Not to the point of absurdity
– What do you think about outsourcing services in railway transport? Could you talk a little now about where outsourcing has been most successful and where it still can be used?
– I think that almost everywhere, where there is no question of a unified system of traffic control and safety in rail transport, outsourcing is appropriate. However, sometimes, unfortunately, the implementation of this tool was less than easy. For example, we started to apply it in the sphere of passenger service, in particular, conductors. However, whether due to issues in the regulatory framework, or the irresponsibility of the private sector partner, we saw that often the quality of service left a lot to be desired and we therefore had to refrain from outsourcing in some areas. Removable service equipment has long been outsourced, and now, as far as I am aware, works well.
You can also talk about outsourcing in the construction industry. Zheldorstroy was not physically able to provide the necessary infrastructure development facilities, therefore, a large number of companies provided construction services. We also thought about how to outsource financial management, and some of our subsidiary companies even tried this, but, again, we had to face the challenge of breaking the General Directors' assumptions that outsourced accountants knew less than in-house accountants. And there are many examples of this.
– According to your own experience, how important and necessary is competition in rail transport?
– This is a very profound question. In view of my current activities, including at the Department of State Governance, at Lomonosov Moscow State University, I can say that we often tend to view things in terms that are far too absolute. This is the case for privatisation and competition. Competition is evident in all spheres of human life, and we forget that cooperation is also an option. There is a perception that more competition is better. Let's imagine a situation where, for example, a patient comes to the hospital and two doctors begin to compete. Absurd? This can be extended to natural monopolies. After all, they are not called natural for nothing.