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Marx Against Them

Coming to America is tough. Coming to America from the U.S.S.R. is tougher. Then try starting a business...

Entrepreneurs are evil.

That was the sort of thing you learned behind the Iron Curtain in the midst of the Cold War. That was the message drummed into the minds of Mikhail Kvitchko and Mikhail Markov as they grew up in the 1960s and 1970s.

But it wasn't drummed into them enough. Now known as Mik Kvitchko, 43, and Michael Markov, 41, these two former Russian computer programmers are American capitalists in New York City, co-founders of Markov Processes International Corp., a technology consulting company for the financial services industry that has projected 1999 sales of a little more than $1 million, double what they made last year.

Not so long ago, if they were back in their homeland and had made a million dollars, they might have been shot. As Markov notes, "Millions of farmers were moved to Siberia in the 1920s and '30s for being more productive than their neighbors. My great-grandfather was one of them." (Later, Markov's great-grandfather was shot by the Nazis during World War II.)

Geoff Williams is a features reporter for The Cincinnati Post and a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur. He has written for many other magazines, including LIFE and Entertainment Weekly.

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Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the November 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Marx Against Them.

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