“KAMAZ has radically changed the image of machine engineering and the country!”
Celebrations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the auto giant have started in Naberezhnye Chelny, Vladimir Putin is expected to arrive
A series of festive events dedicated to the half-century anniversary of KAMAZ has started in Naberezhnye Chelny. President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, who arrived with congratulations, announced that President of Russia Vladimir Putin is expected to come to Kaliningrad for the main celebrations on December 13. The Tatarstan leader awarded KAMAZ PJSC and its staff with the order ‘For Merits to the Republic of Tatarstan’ and stressed that the project laid down in 1969 has radically changed the face of machine engineering and the face of the country, introducing it into the cohort of world leaders in heavy vehicles. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya who attended the gala evening watched as Mayor of Naberezhnye Chelny Nail Magdeev confessed his love for the auto giant and personally to Sergey Kogogin, and listened to the theory of Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Alfiya Kogogina that “a special type of patriotism was created in Naberezhnye Chelny, which saved the city in the ‘dashing 1990s”.
Minnikhanov: “Putin is going to visit KAMAZ”
The gala evening dedicated to the 50th anniversary of KAMAZ was held in the organ hall in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny. Veterans of the plant and current employees, as well as partners of the company, business representatives, city and republican officials headed by President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, were invited to it. The evening was opened by Igor Lerman's chamber orchestra, performing Vivaldi's compositions as a dedication to the auto giant — KAMAZ PJSC has sponsored the orchestra for many years.
Rustam Minnikhanov, opening the evening, reminded that the republic, of course, will not be limited to this celebration: it only opens a series of events dedicated to the 50th anniversary of KAMAZ. On December 13, he promised, the anniversary will be celebrated at the site of the plant itself — what is more, he revealed the intrigue, with the participation of the top official of the state, that is, Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to visit the automotive city for the anniversary (as we predicted).
KAMAZ was built by more than 100k people
Minnikhanov especially acknowledged those who participated in the implementation of the grandiose project — builders, power engineers, engineers, and KAMAZ employees.
“On the banks of the Kama River [50 years ago], the project was laid that radically changed the face of mechanical engineering, the face of the country. It introduced it to the cohort of world leaders in heavy vehicles. Many regions of the country aspired to build the auto giant,” he reminded. “Considerable merit in deciding on the construction site belongs to our former first secretary of the regional committee, Fikryat Tabeev.”
Minnikhanov reminded how in the early 1970s more than 100,000 people worked at the construction site. 4,2 billion rubles of capital investments were utilized for the construction. More than 30,000 units of the most modern equipment were installed, more than 700 foreign companies and 2,000 plants from 500 cities of the Soviet Union took part in the great KAMAZ epic. Along with KAMAZ, there were created dozens of component manufacturing plants, as a result, almost all sectors of the national economy of the USSR received a huge boost. Thanks to the construction of the Kama Automobile Plant, Naberezhnye Chelny turned from a small town with 30,000 population into one of the largest cities of Tatarstan and “the machine-building centre of the country with wide avenues, high-quality roads, and comfortable housing, landscaped parks and squares”. The president of Tatarstan drew attention to that projects in social, transport and road infrastructure have been implemented in the city particularly by the anniversary of KAMAZ, the work will continue, he promised.
“Indoor swimming pool is being built, new public spaces are appearing, a branch of the republican oncologic dispensary is being under construction, a theatre, we are laying the stone for the construction of a closed football arena in a few days,” Minnikhanov listed the projects, which the team of CEO Sergey Kogogin had lobbied by the plant’s anniversary.
“KAMAZ is one of the twenty world truck manufacturers, it produces every third truck in Russia”
The head of the republic was the first of the leaders (among them — Vladimir Faustov, Nikolay Bekh, Ivan Kostin) to mention the first director general of the auto giant — Lev Vasilyev. The veteran is still alive, he is 94 years old. The Republic of Tatarstan awarded him for contribution in the construction of the plant and development of engineering industry of the region with the highest award of the Republic of Tatarstan — the order ‘For Merits to the Republic of Tatarstan’, and on 9 October a bust of the first CEO was set up in the motor city. Mentioning the last CEO of KAMAZ Sergey Kogogin, the president of Tatarstan said that under his leadership the company began to move to ‘innovative track’. Among other important figures, Rustam Minnikhanov distinguished the former head of Kamgesenergostroy, Yevgeny Batenchuk.
“Indeed, on the way of the auto giant, there have been many both pleasant and sad events. This is the crisis of the 1990s, the fire at the plant [of engines]. But despite all the difficulties, we have managed to maintain the unique quality of production. Today KAMAZ is one of the twenty world truck manufacturers, it produces every third truck in Russia and CIS countries. They are used in 80 countries of the world,” said the president of Tatarstan, reminding about Master Kama Industrial Park (Master KIP). “We have created the largest industrial park in Europe, the area of its closed premises is 1,4 million square metres. For example, there are 284 enterprises, which employ more than 9,000 people.”
Tatarstan President awards the order ‘For Merits to the Republic of Tatarstan’ to KAMAZ PJSC
In the first place, Rustam Minnikhanov was happy that KAMAZ was celebrating its anniversary ‘with dignity’: complete update of production — the plant for the production of frames cabs was opened, a production line of aluminum fuel tanks was launched, the conveyor for the production of advanced in-line engine R5 was launched, the production of trucks generation K5 will start by the end of this year, not to mention the prospects of the project of unmanned vehicles. These projects would not have been possible without the support of the federal authorities and the shareholder of KAMAZ — Rostec Group,” he noted gratefully and asked them to applaud, and after deafening applause, he immediately added:
“But the republic is always near! You can applaud the republic!” for which he received an even louder ovation.
Minnikhanov was personally awarding KAMAZ workers for about 10 minutes — from locksmiths to deputy directors. The first award to KAMAZ, the order and the banner of the order, he presented to Sergey Kogogin: “By the decree of the president of the Republic of Tatarstan for meritorious service of the collective society in domestic mechanical engineering and contribution to the economy of the republic, KAMAZ PJSC is awarded the order ‘For Merits to the Republic of Tatarstan.”
Alfiya Kogogina: “A special type of patriotism was created in the motor city, which saved Naberezhnye Chelny in the ‘dashing 1990s”
The chief KAMAZ lobbyist and, concurrently, the wife of the CEO of the auto giant, Deputy of the State Duma Alfiya Kogogina called the KAMAZ construction, which started in 1969, “great, unprecedented in scale in Europe”. According to her, then “the best representatives of youth, intellectuals, working class” who dreamed to build the plant and “the city of the future” went to Tatarstan, Naberezhnye Chelny:
“You, the veterans, did it,” she said confidently. “KAMAZ rallied all layers of society: youth and adult generation, Russians, Tatars, Mari, Chuvash, Bashkirs, Ukrainians, Belarusians — all peoples lived, worked and had a rest together, one family! It was a pot, in which a special fusion of the qualities of Soviet society was prepared, in which there was no place for envy or chauvinism.”
Moreover, Alfiya Kogogina believes that in the 1970s a special type of patriotism was created in the motor city, which saved Naberezhnye Chelny in the “dashing 1990s” and preserved KAMAZ in that time of crisis. After her speech, girls from the studio of pop vocals ‘21st century’ went on stage and, just in advance knowing about the rhetorical figure of Kogogin, performed a patriotic song with the words “Always forward, we will win” and the chorus “Forward, Russia!”
Nail Magdeev — to Sergey Kogogin: “We love you, we are proud of you, we rely on you”
The mayor of Naberezhnye Chelny found himself in a somewhat awkward situation at the event when he was meant to sincerely thank the team of Sergey Kogogin and him personally, wishing them success, at the time of the unresolved dispute with him. Let us remind that KAMAZ is going to take away from the Executive Committee of Naberezhnye Chelny through court action once issued to him 190 buses, leasing payments for which, according to the auto giant, the city has long overdue. This could cause a transport collapse in the city, but obviously, on such an extreme step in the jubilee December — and even before the arrival of Vladimir Putin — Sergey Kogogin's team will not decide on (it is possible that by now some kind of behind-the-scenes agreement has already been concluded in this regard). However, the mayor's face did not twitch a muscle as he stepped onto the stage with a smile. However, he initially sent congratulations to the veterans of the KAMAZ construction “on behalf of the grateful residents of Naberezhnye Chelny”, whom today are 534,000, KAMAZ gave exactly half a million citizens to a small town for half a century who came here from all over the USSR. KAMAZ significantly changed the fate of the 30-thousandth city, Nail Magdeev believes. Many generations of KAMAZ employees actually chose a new homeland, where more than 80 ethnicities live today. In the end, he personally addressed Sergey Kogogin with words of gratitude:
“To my friend, our comrade — for service and friendship! For that KAMAZ with honours performs all the tasks that face the company. Today Rustam Minnikhanov and I have watched the latest developments, and, to be honest, I once again fell in love with KAMAZ! We love you, we are proud of you, we rely on you. KAMAZ and the city — our destiny!” the mayor of Naberezhnye Chelny told.
Sergey Kogogin: current sales are not enough, and in 2020 an explosive growth of consumption at KAMAZ is not expected
At the evening, where young KAMAZ workers performed their numbers (presenting a large literary and musical play ‘The History of Strong People’, based on the letters of the first KAMAZ pioneers), and city collectives, and honoured artists of Tatarstan, tried not to talk about the economy in general, of course. In the meantime, precisely on the anniversary day, Sergey Kogoghin gave an interview to Vesti KAMAZa corporate newspaper, which did not conceal the difficult situation of the hero of the day: “In our business, it is very difficult to say a good year or a bad year. Very rarely the market is quite so good, for all the time of my work — only 2007, more of this happiness we did not get, everything was as always: it is necessary to fight for a place in the market.” And now there are alarming questions, but the date of ‘50 years’ draws attention to what you can be proud of,” he commented on the situation with the fall in truck sales in the Russian market. According to him, marketers have slightly increased the forecast for the market: previously gave 55-56 thousand trucks, now brought to 59 thousand registrations this year. “We expect to sell 29 thousand [KAMAZ vehicles] in the domestic market and a little more than 5 thousand — for export. There are a number of difficulties in the implementation of export contracts, however, we should finish the year with 33-34 thousand. Is it much or little? For KAMAZ, this is not enough, but it is a given that we have faced and live with,” he said with regret. In 2019, the segment of mainline tractors fell very much, almost twofold, so the company produced fewer K4 cars than planned. And next year, alas, will not be better than 2019, an explosive growth of consumption in KAMAZ is not expected.
Between 1969 and 2019, more than 2,3 million vehicles have been produced.