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Max Kraynov: Helping Russians Travel for Less

Published: June 11, 2014 (Issue # 1815)



  • The Russian-born managing director of Aviasales now resides in Australia.
    Photo: Aviasales

Max Kraynov is the Russian-born managing director of Russias largest travel search engine, Aviasales. The search engine helps customers find cheap flights and holiday accommodation online or via its apps (operating under the JetRadarbrand outside Russia). While the company is based in Thailand, Kraynov works from sunny Australia, adding to the companys international flavor.

The St. Petersburg Times met with Kraynov, who was in St. Petersburg at the end of May, to discuss the differences in the Russian and Australian working culture, the growing success of Aviasales in the Russian travel industry and the companys future plans.

Q: How did you find yourself living in Australia?

A: When I graduated from Russias Samara State University in 2001, specializing in applied mathematics, I moved to New York City to work as a programmer. During the day I worked as a programmer in a bank, while at night and on the weekends I spent time working on my own company developing technologies for mobile content such as ringtones, wallpapers and videos a growing trend at that time. However, in 2006, I sold my company, called Unwiredtec, to then Australia-based Mobile Messenger and moved to Australia as part of the deal. While in Australia, I got my MBA and spent some time working for the local telephone company Optus.

In August 2011, I joined Aviasales, with whom Id consulted on an on-and-off basis for a couple of years prior. By that time, almost all the staff of the company that was initially founded in St. Petersburg had moved to Thailand. From the beginning, I always said I would never move to Thailand since my family was settled in Australia.

Q: You have experience working in three completely different countries: Russia, the U.S. and Australia. How does the business culture differ in each?

A: Well, in Russia the idea of being a boss makes one believe that the employees are inferior. Therefore the culture sees people wait patiently for what the boss has to say. This is called power distance and it is still very popular in Russia, rooted in the countrys culture for centuries. It was how the country survived.

In Australia, however, the story is completely different. Australia is quite a young country, so the power distance culture is virtually non-existent because everyone started from the same place. Therefore the relationship between the boss and his or her employees is much more relaxed. However, I feel it makes people set less ambitious goals for themselves, whereas in Russia, businessmen tend to set very ambitious goals for themselves, which is still nice to see.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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