Bonum Certa Men Certa

From Belarus With Love — Part XI: SaM's Management Remains Suspiciously Silent



Series parts:

  1. From Belarus With Love — Part I: Schizophrenic EPO Policy
  2. From Belarus With Love — Part II: “Techwashing” an Autocratic Regime?
  3. From Belarus With Love — Part III: Apps From the Dictatorship
  4. From Belarus With Love — Part IV: “Software from Minsk” via Gilching and Rijswijk
  5. From Belarus With Love — Part V: From Start-Up to Success Story...
  6. From Belarus With Love — Part VI: “Big Daddy” Hammers the Opposition...
  7. From Belarus With Love — Part VII: The Post-Election Crackdown
  8. From Belarus With Love — Part VIII: “Seoul in the Centre of Pyongyang”
  9. From Belarus With Love — Part IX: The End of “Peaceful Coexistence”?
  10. From Belarus With Love — Part X: From “High-Tech Hub” to “No-Go Zone”
  11. YOU ARE HERE ☞ SaM's Management Remains Suspiciously Silent


SaM Solutions' main delivery center
SaM Solutions' main delivery centre is still located at 15 Filimonova in Minsk.



Summary: SaM Solutions, which handles parts of the EPO's work, is seemingly backing Lukashenko's regime (whilst amassing EPO funds thanks to the dictatorship of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos)

AS explained in the preceding parts, the political turmoil which engulfed Belarus in the 2020 did not leave the IT sector untouched. On the contrary, it is clear that these events signalled the end of a long era of "peaceful coexistence" between the IT sector and the country's autocratic regime.



"As the political opposition was gradually silenced, many IT companies did in fact proceed to relocate some or all of their operations to other neighbouring countries such as the Baltic states and Poland."When the authorities resorted to brute force to crush the protests, some 300 CEOs of IT companies based in Belarus threatened to move their business abroad if the government did not put a stop to the violent repression and permit a new election to be held.

As the political opposition was gradually silenced, many IT companies did in fact proceed to relocate some or all of their operations to other neighbouring countries such as the Baltic states and Poland.

Ironically, many IT specialists from Belarus chose to move to the Ukraine which - with the assistance and support of the Lukashenko regime - has recently become the victim of Russian military aggression.

In July 2021, the chief executive of a company that had abandoned Belarus was quoted as follows:

“Pretty much everyone is doing it [i.e. moving operations out of Belarus]. Most Belarusian founders with a brain and a heart don’t support the movement into an absolute dictatorship and what’s happening in Belarus, the terror. Because every week, there’s another atrocity, another move toward, like, North Korea.”


However, amidst the many media reports about these matters it seem impossible to find any mention of one particular company, namely SaM Solutions, the EPO's preferred outsourcing partner for "Software from Minsk".

The company's website lists two relatively new delivery centres located in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro (currently under attack by the Russians). However, SaM's main delivery centre is still located at 15 Filimonova in Minsk.

In the absence of any reports to the contrary, it seems fair to conclude that the management of SaM Solutions is not overly concerned about the political situation in Belarus and has no plans to relocate its operations despite what others perceive as "the movement into an absolute dictatorship ... like North Korea."

Andrej Bakhirev profile
Andrej Bakhirev, co-founder of SaM Solutions and chairman of the board, is reputed to hold German citizenship and he resides in Latvia.



Back in 2011, the company's co-founder and CEO, Andrej Bakhirev didn't have any inhibitions when it came to speaking to the German media about the political situation in his home country.

In an article which appeared in the current affairs weekly, Wirtschaftswoche under the title "Apps aus der Diktatur" ("Apps from the dictatorship"), it was reported that many young Belarusians - including employees of SaM Solutions - were involved in anti-government demonstrations coordinated via social media platforms such as Facebook. On that occasion, Bakhirev noted that "as a private company, we have an advantage. We don't have to fire our employees if they demonstrate."

"Nevertheless, during the autumn and winter of discontent of 2020 in Belarus, Bakhirev remained silent about the events which were rocking his home country."But those were different times and, in the wake of the events of 2020, Bakhirev seems to have become more reticent and publicity-shy. In particular, he has not shown any inclination to share his thoughts about the wave of protests which engulfed the country or the violent backlash by the Lukashenko regime.

It's worth noting that students at Bakhirev's alma mater, the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR), were among those who played a prominent role in the anti-Lukashenko protests of 2020. Bakhirev is a founder and member of the Board of Trustees of the International Association of BSUIR Alumni.

belarus protest rally
Protest rally outside the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics in August 2020 with students holding white-red-white banners of the anti-Lukashenko opposition movement.



Nevertheless, during the autumn and winter of discontent of 2020 in Belarus, Bakhirev remained silent about the events which were rocking his home country. This is despite the fact that his personal situation would appear to afford him a considerable margin freedom to express criticism of the Lukashenko regime if he felt so inclined.

In this regard, it is worth noting that Bakhirev holds German citizenship and resides in Jūrmala, a fashionable seaside resort close to the Latvian capital of Riga which is popular with wealthy Belarusian expatriates.

Bakhirev in Latvia
Following his retirement from operational management in 2015, Bakhirev has resided in the picturesque seaside resort of Jūrmala close to the Latvian capital Riga.



According to the Latvian edition of the "luxury lifestyle magazine" VIP Lounge, Bakhirev is one of the top 50 wealthiest investors in Latvia. In 2017 he was ranked as no. 23 and in 2018 he managed to reach no. 17. In 2019 he dropped back to no. 30 with an estimated income of € 2.01 million - based on his 69.3% stake in the Latvian subsidiary of SaM Solutions which reported a profit of €€ 2.91 million.

The VIP Lounge blurb for 2019 reads as follows in translation:

30. ANDREI BAKHIREV - 2.01 Million Euro A well-known representative of the IT business in Belarus, associate professor at the University of Kassel (Germany), who moved to Jūrmala with his family in 2015 and retired from operational management. In Latvia, he owns 69.3% of the limited liability holding company SaM Solutions, which earned 2.91 million Euros consolidated profit. He also fully owns Crocus Hall LLC, which ended the year with a loss of 7 thousand Euros.

Bakhirev, together with partners, has been developing IT outsourcing on an international scale since 1993. Among the clients of his international company SaM Solutions, which even entered the top 100 largest representatives of the world's IT outsourcing, are Siemens, Kaspersky Lab, FUJITSU and others. Regional offices of SaM Solutions are located in the USA. Germany, Netherlands, Belarus and Ukraine.


VIP Lounge Latvia
According to VIP Lounge, Bakhirev is one of the top 50 wealthiest investors in Latvia, with an estimated annual income of over € 2 million based on his shareholding in the Latvian subsidiary of SaM Solutions.



From the company records of SaM Solutions in Germany, Bakhirev is also known to have had an address in Türkenfeld in Bavaria, close to Munich. However, it is not known whether he still maintains a residence in Germany.

Bakhirev's place in Germany Bakhirev previously had an address in the Bavarian town of Türkenfeld near Munich but it is not known whether he still maintains a residence in Germany.



Bakhirev's caution about expressing his views on the political situation in Belarus is perhaps understandable. After all, Lukashenko showed what he was capable of in the case of the émigré activist and journalist Roman Pratasevich who was arrested by Belarus security services in May 2021 after his flight had been diverted and forced to land in Minsk in an act of "state-sponsored piracy".

"On the other hand, the unwillingness of SaM's management to take a clear and unambiguous stance on the situation in Belarus, makes it impossible to determine how closely aligned with the regime the company's bosses might be."In Bakhirev's case, his reticence is probably motivated by pragmatic business-related considerations rather than by concerns for his personal safety. Due to his German citizenship, he is unlikely to be at risk of being targeted in person. However, if he were seen to criticise the regime in public it could have "undesirable consequences" for the operations of SaM's primary "delivery centre" in Belarus .

On the other hand, the unwillingness of SaM's management to take a clear and unambiguous stance on the situation in Belarus, makes it impossible to determine how closely aligned with the regime the company's bosses might be.

So far there does not appear to be enough information in the public domain to answer this question fully.

"So far there does not appear to be enough information in the public domain to answer this question fully."However, local media reports about an internal dispute which flared up at SaM in October 2020 indicate that at least one senior member of the company's management used his private Facebook page to make pro-regime statements and to post disparaging comments about those involved in the post-election protests.

We will look at this incident in more detail in the upcoming parts.

Recent Techrights' Posts

linuxsecurity.com Still At It! 98% Probability Chatbot Generated, According to GPTZero!
"The Internet is mostly made by AI... but that's ok, it's all being deleted anyway."
 
Links 23/05/2024: SeekOut Collapsing and Why Microsoft Probably Isn’t Going to Buy Valve
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/05/2024: The Allure of Vinyl
Links for the day
Links 23/05/2024: Apple Responds to Streaming Music Fine, DOJ to Sue Live Nation
Links for the day
Links 23/05/2024: UK General Election and Archival
Links for the day
[Video] 3 Major Issues in Nationwide, Including (Potentially) a Major Data Breach
'electronic-bank' security has become the joke of the town
[Meme] Pointing Out Corruption Isn't a "Hate Crime"
The European Commission's reflexive (re)action to any sort of doubt or criticism
More Evidence in "iLearn AI Day" (a Buzzwords Festival) That EPO Intends to Eliminate Staff and Deviate Further Away from Fairness, Law, and Constitutions (Including Its Own!)
The EPO is a very potent danger to Europe's unity and the very concept of lawfulness. It exists to serve international monopolists and patent lawyers.
Microsoft's Windows Has Fallen Below 3% in Democratic Republic of the Congo (100+ Million Citizens)
Microsoft's sharp fall in Congo
The Real Reason Censorship is Attempted Against Us (and Against Others Too)
Microsoft's Windows market monopoly was in trouble
You Are Not The Only One
Reprinted with permission from Cyber Show (C|S)
GNU/Linux in Monaco: From 0.3% to Almost 6%
Monaco is a small country
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Microsoft Has Lost Cote D'ivoire (Ivory Coast), Where Android Now Exceeds 60% of the Operating Systems' 'Market Share'
According to statCounter anyway
The Rumour Said Later Today Red Hat (IBM) Might Announce Layoffs
Let's see what happens later today (or next week)
Governments That Fail Journalism
Australia is known for giving us pure garbage like Rupert Murdoch
Windows Has Fallen From 'Grace'
When you tell people that Microsoft watches their every move in Windows many of them will freak out and ask for alternatives
Serbia: GNU/Linux at Almost 4% (or Beyond if ChromeOS is Counted)
considerable growth for GNU/Linux
Links 22/05/2024: China in Other Countries' Islands, Growing Threat of Piracy
Links for the day
Gemini Links 22/05/2024: Freedom Through Limitation, Cloud Photos
Links for the day
Canonical Supports Monopoly
more of the same
A farewell to Finland, an occupied territory
Finland, Finland, Finland
Links 22/05/2024: "Copilot+" as Mass Surveillance and Microsoft Defying Consent in Scarlett Johansson's Case
Links for the day
[Meme] Escalating After Failures
4 stages of cancel culture
Red Hat Had 2+ Days to Deny Reports of Impending Layoffs. But Red Hat Chose to Keep Silent.
Red Hat DOES NOT deny layoffs on the way
Microsoft-Connected Person Was Threatening to Sue Me and to Sue My Wife (Because His Feelings Were Hurt After Had He Spent More Than a Decade Defaming Me and Violating My Family's Dignity, Privacy)
litigation was chosen and we shall defend everything we wrote
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 21, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Attempts to Sink the Free Software Movement (Under the Guise of Saving It)
We can see who's being drowned
Czech Republic: Windows Down From 98% to 43%, GNU/Linux Rises to Over 3%
modest gains for GNU/Linux
Links 22/05/2024: Pixar Layoffs and More Speculation About Microsoft Shutdowns/Layoffs (Ninja Theory)
Links for the day
Microsoft-Connected Sites Trying to Shift Attention Away From Microsoft's Megabreach Only Days Before Important If Not Unprecedented Grilling by the US Government?
Why does the mainstream media not entertain the possibility a lot of these talking points are directed out of Redmond?
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: Caesar II for MS-DOS and Reinventing the Assertion Wheel
Links for the day
Internal Memos/Communications Hinting at "a New, But Masked, Round of Layoffs" at Red Hat
A negative outlook heads of a long weekend
Nigeria: Windows Down to 6%, Android at All-Time High of 77%
Google is becoming the "new monopoly" in some places
[Video] Microsoft's Attack on Education
Microsoft's cult-like activities and overt entryism
[Meme] Money In, No Money Out (Granting Loads of Invalid European Patents)
EPO production?
Staff Representation at the EPO Has Just Explained to Heads of Delegations (National Delegates) Why the EPO's Financial Study is Another Hoax
Here we are again 5 years later
Canonical and Red Hat Are Not Competing With Microsoft Anymore
What a shame they hired so many people from Microsoft...
Links 21/05/2024: "Hating Apple Goes Mainstream", Lots of Coverage About Julian Assange Ruling
Links for the day
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: Losing Fats and Modern XMPP
Links for the day
Microsoft Windows Used to Have Nearly 100% in China and Now Google Has 50% (With Android)
Will China bring about a faster "fall" for Microsoft?
Pursuing a Case With No Prospects (Because It's "Funny")
the perpetrators are taking a firm that's considered notorious
GNU/Linux Growing Worldwide (the Story So Far!)
Microsoft is unable to stop GNU/Linux
GNU/Linux in Honduras: From 0.28% to 6%
Honduras remains somewhat of a hotspot
Good News From Manchester and London, Plus High Productivity in Techrights
what has happened and what's coming
[Video] The 'Linux' Foundation Cannot be Repaired Anymore (It Sold Out)
We might need to accept that the Linux Foundation lost its way
Links 21/05/2024: Tesla Layoffs and Further Free Speech Perils Online
Links for the day
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: New Gemini Reader and Gemini Games
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 20, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, May 20, 2024