Fridman, Mikhail Maratovich

Fridman, Mikhail Maratovich
(1964– )
   Oligarch. Born in Lvov, Ukraine, Fridman is a Jewish Russian businessman, who, according to Forbes magazine, was the 20th-richest man in the world in 2008. He made his fortune during the economic chaos of the 1990s by establishing the Alfa Group Consortium, which includes AlfaBank and Tyumen Oil (now TNK-BP), as well as several construction companies, food processing businesses, and supermarket chains. His career exemplifies the rapid rise of certain individuals under the Yeltsin regime, particularly those with close ties to the government. After studying at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, Fridman worked as an engineer at one of Moscow’s factories until 1988. Under perestroika, he established a private company that specialized in window cleaning. From there, he dabbled in courier services, before setting up a photo cooperative and then a commodities trading firm. His success is largely due to his association with Pyotr Aven, minister of external economic relations in Yegor Gaydar’s government. Fridman managed to turn his Kremlin allegiance into a business model by recruiting members of his Alfa Group from high-profile Russian politicians and government officials. Though accused of money laundering several times, he has managed to stay out of jail and prosper in Russia’s turbulent economic environment. In 1996, he established Russia’s Jewish Congress and subsequently served as its vice president.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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