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 Alisher Usmanov

Born:   9 September 1953

Russian tycoon


Alisher Usmanov is the person who returned the collection of world-famous Soviet cartoons to Russia and presented the Russian Federation with the invaluable collection of masterpieces he bought out of Vishnevskaya. He is also the head of Gazprominvestholding, the Kommersant newspaper, and a co-owner of FC Arsenal.

Alisher Usmanov was born on 9 September, 1953 in the town of Chust, Uzbekistan. In 1976, he graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations and returned back home, where he was employed as a junior research assistant at the Uzbek Academy of Sciences, then a senior assistant in the Central Committee of Lenin Young Communist League of Uzbekistan and then a director general in the foreign economic association of the Soviet Peace Committee.

There were several runs of bad luck in Usmanov’s life: in 1980 he was condemned to 8 years of imprisonment for extortion. His father, the prosecutor of Taskent, was dismissed. However, in 1986 Usmanov was released on parole due to his sincere repentance and exemplary conduct. Later, Alisher claimed he had been a victim of political repression.

Alisher Usmanov started entrepreneurial business in the 1980s. According to some media resources, he was appointed a vice president of Uzbek and Belgian joint venture Vita. Nevertheless, there is information that he was an owner of several firms.

Positions and acquisitions:

1990-1994 – first deputy director general of CJSC Interkross (though there are data he was the president of the company)

1993 – head of financial and investment company PRNB-Invest, subsidiary of the First Russian National Bank.

1994-1998 – deputy director general of Moscow aviation production association (MAPO). Besides, he was appointed the head of Interfin Company, via which he began purchasing major shareholdings of two Russian enterprises (Oskolsk electrometallurgical complex and Lebedinsky mine and processing integrated works)

1997-2001 – after Interfin Company and MAPO Bank acquired 51% of JSC Arkhangelskgeoldobycha, Usmanov became member of the board of directors of the new controlled enterprise. In 2001 he sold his stake supposedly for $170 million.

1998- vice director general of Gazprominvestholding

2000 – director general of Gazprominvestholding

November 2000- July 2001 – adviser of Rem Vyakhirev, the head of Gazprom

2005 – joint proprietor of JSC Metalloinvest

2006 – Usmanov acquired Kommersant publishing house for 200 million dollars. the same year the billionaire purchased the assets of Secret Firmy (business secret) publishing house and

22 June 2007 – Usmanov bought 75% of Muz TV chanell in Russia

30 august 2007 – Buying 14.58% of shares, he became a co-owner of FC Arsenal.

6 September 2007 – it was reported that Usmanov repurchased a collection of Soviet cartoons from American Films by Jove and signed it over to the All-Russian National Television and Radio Broadcasting Company

1 October 2007 – Alisher Usmanov handed over an earlier purchased art collection of Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya to Constantine Palace under St Petersburg.

In 2009, he invested almost $1 billion in Facebook, Groupon and Zynga. 

In 2010, his DST Global bought Russia's Group. 

In 2012, Usmanov got a controlling stake in Megafon, one of Russia's three leading mobile operators.

In 2013, he purchased a $100 million worth of Apple shares, saying he has firm belief in the IT sector and the post-Jobs story of the company.


Alisher Usmanov has long been known as the poorest billionaire among Russian tycoons. In 2005 the Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at 1 billion dollars, though some of his assets were not revealed then. In 2007 the Finance Magazine ranked Alisher 14 on the list of the richest people of Russia claiming he has got 7 billion dollars. His 2012 net worth is estimated by Forbes at $18.1 billion placing him on top 1 position among Russian billionaires. 

Private life

Alisher Usmanov is married to Irina Viner, the head coach of the Russian Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics Team. Besides, Usmanov is the president of the Fencing Federation of Russia and the International Fencing Federation.


Olga Pletneva (updated by Mikhail Vesely)


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