Athlete, functionary, businessman and benefactor: Ilshat Fardiev celebrates his jubilee

The director general of Grid Company PJSC and vice president of Russia’s Cross Country Skiing Federation turned 60 years

Athlete, functionary, businessman and benefactor: Ilshat Fardiev celebrates his jubilee

“A man of action”, First President of Tatarstan, State Adviser to the republic Mintimer Shaimiev characterised Ilshat Fardiev in an interview with Realnoe Vremya. He is a successful executive of Grid Company, which is in Russia’s top 10, founder of the Tatarstan biggest agricultural holding, ex-minister, lawmaker, benefactor, board member of Europe’s one of the biggest petrochemical facilities. Mr Fardiev celebrated his 60th anniversary on 31 August. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report how the energy general dreamed of becoming a military commander, who “Fardiev’s children” are and how the Tatarstan-born man became a vice president of Russia’s Cross Country Skiing Federation.

How Ilshat Fardiev’s age impeded him from becoming officer

The small village Poisevo with a rich, over 200-year history is located within a five-hour drive from Kazan and 48 kilometres from Aktanysh village. The residents of Poisevo actively participated in the Peasants’ War in 1773-1775 on Yemelyan Pugachyov’s side. It is also noteworthy because First Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev graduated from the Poisevo High School. And in 1947, a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, defender of the Soviet Transarctic, marine Fardiev Shayekh returned to the village of Anyakovo, which is a part of the rural settlement.

“On the second day after his return to the birthplace, my father went to work. He began to work as a brigadier in his collective farm named after Nur Bayan. After getting a driving licence, he worked as a chauffeur and tractor driver. He was the first to sit at the wheel of a GAZ-AA,” said today’s Director General of Grid Company PJSC Ilshat Fardiev in one of his few interviews.

His parents — Dorgaliya and Shayekh Fardievs — inculcated respect and love for labour into all their six children. Photo: energobar.livejournal.com

Precisely his parents — Dorgaliya and Shayekh Fardievs — inculcated respect and love for labour into all their six children as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And it seems that the father’s battlefield stories were so etched on young Ilshat’s heart that the 16-year-old young man went to enter Saratov High Military College together with the same teenagers from the same village in summer 1977. Three didn’t go through a selection process and had to go home, while Ilshat with his friend Azat Bayazitov successfully passed exams and even already began to prepare to take an oath. But it turned out that this was possible only after turning 17 years, that’s to say, almost two months later.

“However, my military zeal waned a bit. And as entrance exams in the military college took place a month earlier than in other universities, we decided to try our luck at other educational establishments,” Ilshat Fardiev said himself.

Fardiev dreaming of becoming a military in his youth. Photo: energobar.livejournal Ilshat

After taking their documents, it took the young men about a day and a half to get to Kazan on the third class carriage’s upper bunks. His friend went to the aviation institute, while Ilshat himself did to the energy institute. And he successfully passed exams here. The only hitch was that he didn’t have a conscription registration certificate. He wasn’t returned the certificate in the military college hoping the grown-up lads would come back. Then Vice Rector of the Power Engineering Institute Forel Tinchurin helped Fardiev then. He admitted the undergraduate, heard him out, believed him himself and persuaded authorised people in the dean’s office that the lad would certainly bring the missing document.

“Now, many years later, I understand how lucky I was that he determined my further path,” Mr Fardiev still remembers that meeting with gratitude.

The future republican energy general anyway tried a military uniform on — when it was time to see service in the Soviet Army.

From poultry farm electrician to minister

In 1983, with a degree in Electrical Supply in Industrial Enterprises in Cities and Agriculture, young Fardiev was employed at Tukay poultry farm as an electrician.

“I was ordered to paint posts on the first day. I drew a scheme of the farm in the evenings for two months. I didn’t mind any job. Chief power engineer Dmitry Sokolov and the shop’s director Anatoly Platonov were real mentors. In 1985, when I was invited to the Chelny concrete products plant, Sokolov was seriously sad: ‘I was preparing you for my place,’” Ilshat Fardiev himself shared memories of the beginning of his track record with a journalist from Republic of Tatarstan newspaper in 2010.

He worked as chief power engineer of the concrete products plant for five years, then he became a director of the column convoy at Tatselkhozvodstroy. In 1995, Fardiev returned to his birthplace as a chairman of the farm cooperative and head of the administration of Aktanysh District.

“My fate brought me back to Anyakovo. My village had been making my heart ache for long. It was unbearable to see from afar the equipment falling in decay, which used to be famous thanks to my grandfather Sharip and Mirgayaz Zamanov. Then my elder brothers Feliks and Rinat became my teachers. Rinat was a farm chairman in Zainsk District, I was in Aktanysh District. We would meet on the border of Poiseyevo lands almost every morning. The brother gave me advice, shared his thoughts. Minister of Agriculture and Food of Tatarstan Fatykh Sibagatullin would often visit us. He was the person who taught to think about tomorrow and upgrade technology,” Fardiev remembered this in the same interview with Republic of Tatarstan.

“I am convinced that if you want to evaluate a manager, find out how people he works with treat him,” State Adviser to Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev shared his observations in a talk with Realnoe Vremya’s journalist. It is said that when in 1998 Ilshat Fardiev was appointed the head of the Almetyevsk administration, residents of Aktanysh made an appointment to see him hoping their compatriot to remain at the helm of the district. The story repeated a year later in Almetyevsk District where Fardiev managed to deserve the respect of the residents of the district within a short time. In 1999, Ilshat Fardiev had to leave the post of the local leader and remember the skills gained in the institute and unite them with the managerial experience, start to perform the duties of the director general of Tatenergo PJSC.

Mintimer Shaimiev: “I am convinced that if you want to evaluate a manager, find out how people he works with treat him”. Photo: shaimiev.tatarstan.ru

“To be honest, this decision surprised me. Power engineering is an elite component of the economy of any country. Remember Lenin’s words who created the plan for national economic recovery and development in 1920: ‘Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country’. Tatenergo was created in Tatarstan in 1931 and still plays a key role in the republic’s development. When the oil industry appeared in Tatarstan and oil production began at the promising Romashkino Field, first of all, corresponding energy capacities began to be created: the Zainsk Hydropower Plant, Nizhnekamsk Hydropower Plant. A lot of fertile lands remained under water, but the price tag was very high as well. Energy is a united, global system requiring stability and reliability. The republic has treated Tatenergo managers with special respect. I remember a very authoritative manager, Viktor Shibanov, who worked as chief engineer for five years first, and in 1986-1978 he chaired Tatenergo for 10 years. Then Nikolay Banykhin occupied this post in 1978-1985. I was pleasantly surprised that Mr Fardiev grew up to become an authoritative manager. Energy is always in view. It is necessary to outstrip time. It is impossible to provide economic growth without launching new energy capacities. It was a big challenge and at the same time huge trust, recognition of maturity to lead the republic’s power engineering in the uneasy economic situation. Time showed that the decision was justified,” State Adviser to Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev shared his observations in a talk with Realnoe Vremya’s journalist.

In 2010, Ilgizat Gayfullin, Fardiev’s successor on the post as Tatenergo director general, noted: “The profession of power engineer turned from ‘grey’ and ‘boring’ into one of the most prestigious ones. This fact is linked with Ilshat Fardiev’s name because in 1999 it seemed the sector was on its last legs. It was an extremely difficult task to raise it. One can only guess how many sleepless nights, arduous hours, how many joys and frustrations Fardiev has experienced”.

Ilgizat Gayfullin: “The profession of power engineer turned from ‘grey’ and ‘boring’ into one of the most prestigious ones. This fact is linked with Ilshat Fardiev’s name.” Photo: tef.tatar

In 1999, Mr Fardiev was elected a deputy of the 2nd Tatarstan State Council (then a deputy of the third and fourth councils) from Zainsk and Nizhnekamsk Districts.

In 2005, Ilhat Fardiev chaired Grid Company PJSC as well. And his impetuous character and rustic background manifested themselves in the creation of Agrosila holding. Today it is Tatarstan’s biggest and Russia’s one of the most successful companies.

In April 2010, Fardiev was appointed vice prime minister of Tatarstan — minister of energy of the Republic of Tatarstan. Photo: tatarstan.ru

In 2010, Ilhat Fardiev stepped down as a deputy and handed over the posts of directors of Tatenergo and Grid Company to his successors due to the appointment as vice prime minister of Tatarstan — the head of a newly created Tatarstan energy ministry.

Economic growth is impossible without energy

As Mr Shaimiev justly noted, “energy always has to outstrip time because it is impossible to provide economic growth without launching new energy capacities”. Tatarstan as one of the centres of the active economic growth of the country experienced its full extent. The republic was just recently an energy-dependent region. And this was especially seen at the stage of planning, construction and launch of new plants and enterprises. So in the early 2000s, the government of the republic tasked TAIF with dealing with the economic rehabilitation of one of the flagships of Russian petrochemistry — Kazanorgsintez. In April 2004, at the annual meeting of shareholders, the TAIG Group management presented a strategic development programme of the enterprise for the following 8 years. It was planned to invested $900 million until 2012 to fully load the existing capacities of the enterprise, modernise equipment and plants, master new types of products.

In April 2004, at the annual meeting of shareholders, the TAIG Group management presented a strategic development programme of the enterprise for the following 8 years. Photo: Mikhail Medvedev

Strategic development plans for the leading Tatarstan sectors was in close cooperation with power engineers. This is why in 2004 when the Kazanorgsintez PJSC shareholders were discussing a new composition of the board of directors, it was unanimously decided to include Tatenergo Director General Ilshat Fardiev together with representatives of TAIF JSC and the republican management to it. He participated in the work through 2009 when in April 2010 he left the KOS Board of Directors, which had significantly expanded production capacities by that moment, only to join the board of directors of another petrochemical giant of the republic that was entering the next phase of active development — Nizhnekamskneftekhim.

As for Tatenergo, the fact that in July 2007 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to award the head of the energy company the Order of Honour says how professional Ilshat Fardiev who managed to give the sector a new impulse turned out to be. The document reads that Ilshat Fardiev was awarded the high accolade “for accomplishments at work and long-term honest labour”. It became possible to stabilise the financial state of the energy union, rescue it from unprofitability and raise the republican energy system to the country’s leading positions within a short period under his management. Fardiev himself cemented leading positions in the ratings of the most professional managers of the country’s energy sector.

In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to award Ilshat Fardiev the Order of Honour. Photo: i.postimg.cc

In 2009, power generation by the republic’s biggest petrochemical companies became an issue. The companies could build energy capacities on their own. But in this case, Tatarstan power engineering would lose a big part of the load of existing central power plants. The second option was to sell a part of capacities in Kazan and Nizhnekamsk to Kazanorgsintez and Nizhnekamskneftekhim, which are a part of TAIF, and TANECO, Tatneft PJSC’s oil refinery. Considering the pros and cons, the republic decided to choose the second option.

“We aren’t against the sale. The appearance of competition in the energy market is the essence of the reform,” Tatenergo PJSC Director General Ilshat Fardiev stressed in an interview with Kommersant newspaper as early as 2009.

The assessment of the value of the power plant was completed in late 2009, and in 2010 Tatenergo, TAIF and Tatneft sealed the deal. The new energy owners assumed the responsibility to modernise the power plant together with the capacities and not to worsen the conditions of heat and electricity supply of residential quarters and social facilities connected to them.

In 2010, Ilshat Fardiev chaired the board of directors at Grid Company PJSC and in 2012 was appointed as director general of the republic’s energy agency after the Tatarstan energy ministry was abolished. The Summer Universiade in Kazan was nearing, and within the time left they had to perform a lot of urgent tasks to provide sports venues with uninterrupted energy supply, moreover, not to the detriment of other consumers. The company’s investment programme almost tripled in price from estimated 3,5 billion rubles. Special accents were made on Kazan as a host of the world university games as well as the developing the Nizhnekamsk energy region and Alabuga SEZ. Ilshat Fardiev already named the reduction in electrical energy consumption for electricity transportation as a priority of the company’s reform. For this purpose, the company began large-scale reconstruction and already in 2012 invested over 1,5 billion rubles in the upgrade and enhancement of reliability of 0,4-10 kW distribution networks.

The plan of measures designed to improve the energy supply reliability for consumers kept being fulfilled in the following years. In 2014, a new 110 kW distribution substation was put into operation in Alabuga SEZ in 2014. In 2015, Grid Company won the bid for connecting Russian Post international logistic centre to the energy lines in Laishevo District. In 2016, the winner of Grid Company’s contract for the construction of Schelokovo Central overhead power lines at almost 5 billion rubles. In September 2016, new 220 kW Begishevo substation solemnly opened together with the Tatarstan president in September 2016. The substation built within a programme designed to boost the reliability of electricity supply of the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub cost Grid Company 5bn rubles.

In September 2016, new 220 kW Begishevo substation was put into operation. Photo: Ruslan Izmaylov

“This project is an order of the president of the republic,” Director General of Grid Company Ilshat Fardiev noted at the opening ceremony. “If not the heated talks and decisions made, we would have still had deviations from the regime that are unacceptable for our consumers,” he stressed.

The launch of the substation allowed energising Nizhnekamsk’s gas and petrochemical facilities, including Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, with the highest reliability.

In 2017, Grid Company strengthened its positions under Ilshat Fardiev’s management by purchasing Enterprise of Electrical Lines PLC covering three-quarters of electricity supply of Naberezhnye Chelny.

For five years, that’s to say, by August 2018, Grid Company significantly increased the reliability and fail-safety of the Tatarstan energy system having invested 45 billion rubles in the new energy facilities, which total over 70. The construction of 500 kW Schelokovo, which embodies all existing technological innovations, became one of the key elements of the upgrade of the republic’s energy system. The substation with an installed capacity of autotransformers of 1,500 MW became the third and biggest power facility in Tatarstan.

“The third independence source appeared in the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub. This has never happened. There has been no outage in the industrial plants in the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub because of external electricity supply in the last two years. We just upped and solved this problem,” Vice Director General of Energy and Information Technologies at TAIF JSC Ruslan Gizzatullin noted in an interview with Realnoe Vremya.

Alabuga SEZ, TANECO, TAIF-NK, Ammonia are among the biggest consumers of this power facility. And the construction of Schelokovo Central overhead power lines allowed creating an independent energy source to supply Kazan from Zakamye. During peal loads and emergency outage, the line can provide 800 MW, or half of the consumption of the Kazan energy region, having become the second independent energy source for the republic’s capital.

Signing of contract between Grid Company PJSC and Rostelecom PJSC. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

The next step of Grid Company chaired by Ilshat Fardiev to increase the effectiveness of energy supply was a contract on 120,000 smart sensors in the company’s distributions networks through 2026 allowing clearly understanding the movement of energy and the point where there is a loss or resources are stolen. The agreement with Rostelecom was signed in the presence of Tatarstan Prime Minister Aleksey Pesoshin. The cost of the programme is 5 billion rubles. And as Grid Company hopes, it must pay back as soon as possible.

As Russian Vice Minister of Energy Yury Manevich noted in an interview with Realnoe Vremya, the introduction of smart electrical energy metering systems will become compulsory for all Russian regions in the foreseeable future.

“The requirements envisaging installation of metering devices will come into force from 1 January 2022. Smart metering devices will allow ordinary consumers to track readings online, moreover, they can be checked on the device itself. The data is also automatically sent to energy companies. Smart devices register the voltage and frequency, thus enabling consumers to track the quality of electrical energy supply. Moreover, with smart metering, consumers have a chance of changing the tariff without replacing a meter. Metering devices will be substituted for smart ones step by step. New consumers will have the new meters installed when networks are hooked up. The current equipment will be replaced as they are down, broken or the calibration period expires. Moreover, energy companies already voluntarily can start installing smart meters, without waiting for 2020. Tatarstan’s Grid Company is one of the leaders in this work — it began building the system of smart metering in 2019 and actively continues this work.”

In June 2019, Grid Company launched another facility. Ilshat Fardiev presented Tatarstan Prime Minister Aleksey Pesoshin the republic’s first 110 kW Portovaya digital substation. It is located in the Old Tatar Settlement in Kazan. By the way, 2,200 organisations of the republic’s capital are provided with the energy of the innovative facility, which has 99% of Russian equipment.

In June 2019, Grid Company launched Tatarstan’s first digital substation. Photo: tatarstan.ru

Grid Company under Ilshat Fardiev continues actively developing in the complicated post-pandemic economic conditions as well. This year already, literally several days ago, a new base of local electrical lines in Grid Company’s director general’s village was solemnly opened — in Anyakovo, Aktanysh District. The fact that head of the Tatarstan president’s administration Asgat Akhmetov participated in this event stressed the importance of this facility for the district’s energy supply. 8 new UAZ off-road vehicles were handed over to power engineers together with the launch of the base to improve their effectiveness. Also, a new park was opened, it was named Power Engineer.

Ilshat Fardiev’s Agrosila: innovations are power

Not to be afraid and aspire to the greatest effectiveness — this is one of the cornerstones of Ilshat Fardiev’s another undertaking. In December 2005, he founded Agrosila agricultural holding in Tatarstan. In the last 15 years, it has turned into one of the biggest and effective households in Russia. 330,000 hectares of fields in seven districts of Tatarstan: Tukay, Aznakayevi, Zainsk, Sarmanovo, Menzelinsk, Nizhnekamsk and Muslyumono, 11,000 pieces of agricultural machinery, 25 leading enterprises are in the top 10 activities. The holding is interested in the cultivation of grain, industrial and forage crops, seed, compound feed production, livestock products, sugar beet processing. These lines have over 12,000 professionals behind — agrarians, stockbreeders, technical specialists annually manufacturing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of different produce.

Marat Akhmetov: “I don’t think that it was easy for Agrosila Group during the formation, but the company managed to do everything”. Photo: agrosila-holding.ru

“The early 2000s were the toughest period in the fate of the agroindustrial complex of Tatarstan and the country in general. The Soviet safety margin was finally running out, many agricultural enterprises turned out unable to modernise, and the disparity in prices worsened the state of the economy year after year. As a result, working capital was consumed, there were unpaid salaries, arable lands were abandoned everywhere, heads of the livestock reduced. During this period, we had to invite banks and big companies to the countryside that were able to attract finance to modernise the sector. Without doubt, Agrosila Group HC, which was a vertically integrated holding by the principle “field and shelf”, was one of them. I don’t think it was easy for them. The formation was tough, we had to deal with the old mentality, gain the experience of management of such structures as up to 300,000 ha of land in cultivation, upgrade the technology and work with the land, while poultry farming is a much more technologically delicate chain. But the company managed to do everything with minimal mistake compared to all big investors of the republic,” stressed Ex-Minister of Agriculture and Food of Tatarstan, today’s Vice Chairman of the republic’s State Council Marat Akhmetov in an interview with Realnoe Vremya.

The holding focuses on modern technology, reliable equipment and professionalism of the staff. As early as 2007, during then-Minister of Agriculture of Russia Aleksey Gordeyev’s visit to Tatarstan, the size of Agrosila was much smaller, the successes, plans and aspirations of the complex got the highest praise. Ilshat Fardiev was awarded a gold medal of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture.

“We often as what modern Russian agriculture should be like. And we find the answer to it here. Most importantly, the investor who keeps up with the times has been found. I understood this after reading the name of the holding’s managing company — Agrosila. We got used to other combinations of words where sila (Editor’s Note: stands for “power”) is associated with electrical energy, oil, gas. While here agriculture becomes power thanks to joint efforts of private investors, big industrial enterprises and energy companies, a well-thought-out policy of the state — at federal and republican level,” Gordeyev stressed after the visit.

The size of the holding’s activity grew with time. The brand Kama Bacon became recognisable far beyond Tatarstan, Chelny Broiler also became one of the trademarks of the republic in the food market of the country and abroad.

The network of distribution and wholesale trade with many branches should help Agrosila hold the lead in the Russian market. Photo: agrosila-holding.ru

In 2015, a new wholesale distribution centre was solemnly launched in Naberezhnye Chelny — the biggest selling chain of the holding. In the same year, the company began the construction of its own food cluster in Zakamye — Zaman technopolis, which is designed to significantly expand capabilities of the meat and dairy cluster of the holding, and Chulman technopolis, which promises Agrosila leadership in the poultry market. The first phase of Chulman, the Volga region’s biggest highly processed poultry complex, was solemnly put into operation together with the republic’s president in March 2017.

“We are amazed at this investment project estimated at over 3 billion rubles,” Rustam Minnikhanov said. “Most importantly, it is an advanced enterprise. It will allow processing 144 tonnes of chicken to make over 300 types of products. All this is automated, complies with the latest world standards,” noted the president onstage after he looked the factory over.

The Volga region’s biggest highly processed poultry complex was launched in Naberezhnye Chelny in 2017. Photo: Sergey Afanasyev

In the middle of 2017, Vamin’s legacy — Naberezhnye Chelny Milk Plant — became part of Agrosila Group.

“We pose ourselves as a holding making produce from the field to the shelf that has a chance of controlling the quality. However, we had an area that we didn’t cover — milk production. This is why it was made a decision to purchase the Chelny milk plant, which was done,” Director General of Agrosila JSC Svetlana Barsukova commented on the deal. She also noted that the purchase of this milk plant didn’t cancel the plan to build another farm and a processing plant in Aznakayevo.

“Agrosila Group is the number one company today. It produces 14% of grain on 8% of the republic's arable land, more than half of Tatarstan's sugar beet, and 126,000 tonnes of poultry meat with its full in-depth processing. Certainly, strategic leadership at all time belonged to Ilshat Shayekhovich Fardiev, who simultaneously was learning himself, seriously studying the experience of the best companies in the world. I was lucky to pass this interesting path of development together with Mr Fardiev. Yes, he is not an easy person. Sometimes it's hard to understand right away. He is a man with a very deep inner philosophy. He doesn't make quick, thoughtless decisions, sometimes even measures more than 7 times, but he doesn't make mistakes. As a person he is very supportive, attentive, certainly requires the same from others," says Marat Akhmetov.

“The workers of the village — employees of Agrosila holding, headed by Fardiev at the moment, speak very warmly of him. The holding includes 25 agricultural enterprises located in 7 districts of the republic. Wherever Ilshat worked, they emphasise his humanity and good attitude to people," Mintimer Shaimiev also emphasises.

Giving good

For Ilshat Fardiev — these are not just words but also another, perhaps, main motto of life. Not every noble act becomes known. Just because Fardiev himself is confident that good should not be talked about, it should be done.

In 2007, when he was the director general of Tatenergo JSC, on his birthday, August 31, he came to Menzelinsk for a solemn assembly on the occasion of the opening of the renovated building of the remedial boarding school for orphans. A few years earlier, Ilshat Fardiev initiated the creation of the boarding school's board of overseers, and Tatenergo took the boarding school under its patronage. In 2001, Tatenergo renovated the building, replaced the furniture and re-equipped the banya (banya — a steam bath with a wood stove — translator's note). In 2007, they helped raise money for minor repairs and redecoration, replenish the library, buy TVs and equipment for activity rooms, equip a gym, and in addition, fulfilled the cherished dreams of children.

In September 2007, Mr Fardiev was awarded Al-Fakhr Order, the highest Muslim award in Russia, for his “great contribution to the dissemination of national, cultural and spiritual traditions, and for supporting programmes aimed at developing the spiritual, moral and humane values of Islam”. The order was presented by the chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia and the Muslim Spiritual Board, Ravil Gaynetdin.

In September 2007, the chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia and the Muslim Spiritual Board presented Ilshat Fardiev with Al-Fakhr Order. Photo: сhelny-week.ru

As a deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan, Ilshat Fardiev not only actively participated in legislative activities but also spent a lot of time in the Zainsk and Nizhnekamsk districts. He had receptions, met with people. He didn't just listen to requests and wishes but tried to really help everyone.

“It seems that Mr Fardiev is mentioned in the hadith: 'If the Most High wishes good to a person — he sends those who ask to him'! How many orphans, the elderly, sick, disabled, poor, he gave the power to live!” recalls his then assistant, Nabira Gimatdinova. After giving an order or, if he could not help himself, by sending a request to the corresponding authorities, he always monitored how the problem had been solved.

Gimatdinova also shared the term “Fardiev's children” born in the entourage of Mr Fardiev. It is boys anf girls from low-income families, whom he paid for their studies at universities. It is school students who received financial assistance from Fardiev's personal funds for school prepaprations. These are children with disabilities who received strollers. There are dozens of them every year. It is no accident that in 2009 Fardiev was recognised as one of the winners of the republican contest The Philanthropist of the Year.

Mintimer Shaimiev: “When I announced that I was going to restore historical monuments in Bolgar and Sviyazhsk, Ilshat Fardiev and Ildar Galyautdinov undertook the construction of the Memorial Sign.” Photo: shaimiev.tatarstan.ru

“Mr Fardiev is a man of action. He has an inner core, he doesn't say much, he doesn't make empty promises. If you do business with him, you must be responsible for implementing the agreements reached. He is an accomplished man, accomplished leader, accomplished family man. When I left the post of president of the republic in 2010 and announced that I had decided to revive historical monuments in ancient Bolgar and the island-town of Sviyazhsk, Ilshat Fardiev, together with Chairman of the board of directors of Akibank Ildar Galyautdinov, undertook the design and construction of a memorial sign in honour of the official adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgaria in 922 as the state religion. Also, the largest printed Quran in the world, appeared thanks to them. Everything was done efficiently, on time and, most importantly, from the heart — for the soul," Mintimer Shaimiev told about Ilshat Fardiev's contribution to the project of Vozrozhdenie Foundation.

Ilshat Fardiev also actively supports sport. He has been heading the Tatarstan Cross Country Skiing Federation for already 8 years. The Russian team succeeded at the Winter Olympics in Korea also thanks to him. Then 4 of the 17 medals awarded to the Russian team were won by Tatarstan citizens: 2 silver and two bronze. By the way, three of them, silver and two bronze ones, were given to skiers: the first — in men's skiing relay, and the second and third — in women's relay and ski “fifty”. Fardiev himself never tires of thanking Tatarstan companies that found the opportunity to provide sponsorship to the Tatarstan Cross Country Skiing Federation. Among them — Kazanorgsintez, part of TAIF Group, Kamenergoremont, Energorazvitie, Chelny-Broiler, Zainsky Sugar, and Agrosila. Major support is provided by the republic. It was hard at the beginning.

Out of 17 medals won at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, 4 were awarded to Tatarstan athletes. Photo: Al Bello / Staff / gettyimages.com

“This work has been started recently. A few years ago. I remember that we started working at Yalta-Zay ski complex by digging the basement and hauling garbage out of it with buckets. Then I was supported by the optimism of our current Vice-President of the Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon Federation, as well as the head coach of the Tatarstan team, Eduard Galeev, who said: “It's okay. Everything is going to be ok.” We deepened that basement by another one and a half metres down bending. We started literally from the bottom, as it should be. Over the past six years, we have built the system from the basements, and our Olympic medalists are now at the top of it. Yalta-Zay base has not only been restored over this time but also meets the most modern requirements as a ski facility with all the conditions for training, recreation, recovery, and its homologated track. Seeing that we got our teeth this business, the republican government helped us very much when we started systematic work on lighting highways throughout Tatarstan. It was not easy...” Ilshat Fardiev himself said in an interview with a republican publication in 2018 already after the Olympics.

He also said that he and his entire family were passionate about skiing and that skiing was a very motivating sport. He shared his dream to make this sport truly popular in Tatarstan. Accessible not only to professionals but also to amateurs. And this requires conditions — modular bases in all regions of the republic.

This conversation took place in March, and at the end of May it became known that Fardiev became the first Tatarstan citizen to be elected Vice-President of the Russian Cross Country Skiing Federation. As the president of the federation, Yelena Vyalbe, noted in an interview with Realnoe Vremya, the reason for this choice is simple and lies on the surface:

“Mr Fardiev has a very deep understanding of trends in the development of cross-country skiing as a sport and has the necessary knowledge, experience and opportunities to realise these trends. He himself is mentally on the ski track and is venturesome in a good way, trying to help athletes reach new heights.

Yelena Vyalbe: “Mr Fardiev has a deep understanding of cross countre skiing trends.” Photo: ski-tatarstan.ru

Fardiev commented on his appointment as follows:

“There are no personal results in sports, this is a team work — a lot of support comes from the president of Tatarstan and the government of the republic. We often meet with Elena Vyalbe, the president of the Russian Cross Country Skiing Federation, and Rustam Minnikhanov, we discuss the tasks of athletes and their training.

The plans of the vice-president of the Russian Cross Country Skiing Federation for the mass development of amateur skiing are already being implemented. Over the past two years, dozens of modular ski bases have been built and started operating throughout Tatarstan within the framework of the republican programme with budgetary funds. As Ilshat Fardiev dreamed, they open their doors already being fully equipped with inventory and everything necessary. Professional athletes also show good results. Three skiers were selected for the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, and, by the way, every tenth medal of that Universiade won by the Russian team (and the winning team brought 112 awards in total) — Tatarstan's. Six of them (two gold, silver and three bronze) were won by skiers. The republic's team also became the strongest in the Russian Cup final in cross-country skiing for the second time in three years. The director general of Grid Company is restless in training, on the track, literally “runs” together with the athletes. The next goal is the Beijing Olympics.

Ilshat Fardiev's dream is coming true: over the past two years, dozens of modular ski bases have been built across Tatarstan as part of the republican programme. Photo: ski-tatarstan.ru

“People who are related to sports and are interested in its stable development are particularly passionate. Ilshat Fardiev loves his work very much and sincerely worries about success. Sports passion allows Mr Fardiev to achieve his goals in the shortest possible time with amazing efficiency. To date, I can't imagine a task that he would not have succeed in," said Minister of Sports of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov.

The editorial board of Realnoe Vremya online newspaper joins the congratulations sent to the celebrant.

  • Mintimer Shaimiev

    Mintimer Shaimiev State Adviser to the Republic of Tatarstan

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    We know that you are not a fan of anniversary celebrations, they pass unnoticed for you. But this time, taking advantage of the opportunity Realnoe Vremya provided, I would like to wish you and your wonderful family health, further success and well-being.

    Your sharp mind and generous heart generate the energy of good and creation in your life. Keep it up!

  • Ruslan Shigabutdinov

    Ruslan Shigabutdinov Director General of TAIF JSC

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    Please accept our warmest and most sincere congratulations on the 60th anniversary!

    We know you as a professional of the highest class, with a huge experience in the fuel and energy sector, a successful executive, hardworking, energetic, responsible and very decent person, whose words always correspond to deeds.

    In the early 2000s, when you came to the energy sector, you carried out a serious reform of the industry, defining for many years the main ways of development of the entire energy complex of the republic. You become a link, bringing together various industry enterprises into a single entity, providing a clear and coordinated work in common cause for the benefit of the development of the energy system of the Republic of Tatarstan. You, Mr Fardiev, have brought up a whole generation of power engineers, managers, and highly professional specialists who now successfully implement the high standards you set for the development of the energy industry.

    Today, you continue to make a significant contribution to the development of energy and industry in the Republic of Tatarstan, contributing to the introduction of best practices, modern technologies and innovations in the industry. Grid Company you lead is one of the leading enterprises of the republic, which provides reliable and high-quality power supply to the population, creates conditions for dynamic and efficient operation of industrial enterprises.

    You are an active, strong-willed person who confidently navigates the realities of the time, a true patriot of his native land — you enjoy great authority and respect in the professional community of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Russian Federation.

    Your work as the president of the Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon Federation of the Republic of Tatarstan deserves great respect. During your management of the federation, the Republic of Tatarstan became the national champion in cross-country skiing in the rating of Russian regions. These results can also be credited to you, your great enthusiasm, determination, ability to move only forward and achieve victories!

    We sincerely wish you, Mr Fardiev, happy family life and well-being, good health and active longevity, constant progress, inexhaustible energy and optimism to achieve new professional heights!

    Peace, kindness and prosperity to you and your loved ones!

  • Yury Manevich

    Yury Manevich Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    You are one of the most experienced and respected leaders in the energy industry who has made a great contribution to its development. Under your leadership, Grid Company in Tatarstan has become a modern and efficient enterprise that continues its active development. I am sure that your high level of professionalism will be the key to success in implementing the company's future plans.

    I congratulate you on your 60th anniversary! I would like to thank you for your many years of fruitful work. I wish you good health, happiness, prosperity and new professional achievements!

  • Marat Akhmetov

    Marat Akhmetov Deputy Chairman of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    I am very pleased to have the opportunity to say thank you for the interesting and productive work we have done together, even if we have moved away from agriculture. But we have remained friends. I regularly receive information about your work, and I am proud and happy.

    I would like to wish you to keep it up!

    Happy anniversary, dear Mr Fardiev. I value you and care about you!

  • Rifnur Suleyman

    Rifnur Suleyman Director of Tatenergosbyt JSC, Deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan of 6th convocation

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    Please accept warm congratulations and good wishes on this significant date from me personally and on behalf of the entire team of Tatenergosbyt JSC!

    Many years of your professional activity are inextricably linked with the formation of the energy complex of the Republic of Tatarstan. Your work has always been characterised by high professionalism, profound responsibility and dedication. Your business and personal qualities, political intuition, creative approach to your plans, ambition and ability to find like-minded people allow you to successfully solve the most difficult tasks and achieve your goals.

    Today you are being in a great time of life when you have overcome serious difficulties, accumulated a wealth of experience, have great strength to act and create, and with renewed energy go further, to new challenges and heights.

    For many years, our companies have maintained partnership relations that contribute to ensuring high-quality and uninterrupted power supply throughout the Republic of Tatarstan. With all my heart, I wish you good health, happiness, well-being, inexhaustible life energy and optimism. Let the atmosphere of mutual understanding surround you, and the support of your family and friends will be the key to new creative success.

  • Rauzil Khaziev

    Rauzil Khaziev Director General of Tatenergo JSC

    Our professional paths have been crossig with Mr Fardiev for many years. I have great respect for this person and am glad to have the opportunity to congratulate him on his birthday.

    Mr Fardiev has tremendous professional knowledge and skills, so his expert opinion is of great importance at various levels. Professional authority and outstanding personal qualities allow him to solve a large number of tasks. He is devoted to the places where he was born and raised, loves the land like not everyone is able to love it. You always know that when you see what he's doing and how he's doing it. I admire the diversity of Mr Fardiev's interests and believe that he has a huge number of new and most successful projects ahead of him.

    Dear Mr Fardiev, On behalf of the entire team of Tatenergo JSC, veterans of the enterprise, and on my own behalf, I cordially congratulate you on your anniversary!

    The modern energy sector of our republic is forever linked to your name. Over a short period of time, by historical standards, the energy sector has been completely reformatted, the organisational order has been changed, and the most difficult stage in the country's economic development has been passed. You are not accidentally called the strongest anti-crisis manager in the energy sector. All the most complex processes of transition periods took place under your direct control.

    You not only managed to stabilise the situation, you created a strong team, surrounded yourself with professional and competent people, for each of whom you are an example of a competent and effective leader, prominent public and public figure, the person who can handle tasks of any complexity.

    I wish you enduring activity, health and well-being. Let harmony and peace reign in your family and soul!

  • Alexander Grunichev

    Alexander Grunichev Chairman of Tatarstan State Committee on Tariffs

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    On your birthday, on behalf of the entire team of the State Tariff Committee of the Republic of Tatarstan and on my own behalf, I congratulate you on your 60th anniversary and express my respect and respect to you as a wise leader who has made an undeniable contribution to ensuring reliable and high-quality operation of the republic's power grid complex.

    Under Your leadership, Grid Company provides reliable, high-quality and affordable power supply to consumers, creating conditions for efficient operation of enterprises and organisations, comfortable and safe life of the population, for the dynamic socio-economic development of the Republic of Tatarstan. The company is the largest organisation that looks confidently into the future and is dynamically developing. In terms of transmitted power, it is one of the ten largest electric grid companies in Russia.

    As the head of the company, you personally participate in the consideration and discussion of issues related to price regulation (tariffs) in the energy sector. I would like to note that such character traits as willpower, firmness, determination and perseverance help you succeed not only in your work but also in sport, developing the Russian Cross Country Skiing Federation and the Tatarstan Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon Federation. During the management of the federation, the Republic of Tatarstan rose from the 38th position in the ranking of Russian regions in cross-country skiing to the 1st and became the national champion at the end of the 2019/2020 season.

    Dear Mr Fardiev, we wish you well-being and strength to achieve your goals and solve your tasks, health and optimism, inexhaustible energy and fruitful activities! The State Committee wishes to implement the boldest ideas and projects to the team of Grid Company JSC you lead!

  • Ayrat Safin

    Ayrat Safin Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    On this significant day for you, please accept our sincere and warm congratulations on the occasion of your anniversary birthday!

    Your work history is an example of the life of a searching, active and purposeful person who achieves successful and correct solutions to the most difficult tasks. Your multi-faceted knowledge, professional experience and ability to see the future have firmly established your reputation as a high-level manager. Only daily hard work, strong-willed character and responsibility demonstrate such significant results.

    I sincerely wish you inspiration and perseverance in your work, new achievements and inexhaustible reasons to be proud of the results of your work. May good health, love of life and well-being always remain your constant companions!

  • Farid Minigulov

    Farid Minigulov Director General of Kazanorgsintez PJSC

    On behalf of the staff of Kazanorgsintez PJSC and on my own behalf, I congratulate Mr Fardiev on his birthday!

    Mr Fardiev is a striking example of a modern manager who is able to find the right solutions and build business relationships even in the most difficult situations. His professional victories are proof of this.

    I want to wish him ambitious plans, new opportunities, worthy allies and loyal friends. Happiness, good health and prosperity!

  • Rushan Shamguniv

    Rushan Shamguniv Director General of TAIF-NK JSC

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    From the entire team of TAIF-NK JSC and from me personally, please accept the warmest and most sincere words of congratulations in honour of your anniversary! Sixty years is the prime of life, a combination of experience, energy and wisdom. You have the respect and trust of people behind you — this is the highest assessment of many years of professional activity.

    Thanks in large part to your high professionalism, leadership talent, commitment and strategic vision of the situation, Grid Сompany is the largest electric grid company in the Republic of Tatarstan. The challenges you face have never been easy, and in today's society you are developing not just in step with the times but with some advance. This is also your merit!

    Your remarkable qualities — solving numerous problems, being sensitive to life changes, perceiving new things and implementing them — have earned you the well-deserved respect of your colleagues. Let your accumulated experience, skills and glorious traditions continue to help in the implementation of long-term plans and projects of Grid Company JSC. May luck accompany you in everything!

    Mr Fardiev, we wish you to continue development, to go forward to new goals, to lead others. Let your loved ones, relatives and loyal people surround you and support you in everything! Happiness, kindness, peace, good health and well-being to your family!

  • Eduard Galeyev

    Eduard Galeyev Director General of TGC-16 JSC

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    On behalf of the entire team of TGC-16 JSC, I heartly congratulate you on your anniversary!

    A good leader is the success of the company. But there are individuals of this scale who affect the economy, social life, and reputation not only of an individual enterprise but also of the region as a whole. Mr Fardiev, you are highly respected in Russia and Tatarstan, where, thanks to you, much has been done for the development of the Russian Federation's energy sector, the dynamic development of the republic, the strengthening of its industrial and agricultural potential, and the improvement of people's living standards.

    When you joined Tatenergo production association in 1999, Tatarstan's energy industry received a new round of development. In a short period of time, you have managed to stabilise the financial position of the energy association, turning it from a loss-making enterprise into a profitable one, and restore the republican energy system to a leading position in the country.

    Thanks to your achievements, the republic managed to maintain and further increase the level of reliability in providing consumers with energy against the background of all the transformations and reforms in the industry. It also created conditions for attracting investment resources for modernisation and new construction, including generating capacities necessary to increase competitiveness in the wholesale electricity and capacity market. Thanks to the right strategy, Tatarstan's energy sector has become the flagship of the Russian economy.

    Today, Grid Company you lead is one of the industry leaders in implementing advanced technologies. With your innovative solutions, you set the tone for the entire energy community. It is symbolic that in the anniversary year for you, Grid Company JSC successfully implemented a large and economically significant project for the country — remote control of all equipment, including Relay Protection and Automation Devices at the Zelenodolskaya substation. The technology that gives the opportunity to fully automate the process of digital switching forms is undoubtedly unique for Russia. This experience will lay the foundation for the formation of legislative documents on remote control and will serve to develop a new digital generation of energy in the region.

    Mr Fardiev, we highly appreciate our cooperation with you! The joint fruitful work of TGC-16 JSC and Grid Company JSC ensured the solution of important strategic tasks of the energy complex of Tatarstan: improving the reliability of energy supply to the republic and environmental safety of Kazan and Nizhnekamsk.

    Dear Mr Fardiev, The team of TGC-16 JSC joins the numerous congratulations addressed to you. We wish you good health, inexhaustible energy, future grandiose ideas and plans, success always and in everything! Let the sincere trust of your colleagues and the comprehensive support of your family and friends give you strength for further fruitful work! Happiness and prosperity for many years to come!

  • Yelena Vyalbe

    Yelena Vyalbe President of the Cross Country Skiing Federation of Russia

    Dear Mr Fardiev,

    With all my heart, I congratulate you on your anniversary!

    For a person whose every effort and thought is directed to creation, this is not an age!

    Long life, health, inspiration and good luck to you, dear Mr Fardiev!

  • Vladimir Leonov

    Vladimir Leonov Minister of Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan

    On behalf of the entire ministry of sport of the Republic of Tatarstan, I congratulate Mr Fardiev on his anniversary and thank him for his love of sports and great contribution to the development of cross-country skiing and biathlon.

    I wish you good sports health and achievement of new heights both in life and in sports.

By Arseny Favstritsky
Tatarstan