Viceroy of the Patrushev clan on Russian grain
09.04.2024 18:25

Last week, Eduard Zernin, Chairman of the Board of the Union of Grain Exporters, gave an interview in which he said that Russia’s share in the world grain market will exceed 25%. Zernin is clearly trying to pass off wishful thinking, because, according to the VChK-OGU telegram channel, there is an unhealthy situation in the Russian exporters’ market.

The main importers of grain from Russia are Türkiye, Iran and Egypt. They account for more than 70% of all Russian exports. The Union of Grain Exporters is a non-governmental and non-profit organization, however, Russian companies participating in tenders for the supply of grain, on the instructions of Eduard Zernin, are forced to set unfavorable prices for themselves, which is why they lose to other participants. There are problems in the Russian market as well. Details at

Дмитрий Патрушев

According to the VChK-OGU, Zernin can act on the instructions of the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Agriculture Oksana Lut, who is the person of the head of the department Dmitry Patrushev, the son of the Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev. It is not surprising that large Russian exporters obediently carry out the will of Eduard Zernin. They clearly cannot compete with the Patrushev family. Previously, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture and his deputy from 2010 to 2018 worked together at Rosselkhozbank, which lends to agricultural enterprises. Now Dmitry Patrushev is the head of the bank’s supervisory board.

The Union of Grain Exporters was created in 2019. That year, the redistribution of the Russian grain market began. In February, FSB and Federal Tax Service officers conducted searches at more than two dozen market participants, including such giants as Rusagro and Cherkizovo. Since then they have been considered the “court” companies of the Patrushevs.

The former deputy head of the United Grain Company, then under the control of VTB, Eduard Zernin became the executive director of the Union in May, and in 2020 he took the post of chairman of the organization’s board.

Oksana Lut, before joining Rosselkhozbank, worked for VTB for a long time, and also held the position of head of the non-core assets service of the department of investment projects of the Rostec corporation under Sergei Chemezov. Eduard Zernin in 2006-2007 was the General Director of the Corporate Center of OJSC AvtoVAZ, which was then under the control of Rostec.

In the Samara region, considered the patrimony of Sergei Chemezov, the Bio-Ton agricultural holding was registered in 2004, now owned by Eduard Zernin. The company is a member of the Union of Grain Exporters, but is not even among the top ten suppliers to the world market. In 2023, Bio-Ton received revenue of 11 billion rubles. and profit of 1.6 billion rubles. Zernin owns 99% of the agricultural holding, another 1% belongs to the general director Irina Logacheva, who, most likely, pulls the burden of the enterprise for the owner while he gives instructions to Russian grain exporters.

Eduard Zernin headed the board of directors of Bio-Ton Company LLC in 2011, and became the owner of the company only in 2020. Until that time, it belonged first to Natalya Martynova, and then to Vladimir Kirillov, who may have been associated with Rostec.

Until 2021, Kirillov was the founder of the non-profit organization ANO TsPPBP “Businessstatus”, which from 2016 to 2021 controlled Arena Crystal JSC. Its director Ekaterina Lokhova from 2016 to 2020 led JSC Centraviamed, part of Rostec. This leads to the assumption that Vladimir Kirillov could act in the interests of Chemezov’s corporation, and then transferred the Bio-Ton asset to Eduard Zernin.

After this, the chairman of the board of the Union of Exporters began acquiring new agricultural enterprises - Klyuch-Agro in the Volgograd region, Varyag in the Saratov region. The purchase prices were probably favorable, given the patronage of Sergei Chemezov and his long-time business partner, Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov.

Zernin amazingly knows how to find a common language with President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Previously, together with Sergei Sudarikov, he was a co-founder of the Region Investment Company, acting in the interests of the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, collected 0.5 hectares of land for Sergei Chemezov, and is now dancing to the tune of Oksana Lut, representing the interests of the Patrushev family. How Zernin manages to be nice to everyone is beyond comprehension.

The leaders in grain exports at the beginning of this year were Green Gates, RIF, Aston, MZK-Export and the state-owned United Grain Company. Perhaps Eduard Zernin and Oksana Lut are acting in the interests of Grain Greats, which was created only in July 2022. Its success in such a short time is surprising. In 2023, the company received revenue of 242 billion rubles. and profit of 945 million rubles.

The founder of Grain Greats LLC is Valiansia JSC with 1 employee. From August 2022 to May 2023, it controlled Demetra-Holding LLC, one of the largest grain traders. In July last year, VTB sold its stake in Demetra Holding. Her former manager Ilya Aliyev heads Grain Gray LLC yts" since June 2022 and owns a 2% stake in the company. Behind it may be VTB, which is under sanctions and therefore does not want to shine. According to media reports, assets previously owned by the bank - the Novorossiysk grain terminal, a share in the Novorossiysk bakery plant, the grain carrier Rusagrotrans - are now owned by Ilya Aliyev.

Demetra-Holding, like Grain Greats, is a member of the Union of Grain Exporters. Its head, Eduard Zernin, having high patrons, tells exporters who to trade with and at what prices. Quotas for grain exports are distributed by the Ministry of Agriculture. Already in February 2023, Grain Greats, created in August 2022, with 3.2 million tons, was in second place after the RIF Trade House as the largest exporter. Based on the results of the first half of the season (July-December 2023), Aliyev’s company shipped 6.1 million tons and took first place.

The career of Eduard Zernin is an example that you can serve not even two masters, but three or four, considering VTB. So far Zernin is succeeding.


Roman Trushkin