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HomeLifestyleBiography of Leonid Monosov: If There Is a Goal, There Is a...

Biography of Leonid Monosov: If There Is a Goal, There Is a Path to It

Just half a century ago, Moscow looked like a creation of an inept avant-garde artist who mixed together different shapes, colors, textures, and sizes. Modern Moscow is all graceful lines and precise forms; it is a metropolis that makes you fall in love with it at first sight and evokes admiration and a desire to come back here again and again. A significant role in the transformation of the capital was played by Leonid Monosov, a self-made man who started as an ordinary foreman at a construction site and became one of the most prominent figures in the construction market not only in Moscow, but in all of Russia.

Childhood

Monosov was born in 1958. He is originally from Belarus; his hometown, Mazyr, stretches picturesquely along the banks of Pripyat. It is a small, cozy, and peaceful town. Leonid’s family lived here until the tragic death of his mother in 1963. His father refused to stay in a place where everything reminded him of the once-happy past; he also knew that he would not be able to give his son the best chance of success if they remained in Mazyr. So, a few months after the tragic event, Monosov Sr. and Jr. moved to Moscow. The father and son settled down rather quickly and Leonid started to attend School No. 315, which turned out to be a very good choice. Firstly, the school was located near the place where the Monosov family lived, and secondly, it was a modern educational institution with a strong academic program. From first to eleventh grade, Leonid Monosov studied at one of the best schools in Moscow that used its own observatory on the roof to teach practical astronomy lessons. Its advanced math students enthusiastically participated in and often won science olympiads and had no problem getting into the best universities in the country.

After receiving his secondary school diploma, Leonid Monosov applied to a university of railway engineering to get a degree in construction. Leonid found it quite easy to study at the university — he had good grades and enjoyed taking part in extracurricular activities. That is why he was not surprised to get a favorable job placement after graduation. In Soviet times, there was a practice of assigning students to a certain job anywhere in the country, and the best positions were given to straight-A students and overachievers — so, with their future careers literally at stake, all students had a very strong motivation to study well.

Monosov was sent to work at a large construction corporation called Glavmospromstroy.

Glavmospromstroy. Beginning a Career

During the Soviet period, any student could get a job in a prestigious company — it was enough to have excellent grades and participate in many extracurricular activities. That was how Leonid Monosov managed to get a job at Glavmospromstroy. However, it goes without saying, that yesterday’s students were not offered senior positions — they all started as junior employees, and it was their work performance and personal qualities that determined how quickly they worked their way up. In a sense, being assigned to a big company was a serious test for fresh graduates because they had to compete with many other employees. For example, when Monosov joined Glavmospromstroy, it employed around 70,000 specialists in various fields, from conservators and architects to painters, electricians, and foremen.

A few words about Glavmospromstroy. The company entered the Russian market in 1972 and very quickly made a name for itself. Glavmospromstroy won a reputation as a reliable contractor that could be entrusted even with the most complex projects; it focused on several types of construction activities at once — the company built residential complexes and infrastructure facilities, and also reconstructed and restored cultural property. In 1990, the company underwent restructuring and changed its name to Mospromstroy JSC; however, everything mostly stayed the same — the corporation still worked on difficult projects and remained the leader of the capital’s construction market. Glavmospromstroy employees enthusiastically took on any task, including those of state significance — for example, they worked with the Kremlin buildings, the circus, and the exhibition center at Krasnaya Presnya.

Leonid Monosov started his career from a junior position — as a foreman at a construction site. However, he did not stay in this role for long; Leonid very quickly got the management’s attention by proving himself a great worker — he boldly took on difficult tasks, flawlessly handled his duties, respected deadlines, and was able to demonstrate his leadership and organisational skills early on. And so, Monosov began his rapid ascent up the career ladder — first, he tried on the roles of supervisor and site manager. Later on, he was appointed chief engineer and head of the construction department, and then he became trust manager. After reaching the position of deputy CEO, Monosov realized that he had hit the ceiling in this enterprise and decided to move on and work for another company; this happened only in 1999, but before that, Leonid Monosov had managed to complete a huge number of projects for his first employer.

Monosov considers the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior one of his most challenging tasks of that period. This was his last project at Glavmospromstroy and it was executed flawlessly:

  1. The reconstruction was completed in just six years. Back then, it was an unprecedented time frame for such a project. The decision to restore the cathedral was made in 1994, and on Christmas Day 2000, the cathedral opened its doors to parishioners. It was built almost from the ground up in place of the former Moskva pool.
  2. The task was particularly challenging because it was necessary to replicate the architectural design created in the 19th century while complying with modern building regulations and standards. The end result exceeded the wildest expectations — the cathedral was an exact replica of its past self, and at the same time, its infrastructure was adapted to modern realities, making it much more comfortable for priests and parishioners. For example, the columns of the church hall were equipped with elevators and its basement was turned into a two-level parking space for 300 cars.
  3. Many people were involved in the reconstruction of the cathedral, and these were not only Glavmospromstroy employees. For example, the bells were cast at the Likhachev Plant and the interiors were decorated by artists from 23 different associations.

The most interesting part was that the reconstruction of the cathedral was funded exclusively through private donations, with no financial support from the government. And even in such conditions, the builders managed to achieve an amazing result, creating a magnificent cathedral with a modernized infrastructure that could accommodate up to 10,000 people.

Moskapstroy: New Goals — New Paths

As Leonid Monosov confessed more than once in his interviews, the first time he felt that he had achieved success was when he became the CEO of Moskapstroy. Leonid left Glavmospromstroy for this company because he could not refuse such a tempting offer. After all, it was not only about a higher-level role in an enterprise of a similar level, but also about the opportunity to expand his horizons and obtain new skills and experience.

Moskapstroy was founded in 1957 and quickly became one of the market leaders in its segment as a subcontract technical representative. This niche was unoccupied at the time, so there was no competition to worry about, while the need for a general technical representative was evident. Before Moskapstroy entered the market, Moscow was growing chaotically — there was no master plan and no one even heard of comprehensive site preparation. Moskapstroy turned around these ill-conceived practices and ensured the most efficient distribution of capital investments. At some point, the corporation took over around 90 percent of development projects in Moscow; it developed residential areas, created various infrastructures, reconstructed cultural, historical, and architectural heritage, and built factories and other industrial facilities.

With Leonid Monosov at the helm, Moskapstroy was growing at a particularly high rate. Out of old habit, Leonid boldly took on projects of any type and complexity — Moskapstroy was often the only company to submit bids for construction projects, only because its competitors were not prepared to deal with difficult or unconventional tasks. Moskapstroy not only took on the most challenging projects, but also completed them flawlessly and on time.

At this stage of his biography, Leonid Monosov had a lot to be proud of. For example, from 1998 to 2005, the company under his management built the Third Ring Road, using innovative solutions and unique technologies.

Another significant project was the restoration of the Manege, an exhibition complex that burned down in 2004. The fire severely damaged both the interior and exterior of the building. Moskapstroy employees took on the task of restoring the facility and executed it to perfection — they not only restored the exhibition center, but also preserved its original architectural design while creating an infrastructure that was more convenient for the staff and visitors of the complex. Just as with the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the work was done in record time; in February 2005, the exhibition complex opened its doors to visitors. The guests were greeted by the renovated former riding arena (completely restored according to the original plans), free exhibition space, restaurants in a separate area, and escalators that could take them from one exhibition location to another.

Moskapstroy was quickly growing until 2008, when the financial crisis hit the world, crippling all business areas, including the construction industry. However, the company did not suffer much from the crisis; it simply switched its focus from one area to several others. Under the leadership of Leonid Monosov, Moskapstroy began to develop new business ideas and lease out existing property. Leonid tried to stay away from bank loans and preferred to use the company’s profits and outside investment for business development instead, so Moskapstroy had it easier during the crisis than many of its competitors.

Monosov as an Entrepreneur

In 2012, Leonid Monosov decided to part with Moskapstroy and started looking into investment activities. For several years, Monosov moved in this direction, and at a certain point, he realized that he was ready to create and launch his own business project.

Today, Leonid Monosov is the vice president of Moskapstroy-TN, a company that engages in real estate management and invests in high-potential projects. Monosov focuses his attention on finding large-scale construction projects that can generate good profits in the future. For example, there has been plans to build a residential complex on the land that belonged to the Mayak warehouses. The project has not yet been approved, but many construction market experts say that this is a very viable investment option, primarily due to its good location. There are two subway stations nearby, and most importantly, it is located not far from the Bitsevsky forest, which is often called “the lungs of the capital,” as it has a positive environmental impact on the metropolis; the park is also famous for its ecological trails and historic estates.

Beyond that, Moskapstroy-TN is now running several other projects, such as the Na Ordynke and Solutions business centers and a residential complex called Topolya. Since Monosov never puts all his eggs in one basket, he keenly engages in related business activities — Moskapstroy-TN also rents out commercial spaces and sells real estate.

About Monosov’s Personal Life and Children

Leonid Monosov prefers to keep his personal life to himself, but it is no secret that he has an adult son and daughter.

Andrey Monosov, born in 1981, followed almost the same life path as his father. As a child, Andrey first attended School No.315 and then he entered a construction university. On the advice of his father, Andrey Monosov got a job in a large construction company and started his career as a junior specialist to learn the ropes of the construction business from the inside. Career progression of Monosov Jr. was no less dynamic than that of his father; now, Andrey is a successful top manager who has won several professional awards.

Alina Monosova, born in 1990, chose her own life path, which resonated with the construction industry but did not lie entirely in the same plane. She is interested in psychology and has completed several educational programs in this field. Alina has a degree from Moscow State University; she went through the first stage of Gestalt psychology training and now continues to study health psychology. Interestingly, Alina does not intend to work in this profession; she studies psychology for her own benefit — to build wholesome and productive relationships with the people around her. Alina also strives to start her own business. Her first project was short-lived; the Odna Volna service, created to help people find life coaches and therapists, started to take too much of her time and interfere with her main job, and so Alina had to shut it down. Today, Alina co-hosts a telegram channel where she talks about style and fashion.

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