From Volga to Yenisei

Petr Kazakov, CEO of Krasnoyarsk Synthetic Rubber Plant, talks about moving from one place to another, family, sports, personal transformation and recharging his batteries.


On relocations

There has always been a lot of relocation in my life and it often involved moving across the country. Shortly before having me, my parents moved fr om the Urals to the city of Togliatti on the Volga River, where I was born. My mother’s family comes fr om the village of Kalinovo, near Yekaterinburg. As a kid, I used to think of myself as being both from Togliatti and Kalinovo, wh ere we travelled regularly to visit relatives. Today, I often have the same feeling of living in two cities at the same time. When I first moved to the PSS project office, it was Togliatti and Moscow, followed by Moscow and Tomsk, Moscow and Tobolsk, Moscow and Voronezh, and then wherever SIBUR's Production Systems took me. Today I travel extensively between Krasnoyarsk and Moscow. I often compare the fact that my work involves travelling across the country to the lines in the famous song: "from the Volga (Togliatti) to the Yenisei (Krasnoyarsk)."

As a kid, I used to think of myself as being both fr om Togliatti and Kalinovo, wh ere we travelled regularly to visit relatives. Today, I often have the same feeling of living in two cities at the same time.

Being able not only to travel, but also live in so many places played an important role in my life. When on short business trips you only get to briefly inspect a production site, whereas I had the opportunity of working there for lengthy periods.

Each city is a unique environment, new people and invaluable professional experience. Tomsk, for example, has lots of universities and students, and generally leaves an impression of being a very youthful city and a major academic centre. It is of great significance to me in terms of my professional growth, as Tomskneftekhim was a pilot site for the PSS project. For me, being at the forefront of PSS implementation was a major transformative experience. Being part of an ambitious innovative project, seeking answers to challenging questions, and working with a large group of young people – these are opportunities that are hard to overestimate.

I am a fairly conservative person and hate it when something is not done right or goes the wrong way. Even more exciting was the opportunity to work on a project without ready-made answers and with rules being formulated along the way. It helped make my thinking more flexible and broadened my horizons considerably.

I should also recall my first experience as a company head at BIAXPLEN’s branch in Zheleznodorozhny that played an important role in my professional career. With branches spanning the country from Tomsk to Zheleznodorozhny, people at BIAXPLEN are one large team always ready to assist and support each other. I could always feel the helping hand of my colleagues and treasure memories of that period in my life.

Each city I lived in and the people I worked with have taught me something important, making me a stronger and better person and enriching my life.

On family and challenges of extensive travel

Relocation is difficult for me as much as it is for my family.

Each city is a unique environment, new people and invaluable professional experience.

When my first marriage broke up, we had to find a way of jointly raising my daughter while living in different cities. First of all, we had to decide how my daughter, who was eight years old at the time, could spend enough time with me for us to have a normal relationship. It turned out, however, that I was underestimating my daughter. From the age of 10, Anna has been quite comfortable flying to me on her own from Togliatti, and now even making transfers in Moscow on the way to Krasnoyarsk. She is on a very good terms with my second wife and knows that she has two homes, in Moscow and Togliatti, even three now, counting Krasnoyarsk. I can tell that flying on her own and being able to live Moscow and Krasnoyarsk have made Anna more mature, easy-going, and open-minded person. It makes me proud to see how easily she adapts to new things and environments and finds a common language with different people. She often jokes that extensive travel is not a problem at all; much more difficult is to instantly figure out what city to name when people ask her wh ere she is from.

My wife Tatyana was also affected by the inconvenience of having to relocate. She quit the job she loved and left her favourite city to go with me to Krasnoyarsk. Long-distance marriage was never an option for us, and we decided that we would either move to Krasnoyarsk together or will not move at all. I know that many families in SIBUR have more flexible attitude to living and working in different cities, but we felt that for us it was not an option. It would have been extremely difficult for me to cope with daily challenges if my wife had not been by my side. But going forward, Tatyana plans to return to work to pursue her own professional ambitions.

My wife and daughter are the two dearest people in my life inspiring me in my personal and professional endeavours.

Being part of an ambitious innovative project, seeking answers to challenging questions, and working with a large group of young people – these are opportunities that are hard to overestimate.

On sports

Sport has always meant a lot for me. Not in the least because it reminds me of my grandfather, who was an avid athlete and sports fan. As far back as I can remember, we have always cheered for the same teams. From 6 to 14 years old I played for a city football club and know well what it means to be a sportsman – never-ending training camps, tournaments, and practice sessions. By my mid-teens, I realised that a career in professional sports was not something I had interest in pursuing, plus 1990s were not the best of times for such a path. Sometimes I think that if I ever leave the petrochemical industry, I could work in sports management. The idea of going back into professional sports, albeit in a different capacity, does not seem strange to me. In any event, sport is more than a hobby, it is part of my identity, something that I cannot imagine living without.

On personal transformation

This year I have been trying to learn enjoying individual sports, as I have always preferred team sports like football, volleyball, handball, and basketball.

Each city I lived in and the people I worked with have taught me something important, making me a stronger and better person and enriching my life.

I love sports that are fun, not too complicated, fill me with energy, and are a good exercise. Today, jogging, swimming, biking, and some time in the gym do the trick for me. This year, I have been running 7–10 km three to four times a week. So far, I have been able to stick to my individual fitness plan and am mostly satisfied with the results. My second goal was to quit smoking, a harmful habit that I am not very proud of. The key is not to miss the right moment to quit. I am happy to say that it has been nine months now since my last cigarette.

My wife and daughter are the two dearest people in my life inspiring me in my personal and professional endeavours.

On travelling, Krasnoyarsk, and recharging

I am not into extreme sports and recreation, and neither is my family. To fully relax and recuperate, I need peace, quiet, and tranquillity of the countryside. I like taking some time alone as well as spending some quality time with my friends and loved ones. I greatly enjoy reading or listening to a book, watching a good movie, or cooking a family meal. In Krasnoyarsk, you can find some exceptionally beautiful and scenic places to relax. One of our favourites is at the river banks outside of Krasnoyarsk. It is a breathtakingly picturesque site overlooking the river as it flows out of the forest, winding along the road, and disappears back into the forest. The Siberian forest, of course, is unmatched by its beauty. Every time I visit this place, I feel rejuvenated and inspired to re-examine my priorities and plans for the future. Here, I am able to generate new ideas and find answers to challenging issues at work. When in Moscow, we also try to spend time in the countryside, which is full of charmingly beautiful places typical of European Russia.

Sport is more than a hobby for me, it is part of my identity, something that I cannot imagine living without.

We also like travelling abroad, having visited quite a few places with my wife. In the recent three years, we have been going to Thailand for winter vacations. We like the experience of escaping the harsh Siberian winter for some warm and sunny days on the beaches of Thailand. One of the most exciting and impressive trips was Cuba. Unlike other countries, it has been untouched by globalisation. Relatively isolated from the rest of the world, the island nation is a very special and uniquely charming place.

We would also love to visit the United States, and not just the major cities, but also the small towns in the hinterland. Friends and colleagues who have been there were very impressed and we are looking forward to going there when there is a chance.

Download PDF

Other publications

Content issue