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 Alexander Lebedev

Born:   16 December 1959

Russian businessman


Alexander Yevgenievich Lebedev was born in Moscow in 1959. In 1977 he entered the Department of Economics at Moscow State Institute of International Relations. In 1982 he was sent to the the Institute of Economics of the World Socialist System to research for his Ph.D. dissertation. Soon he transferred to the First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence) of KGB. He worked there and at its successor Foreign Intelligence Service until 1992. In London he had the diplomatic cover of an Economics attaché.<

In 1995 Lebedev set up his first company, the Russian Investment-Finance Company and then bought the National Reserve Bank, which soon became one of Russia's largest banks. Among the bank's assets are:

  • 30% of the main Russian national airline Aeroflot (the largest private stock holder);
  • 44% of the Ilyushin Finance Co, that owns a significant share of Russian aircraft-building industry;
  • significant parts of Sberbank, Gazprom, RAO UES.

The bank is the core of the National Reserve Corporation which includes National Meat Company, National Mortgage Company and many shares in different industries, such as Telecommunications, Electrical Power, Chemical and Tourism industries.

In December of 2003 Mr Lebedev stood as a candidate for elections to the position of Mayor of Moscow and to the State Duma. He received 13% in the municipal elections, losing to Yuri Luzhkov, but won a seat in the State Duma on the Rodina party list. He remained at the Duma until 2007, when new elections were held, then he initially moved from conservative "Rodina" to the pro-Government United Russia party.

In 2007 Mr Lebedev entered the the larger socialist coalition Fair Russia, which was headed by Sergey Mironov, the speaker of Council of the Federation. It was assumed that Lebedev would be at the top of the list of the candidates for regular elections. But when the list was issued, Lebedev's name was not there. In April of 2008 he was taken out of the fraction's membership  for political reasons.

Lebedev, together with the former President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is the owner of 49% of Novaya Gazeta, a symbol of modern independent journalism in Russia.

At the beginning of 2008 the media holding "New Media" was registered on the basis of Novaya Gazeta. It is planned that the other Lebedev's media shares will be included in the holding.

In 2009 he entered into exclusive negotiations with Independent News & Media to buy the company's British national newspapers, The Independent, Independent on Sunday and The London Evening Standard.

In March 2009, Lebedev was registered as a candidate for mayor of Sochi, but a court ruling declared his candidacy invalid on April 13, 2009. Now he is a deputy of Slobodskaya Duma in Kirov region.

Lebedev is a founder and the President of the National Investment Council, a non-political and non-Government organization working to improve the investment climate in Russia, protecting interests of the Russian business abroad and fighting the negative sentiments towards Russian business.

On September 16, 2011 Lebedev punched another Russian billionaire Sergey Polonsky in the face during a televised debate on the NTV channel. He is being accused of hooliganism and battery "motivated by political hatred". 

In 2012, the Central Bank initiated a series of inspections at the National Reserve Bank, which as Lebedev said were linked to his support for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and opposition activist Alexey Navalny. As a result of the inspections, the bank had to cut its regional network and introduce urgent cost-cutting measures. 

In a number of interviews, Lebedev has cited mounting pressure from Russia's law enforcement agencies and said he has been considering selling his Russian business assets. 

In April 2013, Lebedev sold his Red Wings airline for RUR 1 to a group of Russian investors following a crash of one of its passenger jets and a flight ban by the authorities.

Charity Work

Lebedev has a long history of supporting culture and charities. He created the organization called Charitable Reserve Fund  to bring order to these activities. Among the organizations and projects he (or BRF) have sponsored are:

  • The Raisa Gorbachyova Children Center for Hemmatology and Transplantation in Saint Petersburg
  • Burdenko Military Hospital
  • State Russian Museum
  • Pyotr Fomenko Theater
  • Moscow Art Theatre
  • Lesya Ukrainka Russian Theater in Kiev
  • Museum of Mikhail Bulgakov in Kiev
  • Restoration of the monument to Alexander Suvorov in the Swiss Alps
  • Monument Sorrow in London by sculptor Andrey Scherbakov commemorating Soviet soldiers who died during World War II

Alexander Lebedev has two sons from his first marriage. For a number of years he has now been together with the Russian model, Yelena Perminova. Yelena who is Lebedev's partner at The Evening Standard, is the mother of his son Nikita. In May 2011 the Russian edition of Tatler magazine announced exclusively that the couple was expecting their second child together.

In his spare time Alexander Lebedev likes swimming and playing football.

Sources and links: Wikipedia Personal Website

Related News:

Alexander Lebedev Files a Defamation Lawsuit for 30mln Rubles (25.07.2011)

Alexander Lebedev: "I Would Rebrand The News of the World" (21.07.2011)

Julia Alieva

Tags: Russian businessmen Alexander Lebedev    

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