Potanin, Vladimir Olegovich

Potanin, Vladimir Olegovich
(1961– )
   Oligarch. Unlike most oligarchs, Vladimir Potanin comes from a prestigious Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) pedigree. During the Soviet era, he studied at the elite Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), which trained Soviet diplomats and KGB agents and educated the children of the apparatchiks. Upon graduation he worked under his father at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, where he created an extensive network of business contacts. In 1991, he started the metals-trading company Interros.
   With his partner, Mikhail Prokhorov, Potanin built his fortune by winning over the corporate clients of two large Soviet-era banks in 1992. Eventually they took control of metal giant Norilsk Nickel and Sidanco Oil Company as a result of the controversial privatization of the 1990s. His empire also includes various media outlets, including Izvestiya>, Komsomolskaya Pravda, and Expert, as well as insurance firms, agribusinesses, and power companies. Potanin was involved with George Soros in Russia’s telecommunications monopoly Sviazinvest; Soros considered the nearly $1 billion he put into the enterprise to be his worst investment. He briefly worked for the Russian government as first deputy prime minister, overlooking economic policies. Potanin is recognized as one of the architects of the controversial loans for shares program. He is also one the key oligarchs who supported Boris Yeltsin in the 1996 presidential Since 2003, he has headed the National Council on Corporate Governance, whose main aim is to improve legislative regulations in Russia and to introduce ethical standards of corporate governance into the operations of Russian companies. He has been an active patron of various charitable organizations, funding sports, educational, and visual arts institutions, including the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. His daughter, Anastasiya Potanina, is a famous athlete and celebrity in Russia.
   See also Banking.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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