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 Mikhail Khodorkovsky


Born:   26 June 1963

Russian tycoon

      

In 1989 he established MENATEP, one of the first Russian commercial banks. Took control of Yukos and made it a profitable company,the leader of the world power market, with capitalization of US$40bn.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was born 26 June 1963 in Moscow to an ordinary family. His parents were engineers at a Soviet plant (Kalibr). The family never had spare money and lived in a so-called shared apartment till 1971, when they were provided with their own home.

As a boy Mikhail was fond of chemistry and later entered Moscow chemical-engineering university. Due to the poor family situation Mikhail didn’t find it possible to be supported by this parents and being a first-year student worked as a carpenter. His job wasn’t an obstacle to getting good education – Mikhail performed as the best student of the course. Despite excellent knowledge, skills and joining Komsomol (Young Communist League) Khodorkovsky couldn’t calculate on a good position after graduation from the University – his origin played a trick on him, his father was a Jew. The Soviet authorities made it impossible for Jewish people to work at researching institutes or get easily promoted.

Mikhail couldn’t afford losing courage as by that moment he had been married to a fellow student, had a little son and his first duty was to support his family. That was the time of perestroika and new opportunities for the young and enterprising. In 1987 Mikhail established Scientific and Technical Centre for Youth to apply new researches in industry. At the same the future tycoon was getting his second higher education. Very quickly the centre turned into an effective and successful organization, a bridge linking industry lacking new technological ideas and fundamental science.

In 1989 Khodorkovsky established MENATEP, one of the first Russian commercial banks, on funds received from the Centre. That period favored the banking sector, since both state-ruled and commercial organizations needed credits. That is when Mikhail met a woman, who later became his second wife and brought him a daughter in 1991.

Very soon Mikhail realized that future of the country mostly depends on its industry, not on banks; but the number of businessmen willing to get involved with post-soviet giant plants burdened with debts was too little.

1992 appeared to be a turning-point in Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s life. In October of 1992 the board of directors of the bank changed the development concept and agreed to form a commercial group. In 1994-1995 the bank took active part in investment tenders and acquired shareholdings of several big industrial undertakings: .JSC Apatit, UralelectroMed, Ust-Ilimsky wood-working plant, Volzhsky pipe plant and others. In 1995 the government auctioned a major shareholding of Yukos, state-controlled oil company, which was caused by two reasons – the crisis of the oil-processing industry and poor budget of the country. In 1995 Yukos was an unprofitable company with huge debts, constantly decreasing production level and outdated equipment. The workers were not paid for 6 months and intended to go on strike. The government offered all top financial structures to participate in the auction, but the only company to show interest in Yukos was MENATEP. The bank took control of 78% of Yukos stock on the security of US$350mn.

Khodorkovsky staked all he had, but, despite the crisis, Yukos turned into the leader of the world power market, with capitalization of US$40bn. When Mikhail achieved all that he had dreamt of in business, he founded a charitable organization Otkrytaya Rossia (Open Russia) to implement educational and cultural projects and to develop intelligent potential of the country. He realized how important it was for talented young people from small towns and villages of Russia to get educated.

25 October 2003 Special Forces stormed Khodorkovsky’s plane, later Mikhail was accused of fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion and arrested. Being in prison Mikhail left the position of the head of Yukos. Presently he is imprisoned in the Russian city of Chita.

Sources:

    www.people.rambler.ru

 

 


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