established as a role model, perhaps... if we are able to control what we do and do it well, then there could be a situation... but the key elements are management, stability based on reliability, and you could call it... well, something that's never previously been seen in any country on earth. Stability based on reliability. That's what makes it possible to manage the situation.
Now there could be an influence – which affects first one side, and then the other. One side, then the other – but no-one is managing it. Which means you can safely leave d'Artagnan and his musketeers out of it. We're simply doing something that's beneficial, dear friends.
I think that this is already enough for a Press Conference. If there are any further questions, we could consider them after supper, or perhaps later. What I'd like to suggest now, is a round of applause, by way of thanks for the Press Conference. And I'd like to present Dmitry Vitalievich with this book by Academician Mikhail Lemeshev, donated to Dmitry Vitalievich. He specially brought the book for you today, and asked me to present it to you.