A couple of months later I got an offer to go to Tunis, but I had this egoism about being the greatest welder—it would be good to get known in Russia. I got a call from Gazprom and they invited me to develop their standards. I thought of how the whole country would then see my family name on those standards. I quit and went to Gazprom. We agreed on 100,000 rubles a month. The work there was creative, but there was so much of it that there was no time left for the rest of my life.

In the first few days of working there I got a call from this foreign company in Kazakhstan, I explained that I couldn’t quit as I had just started working at Gazprom and was now in my first few days there, but I kept their number.

I would probably have carried on working at Gazprom, but six months later I got 52,000 rubles. I asked the director why it was 52,000 when we had agreed to 100,000? He told me frankly that I had already developed all the standards he needed me to. These standards could now be used for twenty years, it would just be a case of changing the cover. He said I could stay, but I would only be paid as much as I earned.

To get a decent salary at Gazprom, first you have to get an assignment that pays well. You could work for a month doing something that cost ten million, and you could do something that cost three kopecks. Who did what work depended entirely on the director, and he would give out the money to whoever was willing to bow down to him. I didn’t want to bow down to him and I quit.

I didn’t come into this world to bow down to any man, let them all go to hell.

I went to see Father Polycarp and prayed for the sick.