Viktor Budarin


April 2015 marks the 80th anniversary of Viktor Budarin’s birthday. He was a Deputy Minister of Gas Industry of USSR for Human Resources and Social Issues, as well as a founder of the Gazprom’s human resource management system.

Viktor Budarin was born on April 28, 1935 in Saratov. In 1958 he successfully graduated from the Saratov Chernyshevsky State University as an exploration geologist. Next four years he had worked in geological exploration and search parties in the Krasnoyarsk Region.

“The work was hard, but interesting and fascinating, as it created a sense of being involved into important and productive endeavors of the country. It gave additional life energy to keep a high vital tonus in challenging environmental and climatic conditions of Siberia. Moreover, the additional knowledge, as well as invaluable life and practical experience were fundamental to my future career”, said Viktor Budarin.

He returned to Saratov and started to work as a geologist and head of the party in the Nizhnevolgoneftegeofizika (Lower Volga oil and geophysics) trust company in 1962.

In 1965 the Saratov regional committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union offered him a post of Deputy Head of the Chemical Industry and Energy Office. He had held this post for 10 years. His hard and diligent work was praised. For his personal contribution to the gas industry development in the Saratov Region the government awarded him the Medal for Valorous Labor in 1970 and the Medal for Distinguished Labor a year later.

The important organizational work was carried out. We gave of our time, worked coherently and with high responsibility, little time – in offices, much time – on venues and with personnel. We addressed many arising problems on the ground. Furthermore, we were sent on many work-related trips, we also had to negotiate the most important and key issues with policy-making bodies. Interestingly, people were willing to help us in every agency we applied to,” said Viktor Budarin speaking about his work in Saratov.

With his contribution the gas industry of the Saratov Region was growing rapidly: new production facilities and compressor stations were built, whereas the old ones – upgraded. The gas distribution infrastructure was developing stormily in factories and localities; new gas shut-off valves were tested, active research and development as well as project work was carried out. Around the same time the construction and commission of the Central Asia – Center gas pipeline system were supervised from Saratov.

In 1975 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union offered him a post of instructor in the gas division of the Heavy Industry and Energy Office. At that time the country was increasing its industrial potential, expanding gas distribution network to industrial facilities and residential areas under construction. It was a welcome opportunity for Viktor Budarin to use his 17 years’ experience.

Together with relevant agencies he was working out a development strategy for gas industry of the Saratov Region and a plan for its implementation, which later were incorporated into five-year plans for social and economic development of the country and other policies through various programs.

The Strategy covered the development of the Western Siberia oil and gas bearing province, gas and condensate fields in the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Orenburg Region, and Astrakhan, the Karachaganakskoye field in Kazakhstan, gas fields in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Sakhalin, and other fields. During the period from 1980 to 1985 alone, 12 strings of gas trunklines were put onstream from Western Siberian fields to the industrial centers of the country.

The gas industry had enjoyed an unprecedented growth and prosperity. The gas production reached a high of 643 billion cubic meters in 1985 up from 289.3 billion cubic meters in 1975. At that time Viktor Budarin’s leadership talent and strong organizational skills became obvious. He managed to convey the importance of tasks to be accomplished as well as to organize their fulfillment mainly due to his personal qualities as he was responsible and friendly, able to listen and understand, tactfully pointed out deficiencies and commended for the well-done job.

He had always been very proud of his job as it was crucially important for the country. According to him, it was necessary continuously to keep a finger on the pulse, to analyze the progress in implementing the planned assignments, to understand the causes of problems and participate in solving them. Beside the production problems, there were workplace and social issues: organization of labor and leisure for gas workers, building infrastructure in company’s towns and settlements. He had always given special attention to senior staff training, education and deployment.

Again, the government commended the personal contribution of Viktor Budarin to the gas industry development awarding him Order of Badge of Honor (1979) and Friendship of Peoples’ Order (1985); title of Honorable Gas Industry Worker (1985) and Expert of Minneftegazstroi (Ministry of Oil and Gas Engineering) Badge (1985).

In 1986 Viktor Budarin was appointed as Deputy Minister for Human Resources and Social Issues in the Gas Ministry. In 1987 he graduated from the Academy of the National Economy of the USSR Council of Ministers majoring in National Economy Management.

At that time perestroika was launched in the country: elements of the market economy emerged, elections of heads of enterprises were introduced, and the Party trade-union bodies had a weaker influence on employees. Viktor Budarin was tasked to create a modern human resource management system, which would be responsive to new market conditions, though ensuring all social guarantees.

Viktor Budarin’s plan for building a new system consisted of several stages. At first top and senior managers studied the relevant literature and learned personnel and company management under the market conditions. Then the guidelines, as well as personnel management and motivation structure were developed, the company’s system of continuous training for managers, experts and workers was created. To this end an industrial training center – now the Corporate institute – was established. There was a close cooperation in the staff training with foreign energy companies: Ruhrgas, Wintershall, Gaz de France, General Electric, and British Gas. These companies offered training courses for senior managers and human resources specialists. Cooperation with these companies also included experience exchange and joint workshops. This helped to learn the international experience in personnel management and benefit from it.

It resulted in creating a methodological basis within a new human resource management system, defining its main areas, changing and strengthening the structure of the HR service, reviewing the remuneration and incentive system, introducing the system of psychological support for personnel. Employees were provided with the health care service and company’s pension system, the gas industry veterans benefited financial support. The Gazprom’s Interregional Trade Union was established to protect gas industry employees’ interests in collective bargaining.

In 1988 Viktor Budarin was a member of Gazprom’s commission on the Spitak earthquake response. He was on the site from the first days of the disaster and suffered the tragedy a lot.

In 1989 Viktor Budarin was elected as a member of the Management Committee of the Gazprom state gas company, a successor of the abolished Ministry. In 1993 he became a head of the Directorate for Human Resources and Social Development in Gazprom, a joint-stock company. In 1997 he took charge of the Personnel Management Department.

For his activities related to strengthening the personnel capacities in the gas industry, Viktor Budarin was awarded a title of the Distinguished Worker of Mintopenergo (Ministry for Fuel and Energy) in 1995. In 1998 Viktor Budarin successfully defended his PhD thesis (Economics).

Retired in September 2001.

Passed away in April 2014.

Honors and awards

  • Friendship of People’s Order;
  • Order of the Badge of Honor;
  • Medal for Distinguished Labor;
  • Medal for Labor Valor;
  • Title of Honorable Gas Industry Worker;
  • Title of Distinguished Worker of Mintopenergo (Ministry for Fuel and Energy);
  • Title of Honorable Worker of Fuel and Energy Industry;
  • Expert of Minneftegazstroi (Ministry of Oil and Gas Engineering) Badge;
  • Commemorative Medal of the Council for Economic Cooperation for the Soyuz gas pipeline construction;
  • Medals of the All-Russia Exhibition Center.