Bonum Certa Men Certa

From Belarus With Love — Part III: Apps From the Dictatorship

Series parts:

  1. From Belarus With Love — Part I: Schizophrenic EPO Policy
  2. From Belarus With Love — Part II: “Techwashing” an Autocratic Regime?
  3. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Apps From the Dictatorship

Andrej Bakhirev
Andrej Bakhirev and his company SaM Solutions were featured in an article which appeared [PDF] in the German current affairs weekly Wirtschaftswoche in July 2011.

Summary: From the Putin-centric dictatorship to another (corporate) dictatorship -- the one controlled by dictators such as Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos

During its early years, the Belarus High Technologies Park (HTP) project got off to a promising start and began to attract attention abroad.

In July 2011, the German current affairs weekly, Wirtschaftswoche reported on the budding Belarusian IT sector in an article under the title "Apps aus der Diktatur", which translates into English as: "Apps from the dictatorship".

"During this time SaM was making a lot of effort to advertise its services in Germany."The article included coverage of some of the "success stories" from the HTP incubator, amongst others a company called SaM Solutions headed by Andrej Bakhirev.

The relevant passage from the article reads as follows in translation:

Sam Solutions works as a contract programmer for companies such as Siemens, SAP and Deutsche Telekom. Bakhirev can afford to criticize the [Belarusian] state: He has German citizenship, lives in Latvia, and his company, founded in 1993, is registered in Gilching near Munich, although almost all of the 600 employees program in Minsk.

"It's important to our customers that they work with a German company rather than a Belarusian one," Bakhirev says.

Nevertheless, his customers always want to know from him: Is Belarus stable enough to allow work to be performed there reliably?

And the same laconic reply always follows: "The country is - unfortunately - stable."

Bakhirev believes that Belarus will only have a functioning market economy in ten years at the earliest. He is a hands-on man in a Bogner jacket and sports shoes. Nevertheless, the business IT specialist sees locational advantages: "Since the most important IT companies of the Soviet Union were headquartered in Minsk, they have been teaching programming languages at our universities since the 1980s." The level of education in Minsk is therefore higher than in most EU countries or in Russia, he says. And if you don't want to work for the state, but want to earn money, "you have no alternative but to study IT".

Some time later, in February 2012, SaM was featured [PDF] in a PR puff-piece published in "Efficient Extended Enterprise" (E-3), an IT industry magazine which described itself as "an independent ERP-Community magazine for the German-speaking SAP-scene".

"It's known that some representatives from the company attended an event to plug the Belarus HTP which was held in the Maritim Hotel in Munich in November 2011."The piece was entitled "Nearshore capacities for Software Development" and the byline read as follows: "Belarussian experts with a German HQ and worldwide activities".

During this time SaM was making a lot of effort to advertise its services in Germany.

It's known that some representatives from the company attended an event to plug the Belarus HTP which was held in the Maritim Hotel in Munich in November 2011.

Belarus HTP in Munich
Representatives from SaM attended an event to plug the Belarus HTP in Munich in November 2011.

In the upcoming parts, we will take a closer look at this company which provides "Software from Minsk" for the EPO via Gilching and Rijswijk.

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