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Business Secrets Interview

Pyramid Building Explained by Sergei Mavrodi

Interview with Russian financial fraudster and financial criminal Sergei Mavrodi. He was the founder of the МММ, a scheme that defrauded millions of people around the globe.

Hello, dear friends! Today we have a famous guest, Sergei Panteleyevich Mavrodi. I do not know how to introduce him, in fact, because.

The great combinator

A fraudulent swindler, let’s say.

What do you consider yourself by profession?

Profession? It’s hard to say. I have no profession at the moment, I’m generally unemployed. No, I’m working now, with my thousandth man, so to speak. Professionally, I’m a messiah, I change the world. What profession is that?

Are you Jewish by nationality?

No, I don’t have a drop of Jewish blood in me. I’m half Russian, and my father is half Ukrainian and half Greek. In fact, by the way, Mavrodi translates from Greek as black, dark. But I don’t have a drop of Jewish blood. I don’t care about nationality at all.

I’m sure half of Russia thinks you’re Jewish.

No, my mother’s from Vladimir province.

I’m from Tambov Province.

Well, you see.

Can our blood really give birth to people like that?

Why do you say that? Our blood can give birth to anyone. What kind of belittling of the Russians is that?

However, they say about terrorists, it has recently occurred to me too… Chechen terrorists… And everyone has forgotten, in fact, it’s only the beginning of the 20th century – the coolest terrorists were Russians! If the Russian terrorists will wake up, then all these Caucasian terrorists will simply rest there. We, the Russians, have it in our blood to tear up, to explode, Mama mia! No? I mean another topic, but still. Because they think that the real terrorists are some Muslims, and Russians can not be terrorists. They blew up the king from morning till night.

The roots of Russia, of course. Who is it, Karyagin? I don’t remember the last name anymore.

Sergey Panteleyevich , what is your motivation in your activity, in building pyramids? You are a specialist in pyramid building, a certified specialist, I guess. What is your motivation?

Professor.

No, I generally change people, I change society. The pyramid, it’s just a tool for this purpose. That is, people in the MMM system change. That is they become better, kinder, curiously enough.

They get more money, and then they get less.

No, they come for the money first, everyone comes for the money. But, everybody absolutely notes that by participating in the system, people change for the better. It’s an amazing fact, but it’s a fact. I mean, the pyramid scheme, it’s just a tool, that’s how I see it.

You have a tremendous gift of attracting people to you, i.e., they believe you. What is this gift, please explain. Because I see you sitting here, you look like a country man in cheap sneakers, cheap sweatpants and a cheap T-shirt, and I wouldn’t really give you even 100 rubles.

Because you haven’t talked to me yet. Now I’m going to disappoint you, and you’re going to give it to me at the end. It is in the process of communicating that the charm happens. Why do they believe? Because I have concrete things behind me, that’s why they believe. Everyone remembers 1994, 15 million participants in half a year. Now there are, I think, 20. 15 million participants, a third of the country’s budget. Everybody remembers that. And everybody knows very well that MMM was ruined in 1994. All these fairy tales that the pyramid collapsed, it’s all fairy tales and nonsense. In my criminal case…

An entrepreneur must consider the risks, including regulatory risks. Even if this pyramid was destroyed by the government, even if so, this risk should have been calculated and not allowed, right? These are peculiarities of entrepreneurship, as far as business is concerned.

You know, I built a ship, let’s say. I use that example all the time. Everyone was sailing on it, enjoying and having fun. And then a submarine sailed alongside, fired a torpedo and sank the ship. Whose fault is that? You, because you were building the ship? Or, after all, the submarine captain?

It’s probably essentially the pyramid’s fault, because the pyramid collapses sooner or later, you know.

No, I don’t know. Everybody knows that but me. I don’t understand why it has to collapse. For example there is a process going on. I mean MMM 2011 specifically. It’s a pyramid in its purest form, it’s written on the website, too, quite clearly, frankly and honestly – a pyramid, you risk everything, you can lose everything.

So you admit that it’s a pyramid?

It’s written on the website in red and yellow, in huge letters.

I thought you said no, it’s not a pyramid scheme.

It does. It’s a pyramid.

You mean it has a pointy?

It says this: it’s a pyramid, you risk everything, you can lose everything. Even if you follow all the rules, you may still get paid nothing, just like that, without any explanation. It’s all written on the website.

It’s like a casino like this, I mean, you realize you’re going to lose in the casino.

No, it’s not a casino. It’s just that I warn you honestly about everything. But, for example, banks, pardon me, they guarantee something there. And what can they guarantee, that the bank will never go bankrupt?

800,000 is guaranteed by the state. And so far there has been no precedent for non-payment.

Well, first of all, 800 thousand is not the whole amount. And secondly, what does the state pay from? It pays from the pockets of others. That is, some pay for others. Is that normal?

But banks give 12% annually, not 20, 30% per month.

Up to 75%. But, nevertheless, during the year everything is paid to everyone, there is not a single victim. This is just a fact.

Naturally, in the primary period…

That’s 20 million, what’s the primary?

Is that across the CIS?

No, worldwide.

Yandex has 250 thousand queries about MMM a month

For example, 5-6 people write me something about Mavrodi and MMM on Twitter every day, this already says statistically that it is really much.

Now we are ahead of Sberbank.

There are already tens who are trying to recruit new participants.

On the other hand, if I was going to mislead, I would downplay the number of participants, because everyone is scared that there’s saturation, too many people already. On the contrary, I would say that it’s not enough yet, everything is coming up.

Do you realize that the number of suckers in the country is limited, of course?

Why do you call them…

Not suckers, but greedy people. They’re ruled by greed. What rules the world? Greed and sex. Correct me if I’m wrong. And he works for greedy people. And still the man is greedy. Once he’s got it, he’ll come back, he always comes back.

What greed? There are people involved. Do you know what’s going on in the country right now?

Why do they bring money? Because of greed.

Do you know what’s going on in the country right now? People write me such horrifying letters that I have a 100 rubles, a $100 pension, and I have worked all my life, and my rent is $200. How should I live, I don’t know. If there was no MMM, I would have starved to death. So people are helped, they just survive. What greed?

So you help a part of the people, but this part, on the contrary, all this will happen at their expense.

Let’s think logically. Now the pyramid develops very successfully, intensively and so forth. Why people do not join the pyramid some more? Only because they think it’s a scam, a fraud, that someone won’t get something, and so on. But, as far as

They’re actually right.

But as a pyramid scheme evolves… For example, if someone you know gets money, buys a car, then of course you’ll join too. You will have no choice but to join. That is, it is obvious that over time, the flow of new ones will increase.

It’s greed, after all.

It’s not greed, it’s a desire for better living. It is a normal desire inherent in any human being.

There’s a scale. It always depends–greed and fear. In the stock market, on this one, on the other, on all markets – greed and fear. Sooner or later, fear overcomes greed, and people rush to sell. As much as we want to, there comes a moment in any market, in the oil market, the gold market, the stock market, in the market of your MAVR tickets

MAVR – I’m issuing my own currency, like the FRS.

I mean, fear will soon conquer greed anyway.

What fear? Do you assume that all people hold it up for years? A man invested for a month, took his money out, got it, then invested it again.

It is clear that you are working through the Internet, in the irregular zone, webmoney and so on. But can you tell me more about how you cheated everybody? I mean the regulators.

The technology is as follows: I enter the system, you buy MAVR. It’s just a currency that… I issue my own currency. It grows at a rate of 25 to 75% a month. I set the prices myself, twice a week, I just feel like it. At any time you can buy, and at any time you can sell. You don’t have to wait.

And technically?

How is it technically organized? Participants are divided into tens, hundreds, thousands, as in the armies of Genghis Khan. At the head of a dozen is a tens leader, a hundred has a hundred leader, and a thousand has a thousand leader. When you join, you get into the ten. The ten has its own account, it’s a basic cell, which has its own account. A hundred already has no account. The hundred leaders and thousand leaders just manage the tens. The ten has its own account. When you join the ten, you transfer money to the ten leader, and he keeps the account of the cells.

And how do they transfer it?

An ordinary bank transfer.

Where?

Where? He opens an account at the bank.

Where do you have an account?

All the banks. Well, you must have it too.

Do you have accounts in all banks?

All of them. Wherever the ten leader wants to open an account, at any bank.

Well, we don’t open checking accounts, so we don’t have…

Well, individuals.

We don’t. At any bank?

Well, you don’t open… Well, any bank does. That’s it. You join, you transfer money to him. You don’t even have to transfer your…

You have your money diversified, it’s not all in one place.

No, that’s the point.

It used to be on the Warsaw Highway

Yeah, they drove up, took it all out. Nothing like that. That’s why it’s impossible to block, to block millions of accounts of ten leaders. But that’s not enough.

The fundamental point is that you transfer money without any guarantees, promises, or obligations. You don’t transfer it because you have to be paid. You are told openly that you may not get paid at all. That is, there are no… If there were any guarantees and promises, it would be illegal banking and so on. But if there are no guarantees and promises, then one person is just transferring money to another, and you can’t forbid it.

Well, yes, using the word “supposedly” he will get 20 or 30.

No, not even that. They just say that everything is paid up to this time. Maybe you get paid. Maybe you get paid, maybe not.

Look, here’s a website, I read today that after all, MMM helps to the disadvantaged, and they’ll be able to earn through the system. But if.

and they’re earning.

Well, yeah, they’re earning so far. But if they come now, and they bring the last money, these 100 dollars, which he doesn’t have enough to pay bills.

So what?

Well, nothing, there is no guarantees, everything will be lost.

First of all, everything is written on the website, all the risks. A man is sane, sensible, capable, he makes his own decisions. Therefore, if he does it, he knows what he’s dealing with. No one is trying to deceive or mislead him. Therefore, it is his right. Secondly, I still don’t understand why you keep taking the position that this is going to collapse, people are going to get hurt. I haven’t heard a single argument that’s been made as to why it should collapse.

Collapse because there are limits to building a pyramid.

If the world gets involved, it’s going to take a long time. An infinite amount of money.

If the pyramid involves the whole world, then, first of all, it will simply lock, and money won’t come out of it at all. Because if you took money out of the pyramid and bought yourself a palace for a billion dollars, then the seller of the palace, he’s in the pyramid as well, he will return it immediately, the system will lock up. That’s the first thing. The second is that over time, the MAVR will simply displace the dollar, because if all the participants will, then why… Here you are, the participants. Why would you want to convert MAVR to dollars, then dollars to MAVR again. You’re just going to be exchanging MAVR between each other.

Sergei Panteleyevich, what’s your motivation? To decide the fate of millions?

Well, if I can help people, of course I should.

And how do you help people? You deprive people… To make them work, to create something, and you choose, “Dig five gold pieces in the field and a money tree will grow for you. That they don’t work, that they don’t do anything, and that they get money for nothing.

First of all, you are right in saying that a man must work. But, he should work in a fair society, but society is profoundly unfair. Who should he work for? The oligarchs? Who are people working for right now? Why do we have a situation where some people have billions and others have nothing? You tell me what people have to work for, these Abramovichs. They must have worked very hard… And you tell this to the people who have worked all their lives, got a pension of 100 dollars and they were thrown out on a garbage dump. That’s the reality. You see? You may or may not like it, but these are realities. Secondly, this thesis that “who will work”? It’s just that society will be different. Now, if everyone has enough money, now people are working for money. It’s totally immoral, it’s essentially economic slavery.

Financial fascism.

Well, you could call it that. If there is no money at all, for example, everyone will have money, or rather, everyone will have their needs met, there will simply be other factors. For example, respect. If the first can do something, and the other can’t… Now it’s funny to listen. There will be another world. What exactly it will be, now it is difficult to say, but it will be different. This is my opinion.

I have a question…

Oleg, let me ask you something too. About the Western, so to speak… It’s clear that you… How should I choose the verb… For example, you, let’s say, potsmarted the Russian authorities, in terms of financial, found holes in the laws, and so on and so forth. It’s not hard to do. We know that Russia is a sieve of hole laws, you can do anything here. And you said about the world. I wonder how you managed to build this pyramid there, because the legislation there has been fine-tuned for centuries and has very strong legal rules, very strong financial control. How does their legislation compare to ours? 

First of all, I don’t know, maybe you’re not aware that while I was… I had a pyramid scheme in 1994, then I was wanted for 6 years… During this time, I created an online pyramid scheme. You know that, don’t you? Stock Generations. Which involved tens of millions from all over the world, mostly from the U.S., from the states. It was set up, as a financial game, on an island in the Caribbean. 

That is, they’re just like us.

There was a gaming license. Then when the problems started because of ten, out of tens of millions, there was 3 people who wrote a complaint. Things were going too fast there, and the delays in payments started. Three people were found who wrote a complaint. After that, American Securities and Exchange Commission pushed, shut everything down, and then there was a trial in Boston, and they lost it.

Is it harder to trick a government there, though?

It’s not harder. The laws there are the very… What do you mean, to trick? In fact all of the American laws are the same, I read them, there’s even a ban on pyramid schemes, but there’s a definition of a pyramid. Any definition of pyramid includes a promise, if there’s no promise you don’t come under the law. It’ s impossible to prohibit, it’s just an exchange of money between people. How can this be forbidden? This is undermining the foundations, undermining private property.

And you are undermining the banking system, because, for example, our bank, Tinkov, we are now approving a billboard for deposits. We have 11 percent there, everything is modest by your standards. The FAS and the Central Bank are all over our brains! For each wording, small print, be sure to specify this, this must be large, this must be that… Oleg will not let me lie, we have already spent a month coordinating every letter, digit, disclaimer, and so on. But you’re putting 75% next to nothing us, and you’re not affected by any regulation or the Federal Antimonopoly Service. I mean, you undermine… I’m trying to explain to people, bring money for God’s sake at 11.5%, I’m fucked by all the regulators! We are regulated by five banks. And you put up an MMM banner next to it, completely relaxed. Where else is there such a country, Limonia with evergreen tomatoes? Only we have such an idiotic country in Russia.

First of all, our interests at this stage are the same, because the money in the banks. I have my own goals there – the apocalypse, I may be some kind of… You perceive me as not quite adequate… But that’s my problem. But the money at this stage is kept in the banks. So, what will happen in the second stage, the apocalypse, we’ll see. For now, at the first stage, our goals are completely the same. Will you let us keep the money in your bank? We’ll keep it in your bank.

You must agree that the Western system is tougher, from the point of view of regulatory control, than the one in Russia. Or would you disagree?

Well, Madoff, for decades he led the banking system around the nose, there were massive inspections, so what?

Well, he gave 10-20% a year, right?

Well, there were audits. Madoff, in general… Nevertheless, there were all the audits.

The higher the percentage, the faster the pyramid builds and collapses, you know that. As a mathematician. You’re a mathematician, aren’t you?

Mathematician, yes.

What did you graduate from?

MIEM, applied mathematics.

And there’s a young guy from the physics department in the movie, I was interested in him. Was he for real?

No. That’s a fairy tale.

It’s just that we have a couple of young, talented people from Physics Institute working at the bank, who really build rate plans and make products. I was wondering if we were a match for Mavrodi himself.

No, a fairy tale.

Actually, if you’re talking about this movie. By the way, the actor played there very well, similarly. I forget his last name.

Serebryakov.

He played well.

Everyone praises him. I haven’t seen the movie.

He’s too skinny there, but he fits the type. Did your wife really break up with you? Was there a tragedy like that? Was there something with the wife?

No, it was just a fiction with a wife.

Anya Mikhalkova, my poor neighbor, was thrown off the roof of Varshavsky 26. The child was stolen. They didn’t steal him?

I don’t want to talk about private matters, I don’t talk about personal matters.

We saw that it was Berezovsky. If it’s the Mega Bank, it’s Berezovsky, the dude you were rubbing shoulders with. Did you really have a conflict with Boris Abramovich?

No, not at all. I was an enemy of the government.

He kind of tried to work it out, with you and with the government.

There was a situation that…

Or now, since Berezovsky is being mocked, he’s been…

He’s been pushed in like that. You can see why I didn’t watch the movie, why I didn’t like it.

By the way, it’s a great movie, I liked it a lot. The other week, it was on Channel 1, and I was in Europe. I was watching it and I thought – oh! We’ll have a conversation with Panteleyevich. I should a look at it. And I was fascinated by it! The movie’s great!

I’d read the book. Read the book. The book itself is more interesting. It conveys the spirit of the book, it saves everything.

Who wrote the book?

I did.

When the pyramid collapses, will you feel sorry for people?

Oh, it will never collapse. According to the Bible, 42 months, there’s still time. By the way, there’s a very interesting phrase in the Bible about the apocalypse, inexplicable.

But if it collapses, will you feel sorry for people?

It won’t collapse. What do you mean, would you feel sorry for them? Actually, then let’s talk like this.

I would feel sorry for the people if I contributed to their money being taken from them and then it disappeared.

Well, he wanted to save the world.

I still do. Everything goes on, in full bloom. So… The past tense is totally irrelevant. It’ll all work out. You don’t have to worry about it.

You don’t look like you really want to make money. Don’t you think that you are being taken advantage of by those around you who just want to make money from your obsession, your commitment to some idea that is not quite human.

Naturally, that’s probably the case. We are all humans. Of course people who are around are probably trying to get their own thing, but it doesn’t change anything.

What nothing? They’ll just sell your MAVRs and take out the cash, and the rest of people will have nothing.

That’s not going to happen, and you can’t withdraw it. Once again, the money is spread across millions of accounts, it’s impossible to withdraw it all at once. There is no single account from which the money can be taken and withdrawn. It’s spread out over millions of accounts of ten leaders. In other words, you can’t take it out at all. Do you understand?

How can you not take it out? You can take it out.

How?

Everybody can withdraw their money, right?

Only an account in your ten. Do you mean steal money? Only a ten leader can steal the money of a ten. You can’t steal anything else. You can’t steal money from the whole system. It’s impossible.

Question from Twitter. Asking you. There’s Charles Ponzi, Bernard Madoff, and Sergei Mavrodi. Which one is cooler?

I am, of course. What kind of a weird question is that?

How much money did Ponzi scheme raise?

Who?

Ponzi, Charles.

I don’t know what everybody’s fussing about. He’s got some pennies. Something like $40,000…

Are you trying to pay off the defrauded depositors of the first MMM?

I told about that already. The payments was in a process. That is, I said that I would pay. Although, technically, I do not owe anything, let me stress it again. I paid what I owed, I was in prison. Technically, I don’t owe anyone anything. I’m making these payments because I think it’s my moral obligation.

What was the criminal record for, officially?

When I was arrested in 1994, it was for not paying taxes. They couldn’t charge me with fraud then, which is not surprising. And now there was a whole bunch of criminal cases, including fraud. Now everything is out of hand.

How much was it?

4.5 years.

How much time did you spend in prison?

4.5. In a special unit, actually. Death row, as a matter of fact.

Where’s that? In Moscow?

There’s another prison inside the Sailor’s Silence. A special block, so to speak. Prison within a prison.

They say that prison teaches. Once you have been in prison for 4.5 years, you objectively run the risk of repeating your fate one way or another. In theory, what is the purpose of prison created by the government? To teach a person something, and then he won’t want to go back there. That is the logic of the government. To keep a man from freedom, so that he gets grief so that he can’t go back there. As a man who served two years in the Army in the Far East, I understand. I wake up at night, the army is my nightmare. I wake up in a sweat. Tell me now, go to the army. Doesn’t your personal 4.5 years in prison stop you?

A man shouldn’t be afraid of anything. So, no. I think I’m right. I have to do it, and absolutely nothing is going to stop me, no threats, no matter who they come from. I’m still going to do what I have to do.

Is the government threatening you now?

Not at the moment. But in fact I hoped that the government won’t threaten me at all, because in fact MMM is socially useful, because it relieves social tensions. That is, people are happy, satisfied, they don’t have a protest mood, they stay at home and take care of their families. So, the state, in my opinion, is slowly realizing this. Now, at least there is no fight against MMM.

Who will you vote for? Or who do you like?

Bolsheviks or Communists? I am for the International. I won’t vote for anyone.

If you’re so fanatically devoted to your idea, it’s called obsession. We’ve seen people in history who were fanatically devoted to an idea. Hitler, for example. He did nothing good, although he had his own idea, and he believed in God. But he was a destroyer, in fact. Although he acted within the framework of his idea.

And Jesus was a destroyer-he also said, I brought not peace, but a sword. The new is always built on the wreckage of the old. You deliberately choose such terms, some pejorative ones – obsession… You could use other terms, too. I just believe that I am right, and I act according to my beliefs.

Hitler also believed he was right, but that’s wrong.

Not just Hitler.

A man should doubt if he’s a reasonable man. And a man who is sure he is always right, I think he is just obsessed. Or he’s crazy.

I’m not always sure, I doubt too. But I think that in general I am right. Do you think a man shouldn’t do anything at all when in doubt? You must hesitate in choosing a goal. When the goal is chosen, one must simply act.

When you encourage millions of people to take action, it’s not just about you, it’s also about society.

It’s a social phenomenon, of course. It’s completely natural. Since people follow me, they see where the truth is, I guess.

Are you a vain man?

Am I a vain man? I don’t know. It’s hard to answer.

Do you only have the image of being selfless, or do you really feel about money… because you’re supposed to be worth billions of dollars, logically. In that life, in this life. How much money do you have now?

Nothing. It’s all was in the execution levy.

We know, but what was not in the execution levy, but somewhere in Switzerland?

No. At least there was a criminal case, and in the conclusion it was written quite unambiguously that the money was spent only for the office, for maintenance, for paying salaries and so on. That is, I didn’t spend anything, even in 1994, when I had unlimited funds, I didn’t buy anything at all. I lived in the same apartment where I live now, I did not purchase anything. What’s more, the apartment is government-owned, otherwise it would have been taken away from me. It was not privatized. I got it from my parents. It’s not good, and it’s not bad that I’m selfless. I just have modest needs. If I had more needs, that wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Do you like beautiful women?

Of course I like beautiful women, who doesn’t like them?

You should spend money on a beautiful woman

Well, that’s okay.

Enough money for that.

This is a special conversation.

Why?

I don’t like private conversations.

That was one of the questions, did you get married a second or third time?

No. I got divorced in prison and never remarried.

Why, I was considering your message to the flock, and you do that thing?

I try not to do that, I’m just tired of everybody.

Is this like our home Russia?

No, I automatically do this.

I’m sorry, but what you’re saying is complete nonsense. I’ve been listening to all your speeches today.

Listen, you don’t understand one thing. There are things behind it, you shouldn’t judge it as nonsense. It should be assessed as: why it’s not nonsense. If it seems like nonsense to you, then you’re wrong about something. If I was just saying, there would be no MMM, no 20 million participants, then you could say that this is nonsense. But if there are 20 million participants behind it, then it’s not nonsense. You have to understand why it’s not nonsense.

You have this kind of background – all of your pyramids are collapsing. Why shouldn’t this pyramid suddenly collapse? There is no logic to it.

I’ve already explained – give at least one argument why it should collapse, that’s the first. Second, all pyramids were destroyed by the authorities before. The first pyramid by the Russians, the second pyramid by the Americans. But now it can’t be destroyed. There is no legal entity, there is no office. You can’t destroy something that doesn’t exist.

Don’t you think you’re misguided in your views?

In what way?

That the pyramid won’t collapse. Don’t you think you might be deluded?

Of course I can, but give me an argument.

Mathematics proves that the pyramid will collect all the money of the world after a while.

About the pyramid, that it will collect all the money in the world, I have already said that it will be locked when the money will not come out of it. The MAVR will become a currency. The pyramid is a living organism, and all these mathematical problems from the first grade, Perelman for example, do not work at all. There is another important point, a psychological one.

Perelman lived next door to me.

Perelman, who did interesting math… Everyone gives me the example of some progressions. There is a very important psychological moment – the behavior of the depositors. The amount of debt is not crucial to a pyramid, only the behavior of its participants is crucial to a pyramid. The dollar shows it perfectly. With the help of the psychological component you can control the flows at the entrance and exit.

Look, your fans keep bringing up the example of the dollar. But there are two big differences with the dollar. The Federal Reserve System, which is also a government entity, has the right to issue dollars, and you don’t have the right to issue rubles.

I can issue

MAVRs are not accepted in stores, but dollars are accepted in stores, that’s the question.

But MAVRs can be exchanged for dollars.

Your followers, who are now spamming in all accounts, everywhere, and in my personal accounts, just going to spam -I am a ten leader Mukhin…

Well done, good work. Maybe we should hire Mavrodi to our bank? Expensive? Why, he’s still a no-salary guy. Let’s pay $2,000 a month and work.

You’re not doing it for personal gain. Right?

Absolutely.

Want to build something happier than communism.

Isn’t that silly? I understand doing evil for personal enrichment.

Why do evil? I’m doing a good thing. I’m doing people a good thing.

There’s GDP without product… If everyone earns. In communism, we all earn, but nothing is produced. Gross national product is not created, there are no mugs, no phones, and not even cheap tights. We can’t live on interest alone, someone has to produce something. And who is going to work? When it locks up, there’s no need to work, it turns out.

I told you before, there will be a different society. In the current society people work for money, in the new society there will be other values, in my opinion. It’s just that a man who knows how to do something

He wants to, he goes and works. Communism.

As a person who knows how to do something, he will be respected by those around him. It sounds ridiculous now, but then it would be the main thing. This is seen in closed societies like prisons. Where there is no work, there is already the respect of others. It is a very important factor, extremely important. It will already be in this society. Just instead of money there will be other criteria. That is all. Categories are different. Now it’s hard to imagine.

I mean, I felt like it, I went down 20 meters into a mine, I kicked some coal.

And your opinion that man should be directed as a slave

Capitalism is the best system. There is nothing better than capitalism. It’s not a good system, but no one has invented anything better. To everyone according to his ability, and from everyone according to his needs… Or how is it? Quite the contrary. To everyone according to his labor.

You don’t have people working. He came, he got 70% a month, but he didn’t do anything. That doesn’t happen in the economy.

How can it not happen if there’s MMM? How does it not happen if there’s an MMM? It’s subject to reflection, not to say that it doesn’t exist, it will dissolve.

Every pyramid has an initial period, it exists some initial period.

The white bull’s tale. What initial period? Why on earth would people stop carrying money if everyone is getting paid? Explain to me.

The number of suckers is certainly.

Who’s a sucker?

The number of greedy people is unlimited. It’s all done on greed. Not on suckiness, but on greed. He’s got other motives, basic ones. Sex and greed. He takes greed and everyone is greedy. One thing I agree with, it’s all been tried for a long time. Once a man gets something, he’ll always get it a second time. And he’s already there, he can’t stop. That’s what it’s all calculated on. Greed is the key story there. And people are greedy a priori. Either a person can be manipulated by sex or by greed. What else, I don’t know, because money and greed are the same thing.

Not greed, but the desire to live a human life for ordinary people. You’re just far from it, it’s hard for you to imagine how people live. MMM makes it possible for ordinary people to just live decently. You call it greed – it’s immoral.

It’s immoral to get money without working.

Society is deeply immoral. Yes, you have to work, but in a normal society. In today’s society, who do you work for? Do you work for society?

The capitalists?

The capitalists.

Or for the government. What should we do? That’s life.

The oligarchs. Up to now it’s been like this, but now it’s going to be different. How many doors do we have here?

One

If we all rushed to the exit now, what would happen? It can’t be without a reason. It’s the same in any financial structure. You know, it’s like Newton. He had a cat, he cut a door for her to walk around, then she had five kittens, and he cut five more little doors next to it. That’s silly, one door is enough. Same with the pyramid – it works on the basis that everyone will come back

Participants will see that -whoa! I’ve already earned a lot, it’s time to stop.

Let me give you another example. Every system has safety rules. You’re in a boat, and if everybody goes over on one side, the boat will overturn. Don’t be stupid. Be reasonable, that’s all. You’ll be sailing forever.

Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? No? Because we’re talking to entrepreneurs.

I don’t ask myself those questions. The messiah entrepreneur.

How many messiahs are there in Russia right now?

How many? I am the only one! The rest are all fakes.

Have you seen our show? Any show, with anyone?

To be honest, I haven’t.

It’s sad. It is structured in such a way that the guest tells, approximately at least, in your sense it is not so much, because everyone has seen the movie, I guess. But all the same, can you summarize? Were you born in Moscow? Or where?

Biography or something?

Yes, about yourself. Where you studied. Just to know you like a person?

I graduated from an ordinary school and was born into an ordinary family. My father’s a fitter and my mother’s an engineer.

In Moscow?

In Moscow

Which district of Moscow?

On Frunze, on Sportivnaya. Near the Novodevichy Convent. Do you know the Novodevichy Convent?

Of course. It’s a beautiful place.

There’s a house across the street, that’s where I lived until I was 18. When I was 18 I moved out.

There’s an advertisement for a company there now.

They used to have shoes there. Then I went to college. After the institute I was assigned to work for two years. But I couldn’t work there. I made such a career there.

There, where is it?

An ordinary VC, an ordinary Computing Centre, I worked as an ordinary programmer. Although, I made a good career there, I became head of the Group – in Soviet times this is serious. Of course not an office, but serious. But I couldn’t be there, I felt… Many people regret the Soviet Union, how it was. But I lived relatively well in the Soviet Union, but in today’s Russia I have nothing but prisons, criminal cases, and exiles. I would never, under any circumstances, not even in my darkest dreams, want to return to the Soviet Union. I felt like I was living in prison all the time there. I quit my job, I was working on videotapes. I just had to live for something, because I couldn’t work.

Videotapes?

Yes. That was the business. It didn’t bring in much money, but nevertheless it didn’t make much difference to me. When the cooperatives started, I opened MMM.

What was the first business?

Trading computers.

Like everybody else.

That’s what everybody was doing back then. And also, it was my profession, so in a sense it was just the right thing to do.

You were in the electronics business? We were in St. Petersburg, we traded in electronics, and MMM also traded in TVs.

Well, after that. First computers, then all the office equipment.

The group traded, you traded.

Are you in contact with any entrepreneurs?

I’ve never been in contact with anyone, and I don’t have any acquaintances at all.

And where do you live?

In Moscow.

In a simple apartment?

In a simple apartment. My apartment was not privatised, so it was not confiscated. If it had been privatized, they would have confiscated it.

Which car did you drive? -I didn’t look.

My buddy drove me. -I don’t have a car. They’d take everything from me right away. I don’t have anything.

A man standing in the next room refusing to sit down. Is he a security guard?

He’s an assistant. He’s the man I’ve had since 1994.

Isn’t he the one who walks next to you in the movie? Oh, you haven’t seen the movie.

Why does he refuse to sit?

I don’t know, it’s nothing, it’s just… I’ve been through quite a few trials in my life. Everything has a melting point, everyone has a melting point.

You didn’t get promoted to thief in prison?

No. I can’t be promoted to thief in law. You don’t know the subject at all. But I’ve been in prison with, I think, five thieves. That’s a new record. Most people can spend their whole lives without seeing a thief in law at all.

Were you treated with respect there?

Yes. One thief called me a friend. This is unthinkable! The second said that Sergei, who is 35 years old, if you go into any room, you say, “Do you know him? Here he asked me to tell you that he would consider any trouble that was brought to this man as having been brought to him. So it’s carte blanche.

The criminal.

Why can’t you be a thief in the law if it’s an offense like that?

There are very few of them, 500 thieves of all nationalities, in the entire CIS. So, to get to him, it’s not even like going to Putin, but I don’t know who. It’s just that I was in the special unit, and they keep them there, so I was there, I got in with five of them. And so, if you were an ordinary convict, I don’t want to wish that on you, you could have sat there all your life and never seen it.

I think this is a Soviet rudiment of these thieves in law, this is some nonsense. Saakashvili shut them down in 1 minute, it’s just the will of the authorities. If Putin wanted… This word should be eradicated from circulation and this whole topic should be closed. Saakashvili is right – a thief in law gets 10 years in prison at once, just for saying that he is a thief in law, he gets 10 years at once.

It’s not that simple, unfortunately.

It’s a Soviet rudiment. Just like the rest of the Soviet Union. What a thief in law? There are no thieves in law anywhere in the world, and we’ve invented a thief in law. What is a thief in law? A thief is a thief, and he is always outside the law. That’s my point of view.

It’s not quite right. If you get into prison, God forbid, imagine prison. What are thieves? They are the authorities who restrain the lawlessness that can start in prison. What would happen if there were no thieves?

Disorder by the guards?

No, by the prisoners. You get into a room, there are two hooligans, or two thugs, and they start terrorizing the whole room, they take your parcels away from you.

And the guards?

The guards don’t care what goes on in the room.

What’s the world’s system like? Some kind of German system?

I don’t know.  I don’t know, honestly. There, the state probably monitors all this more. No one here does.

You mean you’re on your own there?

Absolutely. I mean, it’s horrible what’s going to happen there.

And they’ve written some rules, right?

These concepts are essentially the same laws as in the outside, only in prison. If you terrorize a room in prison, for example, people get out, and it becomes known very quickly, because people go out, they cross paths. It’s impossible to keep it a secret. Then you, sooner or later, get transferred to another room, and they ask you, so, friend, was that you? That’s what it’s all about. If that wasn’t there, what mechanism would be different, I can’t imagine. We’d have all kinds of hell in our prisons.

It seemed to me that this was some kind of purely Soviet invention, that they were in cahoots with the political elite in their time. The movie “Thief in Law” interpreted it somehow.

No. All these movies are complete fairy tales. Like the movie “Pyramid”, written by the people who created it. This institution of thieves is very closed, so it’s almost impossible to get any information about what goes on there. It just has to be a unique situation, like mine, that I got into this special prison, crossed paths with several thieves, and my very identity ruled out the possibility that I would snitch, any denunciations to write. Therefore, they were frank with me and talked to me. They don’t open up and talk to anyone else. It’s a completely closed institution, about which almost no one knows anything.

I wonder how much money is in the pyramid at the moment?

The average deposit right now is a thousand dollars. Twenty million dollars. But, now it tends to increase. I’m offered a million dollars to invest, people are asking for permission. But I am reluctant to allow a million dollars.

It doesn’t fall under the insurance system anymore, does it?

What’s your estimate, off the top of your head?

Thousand dollar average contribution, 20 million participants, multiply that.

That’s a lot.

20 million participants, that’s a lot.

That’s 200 billion?

20 billion. That’s not that much.

I mean, Siluanov, the finance minister, hasn’t called you yet. You had 40% of the country’s cash in 1994.

30

Well, at least 30. That’s very cool. That is, every third ruble was in the MMM.

I started when I was issuing MMM tickets.

Was it really all in carloads?

Of course. When I was issuing MMM tickets, at first I just wanted to paint the dollars

It’s like in the movie, the man says, “Give me five carloads of money! Not in millions, not billions, he says -give me 5 carloads! He says – take it!

In fact, the money was lying in the rooms, they didn’t have time to count it. You could go in and there was no security, you could go in and take as much money as you wanted. An employee walks in…

Like a casino. It’s in the movie that they steal.

Just so it doesn’t stick out too much. Because it was perceived as a glassware scramble, it’s even harder to fight it. It is necessary to have guards, who will steal, but already in carloads. They will steal centrally, and in order to fight it, you have to have another guard, and so on. So it would be better to do it this way.

It made economic sense.

You’re a fan of these infernal scenarios, infernal circus.

And how much cash did you see the most, a sum of some kind?

I don’t know, I’ve never been in the office, so I don’t know. I started taking it to my apartment first.

Was there about two or three billion dollars of cash in dollars like that?

It must have been. In fact, no one really understands the volume. Money is just paper, why are you so reverent about it?

If I saw $2 billion in cash, I’d shake!

You like it, they’re talking about you, your numbers, you like it! You’re a vain man, I think.

What exactly, big numbers?

That people are talking about you.

No, I’m a very private person, I don’t like it all. I think that I should, in the interest of the system, that is, it benefits the system, so I participate in all interviews.

What if the politicians get hard? There will be an election in six years. Mavrodi said, and that’s it, and voted. Putin will come to talk.

Well, in our country it makes no difference who they voted for.

There won’t be anything in six years.

43 months, 3.5 years, according to the Bible.

I don’t really understand about the 42 months.

The Bible, on the apocalypse. By the way, there’s an interesting phrase there that no one understands, in the apocalypse–and he’ll make it so, there’s totally going on like the end of the world, and suddenly a totally unexpected phrase. And he will make it so that no one can buy or sell, except those who have the name of the beast, or the number of the name of the beast. Who has MAVR in other words. By the way, M is the 14th letter in the alphabet, MMM is 42. So, everything fits, everything goes according to plan.

I was born on December 25, like Jesus Christ, I will be like a savior, I will save from you. Everyone will come to their senses and bring money for 11%. Bring momey in MMM, it’s bullshit.

You fulfill some kind of positive role too, because you punish people for their greed and stupidity.

I don’t punish, I pay 20-75% per month. Can you understand that, after all? What kind of punishment is that? People write letters, gasping with happiness, and you say I’m punishing. I don’t understand. I’m doing good to people now, for what it’s worth.

Temporarily.

 I’m doing good, I’m helping. Why does everybody see it as some kind of…

Temporary. Unfortunately, temporarily.

Temporary relief.

What makes you say that? That’s your speculation, but the reality is I’m still helping people and doing good.

Let’s bet 100 thousand dollars that in a year the MMM pyramid won’t exist.

I can bet, but I don’t have any money. What am I going to bet? A year ago, by the way, all the experts were saying, if you remember, it will never start, it’s impossible, he won’t pay anyone a penny. It’s been a year. 20 million participants, for a year everybody gets paid, so… You’re probably going to lose, but I don’t have any money.

You’ll have to borrow it from a ten leader. A debt.

Well, that’s no good. Why should I take it?

What do you live on if you don’t have any money?

What do you mean, what? I told the thousand-leader to give me a job, he pays my salary of a thousand dollars. I give 500 dollars to the bailiffs, because I have everything taken away so they won’t prosecute me, and I live for $500, I have enough to live on.

We get about 300,000 views, it was about Ksenia Sobchak, or Sergei Matvienko, even 400,000, that’s the governor’s son. But on average, we are watched by fairly young people who want to… The purpose of our mission is to promote entrepreneurship, to promote the idea that don’t go to work for a salary, but go to work for yourself. So, we ask these kinds of questions, and we ask the guest at the end of the show to go directly to the camera and say something to the person who’s doubting whether to start their own business, whether to go into business, or whether to go to work. I shudder to think what you would say to him.

Join MMM, immediately, and you will be happy. Don’t believe the media – everyone gets paid, from 20 to 75% per month. Here you get the money, and you can do business with this money, or whatever you want. But first, get the money. It’s a perfectly realistic, simple as truth plan. Here’s my advice to you.

To ensure that the “Business-Secrets” program is not accused of being biased, that Sergei Panteleyevich Mavrodi paid us money, I would still like to conclude the program by saying: Don’t think about bringing money into MMM. Only idiots carry money into MMM. I hope, after all, that our program is watched by sensible people. We wanted to dissect, and I, as a great creator of human souls, tried to dissect Sergei Panteleyevich. He is a very interesting person, and I really liked him. Of course, we know that Satan, too, is a genius, Jack the Ripper, they say, was the most fascinating person in life. In that sense, I confirm that he is fascinating. But don’t carry the money.

Carry it to a bank at 11% a year.

Any bank, any bank. But it’s better if you want to save. And if you want to make it grow, do your own thing. Thank you.

You’re welcome.