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Vladimir Potanin, Chairman of the Interros Holding Company, photo by S. Abramenkov


Vladimir Potanin

  • Born: January 3, 1961
  • Office: President of the InterRos Holding Company
  • Estimated worth: US$ 5.4 billion
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    Vladimir Potanin, 43, was born into a high-ranking Communist official’s family. He attended the Moscow Institute for International Relations, an elite school that groomed students for diplomatic service, the KGB, and offices of the Kremlin. He then went to work for the Soviet Department of Trade, where his father had also worked.

    In 1991, Potanin created InterRos Holding Company, a foreign trade association that traded nonferrous metals, including aluminum, copper, and lead. With the capital that he accumulated from InterRos, he founded two banks, the Oneximbank and the MFK, to which many state enterprises transferred their accounts. Later, Potanin became one of the principal authors of the Loans for Shares program, in which the Russian government traded ownership in state industries for loans. The controversial program was administered through auctions, but only select bidders were invited to attend, usually at the discretion of President Boris Yeltsin’s daughter. Vladimir Potanin was among the invited bidders. During Russia’s transition to a market economy, he acquired control of more than 20 formerly state-owned enterprises.

    To improve his image in the West, Vladimir Potanin became a leading donor to the Guggenheim Foundation. He gives more than $1 million annually and has a seat on the board of trustees of the Guggenheim Museum. Potanin also established a charity fund in Russia which implements projects in the field of education and participates in The Greater Hermitage Project. The fundís scholarship program for talented students involves over 1,700 students from 60 leading Russian state higher educational institutions. In May 2002, Mr. Potanin donated personal funds for the purchase, by the Russian Ministry of Culture, of the famous Malevich painting The Black Square. The masterpiece was included State Hermitage’s permanent display.

    Vladimir Potanin is a member of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and of the Russian Federation Governmental Council on Entrepreneurship. He maintains a stable position among the top 10 most influential Russian businessmen and is one of the few major oligarchs whose actions have not been subject to the Prosecutorís Office scrutiny in the past few years.







    Updated: 23.09.2005 21:36 MSK

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