June 9, 2017
The police searched Tion yesterday. They detained Dima Trubitsyn, the company’s founder and inspiration.
This is a continuation of the hullabaloo over registering medical equipment. All the recommendations were implemented, but now the case has shifted to different plane, and Dima is personally at risk.
I’ve known Dima since school. He’s a fine honest man with a crystal clean reputation. He has done a lot not only for the company’s employees but also for education, for schoolchildren and university students, for the consumers of our products, and for the economy as a whole. He has always said he would prove it was possible and necessary to run a successful tech company in Russia, to support the country and the economy with actions, not words. He has never been involved in politics, believing one shouldn’t whinge and complain, but get up and do it.
I realize the law enforcement agencies play the game by their own rules. Professional lawyers are now working on the defense. I would be flummoxed if Dima were remanded into police custody during the investigation. From my point of view, that would be overdoing it. Dima is not a villain: I believe that with all my heart. Jail is too severe a measure of restraint for such an honest man, a man willing to prove his case with his visor open and standing up straight.
How can you help? By reposting this message and voicing your support for Dima in the comments to the repost. Tell us about Dima as you know him. Show that you care, that you are concerned about the situation and are keeping an eye on it.
What WON’T help is screaming, chewing out the authorities, and guessing and surmising why what happened has happened. I would ask you not to do this out of respect for Dima, who never engaged in such jawboning himself.
What is it stake is not the company, but a specific man’s life, a man who has not wronged anyone. I just ask you to support him on the personal level. He’s a good man. He’s never lived for himself, and, even as he has been locked up in the pretrial detention facility, he has been planning to make the world a better place.
Tion Smart Microclimate
June 9, 2017
We wish to inform you that on June 8, Tion’s offices in Novosibirsk, Berdsk, and Moscow were searched by law enforcement in connection with a case involving the sale of medical products that, allegedly, do not meet safety requirements.
Tion works in strict compliance with the laws of the Russian Federation. We regard the present circumstances as unjustified pressure on a transparent, law-abiding company, since all the equipment we sell has the necessary permits.
The current grievances are rooted in the past, when there were inaccuracies in registration certificates due to imperfections in legislation. The inaccuracies were corrected on a routine basis and in close cooperation with the relevant government agencies. The selectivity of the investigative bodies raises obvious suspicions that this is a deliberate campaign against a market leader.
The decision to take the company’s director general into police custody is unjustified and aimed at hindering the company’s work. Such actions were typical in the 1990s.
Nevertheless, it is business as usual at Tion. We have been fulfilling our obligations to our employees, contractors, and clients. The company’s non-medical businesses have not be affected.
We will defend our position in accordance with established procedure and are confident of success.
June 10, 2017
Briefly about Dima for those who don’t know about him and the whole situation. We studied at university together. Then he went into business, and I stayed in science and became a lecturer. Our paths almost never crossed for several years. Then I started taking my students to see his company, to show them a beautiful, modern production facility, built from scratch by an ordinary man. Basically, it was a paradigm of success in the innovative economy, which was all the rage back then. The atmosphere of enthusiasm, youth, and dynamism was also impressive. Later, more and more new educational projects sprang up around Dima, and the company built its own lab for researching aerosols, expanded its ties with the physics department, and established a foundation for supporting students at physics and maths magnet schools. Accordingly, Dima has a rare reputation in our day and age, and because of it I am taking his side without knowing all the particulars of the present case. He and I diverged in terms of political views. I believed that doing business in Russia without protection from the criminal world or the authorities was madness, but Dima was an optimist. Actually, this optimism has two sides. On the one hand, a production facility like that would have been impossible without it. On the other hand, I can easily imagine the carelessness with paperwork that is common in Russia did not bypass the company and served as the peg on which to hang the present case. At the same time, I’m confident Dima was never involved in falsifying descriptions of equipment. Despite my thoroughgoing skepticism, I didn’t anticipate he would be the first of us to come under attack. I learned about the attack against him a year ago, and I believe it is coming from fairly serious criminal and oligarchic organizations. The name and surname of the person who ordered the attack can be easily found. But then a simple question arises. Maybe we should stop hypocritically arguing that Russia needs a competitive economy, technological clusters, innovation, financing from the business world, and other nonsense? There are people with influence. If the production of something has to be set up, give them the assignment, and they will hire specialists and get the job done. But the chatter about innovation and competitiveness has to be stopped once and for all.
Novosibirsk Entrepreneur Detained over Bacteria
June 9, 2017
The head of one of the oldest residents of Akademgorodok Technopark, Aeroservis LLC’s Dmitry Trubitsyn, has been detained by investigating authorities over charges he sold defective air purifiers.
According to police investigators, Aeroservis (Tion Group of Companies) received permission in 2011 to manufacture the TION-A and TION-V air purifiers, which eliminate bacteria and viruses.
Later, investigators claim that Trubitsyn “had the idea of producing and selling the air purifiers in violation of established standards in order to reduce production costs and maximize profits from their sale.”
They allege that the suspect built and sold air purifiers lacking the necessary components for air purification.
“As a result, during the specified period, the rigged equipment was delivered to clinics in over one hundred cities and towns in Russia. Yet the proceeds from the sale of each air purifier ranged from 45,000 to 98,000 rubles,” the investigators write in their statement to the press.
Tion has said it regards the situation as “unjustified pressure on a transparent, law-abiding company, since all the equipment we sell has the necessary permits.”
According to the company, the charges made by the investigative authorities have to do with the past, “when there were inaccuracies in registration certificates due to imperfections in legislation.”
They say the inaccuracies were corrected when they were brought to light, but “the selectivity of the investigative bodies raises obvious suspicions this is a deliberate campaign against a market leader.”
“The decision to take the company’s director general into police custody is unjustified and aimed at hindering the company’s work. Such actions were typical in the 1990s.”
The company likewise said it was conducting business as usual.
Charges have been filed under Article 238.1, Part 2, Paragraph a, of the Russian Federal Criminal Code: the production and sale of unregistered medical devices on a large scale. The crime is punishable by a prison sentence of five to eight years and a fine of one million to three million rubles.
Dmitry Trubitsyn, a 35-year-old Novosibirsk entrepreneur, founded the Tion Group of Companies.
Founded in Novosibirsk, Tion designs, produces, and sells modern air purifiers. Production takes place at the Berdsk Electromechanical Plant and in China, while design is done at the Akademgorodok Technopark.
June 9, 2017
The company that custom-ordered the criminal investigation, Potok (“Stream) does not use “UV, ozone, HEPA filters, and photocatalysis” in its air purifiers. They don’t even use “chemical substances.” This is called “space-age technology” and will be delivered to hospitals and maternity hospitals.
June 11, 2017
Friends, thank you so much for your support.
The criminal case against Dmitry Trubitsyn and the police searches at the company are unprecedented coercion against a successful, law-abiding business.
Unfortunately, it is not only we who are under attack but also the very possibility of establishing successful tech companies in Russia. This cannot be tolerated.
Tion is a transparent company. Tion’s equipment is effective and safe. Dmitry Trubitsyn has not broken the law.
We will prove it in court.
We are not entirely certain of the reasons for what has been happening to us. We assume the law enforcement agencies are being used as a tool by competitors. Alas, market competition in Russia can assume such ugly shapes.
What is happening now with Tion?
– Dmitry Trubitsyn and his lawyers are deciding what steps to take next to defend themselves.
– We have appealed to the ombudsman for the defense of entrepreneurs’ rights.
– Tion’s management seeks to ensure the company’s smooth operation. After the weekend, everyone will come to work and keep working on projects.
– Tion has been closely interacting with the media. We are preparing answers to the flood of negativity that has washed over us and defending our reputation.
What can you do?
– Pass all your ideas, thoughts, and useful contacts on to the Tion employees you know. We will review everything and contact you if necessary.
– Write a letter to the President of the Russian Federation via the official website letters.kremlin.ru. Unlike the well-known website Change.org, the Kremlin is required by law to reply to your letters. A large number of letters could raise the issue to the very highest level.
What can do harm to the cause?
– Uncoordinated communication with the media and, especially, with television can misshape perceptions of the situation badly. It will be harder and harder for us to fight back.
– Involving various politicians and public figures. The situation facing Tion is a matter of (harsh and unacceptable) relations within the market. Interacting with political forces automatically strips us of part of our support and forces us to deal with irrelevant issues. It will complicate our lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the accusations against Tion?
Law enforcement is attempting to accuse us of manufacturing low-quality medical equipment by citing the outcomes of a study allegedly done by one of Rosdravnadzor’s expert review centers. [Rozdravnadzor is the Russian Federal Service for the Oversight of Public Health and Social Development—TRR.] The substantive part of the expert review is lacking: technical tests were not conducted by any experts.
Special attention should be paid to the fact we were able to receive the findings of the “expert review” only two months after our competitors had been using them with a vengeance.
Is it true that Tion’s products are dangerous to your health?
Our products are safe, as confirmed by dozens of independent examinations. Many of these examinations can be be easily accessed on our official website.
Why, then, have investigators concluded your equipment is dangerous?
Conclusions on the danger of using the equipment are based on a mismatch between the mass of the air purifier, as indicated in the instruction manual, and the mass, as indicated in the registration file.
The accusation is without substance. It is bureaucratic and very far from the truth.
Is it true that Tion’s products were initially equipped with photocatalytic filters, but at some point the company stopped using them?
Yes, it is true. Photocatalytic filters facilitate the removal of molecular pollutants (i.e., those in a gaseous state, unlike dust and microorganisms). In Tion’s products, this function is still performed by a catalytic adsorption filter, which handles molecular pollutants just as well as photocatalytic filters.
Is it true that Tion got rid of the photocatalytic filter covertly?
No, it’s not true. Tion’s website describes its air purification technology in detail. It doesn’t involve photocatalysis.
Police investigators claim that, after the photocatalytic filters were removed, Tion’s products ceased to eliminate viruses and bacteria. Is this true?
No, it’s not true. Viruses and bacteria are eliminated by HEPA filtration. Moreover, the captured microorganisms are additionally deactivated by ozone, which is subsequently destroyed by the catalytic adsorption filter.
Tion’s photocatalytic filter-less products passed all the necessary certifications and were registered for medical use. Roszdravnadzor had no complaints.
Moreover, certain competitors never used photocatalysis in their equipment, which in no way kept them from obtaining permits.
Is it true that Tion specifically removed the photocatalytic filter in order to save money and increase its profits?
Yes, it’s true, and it’s a good thing. Only perverted logic can lead one to the conclusions which police investigators have reached.
Photocatalytic filters are not obligatory for effective purification. Tion’s design makes it possible to achieve the necessary level of decontamination without resorting to photocatalysis, which has been proven by multiple independent studies.
Business should make a profit. Reducing costs is an absolutely legal and reasonable means of increasing profits. Introducing new, more effective, and cheaper technologies is one way to reduce costs without reducing the quality of products. Designing, popularizing, and making new, more efficient technologies cheaper is the Tion way.
Tion’s profits are spent on designing new products and on charity and social projects that you all know about. This is not to mention the fact we pay taxes and salaries.
Is it true that Tion founder Dmitry Trubitsyn made a front man director instead of him?
No, it is not true. As the company grew and new investors came on board, its structure became more complicated. At the moment of his arrest, Dmitry Trubitsyn was the director general of Tion Holding Company JSC, to which the other legal entities in the Tion Group of Companies belong as subsidiaries, for example, Aeroservis LLC, which is the subject of the criminal investigation.
A huge thanks to Alyonna Rydannykh for the heads-up and supplying me with all the Facebook posts and articles used in this collage reportage. Translated by the Russian Reader. This is latest in an occasional series of posts on the regime’s apparent hostility toward medium and small businesses and traders. You can read the previous post in the series here. TRR