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Boris Berezovsky / Photo: Reuters

Boris Berezovsky

The most notorious of Russia’s oligarchs, Boris Berezovsky was one of the closest members of President Boris Yeltsin’s inner-circle but fell out of favor when Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.

  • Full name: Boris Abramovich Berezovsky
  • Born: January 23, 1946 in Moscow
  • In 1967, graduated from the Moscow Forestry Engineering Institute, majoring in electronics and computer science. Later Berezovsky was accepted to the Mechanics and Mathematics department of the Moscow State University, earning his Ph.D. at the age of 37
  • In 1969, was employed as an engineer at the Scientific Research Center for Hydrometeorology
  • Between 1969 and 1987, advanced from an engineering to a management position at the Management Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences
  • In 1989, formed the LogoVaz automotive company
  • In 1994 —1997, served as the chairman of the board of trustees of LogoVaz
  • In 1994, became General Director of the All-Russian Automobile Alliance company (AVVA)
  • In 1995, became a member of the board of trustees of the Russian Public Television (ORT)
  • In 1996, elected a member of the board of trustees of Sibneft (Siberian Oil Company)
  • In 1996-1997 served as Deputy Chairman of the Russian national Security Council
  • In 1997 became a member of the scientific council of the Security Council.
  • In 1998, elected Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Dismissed in 1999 by President Boris Yeltsin
  • On December 19, 1999, elected a member of the State Duma representing Karachayevo-Cherkessiya
  • In 2000, left Russia
  • In 2003, granted political asylum in the UK
  • A mathematician and computer programmer by training, in 1989, Berezovsky left the world of academia to start a business, becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the period, his interests including auto industry, oil, aluminium, and mass media. Berezovsky began his business career by buying and reselling automobiles from state manufacturer AutoVAZ. During the lawlessness of the early 1990s Berezovsky survived several assassination attempts, including a 1994 car bomb attack when his driver was killed.

    During the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, Berezovsky was one of the so-called oligarchs who gained access to the president, becoming a close member of Yeltsin’s inner-circle, unofficially known as the “Family”. He used this influence to acquire stakes in state companies including the car giant AutoVAZ, state airline Aeroflot, and several oil properties that he organized into Sibneft. He also founded a bank to finance his operations and acquired several news media holdings. These media provided essential support for Yeltsin’s re-election in 1996.

    Already one of the most influential members of President Yeltsin’s entourage, in the mid-1990s Berezovsky openly entered politics and was appointed secretary of Russia’s National Security Council and head of the Executive Committee of the CIS. He was behind the creation of the pro-Kremlin Unity party that came second (after the Communists) in the 1999 parliamentary elections, as well as being chief negotiator of the peace treaty that ended the first Chechen war in 1996.

    On July 8, 2000, Russia’s new president Vladimir Putin announced in his address that Russia would no longer tolerate ’’shady groups’’ that divert money abroad, establish their own ’’dubious’’ security services, and block the development of a liberal market economy.

    Soon after Berezovsky voiced his plans to create an opposition party led by regional governors and other influential figures threatened by Putin’s drive for power. At the end of the year the prosecution declared Berezovsky the main suspect in the misappropriation of large sums from Aeroflot — Russia’s national airline in which he owned large stakes. A similar case against Berezovsky dealt with large-scale fraud in his Logovaz car company.

    Berezovsky left Russia at the end of 2000. In March 2003, he was arrested in London but released on bail. In October of the same year he received political asylum in the United Kingdom. His stake in Russia’s major television company ORT (now First Channel) was sold, and his own TV6 channel was closed by a ruling of the Russian Arbitration Court. Still an active critic of President Putin, Boris Berezovsky is now living under the name of Platon Yelenin.

    Updated: 31.10.2006 12:24 MSK


    31.10.2006 12:24 MSK, MOSNEWS.COM

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