Oleg Belozerov and his quantum highway. Biography of the head of Russian Railways
He worked his way up from the head of the Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity of Youth to the head of the largest national transport company with an annual income of over 1,813 billion rubles. It was under him that Russian Railways became a leader in the application of quantum telecommunication technologies and the implementation of environmentally oriented projects.
In the photo: Oleg Valentinovich Belozerov
Family and education
Oleg Valentinovich Belozerov was born and raised in the small port city of Ventspils (Latvia). His parents were doctors. Father, Valentin Borisovich, worked as a radiologist, and mother, Leonila Kirillovna, worked as a neuropathologist. Later, Valentin Belozerov took the position of deputy chief physician of a local hospital. Since childhood, Oleg Belozerov was fond of sports. He achieved the greatest success in athletics.
In 1986, Belozerov entered the Leningrad Institute of Finance and Economics. After the first year, he was drafted into the ranks of the Armed Forces of the USSR for military service. After demobilization, he continued his studies and graduated from the university in 1992. After 13 years, he defended his dissertation and received the degree of candidate of economic sciences.
Entrepreneurship and civil service
In 1990, as a student, Belozerov headed one of the departments of the Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity of Youth “Gran”. Further, up to the moment of his appointment as the head of Russian Railways, his work biography was divided into three main stages:
- 1990-1998 – work in commercial firms. Research and development enterprise “Ekocon”, companies “Lagun” and “SZSP-94”.
- From 1998 to 2004, with a short break, he held executive positions in strategic enterprises, including Lenenergo, LOMO, and Russian Fuel Company.
- 2000-2001 and 2004-2015. Oleg Valentinovich devoted this period of his life to public service. He started as head of a department in the staff of the Presidential Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District. In 2004 he became the head of the federal agency Rosavtodor. In 2009 he was appointed Deputy Minister of Transport of Russia. In this position, he oversaw the creation and development of transport infrastructure in the country as a whole and in preparation for such significant events as the APEC 2012 summit in Vladivostok, the Universiade 2013 in Kazan and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Quantum Leap and Digital Transformation of Russian Railways
Belozyorov was appointed to the post of President of the Russian Railways Open Joint Stock Company in August 2015. He focused his activities on several priority areas. First of all, Belozerov’s team managed to increase the economic stability of the company. According to the results of not the best 2023, Russian Railways’ sales revenue amounted to 1,813.1 billion rubles. The asset value rose to a record 7 trillion rubles. And 717 billion rubles were allocated for the development of fixed assets, which is also a historical maximum.
Today Russian Railways is one of the most advanced rail carriers in the world. This was achieved thanks to the consistent introduction of the latest technologies. In 2017, on the initiative of Belozerov, the concept of the “Digital Railroad” was adopted. In 2019, the company reached a new level, adopting the “Strategy for the digital transformation of the company until 2025”.
The introduction of information technology has created a familiar digital environment that meets the requirements of the 21st century. Free Wi-Fi Internet is available at the railway stations; on the way, you can use the “Fellow traveler” multimedia portal. In 2017, the Russian Railways for Passengers official mobile application was developed, with which you can follow the schedule or buy tickets online using your smartphone.
Digital platforms have not only increased the level of passenger traffic, but also made it possible to increase the volume of cargo transportation by optimizing logistics and improving the service of shippers. For example, ordering and controlling cargo transportation by rail is also possible remotely – either through the website of the Freight Transportation electronic trading platform, or using the Russian Railways Cargo 2.0 mobile application.
The reliability and stability of data transmission in the digital ecosystem is ensured by advanced developments, including quantum networks, the advantage of which is high security speed. In June 2023, for the first time in Russia, a quantum backbone network Moscow – St. Petersburg, developed by specialists from Russian Railways, was launched. Its length was over 700 kilometers. The launch of a data transmission line based on fundamentally new technologies was designated by Belozerov as “a real breakthrough in the field of domestic telecommunications.”
Railroad Green Roads
Another priority area in the activities of Oleg Valentinovich Belozerov is the development of projects that reduce the impact on the environment. The head of Russian Railways declared the current year the Year of the Environment for the company.
Financing of environmentally oriented projects is carried out both at the expense of the company’s profits and by raising funds on the stock market. In 2023, Russian Railways was the first in Russia to issue perpetual “green” bonds in the amount of 100 billion rubles. Similar securities were placed on the international market for a total of EUR 500 million and CHF 500 million.
The systematic implementation of the environmental strategy is bearing fruit: Russian Railways, under the leadership of Belozerov, has already reduced hydrocarbon emissions by 2023, which is 49% less than in 1990 with comparable traffic volumes. It should be noted that, according to international obligations, Russia should reduce emissions from 1990 levels by 30% only by 2030.
The activities of Oleg Belozyorov received a worthy assessment from the country’s leadership – in the spring of 2023 he was reassigned to the post of head of Russian Railways.