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Yuri Valentinovich Kovalchuk

Yuri Valentinovich KovalchukYuri Valentinovich Kovalchuk was born on July 25, 1951 in St. Petersburg, Russia. With the net worth of $1.6 Billion, Yuri Kovalchuk is the #951 richest person on earth and reputedly among Russia's most successful and influential businessmen. Kovalchuk is a close advisor to President Putin and has been referred to as one of his “cashiers.”

Mikhail Zygar, author of “All the Kremlin’s Men", wrote that by 2020 Kovalchuk: "had established himself as the de facto second man in Russia, the most influential among the president’s entourage.... He is also an ideologue, subscribing to a worldview that combines Orthodox Christian mysticism, anti-American conspiracy theories and hedonism. This appears to be Mr. Putin’s worldview, too. Since the summer of 2020, Mr. Putin and Mr. Kovalchuk have been almost inseparable, and the two of them have been making plans together to restore Russia’s greatness."

Yuri Valentinovich was the youngest son of the historian Valentin Kovalchuk, who dealt with the blockade of Leningrad. His mother worked as a teacher at the Faculty of History of the Leningrad State University (LGU). The elder brother of Yuri Kovalchuk, Mikhail, a graduate of the Faculty of Physics of the Leningrad State University, a scientist, a specialist in the field of X-ray physics and X-ray crystallography also appeared in the media repeatedly.

Following his brother, Yuri Kovalchuk entered the Faculty of Physics of Leningrad State University. After graduating in 1974 he studied at the graduate school of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1977 Kovalchuk began working at the Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology, and in 1985 he defended his dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Physical and Technical Sciences. In 1987 (according to other sources - in 1988) became the first deputy director of the FTI Zhores Alferov.

From 1987 to 1991, he was the first deputy director of Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute. At the FTI, Kovalchuk worked together with Andrei Fursenko (also Alferov's deputy) and Vladimir Yakunin, who from 1982 to 1988 was the head of the institute's foreign department. The press wrote about Kovalchuk, a specialist in the field of solid state physics and semiconductor technology, as a talented scientist: he was the author of more than a hundred scientific papers and inventions, and in 1988 he was awarded the USSR State Prize in science and technology.

At the same institute, Kovalchuk met Vladimir Yakunin, who at one time headed the foreign department in it. It should be noted that Yakunin was a KGB officer in the line of scientific and technical intelligence, and by the time Yuri Valentinovich became the first deputy head of the Physicotechnical Institute, he had already been sent to diplomatic work at the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the UN.

In 1990-1991, Yuriy Kovalchukalong with his Ioffe colleagues Andrey Fursenko and Vladimir Yakunin founded several companies specializing in the development of applied uses for fundamental scientific discoveries. To support these new companies, they even created their own bank. In 1991, Kovalchuk participated in the re-establishment of the share commercial bank " Russia ", organized in 1990 to service the accounts of the regional committee of the CPSU and the KGB department. The activity of the bank was suspended after the August coup of 1991, but a month after that, the mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak, instructed Vladimir Putin to create a fund for stabilizing the economy of St. Petersburg and the region on the basis of "Russia" with the involvement of foreign investors.

In 1996, together with Yuriy Kovalchuk and six others, Putin and Fursenko formed Ozero ("The Lake"), a dacha cooperative society that allowed rising members of the new elite to work and relax together as well. Together they instituted the co-operative society Ozero (the Lake) which united their properties on 10 November 1996. Since the early 1990s, Kovalchuk has owned a dacha in Solovyovka in the Priozersky District of the Leningrad region, located on the eastern shore of the Komsomolskoye lake on the Karelian Isthmus near Saint Petersburg. His neighbors there were Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Yakunin, Andrei Fursenko, Sergey Fursenko, Viktor Myachin, Vladimir Smirnov and Nikolay Shamalov. Kovalchuk is a known friend of Putin’ he hosted the wedding of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova to Kirill Shamalov at his wholly owned ski resort, Igora, in 2013.

Since 2004, he has been chair of Rossiya Bank - a crony bank that provides services to senior Russian government officials. As its largest shareholder and the head of this bank, he was called the owner of numerous assets, including Sogaz and the National Media Group. Chairman of the Board of the Center for Strategic Research 'North-West' Foundation since 2000. Kovalchuk controls the media arm of stateowned energy giant Gazprom, and in 2013 bought RuTube, the Russian analog of YouTube.

Bank Rossiya is the personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation. Bank Rossiya’s shareholders include members of Putin’s inner circle associated with the Ozero Dacha Cooperative, a housing community in which they live. Bank Rossiya is also controlled by Kovalchuk. Bank Rossiya is ranked as the 17th largest bank in Russia with assets of approximately $10 billion, and it maintains numerous correspondent relationships with banks in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. The bank reports providing a wide range of retail and corporate services, many of which relate to the oil, gas, and energy sectors.

With Kremlin help to steer lucrative customers its way, obtain state-owned enterprises at bargain-basement prices, and obscure its financial holdings through murky transactions and shell companies, Bank Rossiya grew exponentially, and along the way also amassed significant media holdings that helped the Kremlin influence public perceptions.

In 2005, Kovalchuk began acquiring media assets and became the largest shareholder of the Petersburg-Fifth Channel TV and Radio Company (sold by the St. Petersburg City Hall) and the St. Petersburg Vedomosti newspaper. In April 2007, the investment company Abros, a subsidiary of the Petersburg-based bank Rossiya, which is controlled by President Putin's Petersburg confederate Yuriy Kovalchuk, acquired controlling interest of the national network REN-TV. REN-TV's not very adventurous news broadcasts were not initially affected by the takeover, but the ownership re-shuffle sparked rumors that REN-TV was to be brought to heel. In February 2008, the media holding "National Media Group" was created, which included the TV channels "Ren-TV" and "Petersburg-Fifth Channel", as well as the largest Russian advertising seller "Video International" (Video International). In May 2008, Gazprom-Media sold to Rossiya Bank subsidiary Sogaz a 50.2 percent stake in the newspaper Izvestiya.

On 20 March 2014 the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated sixteen Russian government officials, members of the Russian leadership’s inner circle, including a Russian bank pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13661, which was signed by President Obama on March 16, 2014. Those being designated for acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation are: Gennady Timchenko, Arkady Rotenberg, Boris Rotenberg, Yuri Kovalchuk and Bank Rossiya. In addition to being designated for providing material support to Russian government officials, Bank Rossiya is also being designated for being controlled by designated inner circle member Kovalchuk, the largest single shareholder of Bank Rossiya and is also the personal banker for senior officials of the Russian Federation including Putin.

Kovalchuk is married, the only thing known about his wife is that she is a philologist by profession. The businessman has two children.

Son Boris (born in 1977) from 2003 to 2006 headed the audit commission of AB Rossiya bank. In an example of elite infighting, in 2006 reports surfaced that Boris Kovalchuk, the 28-year-old son of Putin insider Yuriy Kovalchuk, would be appointed to head the newly formed department in charge of the National Projects. Federation Council member Vladimir Slutsker echoed the view of many observers that the decision to install a young and inexperienced person to head a key department was meant to undercut Medvedev. The older Kovalchuk was not necessarily opposed to Medvedev but simply wanted to have his son installed in an important -- and lucrative -- position, according to Slutsker, who said others encouraged the idea to damage Medvedev. Others, by contrast, said that though the appointment might not encourage efficiency, Medvedev consciously accepted it to court Putin insiders such as the older Kovalchuk. When the “national projects” were curtailed, Boris Kovalchuk moved to work as deputy director of Rosatom, and at the end of 2009 he was appointed head of the state company Inter RAO UES, a monopoly operator of the export and import of electricity.

Kovalchuk Kirill Mikhailovich, born December 22, 1968, shareholder of Rossiya Bank, President of the National Media Group, Managing Director of ABR Management. Kirill Kovalchuk is the nephew of Yuri Kovalchuk, and is a co-owner of Rossiya Bank, and also heads the National Media Group, which is actually owned by his uncle.

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Page last modified: 10-03-2022 19:32:34 ZULU