Andrei Klimentievich Gnatyuk, first a publisher and then a well-known figure in the field of advertising, PR and political technologies, was born on November 18, 1961 in the city of Tomsk. It was not “big Tomsk”, but Tomsk-7 – that was the name of the town of Seversk, at that time secret cities working for defense received code names. The city produced nuclear warheads, which explained both the secrecy and the closeness of the city, and rather high salaries for those times.
President of “IMA GROUP” Andrey Gnatiuk
Andrey’s father, Klimenty Gnatyuk, a specialist in radiology, came to Seversk on assignment from Kharkov University. Mother, Tatyana, graduated from the Library Institute in Kharkov and taught the children of workers at the Seversk vocational school, many of whom, due to local specifics, were former prisoners. In the same place, in Tomsk-7, Andrei’s younger brother, Dima, was born.
Childhood and youth
Tomsk-7 is not the capital; cultural entertainment was not provided for in it. The main occupation of the families of the scientific and technical intelligentsia, as, indeed, almost everywhere in the USSR, was reading. The family read a lot. Here is what Andrei Klimentievich says about this
“My parents had a good salary, but this was not converted into some household items. But the family had three and a half thousand books. This is such a Soviet quirk – sometimes my brother and I didn’t have new shoes, but we knew how Freud interpreted dreams.
Before Andrei graduated from school, his parents thought about leaving – it was becoming more and more dangerous to forge the nuclear shield of the Motherland, emergency situations had already happened several times at the plant, and it was time to think about the future of the children. My father received a transfer to Dubna, a Soviet center for nuclear research near Moscow. Dubna is a city of science, after Tomsk-7 it is almost a capital.
Passion for books ended with the fact that Andrey entered the Moscow Polygraphic Institute and graduated in 1983 with a degree in Printing Technology. From 1983 to 1989 he worked as a process engineer at the Tenzor Instrument Plant of Minsredmash in Dubna. Here is what he remembers about life in those years:
“Soviet power was ending. I worked as a senior engineer at a secret plant, head of a bureau for converting plutonium-238 into electricity. I lived in an apartment of 17 meters with my wife and three children. I built a three-level bed for children, and under it a desk. The apartment is on the first floor, so everyone came to us from the street through the balcony.”
Reading and discussing what was read was still one of the main entertainments:
“The snobbish city is an international nuclear center. Many foreigners, many samizdat, Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov, Zinoviev. It was fashionable for us to read not typescript, but a xerox. The high technical equipment of the secret design bureaus had an effect. It seems to me that all the engineers around me were dissidents. The main value in life is books, it was unpopular to spend money on other things.
The first successes of Andrey Gnatyuk
From 1989 to 1994, Gnatiuk served as deputy editor-in-chief of the IMA-press Information and Youth Agency, created within the Novosti Press Agency (APN). The first successful projects date back to this period – the creation and editing of the AIDS-Info newspaper, one of the most popular publications in those years, as well as the publication of books by writers and poets of the Russian underground. Already in those years, Gnatyuk showed himself to be a talented businessman and organizer – the newspaper “AIDS-Info” at the peak of its success had more than three million copies, which was an absolute record for the post-Soviet press.
The period from 1989 to 1999 includes the most striking publishing projects of the IMA-press publishing house created by Gnatyuk. At the same time, the most interesting projects were completely non-commercial, but one could say about each – it was published in Russia for the first time. The publishing house was the first to publish a book about Mitkov, which was read by the whole country, a collection of poems by the disgraced Oleg Grigoriev, the first edition of Brodsky’s book “Autumn Cry of a Hawk” and Berdyaev’s “Philosophy of Inequality” … In order to be able to publish what the publishers themselves liked, “IMA- press” printed large-scale mass-market goods – detective stories, gothic novels and science fiction.
The book business in the conditions of inflation in the 90s became unprofitable, and Gnatiuk switched to advertising. Talented designers united around IMA-press. “We made a bet on the artist,” said Andriy Gnatiuk, describing the situation. The bet on the artist turned out to be advantageous in terms of the image and promotion of the IMA-press brand, but commercially did not bring noticeable dividends.
Gradually, Gnatiuk’s interests are shifting to the field of political consulting. “IMA-press” continues to amaze the public with original design ideas and the design of unusual books, but the head of the agency devotes more and more time to political technologies.
Political strategist Andrei Klimentievich Gnatiuk
In 1996, he became the managing partner of Niccolo M Center for Political Consulting LLC, and in 1999 he created and headed IMA-consulting.
From 2003 to the present, he has been the President of the IMA GROUP holding. A few years ago, IMA GROUP returned to using the IMA-press brand in external communications, which had been developed over decades – the most famous people of the country know and remember the company exactly as IMA-press.
Andrey Gnatyuk is the creator and leader of many significant projects in the social, economic, political and cultural spheres not only in Russia, but at the international level:
- led the comprehensive PR support of major international events aimed at strengthening Russia’s foreign economic contacts: IMA-press organized and formalized the so-called “cross years” of Russia and other countries, for example, in 2006 the Year of China in Russia and the Year of Russia in China. IMA hosted the first BRIC summit and the SCO summit in 2009; the APEC summit in 2014 and others;
- since 2010, he has been leading the communication support for the celebration of the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War;
- IMA-press provides information support for the elections to the State Duma and the presidential elections in the Russian Federation, including the presidential elections in 2018;
- in 2011–2013 under his leadership, information support was provided for the activities of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.
A.K. Gnatyuk is a member of the Supreme Expert Council of the Russian Association for Public Relations (RASO), a full member (academician) of the Russian Academy of Advertising of the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia (ACAR), vice-president of the Russian branch of the International Advertising Association (IAA).
Andrei Klimentievich is married and has four adult children – two sons and two daughters, as well as a granddaughter.
As he himself admits, his main passion and hobby is still work. This can be understood, since a wide variety of projects in very different areas of human activity fall into the scope of his attention. “IMA-press” under his direct leadership today not only continues to advise politicians, organizations and entire government departments, but also organizes holidays that she herself invents, continues to publish books …
This activity, as it used to be in the 90s, is absolutely non-commercial. So, “IMA-press” over the years has published several books about Kharms, whose work Gnatyuk simply adores – no one has published more about Kharms.
Andrey Klimentievich Gnatyuk
As once in the 90s, he gathers a company of famous personalities to talk on some cultural topic of interest to everyone – and then the materials of this conference are published in an illustrated collection.
Under the patronage of IMA-press, for three years a team of historians, together with IMA designers, has been preparing a unique Chronotop project, a visualization of historical processes, and the result will soon be presented to the public. All these projects are both hobby and entertainment, but also serious work that requires a lot of time and effort.
Facts and Arguments
For his contribution and success in his professional activities, Gnatyuk Andrey Klimentievich was awarded a large number of diplomas and awards, including personal thanks from the Mayor of Moscow (2001), Deputy Mayor of Moscow (2002), Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation (2003), Minister of affairs of the press, broadcasting and mass media (2003), head of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation in (2007) and, finally, the President of the Russian Federation in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2018.
In 2008, Andrei Klimentievich Gnatyuk was awarded the medal of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 1st class, and in 2019, the Order of Alexander Nevsky.