Manage your dream

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Your opportunities are endless

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About the book

Doctor of Philosophy,

Professor Vladimir Volkov:

Why do some people write books? Why do they suddenly decide to write some lyrics? What drives them? Writing a book is hard work, and not always success accompanies a writer. But thanks to this work, a person can create different worlds, immerse himself in them, get the opportunity to recreate the past, comprehend the present, and predict the future. He can connect fragments of thoughts, impressions, experiences into holistic images, reasoning, logical schemes, theoretical constructions, deduce new knowledge, create new, unusual, unknown from the old. In other words, a person does not just exist, he changes the world in which he lives, a person is not just present in him, but is the most important creative component of this world. The world can be understood and changed only through a person, through his actions. In addition, a book is not just a collection of words, sentences, a story, but also a thought, memory; it is a mechanism by which a person creates himself as a person, rises above himself. By reading the book, we create ourselves as spiritual, cultural beings. The author plays an important role in this process: he creates a tool out of nothingness, relying on which he overcomes what previously seemed insurmountable, creates in himself what he did not suspect before. In other words, he can pull himself out of the swamp by the hair, like Baron Munchausen. And we, reading its text, can do the same work, but moving on our own.

The book by Vlad Rekovski is a multifaceted text. We are dealing with his personal history, the history of the country, world history, we are entering the world of science, esotericism, Eastern philosophy, symbols and myths. We get to know a person who makes himself (self-made man). Quite often people refer to circumstances, go with the flow, do not show any initiative, are afraid to stand out, take risks, choose their own unusual way of self-determination, work, rest, communication. The author shows with life examples how you can get out of the rut, go beyond what is strictly prescribed by custom, tradition, ritual. How to find yourself? How not to dissolve in the crowd, in the mass, not to waste time on empty, petty, wasteful? How to take care of your body and your spirit? Even in antiquity, the ideal of kalokagaty, harmony of soul and body, arose. But how to develop in oneself those abilities that are inherent in nature, and to find in oneself that which does not depend on nature, but depends only on oneself? How to build up bodily and spiritual muscles? How not to get sick, do many things at the same time, develop in different directions – physical, moral, aesthetic, intellectual? Clear and detailed answers to all these questions can be found in the book. Of course, they do not represent absolute truths at all times. Rather, these are reflections that allow us to enter into a dialogue, into a conversation, to clarify something important and significant for ourselves.

The social environment in which we live often provides almost no favorable conditions for a good start. There are no role models, no good teachers, no books, no friends. But even in these conditions, you can make serious breakthroughs, engaging in self-education and go beyond your limits. Moreover, we often see that a person who seemed to have had everything in childhood does not use these opportunities, but remains somewhere on the sidelines, does not want to strain, work on himself, take care of himself, about his development.

The author does not impose his position, his point of view on anyone. He proposes a methodology and thus says: “do as I do, and you will come to a positive result”, “try, and you can avoid the routine in which you are now immersed”, “dare, and you will become a completely different person”, “believe in yourself, in your strengths, in your capabilities, and you will overcome any difficulties and obstacles”.

One of the most important sections of the book is devoted to reflections on the secrets of consciousness. How are consciousness and subconsciousness connected, what are our emotions, perceptions, sensations, will, motives, beliefs? Vlad has to turn to psychology, and to anthropology, and to philosophy, and even to esotericism, in order to try to reveal some of the secrets associated with this far from yet known sphere of ideal reality. How are material and spiritual, matter and consciousness, substance and energy related to each other? We get acquainted with the author’s version, with the author’s understanding of these difficult problems. Science still does not have clear and convincing answers to these questions. There are only various hypotheses, versions, possible options. It is possible and necessary to reflect on this topic. And Vlad Rekovski’s book allows us to move forward in this direction.

Another layer of thinking is related to history. History is a memory of the past. This is a connection between generations, a connection with people who no longer exist. Recreation of these connections allows you to preserve continuity, because the past remains to live in the present, but in a new, transformed form. We are children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren of those who once lived here. And they live in us as long as we remember them. We all come from childhood. It leaves an indelible mark on our life. Any events, meetings, changes are reflected in our destiny, make us either act or do nothing. There are various options for action, and the choice of one of the options closes the opportunity to go down a other path, become other, have a other biography. All this determines the unpredictability and freedom of our existence. By the example of his life, the author shows that his choice was often completely unusual. He started from scratch and performed seemingly absurd acts. Sometimes this led to serious losses and collapse, sometimes – to overwhelming success and prosperity. The very ability to take risks, put everything on the line, start all over again, achieve success from scratch is a sign of a strong and whole personality.

Vlad Rekovski is convinced that in this complex and contradictory world there are enduring values – family, children, wife, friends, favorite work, favorite hobbies. Around all this, first of all, the core of our life world is built. We can be located anywhere in the world. But your native home should always be, in which you are cozy and comfortable, in which you are always very much expected, where they remember and worry about you. Our flights from one country to another, work in different countries, hotels, trains, airplanes, conversations in different languages, life among different nations, acquaintance with various cultural traditions, customs, communication with people who are completely different from us – all this it enriches us, develops, makes it possible to understand what we would never understand if we lived in only one place. Thanks to this book, we can get acquainted with the customs and characteristics of the mental state of Russians, Germans, Indians, people from various social strata – workers, intellectuals, businessmen.

Book “Manage Your Dream!” – not a dry scientific treatise. It is rather an essay genre, a work of fiction. This, of course, is not a novel, but the author certainly has an artistic gift. Using words, but not colors, he creates wonderful images of the nature of Russia, Germany, India, majestic pictures of the Ural landscape, mountains, lakes, rivers, taiga. All this gives rise to unforgettable impressions, delivers great aesthetic pleasure. Thought is expressed easily, figuratively, it is saturated with epithets, love for the word. One feels that the author is a romantic at heart. It is no coincidence that he is fond of playing the guitar, loves to sing, create something beautiful. He even built a house with his own hands, not just in order to have a roof over his head, but above all in order to admire him.

I am very glad that another one appeared in the community of writers – the original, talented writer Vlad Rekovski. I am sure he will write many more good books. We are waiting for the following wonderful works from him. With a great beginning!

Preface by the author

The possibilities of any of us are not just great, our possibilities are endless! This is what my book tells about. Your opportunities in any field of activity are not limited, but only if you have not limited yourself in thoughts, desires and aspirations!

Our life begins with these things! And it continues colorfully, brightly, and you will be happy in this life only when you realize exactly what you want in this life! But defining your purpose will be the most difficult, in my opinion, task. The life path is formed from the experience that we get after a series of changing goals due to falls and revaluations, new rises and new challenges. And if you turn out to be honest with yourself, without hiding behind, without shifting the reasons for your failures to the outside world, but completely take responsibility on yourself, then gradually comes what has always, albeit in different forms and manifestations, led you all this time, what is your real goal is your destiny – to find yourself, to become yourself.

Life is wonderful if it is understood and lived with wide-open eyes, with an open soul and a kind heart, even if it is tragic! Tragedy is not meaningless, there is nothing shameful in it – it will be worse when we turn our life into a tortured personal drama, or, moreover, into a farce. That is why such a life is a journey “into the depths of oneself”.

All this, taken together, will be our life! Moving forward on this difficult path is the meaning of life. All the experience and all the trials that we get, moving only our own way, and it will be a great happiness to be and live here and now!

The first part of the book is “A DREAM OF A LIFETIME”.

40 years ago, when I was still a teenager, at the age of about 10, I began to notice that the main life changes, which at that time had already begun to take place in my life, were constantly associated with the experience of certain states, the presence or absence of specific thoughts, emotional states or desires.

Over the next 40 years, my life has changed dramatically many times: it was moving abroad, returning to Russia, working and living with my family in India, and much more. On this difficult path, there were successes and complete failures, which led me to the loss of all financial savings, loss of business and complete family collapse. At some moments, I no longer knew how to live on, and most importantly – why! I will talk about how I found the strength to cope with all the trials that came my way, what feelings and thoughts accompanied me, what decisions I was guided by and what results it led me to.

In the second part of the book – “THE SECRET HIDDEN FROM HUMANITY” – I again turn to my past and received experience in order to open for the reader the door to the world usually closed to us, to the world of energy and a true vision of reality, to the world ruled by our subconscious!

Over the past few years, I have been looking for confirmation and explanation for all my assumptions, guesses and schemes that I could identify and fix by observing the relationship between changes in my life and my thoughts, emotions, my inner state.

To understand the full picture of what was happening, I had to gain additional knowledge in the field of quantum physics, turn to the results of scientific research of the Institute of Mathematics of the Heart, the Moscow Institute for the Study of Consciousness (MISС), scientific publications by A. Einstein, M. Planck “Religion and Natural Science”, K. Jung “Synchronicity”, plunge into the psychology, religion, philosophy of the East, especially Buddhism, collect facts from the lives of some people who, after the tragic events that happened to them, not only changed their lives for the better and became happy, but also recovered from difficult and incurable, in our usual understanding, diseases, using only the power of your subconscious.

In this book, I describe real events in my life, authentic experiences and emotions. Based on my personal experience, which is confirmed in modern scientific research in the field of neuroplasticity, I want to show and tell you that no matter how difficult your initial life situation is, you always have the opportunity not only to survive, but to rebuild your life and live like this as you want it!

But you need to want very, very much! And the results of your desires and efforts will surprise you with the suddenness of their manifestation and exceed your expectations!

Mark Twain once said: “If you want, but you can’t, then you don’t really want to!”

So, my reader, I invite you to make this unique journey and know yourself, and time does not matter at all, everything happens today and now!

Recommendations to the reading from the author

The method of perceiving the content of the book

In order to understand and maximize the meaning and content of the book, I recommend making notes in the margins and between the lines. Underline the most important things, highlight the text, put your own marks, and also mark what seemed incomprehensible to you when reading.

Do not skip chapters, otherwise you will lose the connection of the presented content with subsequent conclusions and events.

As you read, pay attention to how I approached finding solutions in various situations. One of the main problems of a person is that most people are in a hurry to answer any problem or situation, not daring to admit their ignorance. Don’t be ashamed to admit “I don’t know!” “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know the answer, I don’t know what to do, etc”. This is normal. First, it is impossible to know everything. Secondly, knowledge can come in the process of thinking.

Not everyone can find the answer to this or that question immediately, instantly, but you just have to concentrate on the task for at least 5–7 minutes, think, and – I’m sure of this – in 70% of cases you will find the answer, or if not the answer itself, then at least you will move on in search of an answer. Your task is to focus your attention!

In the process of reading, try not to evaluate the main events or quotes, but only memorize what you read, and you will evaluate a little later, having read to the end the second part of the book – “The Secret Hidden from Humanity”.

So, my dear reader, I invite you on an unusual journey through time, on a journey through my / our thoughts, emotions and experiences into my / our multifaceted life for decades!

This journey will help you evaluate different life situations from the outside, conduct your own analysis of what is happening in order to become stronger yourself, learn to overcome your fears and doubts in order to become who you would like to be!

Keep moving forward and success will be waiting for you right behind the obstacles!

Do not stop there, otherwise you will stop living!

Don’t say “no”, say “yes”, and a new and desirable world will open up for you!

Part one.
A dream of a lifetime

Chapter 1. Memories

November 5, 2018. Today I started writing this book and set a new, rather unusual and difficult task for myself: I am starting my own experiment, experience. The result of this work must be embodied and fulfilled in a future unknown to me. I will remember this date and return to it in my new reality, which I will describe in the second book a few years later.

Three days ago, my family and I flew from the city of Pune, located in central India. At this point, we have already lived there for some time and went to an unfamiliar place for us in southern Goa. Our plane landed in the historic town that bears the name of the famous Portuguese explorer – the navigator Vasco da Gama. This small town of just over thirty thousand inhabitants is the main city of the state, which until 1969 was a colony of Portugal.

Having traveled 44 kilometers in a local taxi, we stopped in a quiet place of Varca on the picturesque coast of South Goa, where we planned to spend our holidays during the festival and the Diwali holiday.

Over the years, observing and working on my subconscious, I have become so accustomed to constant activity that, even while on vacation, I get full satisfaction only if I am partially engaged in something productive, something that will become useful in the future not only for myself, but also for my family. Of course, I do not forget to pay attention to my daughter, who at the age of three is incredibly active, and not a single swim in the sea is complete without my participation. I do not disregard my beloved wife either! In order not to fall under the influence of my subconscious, my brain is used to constantly controlling it. In the future, I will call our subconscious, this “main dictator” of human consciousness, the voice of the body.

How to control your subconscious, why is it necessary and what is generally meant by this concept – my book tells about this, where I described my thoughts, actions and those events in my life to which they led.

Here, on the western coast of India, forty kilometers south of the city of Vasco da Gama, I begin to write this book.

Ural. Ilmensk reserve

For forty years of my life, I watched my thoughts and what important changes took place in my biography. When I was still a ten-year-old boy, I mentally always saw myself as a winner in any school sports, a successful student, a leader of all kinds of events, and constantly thought that all the boys, because of my achievements, wanted to be like me. And, imagine, I became like that.

By the age of fourteen, I had accumulated a whole pile of certificates of honor for sporting success, I was the chairman of the educational committee from schoolchildren, and at the same time I was the chairman of the sports commission there. At the age of fifteen, I became the chairman of the school forestry, we often went to competitions on knowledge of nature between schools in our city of Miass in the Chelyabinsk region. At the age of twelve, I independently, without knowledge of music and attending music courses, learned to play the guitar and organized a political song ensemble at school. We even had Cuban patriotic songs in our repertoire, such as “Guantanamera”. In addition, I managed to master several sports and competed in boxing, karate, cross-country skiing, volleyball and high jumping.

Everything that I achieved in those years – today I understand it very clearly – I received all these achievements and success only thanks to my thoughts and a great desire to be so. And I got everything that I myself wanted: to become what I already saw myself at the moment when I had not yet achieved my goals!

I’m 17 years old. First year at university

At the age of seventeen, I entered the University in Sverdlovsk (this city was renamed Yekaterinburg in the 90s), at the Faculty of Economics of ULTI. Competition – five people per place. I successfully passed three exams: mathematics, physics and essay on the proposed topic, gaining fourteen points. The only thing left to do is to pass an interview. But, alas, my fourteen points turned out to be a semi-passing level – one point was not enough for me to pass the competition for sure. And here I am at the interview, I include all my energy, memory and a great desire to be here, among the students of the Faculty of Economics!

As a result, my success in school and achievements played a decisive role: I get my cherished, missing for one hundred percent confidence, my winning BALL! I have fifteen points! I won!

The first course at the university in 1986–1987 is successful and quite active: I get involved in public life, I become the head of the Komsomol organization (the Komsomol still existed in those years, at the end of the eighties, before the coming changes in the politics and economy of the country in the nineties). I play the guitar, meet the most active university students. This leads me to the creation of “Fireworks” disco club, in which my classmate Kirill Sukhov and I become the hosts, write individual and thematic programs for holding entertaining disc evenings that take place twice a month on our campus. This gives me the opportunity to earn a little in addition to my scholarship, which was fifty rubles, and, moreover, I expanded my possibilities in organizing hobbies in my free time.

I have become quite a famous person at the university after several months of study: many students recognize me and invite me to all kinds of events and parties. Life starts to go like a script!

1987 year. Conscription into the ranks of the armed forces.

Unexpected, but true!

Any person on his life path is faced with surprises and sudden difficulties, obstacles, and all kinds of unforeseen situations arise unexpectedly and unpredictably. It happened to me too. In May 1987, a decree of the USSR Ministry of Defense was issued on the additional conscription of students of higher educational institutions into the ranks of the armed forces. Despite the presence of a military department at our university, I, like many other students, had to go to the army, changing my plans not of my own free will. For me this news was an absolute surprise. I joined the army on June 5, 1987, not having time to pass the last exam in chemistry, which I always had difficulties with due to the lack of special interest in this discipline at school.

How did I take this change for myself? Very calm. My inner voice told me at that moment: “If it turns out this way, then it should be so”! I calmly set myself up for the coming changes!

(I draw your attention! Further in the text, do not confuse the concepts of “inner voice” and “voice of the body”, or our subconsciousness! These are completely different concepts. You will understand in the process of reading what the difference is.)

We spent almost a week at a recruiting station on the outskirts of Sverdlovsk, and late in the evening we were put on a train and off we went. Where we were going, none of us knew. There was no information at that time. Waking up early the next morning and looking out the window, to my great surprise, I saw that the train was at the Chebarkul train station, twenty kilometers from Miass. Without waiting to disembark from the train, I took a ballpoint pen and in large letters on the right leg of my jeans, from top to bottom, wrote the name of the city: “Miass.” A little later, this inscription on jeans played a significant role in the events that unfolded soon, which influenced not only these two years of service, but also my subsequent life.

Approximately two hours after arriving at the Chebarkul station, they dropped us off, put us on buses and brought us to the military unit of the Sivash division. Sorting of the young replenishment has begun. The total number of conscripts standing on the huge parade ground of the unit was about five hundred people (later I learned that in case of hostilities, the parade ground was provided as an airfield for military helicopters). One of the sergeants of the unit, seeing the inscription on my jeans, came up to me and asked: “Are you from the city of Miass?” I quickly replied, “Yes!” – “Excellent!” – said the sergeant and asked: – “What is your surname?” – “Rekovski!” – I immediately blurted. After that, the sergeant said sternly: “Well, when I say your last name, you should come up to me. I take you to my unit. You will not regret! Got it?” – “So exactly!!” I blurted out again.

Another life

And here I am enlisted in the 2nd battalion of the 31st motorized rifle regiment of the Sivash rapid deployment division. It was a hot summer. We entered the unit’s location, went up to the third floor and entered our barracks. The sight was unexpected: on one floor there were two companies, each with 120 people (4 platoons of 30 people each). There were no partitions between companies and platoons. It was one huge room with bunk beds. At that moment, I realized that it was necessary not only to survive in such conditions, but to succeed. I definitely need to stand out from the crowd and try to do more than the rest!

And here is the first formation of the company after visiting the bathhouse. All are dressed in uniforms, some of the guys look funny – those for whom the clothes did not fit. I was lucky because the clothes fit me.

After the roll call and check of the new squad, a survey began: “Who is the athlete?” I responded immediately. My name was written down. A number of other questions followed, but I waited. For example, to the question “Who plays the guitar or other instruments?” I deliberately kept silent, because already earlier, even before the conscription, I had heard from experienced people that the nights are very short for those who play the guitars.

So my new everyday life began, a new life in completely different and, at first, completely difficult conditions. During the first three months, our training program included only military, drill and physical training. The basis of military training was based on firing from an infantry fighting vehicle. The IFV-1 became legendary during the war in Afghanistan, and we used the entire base of its weapons, including the AGM (anti-tank guided missile). I tried to memorize everything that I heard and saw, and concentrated my attention as much as possible. I especially focused on targeting and combat tactics exercises, and then I did the analysis for myself.

First success

After two months, I had accumulated enough knowledge to propose my own options for conducting maneuvers, and I was noticed, despite the fact that my proposals often failed due to lack of experience. As a result, when, three months later, a special platoon of the thirty most successful for undergoing special training with subsequent appointment to senior sergeants was created in our regiment from three battalions, I was included in its composition. And the kind of young people who were gathered into this special platoon later affected my subsequent life after returning from the ranks of the armed forces.

We began to study military science with instructors who trained and trained special forces. Physical activity was easy for me – I practiced a similar experience and sports training from an early age. Combat tactics are, first of all, logical thinking and a creative approach, which I also acquired from childhood. We helped each other in any situation, we were like one family. For example, no one wanted to come to our platoon’s location – and this is a row of beds in a common company. Old-timers, or, in army slang, “old men”, had heard a lot about our brotherhood and were treated with respect.

I’ll give you one example. We are running a forced march to the famous Chebarkul training ground, which has become tactical in our time. The distance from our barracks to the landfill is fifteen kilometers. We are running in formation in full combat build, in addition, in each of the three platoon squads there is one heavy tank machine gun. It is transmitted when running from one soldier to the next one running behind. After five kilometers of running, the machine gun was already a significant additional load, which was not easy to cope with. At least for me it was a serious test! I accept the machine gun and, not having time to place it more comfortably on my right shoulder, I hear: “Give this piece of iron to me!” Sergei Stolyarov, nicknamed “Schwartz Niger”, picks up the machine gun, holding the barrel with his right hand. So we nicknamed him for the volume of the biceps – the same as that of the famous actor.

There were all sorts of other cases. For example, when at night someone replaced normal boots with leaky boots from one of ours, the boots were returned to the owner in twenty minutes. In the dining room, on the tables at which we sat, there was always a full set of food, and no one took it away from us, which we observed, and more than once, on other tables.

In the harsh winter conditions of the Urals, while at the tactical training range, we took turns warming ourselves on the armor of our infantry fighting vehicle. The nose of the car heated up from the constant operation of the engine, and when, according to the assignment, it was forbidden to kindle a fire, we were saved only by the warm armor of the bow of the BMP. We changed places at the stove at night in a tent at minus twenty-five degrees, lying on a bed of pine rags, prepared by us during the day, clutching a Kalashnikov assault rifle. All this, like many other things, we have experienced together.

The common goal helped us and united us in those conditions: not just to survive, but to live and live as best as possible for these two years in those conditions! We had no choice at that time. There was only what was. This was our general mind.

Of all “ours” I was the last to be demobilized, as I was finishing my “demobilization chord”. For three weeks already, on the instructions of the company commander, Major Syutov, I took part in the construction of the Memory Alley of Heroes. A hundred poplars were to be planted on the alley, paths were laid between them, benches were put up, and in the central part a four-meter cube welded from a metal frame was installed at a height of two meters for placing posters. This whole ensemble was supposed to show off in front of the building where our regiment was located. I would like to look today, thirty years later, at this alley…

To complete this assignment, I could take five privates and carry out work at any time of the day. Removing the time limit was one of the necessary prerequisites and a condition for the successful implementation of this “chord”, since no materials or funds were provided for this, and the task had to be completed. Where did I get the building material? – you will ask. And what do you think? And I am smiling now! This was a forced step, I could not act differently and acted against my will. Henceforth, I have never resorted to such methods of obtaining building materials and equipment or any other benefits.

1989. Return to the former life

And now the long-awaited June 1989. Two years of service have come to an end. We return to our former life, only a little different people: not the boys we were two years ago. During these two years of service, I took part in the transportation of explosive goods by trains across the territory of Russia; in the mission in Nagorno-Karabakh, when our group was transferred in the summer of 1988 to the city of Baku to maintain order and tranquility in the city; I stood at night on military guards, guarding military installations; I learned how to fire from almost any type of weapon of the ground forces and much more. I was demobilized with the rank of petty officer and with the specialty “commander of an infantry fighting vehicle – driver’s backup mechanic”.

During my service, I learned for myself twelve principles of survival and success for my whole life:

• evaluate the situation realistically. Don’t swim in illusions;

• make a decision, otherwise it is dangerous;

• act right away, otherwise it’s too late;

• don’t take risks without thinking – you will die;

• rely only on yourself, otherwise you will lose;

• a huge plus if you still have someone to rely on;

• look for your own kind;

• take an example from the strong;

• think positively even in the most unfavorable conditions:

I can do it! I will not give up!

• faith in yourself and the memory of people close to you help;

• I will always eat what I want and only healthy food;

• I will never freeze in the future.

Many years have passed since then, or rather, thirty. I still observe these rules today, only about a dozen other important rules have been added to this list, which you will learn about in the process of reading this book.

When I returned from the ranks of the armed forces, there were still two months left before study – it’s time to earn extra money and buy yourself everything you need for a new life.

But at that time, his father’s illness progressed, he was on a three-month course of treatment in Moscow, in a hospital for reserve officers and participants in hostilities. My father was not a military man, but he had good connections, which allowed him to get into this unique clinic. Due to my father’s illness, I came to the Ural Mineralogical Reserve, where my father had been working for sixteen years by that time. I began to help my mother with the housework at the Karmakkul cordon, which was located in the southernmost part of the reserve, twenty kilometers from the city of Karabash and the northern part of the city of Miass. We moved to this place when I was seven years old, before that we lived in another reserved cordon. I grew up in this forest, among the picturesque Ilmensk lakes and forested mountain ranges with incredible stone piles left after the Ice Age. It was my home and unique corner of our planet.

I was a very good fisherman and I was by spinning and much to my surprise the bite was incredible that summer! In the morning hours, from seven to nine, the pike itself was caught. I managed to pull out up to 10–12 good, large specimens of pikes, which in total was about thirty kilograms. Having loaded them into a bag and covered two kilometers on foot, I got on a bus in the village of Novaya Andreevka, which was located by the Miass River, and in half an hour I was at the collective farm market. I sold all the fish in fifteen minutes. A line of five to seven people lined up while I was preparing for the sale and laying out a simple inventory consisting of hand scales, packaging material and a certificate of fish inspection in the market laboratory.

I looked after the farm instead of my father, rode around on horseback the territory of the reserve entrusted to him for protection, accompanied by our German shepherd named Bars, and could earn a little for my needs.

Our father’s family comes from the city of Murom, its roots can be traced back to the 17th century. Our ancestral brick house with two floors for four families, and today it is four apartments, in the village of Berezovka, which is located fifty kilometers from Murom, was built in 1752.

My ancestors at that time were well-to-do peasants, they traded in the harvesting and sale of wood, forged all kinds of wares for agriculture and had a small trading store, which was located in a two-story house opposite, across the street.

The trading shop was located on the first floor, built of bricks, and the second floor of a small square served as a single-family dwelling.

Next to this house is the third house of our family: a one-storey one, built of logs by my grandfather Alexei Vasilyevich at a later time – at the end of the 18th century. My father, Yuri Alekseevich, was born there on July 7, 1936.

My brother and I had to do the housework since childhood, and the bulk of the work fell on the summer school holidays. For this reason, my brother and I never went, like other children, to summer children’s holiday camps. And we had our own camp in the forest. My brother and I spent the whole summer in a tent on the shore of the lake, two hundred meters from the cordon. The lake, up to eight hundred meters wide and two kilometers long, is located near the mountains, and the evening echo for us was one of our entertainments before going to bed.

Our subsidiary farm consisted of two cows, two piglets, up to eight bulls, up to fifteen fine-wooled white sheep, about two dozen chickens, sometimes there were big black turkeys. We also had a service horse named Savras, as well as two dogs: a Siberian Laika and a German purebred shepherd named Bars. Bars, at the age of five, was shot by a resident from the nearby village of Novaya Andreevka in a shootout during the arrest of the poacher Stepan Vorsov. Vorsov shot a large elk, and if not for this shootout, he would have got off with a suspended sentence. As a result, he received five years in prison. But traces to this character led my father one more time after eight years. Vorsov ordered the murder of my father to his former cellmate. The attempt was unsuccessful thanks to the strong physique and incredible strength of Yuri Alekseevich. Despite the fact that the father was already seriously ill at that moment, he did not give up and worked as usual.

Our chores in the summer were complemented by the care of a huge potato field of sixteen acres. At least it seemed to me and my brother that way. And if not for the Colorado potato beetle, which appeared around 1979, when I was about ten years old, the hassle might have been much less. Harvesting forest berries was also time-consuming. We had to stock up on: three three-liter jars of wild strawberries and blueberries; up to ten liters of candied red viburnum; up to three buckets of lingonberries and cranberries; dried porcini mushrooms – depending on availability; about a fifty-kilogram bag of dried fish. The lake began to feed us with fish five years after our arrival. At first we lived in another cordon, Savelkul, in the very wilderness of the Ilmensk reserve, and the nearest town of Chebarkul was about thirty-five kilometers away. When I went to the first grade of school, we moved to a new place. At first, when we first arrived, there were practically no fish in the lake. It took about five years to restore fish stocks in it. Fish stocks were in poor condition because of fishing by poaching – nets and electric trails. My father and I were fishing by spinning in the summer, sometimes using nets when there was no bite at all. In the winter season, there was only one opportunity for fishing – live baits, which were installed on the ice up to ten or twelve pieces. As a result, three or four pikes could be caught per day.

Everything that I described, my brother and I knew how to do. We didn’t have much free time, as I said, so we really appreciated it and learned to use it as efficiently as possible, which I still do today, after forty years of my life.

The list of my brother and I’s tasks also included chopping birch firewood, bringing water from the river, cleaning the barnyard, watering the beds, driving livestock from pasture in the forest at the end of the day, and so on, but all this – only in the summer. When classes began at school, priorities changed, and the emphasis was on doing homework and attending sports clubs. I was fond of volleyball, skiing, was engaged in the boxing section, participated in many competitions and social life of the school, worked with a personal trainer, my father’s friend – Alexei Malolkin, the champion of Russia in karate in the 70s.

Alexey worked for several years, like my father, in the neighboring cordon. And he would still have worked, but once, as a result of a clash with violators of the protected area regime, with a group of former convicts – there were six of them – Alexey was forced to use his service weapon, a 7.62 mm carbine. As a result, a criminal case was opened against him and almost sentenced to imprisonment. This would be the end if he, despite his recognizance not to leave, had not gone to a personal meeting with the USSR Prosecutor General in Moscow. The case against Alexei was closed after this meeting in Moscow, and he was acquitted. My father helped him get an appointment in Moscow.

Meeting the right people is one of the essential prerequisites for success. Look for and keep in touch with people who can teach you something. Maintain contact with those people whom you would like to be like or have those traits that you may not have yet, but these people already have.

I will cite several examples of outstanding personalities who respected my father very much and who often visited us: Major General Karpukhin – the head of the special forces group “Alpha”, twice Hero of the Soviet Union; Viktor Petrovich Makeev – General Designer of KB Miass-20; cosmonaut Pavel Romanovich Popovich from the group that trained in the first team together with Yuri Gagarin; Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences, Professor, Doctor of Sciences Viktor Alekseevich Koroteev and several other very bright and famous personalities.

How did my father’s acquaintance affect me? – you ask. When I was five years old, General Karpukhin brought and presented me with a suit of a cadet of the Suvorov Military School, which was tailored for me, and I proudly put it on sometimes. I felt and imagined myself to be a very courageous and significant person. I am already at this age to the question of cosmonaut Popovich: “What do you want to become, fighter?” – Immediately and clearly answered: “I want to become a general, comrade general!” To which he smiled broadly and replied: “So, you will definitely be!”

Our guest is cosmonaut Pavel Romanovich Popovich, 12/22/1975, second from the left (in the center – mother Lydia Aleksandrovna, in front of the left – brother Dmitry, I am on the right, next to me is father Yuri Alekseevich)

From the words of my father – the story of cosmonaut Pavel Romanovich Popovich:

“In 1959, by a resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR, a decision was made on the selection and preparation of cosmonauts for the first flight on the “East” spacecraft. They chose from fighter pilots because they are the most trained and have the characteristics suitable for this. The selection was very tough, both according to medical criteria and physical data: the candidate must not be older than 35 years old, height no more than 175 cm, and weight up to 75 kg. At the time of selection, we did not have any information for what purpose we were selected. For us, the military, it was a common thing.

For the initial interview, 347 people were selected out of 3,400 candidates, but of them only 29 military pilots were able to complete all stages of the medical examination.

The first cosmonaut corps was formed on March 7, 1960, 12 people were enrolled in it. Only after that, it was announced to us for what purposes our detachment was formed. We became the first participants in the program, which was named the “East” Program. Yura Gagarin flew first on the “East-1” spacecraft, and my finest hour came a year later: in August 1962, I flew into space on the “East-4” spacecraft. This was the first program of two manned spacecraft. Andrei Nikolaev then flew the second ship – “East-3”. In this flight, we conducted the first experiments on radio communication between the crews of two ships in space. In addition, I could control the “East-4” spacecraft using the first manual control system”.

My father once asked Pavel Romanovich about the conditions for staying on a spacecraft, to which the cosmonaut replied, thinking a little: “Yura, conditions are not for normal life in this piece of iron! There was room for me alone a little more than one and a half cubic meters, one armchair in the center, from which it is not even possible to stand up at full height…”

Cosmonaut Pavel Romanovich Popovich, 12/22/1975

One spring, when I was six years old, I was running on the ice of Lake Savelkul, holding on to the frame of the baby carriage, which I was rolling in front of me. Suddenly, the ice fell under my feet, and I found myself in the water. Fortunately for me, the wheels of the baby carriage did not fall under the ice, but caught on the edge of the ice. I continued to hold on tightly to the frame of the stroller, realizing that if I let go of my hands, I would fall under the ice. I screamed, because my mother was about three hundred meters away from me on the ice – fishing with a winter rod. She was a great lover of winter fishing, and in summer she almost never fished – I believe that with our farm in the summer there was simply no time for this. I shouted until Mommy ran up and, grabbing my jacket, pulled me out of the water. After this incident, I did not become afraid of water and did not stop going on the ice. I only became more circumspect, especially in spring, and I avoided those places where the snow had a yellowish tint.

My father taught me a lot, including how to set goals and how to deal with difficulties. “Self-hypnosis is a great force”, he repeated in a difficult situation. He himself did not smoke or drink alcohol. I have never seen my father tipsy, distressed, demotivated, sad or confused. He often told me: “Smile more often! Do not be afraid of difficulties, but overcome them. Look for a way out of any situation and do not give up in front of an obstacle. If you started a business, then be sure to bring it to the end! Only then can you start another business. Set goals and go to them as the ship makes its way under the guidance of the captain. And your life will be bright, although not always easy. But you will get what you want”. I remember his parting words very well today.

How could a person with an eighth grade education know this? – I asked myself more than once. And here is my answer today: he learned all this through communication with people. I will write more about this important factor later.

Despite a serious and incurable illness, my father lived fully for another twenty-two years and passed away on Easter in Germany at the age of eighty, only two months before his eighty-first birthday. Not long before that, I visited him, having arrived from Russia for a couple of days in Germany, in the city of Goslar. The last six months have been quite a difficult time, especially for my mother, who was always by his side. I put my arms around my father’s shoulders before leaving, stayed in this position for a while and realized that I was seeing him for the last time. My father passed away a week after my departure, in April 2017. I am very grateful to him for the fact that he was able to convey to me everything that I use today in my difficult, but very dynamic and diverse life!

1989 year. Sverdlovsk. I am 20 years old

So, I am returning to the city of Sverdlovsk, now Yekaterinburg, in the fall of 1989. I meet with my friend Sergei Stepnoy, with whom we served together in the same battalion of the Sivash division from the very first to the last day, and we start doing business. Also my former classmates and friends Vasily Chudny and Vladimir Furmanov returned after the service. Vasily and I ended up in Chebarkul together, but six months later he was assigned to eastern Germany, near Magdeburg. Vladimir was drafted a year later and ended up in a construction battalion, where he also had to go through difficult times … We recovered for the second year of the Faculty of Economics and continued our studies. Student Valery Lepninsky joined the three of us on a new course. I realized over time that this was a very successful and active union for the embodiment of our ideas and true friendship.

Today Valery is the owner of the large corporation “Our time”, formerly “Ural machines” LLC. Vladimir Furmanov is the general director of a pasta company known to everyone in Russia. Vasily Chudny, unfortunately, tragically passed away back in 1999, but his departure to another world was not associated with his professional activities.

We returned from the army two years later as other people, respectively, our interests and goals also became other. We began to think about how we can become free. Yes, that’s right: we wanted to be free! To be free from stereotypes of life, not to depend on circumstances and from other people, to have the right to choose for ourselves and make decisions independently! We wanted to be ourselves: to be individuals, entrepreneurial and successful!

And what do you think, my dear readers, what was necessary to have for this? Quite right – money! We needed money. Not just a certain amount, but an unlimited amount of financial resources. Our new life began with this! We started looking for an opportunity to make money.

A new beginning: entrepreneurship

I guess it’s pretty easy today to say, “Maybe I should do some business?” There are enough opportunities for this, and even such niches exist in the service sector. But if you do not have that entrepreneurial streak, that energy, self-discipline, a certainty of purpose and a great desire to become such, it does not matter! The economic situation in Russia by 2018, despite the constantly updated sanctions from the United States, provides more and more opportunities for growth in large companies, both Russian and in companies with foreign capital! It all depends only on yourself.

So, let’s go back thirty-two years ago, in 1989: the country is on the verge of bankruptcy, the courts and militia do not work properly, mired in corruption and bribery. The country’s economy is completely ruined, capital was exported to the USA and to European countries! The most important set of simple products is sold with coupons, the privatization of what has not yet been plundered begins. People are waiting for salaries for six months, factories are closed. The country is in chaos. This is how we saw the USSR at that time, on the threshold of new changes. We ourselves did not know and did not understand what kind of changes. But one thing we understood for sure – right now we need to act. As one very well-known proverb says, “water does not flow under a lying stone” – we repeated these words almost every day and looked for opportunities to cling to at least something: we discussed together our ideas and evaluated how successful it could be, what risks it can bring and what benefits we can get for investing in the future in larger projects.

It all started, from the point of view of today, quite simple and straightforward, but we began to act two months after our return to civilian life.

My friend and colleague Sergei Stepnoy and I are starting to buy scarce goods in Yekaterinburg and resell them. We delivered goods to the region, we sold them in the Chelyabinsk region and the Khanty-Mansiysk district. We sold everything from nails and sweatshirts to candy, oranges and women’s imported tights. We did not trade at retail, but only in wholesale. We bought wholesale lots and in two or three days we were already reselling with a profitability of at least 100%. It was a success.

We successfully studied at the university, combining studies with our entrepreneurial activities, and, of course, did not forget about health. Health is one of the most important conditions for success in life and business! Our difficult past and military service helped us a lot in this. Starting from the second year, all the students once a week, on Wednesdays, attended the military department, and we – those who served our two years – quite logically received an exemption from military training classes. And we went to the bathhouse every full additional day off. We bought out for six months in advance an individual complex with a swimming pool and a steam room, accommodating six people, according to the price list. We met in the bathhouse at the same time, from nine in the morning to one in the afternoon. Our suites had a tea room, a relaxation room, a spacious pool and, most importantly, a very hot steam room. At the same time, we have never consumed alcohol over the years: we always had a supply of herbs for tea, jam and muffins with us. We gradually determined our method of visiting the bathhouse, so as not to harm, but to improve our health and constantly increase immunity. We had a strict rule: no alcohol! We used Friday and Saturday, or one of these days, for delicious and fun dining. Most often, we visited then the restaurant “Petrovsky Hall”, where we were regular guests. As they say, we are always remembered there!

Weekly and regular trips to the bathhouse were not our only occupation in order to improve health, and we pursued not only this goal. We also tempered, trained and tested our state of awareness in this world: thus, every time I felt myself one step closer to nature, closer to that closed “I”, which in the process of daily routine of tasks and the influence of the surrounding reality takes us into side of our inner and real “I”. For me personally, it was also a constant process of withdrawing myself and my body from a comfortable state into a state of stress and discomfort! Why do you need to do this regularly? You will get the answer to this question by reading the book to the end!

So, there were four of us comrades, all of them were students of our university, and we got carried away with dousing with cold water according to the Porfiry Ivanov’s system known only in Russia. This experience was for me the first discovery of the limitless possibilities of man. I will gladly share this experience with you.

Porfiry Ivanov’s system – dousing with cold water:

it works 100%

Our group “hike in the bath”, as we called it, included a regular and the most ardent bather Misha Sharkov – a very extraordinary personality. Sometimes he was completely unpredictable; it’s good that such moments did not come so often. This happened when Misha was drinking some alcohol. Misha regained consciousness only the next day. Sometimes he did not remember where he drank and with whom. In addition, he really loved to compete with someone strength at such moments. For this reason, Misha did not appear the next day in class after such adventures. But, nevertheless, it was he who infected me with the water dousing system. And I began to gradually prepare myself for this. Here I would like to note one fact: after we began to regularly engage in pouring cold water, my friend Misha stopped drinking alcohol altogether.

The principle of recovery from Porfiry Korneevich Ivanov was based on unity with nature, in which it gives strength and nourishes with its energy. Porfiry tried to control emotions and consciousness, to control all internal processes, avoiding excitement and fear. He walked freely in winter, in any frost, practically without clothes, only in shorts, and twice a day he doused himself with cold water outside. Porfiry Korneevich was born on February 20, 1898 and lived, despite all the difficulties and hardships of his life, eighty-five years. He passed away on April 10, 1983.

How it all started: when Porfiry Korneevich developed cancer on his arm, he was about thirty years old. The stage of the disease was quite advanced, and the doctors could not cure him. Porfiry decided to catch a cold and to lie to bed in order not to suffer. To do this, he daily went out naked into the street in the freezing cold, wiped himself with snow and doused himself with cold water. Over time, he began to notice that, on the contrary, the state of health, contrary to expectations, began to return to normal, vigor and physical lightness appeared. Ultimately, the disease receded, and Ivanov did not stop hardening on this and began to experiment further.

I will describe in great detail how I conducted my daily dousing with cold water.

Phase one: I doused myself with cold water in the bathroom every morning before breakfast and every evening before bed. It is enough to pour two buckets of cold water on yourself, but always with your head. Before that, you need to perform a fairly simple breathing exercise for 3–5 minutes.

Breathing exercise:

Stand up straight and lower your arms and head down. Exhale the air completely. Hold your breath for 3–4 seconds. After that, gradually inhale the air deeply, while raising your arms and head up. Raise your arms above your head, palms up. Do not squeeze your fingers at the same time, keep your palm open, and your fingers should be pointing inward, towards each other. Hold your breath for 4–5 seconds. You can close your eyes (if you are doing the exercise in the evening, with a starry sky, then I advise you to open your eyes and watch the stars). The head should be raised as high as possible, but without effort. Next, lower your arms down and exhale completely the air from your lungs, like a pump! When you exhale the air, lower your head down.

The arms should be lowered along the body, the head should be lowered. Turn your palms 90 degrees towards you in the direction of your head, bring your hands together so that your fingertips lightly touch each other. Begin to raise your arms along your torso up to chest level and inhale deeply and fully at the same time! Hold your breath for 2 seconds and exhale quickly while helping with your hands. Take your arms away from your chest in front of you and turn your palms away from you … When you exhale and hold your breath for 4–5 seconds, lower your arms.

Repeat this exercise 3–4 times.

Significance of this exercise: It is the easiest, fastest and most effective way to move energy through your body. When you breathe in and raise your hands and head up, you turn to the Universe and fill yourself with healthy and strong energy. When you breathe in and raise your arms from below to chest level, you accumulate your negative energy, your illnesses and pains. Further, with a sharp exhalation, you simultaneously help with your hands to push out all the negative energy from yourself, and together with it push out your illnesses, fears and experiences!

So I opened my first health secret to you – breathing exercise.

I have formed this exercise for myself on my own, conducting training for many months and years, while observing the results. In this case, it is necessary to think only positively and, in addition, to carry out training consciously and completely trust yourself.

Faith is one of the following basic prerequisites for success!

Phase two.

A week is enough to practice dousing with cold water in the bathroom or shower room, as well as get used to the breathing exercise.

In autumn, winter and spring, you can douse yourself with cold water outside. During the warmer months, you can douse yourself with cold water in the apartment.

In winter, we always doused ourselves, regardless of freezing temperatures. Our record is minus thirty-five degrees. We pour out two buckets of cold water on ourselves in turn, with a short interval of two minutes. After pouring out the first bucket, be sure to do the breathing exercise twice! Do not rush to pour both buckets on yourself and quickly run away to a warm room. I assure you that you will not catch a cold. Yes, hair freezes in seconds, that’s right. Your skin dries out very quickly and your body turns pink. This is a rush of blood, your circulation is increased. You feel at such a moment easy and at ease.

When you have done two breathing exercises, pour out the second bucket of water, but pour water over the whole body, including the head! Compliance with this rule is very important, otherwise there is a risk of a difference in the blood pressure of the head and body, which can lead to headaches and discomfort.

When you have poured the second bucket on yourself, do 2–3 breathing exercises! When you are finished, you can go into the room. As Porfiry wrote, if suddenly you feel unwell, pour cold water on yourself again during the day. Good luck and you will forget what diseases are!

The magic of water. Water is the most important and valuable element of life on our planet, as is, in principle, sunlight. But besides this, water is a conductor of information and a carrier of energy! Think about it when you pour cold water on yourself or when you just stand in the shower in the morning or evening.

Save water, use it for its intended purpose and do not pour it unnecessarily, when, for example, you did not close the water tap in time.

Phase three: for professionals.

Dear readers, I do not recommend this exercise for beginners!

If you have been pouring cold water on yourself for several months, if you have tested yourself in the winter season and can assess your capabilities, only in this case you can try this third phase.

So, the temperature outside is from minus five to minus sixteen degrees. Easy jog for 20 minutes. You need to run in swimming trunks and light shoes. After that, you need to pour cold water on yourself, as in the second phase. Next, you need to put on shoes, since dousing with cold water occurs without shoes, and then you need to continue a quiet run for 20 minutes.

Step into a warm room after your run. In any case, your body will receive a slight degree of hypothermia: lips are slightly blue, body is reddish in places. You will feel cold, but that will soon pass. Throw a blanket over yourself and just sit quietly.

Attention: under no circumstances take a warm or hot shower immediately!

Caution: Light jogging because your muscles and tendons are not as elastic as usual in subzero temperatures or when your body is cooling. In order not to damage them, do not overdo it and run easily and calmly, without stress. At the same time, breathe calmly and evenly and do not deep, but short breaths so as not to damage your lungs with cold air.

After 20–30 minutes, you will feel pleasant relief and lightness in your body and a surge of energy. You will feel hungry. I advise you to eat light food, preferably a vegetable salad with vegetable oil. Otherwise, it will be difficult for your stomach to cope with the stress.

Good luck and good health!

What have I learned from the dousing with cold water?

Five very important elements that are the foundation for creating the foundation of our health:

1. Breathing is a tool, or, more precisely, our magic key, which allows you to open a secret door and get into the relationship of the energy of the body with the energy of space around us (the energy of the quantum field).

2. Thoughts: it is necessary to strictly control your thoughts and distinguish conscious thoughts from the thoughts of your subconscious, or, in other words, from the signals given by your body – “the voice of the body”.

3. Your attention: concentrate your attention on everything that you feel and sense inside you, concentrate your attention on your internal organs and the whole body. Then turn your attention to the space around you, feel yourself in this infinite space….

4. Magic of Water: water is a source of energy and information from the outside, provided that you can concentrate your attention on it.

5. Faith is the most essential condition for any success. You need to believe in yourself, in your capabilities and in the limitless capabilities of the quantum field in space. In other words, faith is a self-hypnosis that concerns not only your capabilities, but also the capabilities of other people who can positively influence you.

Dear readers, these five principles, or five basic elements, are the main part of what is most important, which is what my book is about.

All these elements are nothing more than a tool for working with the subconscious: our weaknesses, laziness, fears, insecurity, anger, envy, and so on. In the subconscious, there is a constant interaction of our brain with our body, which opposes our conscious thoughts, with this mysterious force that works against us!

“How to make our subconscious mind work for us?” – you will gradually get an answer to this question as you read the book. And at this stage, for a quick perception and understanding of what our subconscious is, I will give several examples that, most likely, any of us experienced.

Examples of the influence of our subconscious

on ourselves

One fine day, or perhaps for many days or months, your mind will tell you that it’s time to take on your health, and that you do not need to eat too much, especially in the late evening, and that in this way you can lose excess weight and improve your figure. And now several hours pass. You feel uneasy as that very evening is coming soon! And now, attention, your inner voice tells you: “Why are you so nervous that you are so tense! We always felt so good. You ate and watched TV. Let’s try today for the last time to eat, and tomorrow we will probably be able to think of something about how to proceed”. And you start to eat, but with even greater pleasure and in more quantity, as if this is the last time! When the meal is over, you think again: “Well, I ate like a pig again”, or something like that. The next day comes, and the situation either repeats itself, or you continue to eat without a twinge of conscience. So, the very voice that calmed you and told you that you need to relax and continue living as usual, this is our subconscious, or, in other words, the voice of the body!

So, what results have I achieved for myself by dousing with cold water?

1. I have never had colds or any other diseases.

2. I was always in a good mood, I was very active and full of energy, necessary for study and, additionally, for entrepreneurship.

In the winter season, I wore an autumn leather jacket and autumn boots with thick soles. When my body began to cool down and feel that it was going to freeze now, it began to quickly generate energy and warm up, and on its own, without the participation of my brain!

The 90s have come

Two years have passed since our return to our former, but still a different life. We attended, when necessary, lectures and practical classes at the university and devoted a lot of time to our young business. I worked more and more together with Sergei Stepnoy: we built our own schemes of work both with other entrepreneurs, retail bases, chain stores in the regions, and with mafia structures – in order to protect, first of all, ourselves, and only then our business. We have defined for ourselves one very important rule for our business: “We cannot earn all the money” – which means that we do not get involved under any circumstances in everything that is connected with drugs, weapons, extortion and other dubious deals! After about eight to ten years, we were convinced by the example of some entrepreneurs and representatives of mafia structures known to us that this decision was absolutely correct.

We no longer stood in lines at shops and trade centers with bags, and did not take our goods away by taxi, as it was two years ago. My ability to establish contacts in any field and with any people, as well as the necessary acquaintances, brought us to another level. We bought oranges for cash, loading the truck at night at the “Yekaterinburg Sorting” station directly from the arrived train with the goods from Greece. Candies and other sweets were shipped to us at the “Sweetly” factory according to our list, and at that time we were drinking coffee with a supplier in his office. Imported goods from the base were brought to the specified place and at the agreed time on prepayment, which we transferred the day before delivery in a cozy restaurant near the railway station. Our success was already on the way to new success, and we really appreciated it. We hardly talked to anyone on this topic. The golden rule of success: keep your mouth shut!

And at that time we used to say: “You know little, you sleep better” – and smiled at each other.

I will tell you about the fate of my childhood friend named Dmitry. I will not give his last name, out of respect for his father, who is rather well-known not only in Yekaterinburg, but also in scientific circles of Russia. Dmitry’s family moved to Yekaterinburg a little earlier than me. Due to his father’s status, he belonged to the so-called “golden youth”. They lived in the city center, not far from the 1905 square, in an elite area already at that time. I often visited them, often staying overnight. Dmitry was an excellent biathlete, but after moving to Yekaterinburg and meeting young people like him, he changed his interests and, like his new friends, began to look for opportunities to make big money quickly. And they began to do it. They drove Mercedes cars, went to restaurants every day, drank a lot, and walked exclusively in leather jackets and Adidas tracksuits. This was the “central” mafia group. What Dmitry specifically earned, he did not tell me. I only know that they successfully played one game that became very popular among the people in those years – “thimbles”. It was a superbly worked out and win-win scheme. People were losing everything they had, and even expensive clothes, trying to win back what they had already lost. But in this game, only the one who has the same three thimbles wins. Many times I closely watched what was happening from the outside, as I often traveled on business and visited the area of train stations and airports. The meaning of the game is deception, and what the players see is an illusion. Those who cheat them and drag them into this illusion of acting are great actors. The total number of organizers of this show could reach fifteen or twenty people.

These young guys had their own world, their own strong friendship, and they called themselves “the brigade”. The most famous TV series that came out on television in the late nineties – “Brigade” – I watched it for the first time in 2002, while living in Germany. Memories flooded me about the meetings with those guys, about Dmitry’s wedding with Yulia, where the guys from the “brigade” sang on stage, embracing, a song from the old and very popular film “The Diamond Arm” with the words “but we don’t care, but we don’t care, we are not afraid of the wolf and the owl…” I recalled how we celebrated the birthday of Dmitry’s two twin sons, how we went fishing, and much more. This film made a very strong impression on me then, returning me eight years ago, to that “gangster” Yekaterinburg.

I still met Dmitry in February 2013, when I first visited Russia and flew to Yekaterinburg nine years after leaving for Germany. We met with him at his parents’ country house. To my great surprise, I hardly recognized Dmitry. Alcohol consumption and, in the past, addiction to drugs have taken their toll. Dima looked fifteen or twenty older than his years. His voice was very hoarse and quiet, his head and shoulders were lowered, his back was hunched over. It was very difficult for me to watch this without tears. But that was not the worst thing.

His wife Yulia crashed in a car accident in 1996 when she was driving a Zhiguli car after their children. Dima took her BMW that day, as he had crashed his Mercedes the day before, returning from another party from the restaurant well drunk. For this, he strongly blamed himself, because if Yulia had gone to the BMW, the accident would not have happened. Even if an accident happened, she would, sitting in the BMW, get off only with fright, crashing into the same bus due to icy conditions. During the collision, the Zhiguli formed like an accordion, and Julia died instantly.

But this was not the last sad news. I started asking Dmitry: “How are your friends? How are Sanya, Yurka, Pasha, Seryoga? How are they?” Dmitry was silent for a while, poured a full glass of red wine, which I brought with me, and, before drinking, said with tears in his eyes: “You know, bro, and there is no one else alive. I was the only one left. Let’s drink to them!”

After I wrote these lines about the fate of my friend, I paused. I walked out onto the balcony of our apartment and looked out over the beautifully lit garden and decorative pools with fountains. It was already dark, and the gone heat of the day gave way to the pleasant warmth of the late evening. I felt a light, fresh scent of a green garden and, at the same time, the specific humidity of the Goa air. Voices came from the restaurant …

We stayed for two weeks at this hotel. Today our sixth day of stay ended here, and my family was very happy with both the hotel itself and the very warm, about thirty degrees, water in the ocean. We walked a lot in the evenings along the endless sandy beach, which at low tide turns into a huge coastal area with very dense coverage due to the minute sand. The hotel had direct access to the sea. The sandy beach and its bar and fish restaurant were separated from the main small three-story buildings by a golf course partially planted with coconut trees. More than a dozen white Indian herons roamed the field every day. Today is the seventh of November. For the fourth day I am writing my book, which, perhaps, will remain an essay about my life for my children. Maybe … This is only the seventeenth page for today, which I wrote, but at the time when you read this book, the page number will change to a higher number due to subsequent updates and changes in the text. I recall and describe those events in my life that are important to me, and which in my future played an important role in decision-making. So let’s go back to 1993.

1993 year. New changes. Another life

I graduated from university in 1993. Sergei and I had earned a small amount of capital by this time, and it was time to properly invest part of the money we earned. We decided to open a line for the production of pasta in the region, near Yekaterinburg. Pasta is a product that is always bought, regardless of the economic situation in the country, income level and the status of buyers in society. In addition, this product, according to our preliminary calculations, gives a fairly decent profitability – from 100 to 200 percent. To do this, it is necessary to organize properly all processes, from the purchase of raw materials to the organization of production at a sufficiently high level, and most importantly, to establish sales of products. With regard to sales, we have already developed numerous contacts and connections with chain and individual stores; several dozen retail outlets and networks have cooperated with us. In addition, we were preparing a program for selling in bulk to other regions. Of course, the wholesale price was significantly different from the sales price, but the capacity utilization of the equipment we intended to buy had to be maximum. In addition, there are other economic indicators for the successful operation of any enterprise, such as fixed and floating costs of production, transportation costs, depreciation charges, taxes, and so on. We had a business plan ready. It remains for us to find suitable areas, which turned out to be not such an easy task. We tried to ensure that all conditions meet our requirements, namely: the distance from Yekaterinburg is no more than fifty kilometers, the proximity of transport links, the area must have a reserve for the subsequent expansion of production for the lines of baking bread and other bakery products. We also needed space for warehouses – both for raw materials and for finished products; the possibility of opening a company store directly at the factory and the availability of communications: electricity of sufficient power, heating, sewerage and water.

I was already married at that time. My wife studied in the same course as me. We practically did not know each other and did not communicate after my return from the army, having studied together for six months. And in March, I invite her to my twentieth birthday, which I was preparing to celebrate at the “Big Ural” restaurant. We began to maintain a relationship after this celebration, and we got married in the fall of 1993. The parents of my future wife were working in Cuba at that time, they were building a nuclear power plant there. She came to Yekaterinburg from Ukraine, where their family has lived for the past ten years.

The last, fifth course has come to an end. In June, we passed all exams and received our diplomas. Our student life ended there, the life that became a real discovery for me. These seven years of my life, including two years of military service, opened the gates to the future for me. These were the brightest, most dynamic and the most memorable years for me. During this time, I have created a foundation for my beliefs, goals and positive thoughts. I became who I wanted to be and who I wanted to remain for the years to come. Only one task remained – not to stop, but to develop and improve further.

I needed to decide on the next place of residence, taking into account our business plans with Sergei. At that time, I did not have my own housing in Yekaterinburg. But my wife and I decided to go to the nature reserve and visit my parents before we get to grips with the housing issue. I haven’t been there that often in the last three years.

The road to the Ilmensk Reserve, going through the towns of Kasli and Karabash, took four hours: the shortest route by bus from Yekaterinburg to Miass was 160 kilometers. It was very convenient for us that we got off the bus, passing the village of Novaya Andreevka, and, bypassing all other transfers, we found ourselves two kilometers from the Karmakkul cordon.

Many names of villages in this region, like the names of almost all the lakes of the Southern Urals, have Tatar names. The name “Karmakkul” means, for example, “hook lake”. Kul is a lake. The neighboring lake, two hundred meters later, is called Syrytkul, then, two kilometers later, Terenkul, and so on. The reserve itself was formed back in 1918, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin signed a decree on the creation of the Ilmensk mineralogical reserve. In our time, the reserve is called “Ilmensk Mineralogical Reserve named after V.I. Lenin”.

The walk to the reserve takes about twenty minutes: you need to overcome a kilometer ascent through the first mountain range 400 meters high, and then go down to the foot of Lake Karmakkul. Another ridge of the same mountain range stretches from the opposite side of the lake – Ilmensk. It is more picturesque than the first, and its height is already 650 meters. Lake Karmakkul is connected by rivers with two other lakes included in the reserve. One of the most picturesque and deepest reservoirs of the reserve – Lake Ishkul with several islands – is located in the northern direction, five kilometers away. The protected zone, for which my father was responsible, consisted of the territory from our lake and part of Lake Ishkul with a total length of eight kilometers from north to south, and from west to east – the entire territory from one to the other border with an average width of seven to eight kilometers. The peculiarity of the security zone is that the entrance and entry into the reserve is completely prohibited. For sixteen years the reserve has become my home for me.

When I came to my parents, I saw that my father’s health had deteriorated. The disease slowly crept closer and closer despite all his efforts and positive mood. The reason for the acceleration of negative dynamics was the fact that Russia stopped purchasing some medicines in Europe in 1993, and instead began to use analogues of domestic production. His condition deteriorated sharply in just three months, during which his father took a Russian-made drug. My mommy told me about this in detail, that’s what I still call her!

Father’s illness began to progress

My father had a very rare disease, the source of which has already been precisely established. It is caused by microorganisms that enter the human body when eating fresh wild berries or as a result of direct contact with wild animals. The most dangerous of all animals in this regard are foxes.

These microorganisms settle mainly in the lungs and liver of a person and begin to multiply there gradually. A person infected with such microorganisms at the first stage, sometimes lasting for years, does not feel anything until the number of microorganisms begins to manifest itself in mild shortness of breath and a slight (up to 37 degrees) increase in body temperature. At this stage, the lungs and liver cease to fully perform their functions, and the person begins to feel it.

Until now, it has not been possible to find a remedy that could completely cure a person from these microorganisms. Modern medicine has not yet developed such a drug. The existing German medicine allows only to stop the growth process of pathogens and reduce their activity, which leads to an improvement in the condition of an infected person. In 1995, my father spent several months in Hamburg, in a special clinic for tropical diseases, in which there were only four such patients from Germany.

And then, in 1993, the Ministry of Health of the USSR (Russia) stopped buying this medication in Europe, and the released Russian analogue, after a week from the beginning of its intake, began to have very strong and severe side effects on my father’s body. Our family at that moment had to decide where to get German-made medicines for my father. We found an opportunity to buy it in Germany. The cost of the course for a month was about eight hundred US dollars, and the drug had to be taken constantly throughout the rest of my life. So fate has set a new task for us: how to cope with all this?

It was not easy for us at all. But we all: me, my mother, my brother and my father came to this decision together, weighing all the “pros” and “cons”. Only one major factor was for me personally: my father’s health! There was no other way.

Chapter 2. First step into the unknown world…

Making an important decision

We decided to leave to live in Germany. At that moment, my mother’s three sisters lived there.

But what did it mean for me to leave everything and go to live in Germany, another country with a different way of life, different customs? But what about German, which I did not know? What about all this? I had to leave my startup business, my friends, my habits and go into a world still incomprehensible to myself! THIS were my FEARS at that moment, which I needed to cope with.

I thought that there should also be advantages in this situation, and began to list them: I am young at my twenty-four years old and, if necessary, I can get another or additional education in Germany, which will open up NEW, unknown opportunities for me.

I thought that for this I need to first learn the language, which will give me some advantages for my future. But that was not all. That time was very turbulent in Russia, my business involved serious risks, my safety was not guaranteed by anything. And it was not clear what Russia would be like in five or six years. My brother Dmitry, who was a year and a half younger than me, he worked in various places and earned very modest income, he had dubious friends and abused alcohol. I thought about him and worried about him. Departure from Russia should only benefit him.

And my father, to my proposal to leave for him with his mother alone, to Germany, replied that he would not go to Germany without me and my brother, and my mother supported him.

So, the decision was made, and we started the process of paperwork for the exit. Earlier in the family we did not speak at all about the fact that we have relatives abroad. Mom’s older sister went abroad in the seventies. She and her mother rarely corresponded, since in the USSR, living behind the “Iron Curtain”, it was dangerous to have relatives abroad. This could have far-reaching consequences – such a fact could significantly limit the choice of profession, career growth, self-realization as a leader.

But by that time, in 1993, all three of my mother’s sisters had already lived in Germany. My mother was German by birth, she was from those Germans who moved to the Volga region at the invitation of Tsarina Catherine II in the 16th century from Schlesia, the eastern part of Germany. Today these lands are part of Poland.

Russian Germans. Generational history

Immigrants from Germany during the time of Catherine II received land and could engage in agriculture. As a result, whole German villages with German schools, beautiful houses and good roads were formed in four hundred years. The inhabitants of such villages spoke only German, and this was their own little world for them. When we were about to move to Germany, we did not know that such villages existed in southern Russia.

Before the revolution, my ancestors owned a large farm, which in 1917 was taken away and passed into the possession of Soviet collective farms, and my great-grandfather named Rekovsky was shot by the Bolsheviks. But this was not the end of the ordeal for the Rekovsky family, as well as for many other Volga region Germans. 1941 came, the Great Patriotic War with fascist Germany began. At night, the entire village was surrounded by special services, and an order was given to evacuate the entire population. People could only take with them documents, which were later seized by the NKVD, and some clothes and food. All were put into a cargo train at the nearest station and taken to, but where – it is not known. These frightened people did not know how long they would take them and what awaited them ahead. And they faced difficult trials ahead: complete poverty, death of relatives from hunger or from work in the Gulag and “labor camps”.

The echelon reached its destination in about a week, it was the city of Novosibirsk. The people were put into trucks and taken to the forest about fifty kilometers from the city. There was no housing at all, and people were offered to dig dugouts. Yes, that’s exactly how – to dig dugouts and settle down, whoever can. (Further – from the words of my mother’s sister, aunt Mina.) The Rekovskys family had five children at that time, my mother was born after the war, in 1947. Just imagine: as soon as the family settled down, my grandfather Alexander Rekovsky (born on July 21, 1909) was taken into the labor army, grandmother Ekaterina (born on March 9, 1911) was also taken into the labor army, and a little later, three months later, the children were left alone. The older sister Mina, who was twelve at the time, took full responsibility for the younger sisters. The sisters were between two and six years old. Mina went from door to door, begged, got food and warm clothes, wandered through the garbage dumps, collected what could still be used for food, and, if possible, worked as a nanny. The two youngest sisters could not overcome the hardships of hunger and died one after another during the first year after moving to Novosibirsk.

Time passed and the situation got worse. Mina found out the address of the camp where her father worked and wrote him the following letter: “Our beloved daddy, we live in our last breath. Our two little sisters starved to death three months ago, and now it’s our turn. Come to us as soon as possible, otherwise we may not wait for you! Your daughter Mina”.

When my grandfather received this letter, only one person could help him in this situation. This was one of the camp officers with the rank of captain. After the main working day, the grandfather helped the family of this officer, who lived on the territory of the labor camp, – he prepared firewood for them. In the evening, grandfather brought firewood to their house and stoked the stove. And so, he once again fired up the stove and handed this letter to the officer’s wife with words of help and asked to give him the opportunity to go to Novosibirsk to bring his children. It was unlikely, but he nevertheless hoped very much: he had no other opportunity to get out of the camp, even for a couple of days.

And the very next day, my grandfather received a three-day leave of absence from the camp director. These were the most cherished three days in his entire life!

He received two cans of stew, a loaf of bread and a little sugar on the way from the officer’s wife. My grandfather returned to the camp three days later and brought with him three thinner, exhausted, but infinitely happy daughters. My grandfather’s luck set a good example for other fathers who worked in this labor camp. They began to intercede for the children before the leadership of the colony and to bring them from dugouts near Novosibirsk, left not of their own free will.

The year 1945 came, my grandmother returned from the labor camp, and the Rekovskys family moved to Novosibirsk. Despite the fact that they did not have the right to leave this area for several more years, they were happy that they were together after four such difficult years.

In 1947, my mother, Lydia Aleksandrovna Rekovskaya, was born. The Rekovsky family continued to live in Novosibirsk, since the regime established by Lavrentiy Beria after the end of World War II did not allow the Germans to leave the regions where they were deported in 1941. Only in 1954, after Beria’s death, did German families receive passports. Now they, like all free people, could freely move around the territory of the USSR. After so many years of hardship and the cold of the north, the Rekovskys decided to leave for the union Republic of Kyrgyzstan, in the city of Frunze, now Bishkek. There they built a one-story house with snow-white walls, in which there was a garden planted with all kinds of fruit trees that grew only in this strip. In the seventies and eighties, my family and I came to them every summer from the Urals on vacation to eat fruit and homemade sweet German krebel, which my grandmother so willingly baked.

I remember very well this kind and very lively granny, who in her life never spoke Russian, but only spoke German with the dialect of the Volga region, the so-called Plattdeutsch. In the summer after work, my grandfather was constantly swarming in the garden, preparing dried fruits, soaked watermelons and preparing his signature plum wine. It was their new, calm and measured world.

Transfer to the city of Miass. Temporary solution

So, I made the final decision to go to Germany, abandoned plans to organize a pasta factory and moved with my wife from Yekaterinburg to Miass, continuing to engage in wholesale trade. In addition, before leaving for Germany, I decided to get a job at the Ural Automobile Plant (UralAZ), in the commercial service. In the nineties, almost all enterprises in the country worked without money supply and barely kept themselves afloat. The primary task for any enterprise at that time was to close its debts for the supply of raw materials and the necessary energy resources for production, and for this they used the so-called “offset” scheme. I went to work in such a unit, which is responsible for all offsets at the enterprise, and which called the “department of commercial services”. There were seven of us. For a relatively short period of work in the department, in addition to small contracts, I managed to conclude one large contract with our customer from Khanty-Mansiysk for 1 billion 100 million rubles and send it to our suppliers of components through Ural- and Mostransgaz. I also gained a huge and valuable experience of communicating with the general and commercial directors of the largest enterprises in Russia, and regular trips to enterprises of partners made me even more mobile, collected and sociable. After three months of work, I got a Volga-3110 service car with a driver. It was already a success. But the salary for this work was purely symbolic for me, and it was enough for me for about a week. My main income came from my commercial activities, which I carried out in parallel with my main job. For these purposes, I found a driver with a VAZ-2103 car and arranged it part-time as my personal driver. His name was Sergei. It was a partner, not just a driver. Sergei was in the indicated place on one my call always, at any time of the day or night. I could always rely on this person as myself. Sergey has always clearly fulfilled my tasks not only in our city, but also in Yekaterinburg, as well as in other regions. He did not drink or smoke, and, moreover, he could sleep little and not lose concentration on the roads. Here it is, the skill of an experienced person!

I will tell you about one interesting case that happened to us in Yekaterinburg.

When I arrived in Yekaterinburg, my friend Miroslav Nitkovsky called me (I changed his name and surname for several reasons), he worked in the department for combating economic crime and asked me about one service. We met with Miroslav, and he explained what exactly needs to be done. Someone was selling freight cars according to an ad posted in a newspaper in Yekaterinburg. We had to call the seller and make an appointment to inspect the goods after the fact, then clarify the price, and this task was completed.

The next day we did so. The seller made an appointment for us at the “Sorting” station, we arrived. The car had Chelyabinsk license plates, everything looks believable. We met. The seller in a suit, very intelligent, showed us the cars, we bargained a little more and parted on the fact that we would inform about our decision by phone in the evening. Of course, we didn’t call him. My friend only needed the car numbers to track them after they were sold and set off. A week later, the operation ended, the cars were arrested after the illegal sale. As it turned out, an employee of the Yekaterinburg railway administration was selling them. The big boss with stars on his shoulder straps invited Miroslav to his office, thanked him for the excellent work and signed a report on his promotion and assignment to him of the next rank. And the boss briefly added before Miroslav left the office: “Miroslav Mikhailovich, you bring this matter into my office. We will deal with this comrade further ourselves!” This is how that system worked in the nineties.

2018 year. India, Goa

Today is Saturday, November 11th. I am writing the book for the sixth day, immersing myself in my memories to such an extent that I think and scroll through all the events of past years constantly in order to choose the most important and interesting for the reader and write about it right away. I start thinking early in the morning, when I wake up and am still in bed; I think when I swim in the pool with my incredibly active daughter Vlada, when I walk and talk with my beloved wife Catherine. My thoughts are completely immersed in those past years.

Sunset on the coast of Goa

In November, Goa is very comfortable in the mornings, the air temperature at eight in the morning is about twenty-five degrees. But as soon as the sun starts to warm, it gets pretty hot within an hour and the temperature rises to thirty degrees. I write every morning, sitting on a cozy semicircular balcony, planted around the perimeter of green plants in flower beds. I can smell a pleasant fresh scent of flowers, brought by a gentle breeze. Sometimes tobacco smoke from the neighboring balcony suddenly interrupts him. We have a spacious room overlooking the garden, behind which the pool of an unusual shape with a well-equipped adjoining territory is located.

Yesterday our three-year-old daughter took three new steps in her knowledge of this world. These were three discoveries for her.

— First: she learned to immerse herself in the water with glasses and hold her breath while doing so.

— Second: we climbed with her by parachute and made a short trip along the coast. We both shouted with delight: “How cool, we are flying!”

— And third: when we returned from dinner at a coastal restaurant, Vlada learned to find hidden crabs in the sand and pull them out of the shelter, taking them by the shell with her little hands! It was something! She screamed so much with pleasure when the crabs ran away from her on the sand, and she ran after them, illuminating their path with her phone.

Here it is, happiness – when we see and experience with our loved ones such moments in life. This is my new life, which began only six years ago.

After I returned to Russia from Germany in 2005, where I lived for eleven years, I worked for five years in Moscow, then for two years in the Moscow region, and in 2012 fate brought me to Nizhny Novgorod, where my ancestors come from father. After moving to Nizhny Novgorod, for the first year I lived in a two-room rented apartment in the Seventh Heaven area. I met Ekaterina by chance one Sunday afternoon. This happened in the “New Age” auto center, an official dealer of one of the European brands. I drove there that day after work to wash my car, and I drove out forty minutes later in high spirits after a short acquaintance with Ekaterina. It was actually Sunday then – at that time I often went to work on weekends, as new projects required it. I invited Ekaterina for coffee during a short meeting at the auto center, and we exchanged phones. She moved to Nizhny Novgorod from the Perm Territory with her parents ten years ago. In the city of Chernushka, where they lived before, the volume of oil production began to decline sharply since 2002, and later the prospects in their native land became less and less.

Forty minutes after our meeting, I was leaving the auto center and was already making plans on how to meet this bright brunette again. We began to meet on weekends, traveled around the outskirts of the city, went to the very village of Berezovka, where the story of my great-grandfathers begins. I was getting to know the city and at the same time looking for a suitable area on the outskirts, where I planned to buy a piece of land and build a small house from natural solid wood. At that moment, I assumed that I would stay in Nizhny Novgorod at this stage of my life for at least five or six years. That’s what I thought in 2012. As a result, I lived in this city, or rather, on its outskirts, for a full six years and four months. This place on the outskirts of the city has become another dear place for me, where I want to return again.

1994 year. Ural. Start into an unknown future

We submitted all the necessary documents for registration of our departure to Germany, and after six months a confirmation came, on the basis of which we handed over our foreign passports to obtain a visa for permanent residence. And then the moment came when it was necessary to get ready for departure. We had to sell our four-room apartment in Miass, all the furniture in it, a Niva car, a land plot for building a house near the village of New Andreevka, and it was not clear to us what to do with a huge amount of everything that had been accumulated over the past nineteen years and remained in the reserve at the cordon: agricultural machinery, all kinds of tools, boats, outboard motors and the like. We distributed a huge amount of all this to our relatives, including Father’s brother Nikolai. He lived in the village of Turgoyak, in his private house on the shore of a unique lake with the same name – the pearls of the South Ural. My father had three brothers – Gennady, Victor, Nikolai – and a sister Tamara. Only Nikolai and Tamara survived until the nineties. Gennady died in a fire, and Victor died at the age of 52 from tuberculosis. Tamara’s husband died at the age of 40 due to a heart attack, and ten years after his death she moved to live in the village of Upper Crucian Carps, in the house of her parents.

My ancestors on the line of my father moved from Murom to the South Ural, to the village of Upper Crucian Carps in 1938. In these, at that time deaf, lands, it was possible to feed the entire large family by hunting and fishing. The village is located on the shores of one of the largest lakes in the Southern Ural – Big Miassovo, and the southern border of the Ural Mineralogical Reserve lies seven kilometers from the village.

In the late summer of 1994, I quit my job at the UralAZ automobile plant and was finishing my last unfinished business deals. I sold the apartment to one entrepreneur, collected all my cash and agreed to buy currency at a special rate thanks to my friend Vadim, who was then working at a bank in Yekaterinburg, in a branch of this bank in our city. The amount for us at that time was considerable. My brother and mother and I arrived at the bank in two cars. My brother and I had the same sports bags with us. Despite the fact that no one except the bank employees and our family knew about the deal, I prepared and implemented some security measures. Times were not very calm. They were waiting for us at the bank, we promptly completed the transaction, packed the currency into one bag. I put my jacket in the second bag, which I was wearing in the bank. We left the bank and got into two different cars with my brother. Mom got into the third car, which was parked at the bank and was waiting for us even before our arrival. The road to the reserve was calm, no one followed us, everything went well. Two weeks remained before our departure at that time.

The next day – I don’t even know how to express my feelings – the default happened in Russia: the ruble exchange rate collapsed four times in one day! If we had delayed even for one day, we would have lost a colossal amount of money for us at that time.

What was it for us then – luck or accident? Today I would say – a pattern, or, in another way, our thoughts, goals and actions led to the outcome of these events.

On October 10, 1994, the whole family boarded the train at the Miass station and set out for our new life. We didn’t know what it would be like. We drove with the hope of saving our father – that was the first. Everything else will definitely be there – I thought so, I spoke about it aloud, reassuring my parents, who, for their part, also worried about us in the first place.

Hello, Germany!

Germany greeted us on October 14 with wonderful weather in the city of Braunschweig, located in the northern part of Germany, a hundred kilometers east of Hanover. When we got off the train at nine o’clock in the morning, the platform of the station, to my surprise, was practically empty. Mother’s sister Mina with her husband Victor and son Vladimir were already waiting for us at the station. We drove off with our suitcases loaded into two Audi cars. I didn’t remember my aunt at all, since her family left for Germany back in 1978 from Latvia. They specially moved there from the city of Frunze in the early seventies for this purpose. Since then, the sisters have not seen each other.

We drove along an incredibly flat autobahn to the neighboring town of Salzgitter, which translates as “salt grate”. It was founded in 1937 by General Goebbels. Here is one of the largest and to this day in Germany, the Prussian Metallurgical Plant, and the city has grown since its foundation due to the construction of standard housing for the families of the workers of this plant. I watched the extraordinarily well-groomed and colorful farmland as I drove along the Autobahn. Some of them were already plowed, some were full of different shades of green and yellow. These sections, with incredibly flat borders, were tightly adjacent to the freeway and gave me the impression of a neatly drawn picture. We were driving, it seemed to me, not fast, about a hundred kilometers per hour, and I checked with Volodya, who was constantly telling something and laughing merrily at what speed we were moving. To my surprise, the cousin exclaimed: “What are you, I do not go so slowly, we are now moving at a speed of one hundred and eighty kilometers per hour!”  and he laughed out loud. He was a very positive, open and cheerful person in his forties. Not bad, I thought then.

We arrived at the site about half an hour after we left the train station. We arrived at the two-story small but very cozy house of my mother’s sister, where she placed us for the first time, until we find ourselves an apartment. In addition, my mother’s sister accompanied us to the administration of the city of Salzgitter for about two weeks, as we had to draw up a lot of documents.

On the very first day of my stay in this country, I realized that I was not just in another country, but in another world. Incredibly clean streets, sidewalks, houses of various colors – it was like a picture in a magazine that I would call “New World”. Everyone always smiled at us on the streets and in the city administration, which seemed very strange to me: at first I felt a little uncomfortable, as if they saw in me a person asking for help. On the very first day, we were given a food allowance – about 250 marks per person per month, and in addition – another 500 German marks as a one-time allowance for clothing. I thought that we could save what we brought with us, since the money will still be useful to us.

The father was examined at the local clinic in a week. This was only the beginning of all subsequent analyzes and examinations for him. A little later, doctors told us that the father’s disease in Germany had not yet been fully understood, and there were no more than ten patients with such a diagnosis throughout Germany. Each patient was considered unique and was not just a patient of a medical institution, but also an object of study of the process of development of the disease, both the microorganisms themselves, penetrated from animals to humans, and all the changes that occur with the patients themselves.

A month after arriving in Germany, we already began to regularly attend language courses, which began at nine in the morning and ended at three in the afternoon every day from Monday to Friday. Our group consisted of fifteen people – representatives of different parts of the planet: Sri Lanka, Poland, Turkey, Albania and, of course, Russia.

We, like other participants, received a referral for language courses from the employment agency (Arbeitsamt). The time spent attending courses was counted towards our work experience. During this period, we were assigned unemployment benefits, which, although not much, were still higher than what we had since our arrival, and now amounted to 450 German marks. In the classroom, we were taught not only German, but also history, politics and some articles of legislative law. During these courses, I first learned what a resume is, which we also learned to write according to our training program. We also organized field trips on our own initiative and with the consent of the teachers. We got acquainted not only with classmates, but also with the teachers themselves at a barbecue on the shore of the lake. So we gradually, over the next six months, got used to the new life.

A new turn of events

Almost immediately after our arrival, my wife and I translated our diplomas into German and sent them for recognition to the Ministry of Education in Hanover. Six months later – we had already completed our language courses by that time – we received an answer from this department, which put us in a difficult position: we were denied recognition of our economic diplomas. The specialty in which we studied in Russia was called “Economics and Organization of Production”, and the diplomas of engineering economists we received could now be put on a shelf.

If the higher education we received in Russia had a technical direction, and not an economic one, then diplomas in Germany would be recognized. Therefore, I decided to look for a job, using the experience and special technical education I received at the training and production plant. I got it when I was in the ninth grade of a comprehensive school.

A month later, I received an invitation and could enroll in free tuition at the University of Hanover – immediately to the second year, without passing exams. My wife, unlike me, did not get the opportunity to study for free, as she had the status of a foreign citizen in Germany and for a long time lived with a Russian foreign passport, in which her visas were renewed every year for five years.

“Now what? – I said to myself. – Then I will look for a job, because I will not go to Hanover alone”.

Everything that I had in my twenty-four years, I left in Russia: friends, business, my favorite places, my habits. I left everything there. And now I have also lost my education. What did I have left at that moment? This question I asked myself, thinking about how I should be now. What do I have? – that’s what I thought, analyzing my position and morale. I won’t get anything back. So I have to accept this, calm down morally and not torment myself with all sorts of doubts and resentments.

But, on the other hand, everything is not so bad: my father now has the opportunity to receive the medicines he needs and undergo further examinations, the medical insurance company pays all expenses. And that’s great!

Further: if I find a job, I will be independent of the circumstances and will be able to change something over time. I thought this was true.

I am still young at twenty-four years old, and I have time to start from scratch! And, most importantly, I had a great desire to become again who I wanted to be in life!

I almost managed to achieve this in Russia, which means that I can do it here in Germany!

There was a certainty inside me that I would be able to become successful, become independent of circumstances, and become myself. I immediately took action.

The past does not pass without a trace

My past helped me in this situation. While studying at school in the ninth grade, we got industrial training. It was a full day once a week, throughout the year, when our whole class attended a training and production plant organized on the basis of the UralAZ automobile plant. I chose the specialty of a universal turner from the list of blue-collar occupations offered to us in the program. We received a working specialty and the corresponding document confirming qualifications at the end of the training program, having passed exams. In addition, we had to undergo an internship and for a month we worked at the plant. I got a job in a press shop for bodywork and worked there for a month, receiving a salary of seventy rubles, and a month later I received an additional bonus of thirty rubles. This was my first self-earned money. How did I spend it then? – one of you will ask. I bought a guitar for which I paid sixty rubles. Up to this point, I have played my father’s guitar and have always dreamed of my own instrument. I invested the first money I earned in my hobby: music was and is something special for me. Music is a part of my inner self.

I translated into German this certificate of a general-purpose turner of the third category ten years after its acquisition, and began to search for a suitable vacancy. I prepared my resume as we were taught in the courses, I looked at about twenty vacancies in the city that I could apply for. I selected three firms after thoroughly reviewing each company profile on the Internet and sent in my first envelopes with a resume, photograph and translation of my humble testimony.

The result was not long in coming, and a week later I received the first invitation from Theysohn Maschienenbau GmbH for an interview. How worried I was then – I still remember it. I prepared for the upcoming meeting thoroughly, I memorized some sentences in order to briefly but constructively tell about myself. The most important thing for complete success was to substantiate for what reasons I am applying for this particular specialty. In Germany, it is very important that the applicant’s profile, education and work experience match the requirements of the open position. If a candidate is retrained for a given vacancy or his work experience does not meet the requirements, the chances for the applicant to be in demand for this vacancy are minimal.

And now my very first interview brings me a positive result! A week later I went to work.

I am a simple but happy worker!

Here it is, my first success in this other and unfamiliar country. The criterion for achieving success can be completely different depending on the specific situation! Could I call it my success in Russia that I found a job as a turner? Of course not! I could not even imagine such a goal for myself. What determines this criterion of success, or the criterion for achieving the goal?

I believe that the criterion for success depends on the conditions and situation in which a person is at a given time and in a certain space! These conditions can change, and accordingly, the criterion of our success changes with them.

As time went on, in a few months I gradually joined the team and was already able to independently work in the area of polishing screws and cylinders. I must tell my readers a little about this.

Imagine a well-known worm mechanism inside a meat grinder, and now imagine it up to five meters long and three hundred and fifty millimeters in diameter. Of course, such orders did not come into production every day, but they did happen. On average, these were blanks from one and a half to three meters and a diameter of up to one hundred and twenty millimeters. Their complex geometry, consisting of several compression zones, made the work even more complex, varied and thus more interesting to me. Our department polished these screws in two stages: the first stage is the primary grinding of the raw metal after milling to the size according to the drawing data, and the second stage is the surface polishing to the required roughness level after the finished parts have passed the heat treatment process in special ovens. The company produced extrusion equipment and spare parts mainly for the chemical and petroleum industries.

For grinding and polishing parts, there was a simple set of tools, consisting of three special devices, a variety of attachments and sanding paper with polishing wheels. In addition, a set of personal protective equipment was needed: a long leather apron, leather gloves to the elbow, goggles and, most importantly, a breathing mask. I used four of these masks per shift on average. At the end of the work, I had to blow off a layer of metal dust with a compressed air gun, and when I removed my goggles, a bright light contour from the removed glasses remained on my face. These were the working conditions on this site. Our department worked in two shifts, sometimes we had to work at night if the order was very urgent.

What was the compensation for such a difficult, and besides, not harmless work?

According to my employment contract, I received 16 DM per hour net, excluding tax. The working week was 37.5 hours. In addition to the hourly rate, compensation for harm was paid – plus 25% to the rate, the surcharge for the second shift was 15% to the rate. Night hours, starting from 20.00, were paid with a surcharge of 50%, and the sixth, overtime night shift – plus 100% to the tariff.

I was waiting for the result in the payroll for the first month of work with great impatience. And now that day has come, and I receive my long-awaited payroll, in which, after all the surcharges to the tariff indicated above, the income tax was calculated at the rate of 24% of the total amount, and then, in a line below, the amount to be paid is indicated: DM 2950 ( in 2019 this amount is equivalent to the same, but only in euros). What could an ordinary working person afford with this money in 1994 in Germany? I’ll give you some examples:

— rent of an average apartment (three-room, 70 square meters) – from 450 to 600 DM;

— food per month for a family of three on average, without visiting restaurants – about 450 DM;

— utility bill per month – about 150 DM, electricity – 70 DM;

— petrol (1 liter) – 0.80 DM.

Our minimum budget, taking into account the cost of renting an apartment, food, clothing and other minor expenses, at that time averaged about DM 1,500 per month.

But my salary payments do not end there – I mean the calculation of the so-called “vacation pay”.

Vacation pay, as we all know, is the preservation of wages, which are calculated based on average earnings. But this is in Russia. And in Germany, the calculation is carried out according to a different system. The salary is calculated for all vacation days as the average salary for the period, that’s right. But vacation pay in Europe is not the saved average salary that you are paid in Russia, vacation pay is additional payments to the average salary saved during the vacation, and the amount of vacation pay is the average salary plus a 50% allowance. This is about one and a half times higher than the average earnings over the same period of time. Here it is, decaying capitalism, I thought then.

The calculation of payments for the holidays is carried out according to exactly the same scheme as the vacation pay: we have two days of rest for the Christmas holidays – we were charged an average salary, and to this amount there was also an additional 50%! It’s ingenious, this is even impossible to imagine in Russia.

I have worked very intensively in this enterprise. On the second shift, I stayed two hours longer and finished my working day not at 22.00, as it should be according to the schedule, but at 24.00. On Saturday, if my work schedule coincided with the first shift, I went to work for six hours – from 6.00 to 12.00, this was an additional, if desired, working day on Saturday. If I worked the night shift, then I went out on the sixth, additional shift. Sometimes the schedule dropped in such a way that I worked the night shift for three weeks, one after the other, working also the sixth shifts. One day off a week was obtained in this mode of operation – Sunday until evening, since the new week and shift began on Sunday at 20.00. So, I worked so intensively in overtime not because the money was very necessary, but in order to make it physically difficult and not to get used to this type of work and stay here to work forever, or, what was more real, not stay at this level for a long time!

I used to say to myself very often one phrase that I used in difficult times and during my service in the army: “It does not reach through the head, it will come through the arms and legs.” And my legs got very tired, as I worked standing up the whole shift. But it was hard for me not only physically, but – and even more so – morally. Despite the fact that I had a decent salary, I did not receive complete moral satisfaction from this work. Over the years, my hourly rate in the company, gradually increasing, reached DM 25.00 per hour. Compared to my initial level, the result was 60 percent higher after five years.

After a year of work, I decided to study at the same time as a welder. Having successfully passed the exams after six months, I received my diploma as a welder and continued to work at the same company, only now in a different area and as a welder. There were three welders in the entire enterprise. I welded everything and by everything: I owned electric welding, gas welding, tungsten-inert welding, cooked with a plasma-welding machine and all types of metals – from high-alloyed alloys to aluminum and stainless steel – and even cast iron. When I worked at night, on the third shift, colleagues from other sites often brought from home all kinds of tools and utensils that I had to repair by welding. These were shovels, cast iron, old barbecues, aluminum containers, and so on.

A year later, I started writing programs for our CNC machines. At first, these were simple programs, and then I moved on to more complex geometries of parts, and also began to optimize the existing programs. I started doing this because of my activity in the welding area. The fact is that when I studied our plasma welding machine, on which we welded about 80% of all parts, I used methodological materials from publicly available sources, optimized the welding parameters to such an extent that the welding process itself not only accelerated twice, but the quality of welding has improved significantly. As a result, the company’s management decided to purchase a new unit for 600,000 DM to stabilize the process, as the old unit could not cope with the load and was malfunctioning. One employee turned out to be superfluous after the modernization of the process in this department, and I moved to the area of processing parts on CNC milling machines.

Three years later, I was already working as a programmer for CNC machines. After four years of work, I entered the evening department of a technical school in the neighboring town of Braunschweig for a higher technical education. For four years, I went to class twice a week in the evening and every Saturday from nine in the morning until one in the afternoon. In 2001, I received a diploma in “Automated Production Management Systems”.

Here it is, my victory! The second and not the last victory in Germany, I confidently told myself then.

Chapter 3. 2001 year.
And again changes

“Life does not stand still. We set ourselves tasks and goals, and then we achieve them”.

This year 2001 a new and rather difficult stage of my life began. After seven years of working in one company, I nevertheless decided to leave Theysohn GmbH and change my occupation. I have constantly nurtured this idea over the past three years, I regularly tracked vacancies in the region that interest me, sometimes I sent a resume, finalizing, changing its content and striving to make it as effective as possible.

“What was my motivator for change at that moment?” – I asked myself many times before taking this step. At the company where I worked for all these seven years, I became a rather valuable specialist and a respected person: I was entrusted with the most difficult and responsible tasks, from programming new generation CNC machines to metalworking and welding. The level of wages at that time completely suited me, everything was stable and calm!

And nevertheless, I more and more often mentally returned to my previous goals, ideas and intentions, in those years when I was doing business. I remembered my friends, who have probably already stepped in the development of their business to a completely different level compared to the nineties. For these years I cut off all contact with the past world, I did not communicate with friends and did not come to Russia. My subconscious mind calmed me down from time to time, saying in an inner voice something like this: “Why are you worried, calm down! You are fine, you have a job, your family, your new friends (then I only had one friend, with whom we are very close to this day). You don’t need anymore, why would you risk changing jobs? What if nothing happens in a new place?These were my worries and doubts. In a word, it was my fears.

But besides fears, I had a great desire and belief in what I could. I will be able to change my life and direct it in the direction that I was already going before 1994.

And I have done this step!

A new stage in my life has begun. But this time I started it of my own free will – unlike 1994, when leaving for Germany was the only option to save my father’s life! I was in doubt and anxiety; I did not know how it would be in the new place, but I found the strength to overcome myself, overcome the subconscious and move on to action.

Job change

My new place of work was a private retail chain N & D-Markt. Its owner was an emigrant from Russia who came to Germany in the early nineties. I got the position of Director of Marketing and Sales. In addition, all issues related to personnel, from the search for candidates to the hiring process, were also part of my responsibilities. At that time, the network consisted of about fifteen stores in the northern part of Germany, from Hamburg to Bremen and Hanover, as well as in the territory of the former GDR: in Magdeburg and Berlin. The head office with a wholesale base was located in Braunschweig. The one-way trip to work took about 40 minutes – I arrived at the office after driving 60 kilometers from Goslar on the autobahn.

In 1997, my family and I moved from Salzgitter to neighboring Goslar, 35 kilometers away. At that time, my parents lived in this cozy historical town: my mother got a job in a kindergarten as the head of the economic department and she was provided with a service apartment, which was located on the last, third floor of the same kindergarten. The city of Goslar can be called a fabulous town, its history begins in 990, and in 2003 the city celebrated its millennium! There are only 48,000 inhabitants, there is no industry, but there are always many tourists from different countries of the world. Completely preserved, even after World War II, the architecture makes Goslar just a unique place. The main crafts during the founding of the city were the production of copper products and its extraction, which was carried out five hundred meters from the border of the old city, at the foot of the Harz mountain range. Harz is translated from German as “resin”. The very same mountainous region, adjacent to the eastern side of the former territory of the GDR, is considered a resort place and is appreciated for its clean air. All mountain slopes, overgrown mainly with conifers, among which spruce predominates, give the impression of the hinterland of the taiga.

Goslar – the pearl of Germany

When we moved, we settled in one of the most picturesque parts of the city – Siemensviertell, in a four-room apartment with a huge balcony-terrace on the roof of the garage that belonged to the apartment on the ground floor. It was a small, cozy three-storey house, and from our terrace there was a beautiful view of the mountains. The historic center could be reached on foot in five minutes. We felt very comfortable in our new home. Son Max at that time was two years old, he was born in Salzgitter in the summer of 1996. My wife decided to go to study at Goslar as an accountant. We moved here precisely because of this opportunity. At the age of two, Max began attending the kindergarten where my parents worked. Everything went well for us.

I worked at N & D-Markt for about a year. During this time, I opened two more stores, hired staff, hired students for internships, was engaged in advertising and design of flyers, which I printed in the printing house, and our agents distributed them.

Am Markt Platz, Goslar, Germany
Harz Mountains, Goslar, Germany

I was on the road very often, going from one branch to another, and at the same time I got acquainted with the geography of the entire northern part of Germany. During this year, the sales turnover gradually increased, and the first sales in the month exceeded the figure of 1 million euros, reaching a record turnover of 1.3 million euros a little later. Before I came to the company, the maximum turnover was no more than 700 thousand euros. But despite the good results, the business owner was unhappy and came up with all sorts of reasons why he did not want to give me the company car that was promised to me, so I still used my MazdaKsedes for business purposes. Over time, I noted one feature of this man: he purposefully tried to deceive everyone and, as they say, “come out dry from water”, coming up with new stories and all kinds of reasons. For example, the owner of the company regularly underpaid the sales bonuses promised to branch employees, he delayed payments to suppliers for shipped goods, while Mr. Nortenberg himself drove around in a Mercedes500L and lived in his own villa on the outskirts of Braunschweig.

I decided to speak to the owner of the business after watching what was happening. Once I went to his office and started talking, first of all, about demotivated employees in the branches who expect us to comply with the terms of the contract, working with full dedication, and in fact receive only promises about “tomorrow”. To which the boss replied as follows: “Do you know what your problem is, Vlad? You are very honest! And if I knew about this at the time of our acquaintance, I would not have taken you to this position”. When I heard such words addressed to me, I, smiling, answered rather shortly: “Dear businessman, if you call yourself that. We have to pay for everything in our life! Our past helps someone, but harms someone!” — and I calmly left the office. I quit a week later.

At the crossroads of seven roads…

Today is Wednesday 13 November 2019. I describe the events of my life in 2001. Last night we had dinner with a family who had come here to relax for ten days from St. Petersburg. We had already met on the coast for several days, sometimes had lunch and dinner together, but our interlocutors were rather laconic and reserved. In any case, so it seemed to us with my wife. We noticed, observing our new acquaintances from the outside, that they are silent in a sense consciously. If Evgeny, the father of the family, sometimes commented on something or told where they went to Goa in recent days, then his wife Irina only sometimes supplemented him, and his eight-year-old daughter Anastasia was always silent at all. But this did not bother us, and I continued to communicate on various topics. And yesterday, during the last dinner before the departure of our acquaintances to St. Petersburg, they “burst” into a conversation, I would say that!

Eugene started first: “We usually never talk about our work or introduce ourselves, but we decided that we can do it with you!” Then he smiled and seemed to breathe out his tension. Both spouses are psychologists: Evgeny is in charge of the department in the NPD, as he himself put it, and his wife is an employee in his department. I even asked what it means – “NPD”? NPD is a neuropsychiatric dispensary. Of course, I smiled broadly and added: “Well, you are my colleagues, given that I am writing a book about the influence of the subconscious on a person”. And Eugene continued, telling very funny stories about his patients. He, of course, did not give any surnames or names, but the very bright moments of practice in this area seemed to us rather unusual, and in some cases, rather ironic.

If in essence, then Evgeny answered my question very unambiguously, saying that the number of patients with mental illness does not depend on place and time – for example, on the size of the city and geographic location. But as for the deviations and disorders of our subconscious, or, to put it another way, the cases when people are worried about fears, doubts, experiences and great self-doubt, the number of such patients is increasing in large cities, and among quite successful and wealthy residents. The meeting with Petersburgers did not seem to me accidental, and I am sure that we will meet with these positive people again.

The day before the last dinner, Evgeny and Irina made a special order, and a whole baked stingray was brought to our table. It was very unusual and I have never tasted stingrays. After finishing dinner, we exchanged phones and shook hands. The next day, the family of psychologists flew to their place in St. Petersburg.

On my last day at N & D-Markt, I left my office and stopped by for a minute to say goodbye to my work colleagues and wish them good luck, after which I got into my beautiful car with a 6-V engine and drove home to Goslar. On the way home, I pulled off the Autobahn in the only possible place, stopped and got out of the car. Here, a beautiful view of the Harz mountain range opened up, and in good weather the highest mountain in this region was visible – Brokken, 1144 meters high. I stood and admired this landscape, thinking about how good it is to live where what you see pleases you. Over the seven years of my life in Germany, I fell in love with this country, and Goslar became for me the most beloved city from those in which I lived or visited. At the same time, I was thinking about this perhaps unsuccessful attempt to change my future or myself. “For what reason did everything turn out the way it is?” — I mentally asked myself a question. “But I myself have left this company now, because no one drove me out of there. I did not agree with the rules and principles by which the company worked. I lived according to other laws of my inner state and it was for this reason that I left. Yes, for sure: the reason for leaving was my thoughts about why everything is happening this way. So it was my choice, my decision, and nothing terrible happened”.

I stood for a few more minutes and went on to my favorite city. It was early fall 2001. Despite the fact that I was “at the crossroads of seven roads” and did not know then where to go next, I was very calm. Confidence in myself and in the future, incomprehensible to me then, made me so calm.

Additional knowledge

That autumn it was a year since I, in parallel with my main job, began my four-year evening study at a private higher school in the city of Braunschweig with a degree in “Automated Control Systems in Production”. The lack of a recognized higher education in Germany haunted me, and I constantly thought about how I could fill this gap. And now such an opportunity appeared. That’s right – this opportunity itself found me! When I was working at Theysohn Maschienenbau GmbH, the production manager came up to me and told me about the new program that has been in effect this year for those already employed who are ready to invest their time and get a higher education. Without hesitation, I asked where and when I can get it.

These next four years of study here in Germany reminded me of my student years in Yekaterinburg. I met new people who were interesting to me, who in their goals and views were much further than those with whom I was familiar until now, working at the enterprises of this country. I quickly improved my German, and I had a passion and interest in higher mathematics and mechanics. In higher mathematics classes, I solved any mathematical problems with great pleasure, and especially complex equations seemed to me entertainment. I and one of my classmates, his name was Frank Witte, began to compete in who would solve the problem faster, and all the students closely followed us. At some point, I was even nicknamed “professor” for my success in our group. It was a very friendly company, especially when after the first year of training there were only 14 of the 24 participants left. When I came to study on Saturday, sometimes after the sixth night shift, which ended at 6:00 in the morning, I was already at 7:00 on the campus, and I reclined the back of my seat in the car and fell asleep. At 8:30 sharp, Eric, my classmate, woke me up by knocking on the car window. He was holding in his hands freshly made coffee from the cafe of our institute. “Vlad, get up! How did you sleep?” – he said and smiled cheerfully. All my groupmates knew that I was sleeping in my car at this time. After drinking coffee in the circle of our comrades and discussing the latest important events, at exactly 9.00 we went up to our classroom, where classes began.

In the next six months after I left N & D-Markt, I managed to work in two more firms – four months in one and two months in the other, and somehow everything was wrong! In the first company, I worked with small parts of the multi-batch production of photographic lenses of the famous Rollei brand in Braunschweig. At another firm, my team of colleagues consisted, in my opinion, of people-“bears” with very limited communication, and the production of brake discs with a small set of simple metalworking operations turned out to be a very boring activity for me. And despite the fact that the last enterprise was located only five kilometers from my house, in the forests of that very mountainous region of Harz, I resigned from there too.

How did I become an entrepreneur:

success or complete failure?

By that time, after seven years of work in Germany, I had some savings, sometimes I bought securities and shares in small packages. But my past drew me to those activities where I could fully realize myself. I began to hatch plans for how to start my own business here in Germany. Germany is not Russia, the market is dense here, it is very well developed in any area, with intense competition. But that didn’t stop me. I considered various options and collected the necessary information. And at some point I decided that I would devote most of my free time from May to September to making ice cream!

A few years before that, I met a family of immigrants from Russia, they had an ice cream parlor in a neighboring town. I received from them all the necessary recipes and ice cream production technology. The trading base for this market was in Hannover, and the suppliers of ingredients just wanted to come to you and show you how it is better, cheaper or more expensive, and most importantly, how to prepare this sweet product tastier and faster. I want to say that the cost of producing one kilogram of ice cream, even from very high-quality ingredients such as whole milk, natural cream, frozen natural strawberries from Poland and fresh, ripe bananas, seemed very attractive to me.

From the end of January, I began preparations to open my own ice cream production in May next year with its further wholesale. I rented a suitable space in the very center of the old city, bought a Mercedez Sprinter and started refurbishing it. I needed a special freezer and other equipment that still needed to be made. And I also needed everything I needed to get permission from special bodies of technical sanitary and hygienic supervision for the transportation and storage of ice cream. I also bought a used Italian mechanical ice cream machine, two large freezers for storing the finished product, and other equipment for making products.

In May, as planned, I opened production. Sales were strong, but the weather had a huge impact on them. There was practically no demand on rainy and rainy days. Goslar and his tourists only saved me. All the cafes in the old part of town were filled with them. I have delivered ice cream to several cafes in the city, cafes at summer pools and all kinds of outdoor events. The summer was successful, I made good money.

Autumn began, and I began to look for an opportunity to organize something else additionally that could bring profit all year round, regardless of the season. I have had connections in Russia since the days when I bought the products of the “Sweetly” factory in Yekaterinburg. Since this all started.

I renewed contacts with the sales department of this candy factory (of course, these were already other people), requested a catalog of goods and prices to assess the possibility of importing to Germany and selling in bulk. When I worked in Germany in the same N & D-Markt, I already knew well what types of products of the candy factories are in demand in Germany. In addition, I had information about the purchase prices for Germany of well-known factories in Russia, such as “Red October” or “Rot Front”, and some other factories from different regions of Russia. The products of the “Sweetly” factory were not yet available on the German market at that time.

In Yekaterinburg, they were very interested in my proposal, and my friend, who lives there, became the representative of our German company. We studied together at the university. He negotiated on site and we got a decent discount on the factory’s wholesale sales prices. And so the first truck with forty tons of “Sweetly” products was shipped and went to Germany.

By that time, I had rented a warehouse with a small space, in which I planned to set up my office and hire a sales manager and accountant. But I also needed a small truck to transport products to customers directly to the stores. To do this, I turned to a former colleague with whom I worked at N & D-Markt. I offered him to work with me as a partner. Delivery on request from retail stores should have been his responsibility. My former colleague knew very well all the shopkeepers in our region. Alexey Pyatkin listened carefully to my proposal and a week after our conversation he accepted it. We invested in the opening of our enterprise in equal shares of 50 x 50 and opened the VolkWestGbR company. VolkWest translated from German means “People of the West”.

At first I had the idea to name the company a little differently: VolkOst, which in Russian means “People of the East”, but the theme of “East” is associated in Germany with the eastern part of Germany, or rather, with the former GDR, which I have not seen especially warm attitude from the people of the West at that time.

Subsequently, Alexey carried out purchases of fruits and vegetables at the wholesale market in Hanover, which also brought good profit when selling in parallel with the main product.

We hired an accountant and a sales manager who offered our assortment to stores by phone. Our company worked as a small team of four people in a friendly manner and together, each doing his own thing. We clearly assigned responsibilities with my partner and did not overlap, organizing quite effective and well-coordinated work. We sold 50% of the first delivery in two weeks and ordered the next delivery, adjusting the assortment and order volumes. The second car quickly passed customs control and arrived at the warehouse two hours after arriving at the customs terminal, already using the experience and contacts at the customs office in Goslar. At the factory in Yekaterinburg, we were given the green light: “VolkWest” orders were shipped out of turn. Delivery by a transport company to our customs terminal in Germany took seven calendar days.

The interest rate for customs duties mainly depended on the sugar and cocoa content and averaged about 25% of the value of the product itself. Sales were gradually growing, we successfully coped with competitors, bringing orders exactly on time and selling vegetables and fruits in parallel. At the request of clients, I began, together with the “Sweetly” company, to develop special packaging for the German market for certain types of goods, and I also began to invent my own names. In addition, the factory itself began to print stickers with information on the composition of the ingredients included in these products in German. This was a prerequisite for complying with German trade rules and very convenient for us: we no longer spent our resources on translating and printing this huge number of stickers. Our business started to develop. During the month we sold on average about 80 tons of “Sweetly” products, about 20 tons of fruits and vegetables, and I began to develop, together with Polish suppliers, pickles according to my mother’s special recipes: pickled tomatoes and cucumbers in cans, as well as canned vegetable salads.

By that time, my wife and I had lived seven years in Germany, and in the last three of them our family life has not been very good. We became neighbors to each other, we practically stopped talking to each other, and our relationship lost its meaning. I once asked my wife: “Do you think our relationship, which we came to after ten years, should remain so for the rest of our lives?” I continued after a short pause: “But what about the warm attitude towards each other? For example, before leaving for work, kiss and say “Darling, I love you”? ” But in response I heard only one sentence: “What are you, this only happens in the movies!” After what I heard, my soul became sad. I didn’t continue the conversation, I didn’t even say anything in response, I just left the apartment and went to my work. Perhaps I did the wrong thing and it was worth continuing, but, as it was before, many attempts to talk turned into scandals and mutual reproaches. I definitely didn’t want this anymore.

And the reasons for our quarrels were different, and it was my fault, I do not deny it. After a while we parted. I rented a one-room apartment in the village (officially it was the city of Finenburg, where our warehouse was located) and moved there. Since 2002 I have been living alone. Of course, I often met my son Max, then these were the brightest moments of my life for me. I remember how we walked with him along the shores of the small but picturesque Lake Finenburg, we swam there, organized picnics and went fishing. Already in those years I began to instill in my son a love of nature. It is very important that a person grows up with understanding and love for what he came from, where our beginnings come from, where each of us can find comfort and peace and, even being in solitude, does not feel lonely. All this is called in one word – “nature”.

When we lived in Salzgitter, we often caught carp with my brother Dmitry. Fishing without a special permit in Germany is prohibited, for this you need to take special training courses for a fisherman and pass an exam. Only after that you need to pay an annual fee of 150 DM (today it is 150 euros) and you can freely fish on all lakes. There are exceptions, but this applies to private reservoirs where fish are bred on purpose – fishing there is paid.

But what does it mean to “fish freely”? There are restrictions on the number and types of fish you can catch. To track this, a special fish log was introduced, which should always be with you during fishing. When you catch a fish, you must first measure it without removing the hook. If the size of the fish exceeds the minimum allowed for fishing, it must be stunned with a special device and only then put into the fishing chest by removing the hook. In the event that the fish caught by you does not meet the standard in size, then it must be released by carefully removing the hook. Fisherman courses are taught how to do this. We, of course, like real Russians, tried to comply with all the above rules and only in extreme cases and very rarely did we not have time to enter the caught carp in the register.

Once in the evening, when Max was three years old, we caught two good carps for an hour, but despite the fact that on that day we had already reached the limit on the number, we decided to sit with a fishing rod a little longer. As we joked in such cases: “Let’s cast the line for another half an hour, we’ll just wet the bait!” And so we pull out a huge carp – it was really a “huge carp”, weighing seven kilograms! I still have that photo in which my son Max, and next to me I keep the same carp. The fish’s tail touches the ground, and the head is slightly higher than Max. Well, we just had nowhere to write down this monster in our brother’s journal, and we could not release it back into the lake.

Today is already 2018, and my son comes to me in Russia every year during the summer holidays. He studied at the University of Braunschweig and this year he transferred to Munich after completing an internship at the BMW plant. My son loves traveling just like me. Sometimes he will load his travel essentials into his small car, including his bicycle, and after that he can travel 800 kilometers through southern Europe in three to four days and visit several cities. He loves to be outdoors. When he is with me in Russia, I prepare in advance and thoroughly, I plan our upcoming trip with him. It has already become a tradition that we go to a river or lake for several days every year. I have everything I need for outdoor recreation: a boat, a boat motor, a combined tent with three sleeping compartments and a spacious entrance hall, a gas burner, all kinds of dishes and everything else that is necessary for a full-fledged long-term stay in nature. A year ago, in 2017, I prepared a real challenge for us. We had to go on an electric train with all our equipment to the north from Nizhny Novgorod, get off at the Vetluzhskaya station, which is 400 meters from the Vetluga River, and raft in the opposite direction along the river for four days – towards Nizhny Novgorod, without having a tent. I want to talk about this in a little more detail.

Rafting on Vetluga

It was an incredibly warm September. My son flew to Nizhny Novgorod in the midst of a golden and very hot autumn, atypical for this area. The temperature during the day reached plus 30 degrees, and at night the air quickly cooled to plus 10 degrees. Our path lay north. At about 11 o’clock in the morning we got off, or rather, got off the train at the Vetluzhskaya station, which is 160 kilometers from Nizhny Novgorod. Lined with backpacks and bags with fishing rods, the two of us carried a huge bag in which there were two boats: one was for us and fishing, and the other was a cargo boat for provisions and everything else. We decided to take a taxi to the river, of which there were more than a dozen at the station. We ended up on the shore, paying 200 rubles and driving 500 meters. There was no wind at all, it was completely calm, the sun was warming as it happens in summer. We quickly prepared our boats for rafting, loaded everything, organized a small snack and set off.

At that time it was about 12 noon. We let loose the lines of the spinning and moved downstream. We threw baits along the banks of the Vetluga in anticipation of a bite. Our goal was to overcome in three days about 50 kilometers along the stream and go ashore near the village of Voskresenskoye, where the river comes close to the settlement. I planned to find a car in the village that could take us to the nearest train station, which was about 30 kilometers away.

We looked at the beautiful banks and talked about various topics while moving along the river. Previously, I marked on the map the places where I planned to stay for the night. During the day, we did not go ashore without special need, except for picking mushrooms for making mushroom soup in the evening. We set up a dining room on our boating boat. Pulling the second boat by the rope to the main boat, we could, using a gas stove installed on a special table, heat up the soup cooked in the evening in a kettle, prepare a salad of vegetables, and also boil water for coffee and tea. During all the preparations for lunch or tea break, we constantly moved with the flow and did not waste precious time, since the distance that we had to travel in a day was precisely calculated based on our speed of movement.

In the evenings it began to get dark early – twilight sets in very quickly in this area at the beginning of autumn, and it became dark already in half an hour after the beginning of sunset. For this reason, no later than six o’clock, we had to go ashore and prepare everything needed for an overnight stay: set up camp, dry the boats, collect firewood for the night and start cooking dinner before it gets dark. After all these preparations, one could calmly enjoy nature, cook dinner on the fire and just sit by the fire and chat.

And at the end of the first day, I realized that the number of mosquitoes in these forests exceeds my expectations. There were a huge number of them, mosquitoes immediately began to bite as soon as they touched the surface of the body. We quickly got dressed and proceeded to step by step preparation for the night. Everything had to be done very quickly, because twilight, as I have already mentioned, at this time of year comes within forty minutes.

First, it was necessary to unload all the things from both boats, and the boats themselves should be pulled out of the water and left to dry – the boats served as our beds.

Second: it was necessary to find two suitable trees, between which we will later lay the boats turned upside down, where our sleeping places will be. We fixed the pole between the trees at a height of one and a half meters. The pole served as the basis for stretching the film. Thus, we prepared an analogue of a tent from improvised means.

Third, we prepare firewood and light a fire.

Fourth, we assign responsibilities and quickly prepare dinner. Potatoes, onions, beef stew, mushrooms are for making quick soup. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, spices and feta cheese – for Greek salad. Such an unpretentious dinner was waiting for us in half an hour after disembarking.

On the first night’s lodging at night, I distinctly heard the elk walking somewhere very close – the branches under its hooves crackled as if someone was gathering brushwood. I also heard the owl cry. And outside of our film tent, the rumble of a huge number of mosquitoes was heard.

It was fresh enough at night, but we were not cold. The morning was foggy and cool. The damp air and the smells of the pine forest gave a special flavor to what was happening. The sun began to peep through the tall trunks of closely standing pines, and its rays glittered in the fog like a multitude of translucent arrows.

We made a fire and made breakfast. It was a lovely calm morning. At the end of breakfast, we had to get ready for the journey. Forty minutes later, we were again swimming along the smooth surface of the river to our goal.

It was a wonderful three days of our life, and it was an unforgettable time for both of us. We enjoyed everything we saw and the fact that we were together, making up for lost time over the years of separation.

November 2018. India, Goa

Today is November 15, 2018. We are flying back to Pune tomorrow night. I recorded events prior to 2012 in my memoirs for 14 days. But there is still a lot to remember and appreciate. The most difficult stage of my life is just beginning in that 2012, and there are still ten difficult years before the start of a new life. At that time, of course, I did not know this, nor did I know that in three years I would leave to work in Moscow. At that moment I will have with me two suitcases of things, my guitar and two thousand euros – all that I will have left. But besides this, I still had the same desire, and there was my goal, to which I went and did not give up. I walked forward.

When I went to Russia, I remembered a very important saying: “We don’t know what the Universe wants from us! And we can never know where we are going, we only know where we hope to go!”

And then, in 2005, I was going nowhere: I had no place to live, no job, but there were contacts of important and necessary people. This is how it all continued, not started!

While here in Goa, India, I informed my son that I was writing a book. I told him that the thought of a book had settled in my head several years ago, but I did not know how to write it and what sense to put into this book. If you write only about your life, then it will hardly be interesting for anyone to read, except for my family. The basic rule of any book is that the author must put a special meaning or idea into the basis of the book. Only serious ideas should support an interesting story, not the other way around. In addition, it is necessary to convey to the audience all those images that will be important, while using your own style: rhythm, language, visual means of narration.

Until then, let’s go back to 2002

We brought in more and more new goods to the base, and our assortment has become quite impressive. The warehouse was getting pretty crowded, but we were dealing with it. Keeping large stocks in the warehouse is also an additional cost, and I did not really like the offer of a partner to rent a room with a larger area for a warehouse.

As we grew, I focused more and more on finding new suppliers and new products. The accountant handled all financial matters. My partner Alexey brought him. He was a young guy of twenty-seven years old, he knew his business well and worked very hard, even at inopportune hours he often lingered on his own initiative. Our sales manager, Lyudmila, also worked with full dedication, and we really appreciated that.

One day an advertisement appeared in a local newspaper for the lease of a warehouse with offices in the neighboring town of Zezen, 15 kilometers from Goslar. The attraction was that this free-standing building was located on the outskirts of the city and was adjacent to Autobahn 7, which ran south from Hanover past Zezen. There was a Shell gas station next door. We had to go to Goslar on country roads, which slowed down the work. Alexei immediately caught fire and was eager to go to see this building. The premises really suited us very well in all respects. The rental price held me back, which was twice as high as for our warehouse in Finenburg.

We rented this new warehouse and office after long negotiations with the owner of the building, who inherited it from the deceased millionaire father.

Chapter 4. 2002. Germany. Failure or new way!

After a month we moved to a new location and continued to work in the city of Zezen. There were only a few months before the bankruptcy of our, or my, company.

“Happiness is not the result of what has been achieved, happiness is the path to the goal!” — I thought so in the 2000s. This striving for something new always inspired me and gave me new strength, brought me new ideas, I met new people. At the same time, I received a new round of opportunities, which I used to further advance. Thus, over all these years in Russia and Germany, I have developed my own mechanism for changing the situation around me and my own principle of moving forward.

Hello, Russia!

2003, January. The lull came after active sales at the end of 2002, and this is the best time to take a few days off – both for myself and for my employees. For a long time I had planned to go to Moscow, to an exhibition of mechanical engineering, in which Germany’s participation was by that time 80%, and then I wanted to go to Yekaterinburg, to my friends, and at the same time meet there with the supplier – the “Sweetly” company. I planned to discuss our next steps to develop not only new packaging, but also new products for the German market.

And then the hour has come! For the first time after nine years of living in Germany, I flew to Russia, having received a tourist visa for 30 days. It is difficult for me to convey the feelings that I had then. I just flew on wings to this country, I was so looking forward to this moment, although I did not fully understand this until I got on the flight from Hanover to Moscow.

In Moscow, a friend of our family, a friend of my father, a very versatile person in his occupations and hobbies, was waiting for me – Andrei Viktorovich Kanoev. Andrei worked in the 80s on central television, in the “News” program, he filmed reports, was one of the active supporters of solving environmental problems, and in the early 90s he began to broadcast his ECO program on television. Later, after the death of his friend Vlad Listyev, Andrei’s career began to take shape in a different direction, and he gained popularity as an architect-designer, having won a competition in Dubai for the construction of an artificial island of Palm Jumeirah. His famous projects: the residence of Father Frost in Veliky Ustyug, “Safari park” in the Moscow region and some others. It is this person who in three years will have a great influence on my passion for design and architecture, which later grew into a professional activity. In seven years, I will design and build original wooden houses for my own purposes, for my projects of the future.

Moscow greeted me with cloudy weather, as it usually happens in winter. It snowed lightly that day, but the road to Moscow from Sheremetyevo was free. I looked with wide eyes at the city, moving along the Moscow Ring Road. I saw a huge number of advertisements and banners along the ring road, I drove past numerous parking lots for the sale of trucks, building materials markets, new and under construction shopping centers. I saw a completely different Moscow, not the one that was nine years ago.

I stayed for three days in Moscow with Andrei Viktorovich, and in the evenings we talked a lot about life in Russia today. I visited an exhibition in Moscow, collected some interesting contacts of equipment manufacturers from Germany, presented at the exhibition, and then I flew to Yekaterinburg on a night flight.

My friends. Our meeting after 9 years!

The aircraft landed at the Yekaterinburg airport at about 2 am. My good friend Alexander knew about my arrival, I planned to visit the rest of my friends, already being there. Alexander was supposed to meet me, so we agreed. And so I go down the ladder, approach the airport building – and what do I see? I am met not only by Alexander, but also by his entire family, and also by the family of Mikhail, another friend of mine! I was overwhelmed with emotion. I went up to them and with difficulty uttered: “What are you guys! Now is the night in the yard!” We hugged each other, clapped each other on the shoulder, looked at each other, and this went on for several minutes. Then Michael, as usual, commanded: “We pass inside, winter is outside! They are already waiting for us in the restaurant, let’s drink some tea!” I remember very well is his expression: “Shall we drink some tea now?” We went to the airport restaurant, sat down at the set table and, raising our glasses of cognac, said in chorus: “For the meeting, damn it! Nine years have passed!”

Mikhail worked then in the transport department with the rank of major, and Alexander was an entrepreneur. The days that followed were very dynamic and full of meetings with my friends. We met every day, went to restaurants, to the bathhouse, traveled around the city, visited our former places.

The day after arrival, I met with my childhood friend Dmitry. I already wrote about this meeting above. Then I had an appointment with our comrade Valera. He turned into an oligarch, and we met in the evening at his villa, which was located outside the city, in a pine forest. I came to the meeting with Alexander. At the entrance to the territory we were met by the security service. They clarified my name, and we were allowed to enter. We drove in, approached a snow-white one-story villa covered with lacquered German tiles, and I saw Valera coming down the steps towards us.

To my surprise, I saw a thin, fit guy. Valera was wearing a short red leather jacket and blue jeans, and he had black gloves on his hands. He came up to us and, smiling, said: “Hello my friend! Where have you disappeared in your Germany?” We hugged each other, slapping each other on the back, and did not immediately enter the house, but walked through the territory illuminated by lanterns, between the tall pine trunks, and we recalled how it was then, ten years ago. There was a slight Ural frost with the usual temperature of minus 16 degrees, the evening was clear and cloudless. We walked along narrow paths cleared in snowdrifts, lined with German paving stones, and a light drizzle creaked slightly under our feet.

We entered the house in about twenty minutes. Valera’s wife Olga, met us on the threshold, smiling broadly. Valera liked this thin, tall brunette with long hair and expressive eyes even in his student years. We all studied in the same group, but, despite this, their relationship began only in the last, fifth year. They got married about three years after graduation.

I noticed she had fine lines emanating from the corners of her eyes and a slightly tired expression on her face, but her open, broad smile was the same as ten years ago.

We settled down in a spacious two-level living room, which was divided into two main areas: a dining room and a sitting area. The dining room was separated from the main area by white patterned railings running along the first level. We sat down at a large white table, which was set tastefully and in a European way. We drank a glass of delicious white wine that Valera ordered from France especially for himself.

He did not say anything about the business, but I knew that Valera by that time was the owner of a large corporation, which he himself founded. I remember this funny guy, small in stature and with pumped up muscles. He always joked a lot, laughed loudly, and his eyes sparkled playfully. Today it was a different person, but his gaze remained the same. Valera was restrained, he did not smile often, and his voice became quiet and calm.

Fifteen minutes later Valera offered to look at the house, because, as I understood it, it was important for him that I would certainly appreciate the tastefully decorated interiors of his house. The house really impressed me. Its architecture subtly reminded me of something European. And so it turned out. Valera was looking for a project for a house for a long time, and when he saw this house, he told his architect: “Yes, I want this house! Just let’s make it twice as large!”

The parquet flooring in the living room was made of mahogany specially brought from Africa. Each room had its own individual decoration design, furniture for each room was made in a single copy. Everything tastefully matched the overall concept of a European bungalow located on one level, without a second floor.

Then we went into a spacious three-car garage. At that time, there were two cars: MercedesG and AudiA8L.

We returned to our table and continued our conversation. About two hours later, Valera took the radio and, pressing the button, said: “Sasha, I’m waiting for you in ten minutes!” Olga immediately realized that Valera was going to go somewhere, and asked: “Valera, where are we going?” “We will go to Yekaterinburg and have some tea!” — he answered. Fifteen minutes later, in his MercedesG, accompanied by two security vehicles, we were rapidly moving along the dark road to Yekaterinburg.

In the city, two more of our common comrades joined us. Our “tea party” ended deep after midnight. It was an unforgettable meeting for me. Since then, I have not met Valera again.

Three days later, spent in Yekaterinburg, I flew back to Germany via Moscow. In the evening, Alexander and Mikhail went to the “Koltsovo” airport. To my surprise, when we drove up to the airport building, we were met by two militiamen. Mikhail ordered me to give them my passport and plane ticket. At that moment, one of the militiamen who met was already pulling my suitcase out of the trunk of the car. I handed over the documents to the second police officer, and the three of us entered the airport building. In the VIP waiting area, Misha invited me to sit down at a table already set for three people. We were poured cognac, and we raised the first toast – “To friends!” This toast, of course, did not end, but only began. It was about an hour before my flight took off. About fifteen minutes after we sat down at the table, I saw with a peripheral vision that at the bar, not far from us, the well-known satirist-humorist Mikhail Zadornov was standing. Of course, it was not without an invitation from our side to join our table. A second later, Mikhail was already filling the empty glass of Mikhail Zadornov, in which before that there was also cognac. We raised our glasses and I said a short toast: “To the Urals!” And then Mikhail Zadornov, who had never said a word before, gave up. “Even teetotalers drink for this!” – he commented and smiled. After that, Mikhail hurried to land. We didn’t even ask which flight he was in a hurry, since there were no more flights to Moscow, except for the one on which I was supposed to fly. We continued our meal. The mood improved, despite the fact that I already had to go for the landing.

A militiaman came up to us fifteen minutes after our friend left and handed Mikhail my passport with a boarding pass and said that it was high time to board. Mikhail answered firmly: “In ten minutes!” and again filled our glasses with fragrant cognac. I started to worry a little, but Mikhail’s confidence that the plane wouldn’t leave without me calmed me down. Ten minutes later, the same employee in uniform came up to us again and in a whisper very carefully asked – when will you board? Mikhail stepped aside, they quickly talked, and the militiaman left! Mikhail returned to the table and commanded: “For us, friends!” I immediately asked: “Misha, what about the landing?” He replied “The flight is delayed by thirty minutes for technical reasons. I cannot delay him for more than half an hour!”. To which I replied, shaking my head: “Well, you give!”

After a while we went to the plane. An empty bus was waiting for us at the exit. The three of us got into it, and the bus started. In front of the plane, we hugged again, said goodbye and stood in the cold, holding each other by the shoulders.

Our reality went back some time ago, in those 90s, when we were together, when everything was just beginning. These three days, spent in Yekaterinburg with my friends, will forever remain in my memory.

I went up the “frozen” ladder upstairs. An equally frozen conductor was waiting for me before entering the plane. From her look, I realized that everyone was waiting only for me! I quickly walked through the cabin, collapsed into my chair and woke up only at Sheremetyevo.

And here I am again in Germany

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