Russian Oligarchs

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky: Empowering Success of a Russian Oligarch [2023]

Who Is Russian Oligarch Vladimir Strzhalkovsky ?

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is a former KGB agent and Russian oligarch. He is the former CEO of Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel and palladium producer. He is also a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky was born in Moscow in 1953. He joined the KGB in 1975 and served in various positions in the Soviet Union and abroad. In 1991, he left the KGB and entered the business world. He became the CEO of Norilsk Nickel in 1996 and held the position until 2008.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is a controversial figure. He has been accused of corruption and human rights abuses. He is also a close associate of Putin, and some have accused him of being a frontman for the Russian government.

In 2022, Strzhalkovsky’s superyacht, the Ragnar, was stranded in Norway after local fuel suppliers refused to refuel it in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The yacht has been stranded ever since.

Ukraine has imposed sanctions on Strzhalkovsky but he is a person of interest to law enforcement agencies in several countries.

His name on the sanctions list is as follows:

СТРЖАЛКОВСЬКИЙ Володимир Ігорович
СТРЖАЛКОВСКИЙ Владимир Игоревич
STRZHALKOVSKY Vladimir Igorevich

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s Early Life and KGB Career

Strzhalkovsky’s early life and upbringing in Moscow.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky was born on May 29, 1954, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Vladimir Strzhalkovsky hails from an aristocratic family with roots in the Podolsk region, originally of Polish descent—the Strzalkowskis.

Full nameSTRZHALKOVSKY Vladimir Igorevich
Marital statusHe is married with a son, Yevgeny Strzhalkovsky.
Professional field/official positionCitizenship
Date of Birth, placeRussia
Date of Birth,placeMay 29, 1954 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

Wikipedia.org

Transition to Business

Strzhalkovsky’s decision to leave the KGB in 1991

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former KGB officer, left the KGB in 1991 under unclear circumstances. Following his departure, he entered the tourism industry, collaborating with well-known establishments like Intourist and Sputnik Hotels. Subsequently, he led the Firma Neva travel company from 1991 to 1999.

In 1998, a legal case involving pimping and prostitution was examined in Finland. According to the Finnish court’s findings, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s deputy, Timraliev, and the director of the Neva travel agency, Oska, were involved in sending girls from St. Petersburg to Finland to offer intimate services to local residents. Strzhalkovsky himself managed to avoid significant legal consequences.

From 1999 to 2000, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky served as Deputy Minister of Physical Culture, Sports, and Tourism. In 2000, he transitioned to the role of Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

His entry into the business world and the challenges he faced during this transition

In 1991, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky transitioned from his career in the KGB to the tourism industry, notably working with Intourist and Sputnik hotels. Subsequently, he assumed the role of head at Firma Neva Travel Company from 1991 to 1999.

During this period, in 1998, a case involving pimping and prostitution in Finland drew attention. It was determined that Strzhalkovsky’s deputy, Timraliev, and the director of the Neva travel agency, Oska, had sent girls from St. Petersburg to Finland to provide intimate services to local residents. Strzhalkovsky was implicated but evaded significant consequences.

Between 1999 and 2000, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky served as the Deputy Minister of Physical Culture, Sports, and Tourism, after which he assumed the role of Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade in 2000.

In 2008, Strzhalkovsky was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Norilsk Nickel. His leadership during this period involved grappling with various challenges, including environmental concerns, labor disputes, and corporate governance issues. In 2011, he departed from the company with a substantial “golden parachute payout” amounting to $100 million.

Following his tenure at Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky made an investment by purchasing the renowned Italian Scarpa winery. In 2015, he assumed the position of Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Cyprus.

Leadership at Norilsk Nickel

A detailed description of his tenure as the CEO of Norilsk Nickel from 1996 to 2008

In 2008, he assumed the role of CEO at Norilsk Nickel. His tenure was marked by various challenges, including environmental issues, labor disputes, and corporate governance concerns. Notably, in 2011, he departed from the company with a substantial “golden parachute payout” amounting to $100 million. Following his departure from Norilsk Nickel, he made headlines by acquiring the renowned Italian Scarpa Winery. By 2015, he took on the position of Vice President on the Board of Directors at the Bank of Cyprus.

Contributions and the impact of his leadership on the company

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky served as Norilsk Nickel’s CEO, one of the world’s major nickel and palladium producers, from 2008 to 2012. During his tenure, his leadership left a significant mark on the company, bringing about noteworthy changes and improvements. Here are some key contributions and their impact:

Enhanced Corporate Governance: Strzhalkovsky introduced several measures to enhance corporate governance at Norilsk Nickel. This included the establishment of an independent board of directors and the adoption of international accounting standards.

Production Growth: Under Strzhalkovsky’s guidance, Norilsk Nickel experienced a notable increase in the production of nickel, copper, and palladium.

Cost Reduction: Strzhalkovsky implemented cost-cutting measures, effectively reducing the company’s expenses and bolstering its profitability.

Safety Prioritization: Safety became a paramount concern under Strzhalkovsky’s leadership. He implemented measures to enhance the company’s safety record, making it a safer workplace.

Shareholder Dispute Resolution: Vladimir Strzhalkovsky played a pivotal role in resolving a longstanding dispute between Norilsk Nickel’s two major shareholders, Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin. This resolution brought much-needed stability to the company.

In sum, Strzhalkovsky’s leadership had a positive and transformative influence on Norilsk Nickel. It not only improved the company’s operational efficiency but also boosted profitability and resolved critical shareholder disputes.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s biography

  • Upon graduation from the Institute, he worked at the Research Institute of Command Instruments as an engineer. He worked in this position until 1980.
  • In 1980, gets a job at the Department of the USSR KGB in the Leningrad region. Worked in the directorate until 1991.
  • Holds the rank of lieutenant colonel of the KGB.
  • From November 1991 through 1999, he worked as the general director of the travel agency CJSC “Firma Neva” in the city of St. Petersburg.
  • In November 1999 he was appointed Russian deputy minister for physical culture, sport and tourism.
  • In the same year he took the post of deputy chairman of the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Physical Culture and Tourism.
  • In the summer of 2000 he was appointed Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade.
  • In December 2000 he became Deputy Chairman of the Consumer Market Commission under the Government of the Russian Federation.
  • Since October 2002 he has been a member of the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Entry and Stay of Stateless Persons and Foreign Citizens into the Russian Federation.
  • From November 2004 to August 2008, he was the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism.
  • In August 2008 he took the position of General Director and headed the Board of Directors of Nornickel.
  • He was awarded the Order of Friendship for his work.
  • He is an active state servant of the Russian Federation, 1st class.
    Graduated from the Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute in 1977.

Controversies and Accusations

Allegations of corruption and human rights abuses against Strzhalkovsky.

Allegations of corruption and human rights abuses have surfaced in connection with Vladimir Strzhalkovsky. Below are some specific instances:

Human Rights Abuses:
In March 2023, the United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several individuals, including Andrei Andreevich Zadachin, Elena Anatolievna Lenskaya, and Danila Yurievich Mikheev. These sanctions were related to their involvement in severe human rights abuses against Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent human rights defender and opposition leader. Kara-Murza was arrested in Moscow in April 2022 for vocalizing his opposition to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Zadachin, a special investigator within the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, initiated a criminal case against Kara-Murza based on his anti-war stance.
Lenskaya, a judge at the Basmanny District Court in Moscow, presided over Kara-Murza‘s pre-trial detention hearing, ordering his detention on charges linked to his exercise of freedom of expression.
Mikheev played a role by serving as an expert witness on behalf of the Russian government during the hearing that led to Kara-Murza’s arbitrary detention.

Corruption:
While there is no specific information available regarding allegations of corruption against Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, it is important to note that broader allegations of corruption have been made concerning the overall state of affairs in Russia under Putin‘s leadership.

Accusations of being a frontman for the Russian government and his association with Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky has faced allegations of acting as a conduit for the Russian government and having ties to Vladimir Putin. Here are the key details:

Allegations of Being a Conduit for the Russian Government: In 2017, members of the U.S. Congress raised concerns regarding then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s business connections to Russia and his past role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, a position he shared with Strzhalkovsky. This inquiry centered around Ross’s relationship with Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, who, as a former KGB agent and an individual associated with Putin, had connections to the Bank of Cyprus.

Association with Vladimir Putin: Strzhalkovsky has had a longstanding association with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Being a former KGB agent, he has faced allegations of involvement in corrupt activities and human rights violations. It’s crucial to note that these allegations remain unverified independently, and Strzhalkovsky has not been charged with any crimes related to these claims.

Stranded Superyacht and Sanctions

Incident in 2022 where Strzhalkovsky’s superyacht, the Ragnar, was stranded in Norway

In February 2022, the superyacht “Ragnar,” owned by Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, faced a unique situation in the port of Narvik, Norway. Local fuel suppliers declined to refuel the vessel due to Strzhalkovsky’s connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Strzhalkovsky, a former KGB agent linked to Putin, notably doesn’t feature on the European Union’s list of sanctioned oligarchs concerning Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The yacht’s captain, Robert Lankester, emphasized that the crew had no affiliations with the owner and consisted of a Western crew of 16 members. Nonetheless, local leaders and businesses in Narvik urged Norwegian authorities to take action against the vessel, and certain fuel suppliers opted not to support entities associated with Russia.

This situation was viewed as a political matter that required resolution, and the Norwegian government expressed its disapproval of businesses and individuals applying their own sanctions to Russian entities. Ultimately, the Ragnar was able to depart the port after securing fuel from a supplier in another country.

The reasons behind the yacht’s predicament and its ongoing status.

In February 2022, the superyacht “Ragnar,” owned by Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, found itself stranded at the Narvik port in Norway. The predicament of the yacht and its current status can be attributed to the following factors:

  1. Owner’s Ties to Putin:

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former KGB agent, has been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Although he is not among the oligarchs sanctioned by the European Union due to Russia’s conflict in Ukraine, local fuel suppliers in Narvik refused to refuel the yacht based on the owner’s connections to Putin.

  1. Discrimination Against the Crew:

The yacht’s captain, Robert Lankester, clarified that the crew had no involvement in the owner’s associations.
The 16-member Western crew faced what Lankester described as “extremely unjust” discrimination.

  1. Political Dimension:

The situation was viewed as a political issue, indicating the need for a political resolution.
The Norwegian government emphasized that businesses and individuals should not independently impose sanctions on Russian companies.

  1. Solution from an External Supplier:

Ultimately, the Ragnar managed to depart from the port when it received refueling services from a supplier in another country.
This incident reflects the complexities of international politics and the challenges faced by individuals and entities with connections to high-profile figures like Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky crimes

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said that, as a member of the state security bodies, he had connections in the international tourism sphere – he worked quite closely with Intourist, Sputnik, and trade unions – and was knowledgeable in this field. According to some sources, he was in charge of the hotel business in St. Petersburg.

In December 1998 at the District Court of Kouvola (Finland) there was a court case #633, “On Procuration”. Two of the defendants in the case were Timraliev, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s deputy, and Natalia Oksa of the tour operator Neva (Scan-Boss Ab, Helsinki) for “openly organizing prostitution by women who came to the motel from Russia.

Despite the fact that the court confirmed the facts of Neva’s organization of trips of prostitutes to Finland, the defendants were not brought to court because Oksa “was limited to preparation of visas for tourists according to lists provided in advance” and Timraliev “is not criminally responsible for the act of another person” (according to other reports, Oksa was convicted for pimping for three months and Strzhalkovsky was denied entry into the country).

In 2002-2003, the press reported that in 1995-1999, the travel agency headed by Vladimir Strzhalkovsky “Neva” organized mass trips of prostitutes to Finland. The publication in Versia newspaper (#38 (211) “Under the Sign of a Brothel. Russian tourism is headed by a KGB pimp?”) was one of the testimonies that formed the basis of an audit of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade by the anti-corruption commission of the Russian State Duma in 2003.

It was published that the same commission had evidence that Vladimir Strzhalkovsky in 2000 used his official position for mercenary purposes by signing an order in May 2000 to transfer the Ministry’s property (residential premises) in Finland into the operational management of the Finnish citizen Oksa. By the same order, Oksa was appointed a freelance representative of the Russian Ministry of Physical Culture, Sports, and Tourism in Finland. In the same year, the Neva travel agency filed a lawsuit for the protection of the business reputation, demanding that the newspaper Versiya publish a refutation of the information distributed in the article. The suit was denied.

When Vladimir Strzhalkovsky was appointed to the position of Norilsk Nickel’s general director, experts saw this as a signal that the state had decided to step up its activities in the metallurgy industry. Others agreed that Strzhalkovsky, who is far from metallurgy, was chosen because of his long experience in law enforcement and state institutions. Whatever it was, the fact remained that on August 8 2008 Prime Minister Putin dismissed Vladimir Strzhalkovsky from the post of the head of Rosturism, and the same day the Board of Directors of JSC “MMC Norilsk Nickel” decided to appoint Strzhalkovsky as the general director of the company.

It was during the period when Strzhalkovsky became Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Cyprus that the accounts of a large number of wealthy Russians abroad were frozen.

Personal Life

Strzhalkovsky’s personal life, including family and interests outside of business and politics

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s personal life extends beyond business and politics, providing insight into his family and personal interests. Here’s what we know:

Family

Wife

Nataliya Ivanovna Strzhalkovskaya is the wife of Vladimir Igorevich Strzhalkovsky. She was born on Aug 26, 1958. She has held several positions throughout her career. From December 1, 2014, to September 4, 2018, she served as a director at “ПОРОШКОВЫЕ КРАСКИ” LLC. Prior to that, from August 4, 2009, to March 19, 2014, she was the CEO of KELPI LLC, and from October 26, 2004, to August 5, 2011, she held the position of CEO at “ТАКТ-СЕРВИС” LLC.

Natalia Strzhalkovskaya has a 30% share in Russian Yachting Ltd. The other two co-owners are Vladimir Loginov, vice president of the All-Russian Sailing Federation, and Dmitry Sokolov, founder of the XXX restaurant chain. Natalia Strzhalkovskaya has a 30% share in Russian Yachting Ltd. The other two co-owners are Vladimir Loginov, vice president of the All-Russian Sailing Federation, and Dmitry Sokolov, founder of the XXX restaurant chain.

Son

Evgeniy Vladimirovich Strzhalkovskiy, also known as René Eugène, Rene Evgeniy, and Strzhalkovskiy Evgeny, was born on January 11, 1980, in St. Petersburg. He is the son of Vladimir Igorevich Strzhalkovsky and a citizen of both Monaco and the Russian Federation, and he holds an Individual Taxpayer Number (ITN) in Russia, specifically 770301412393. He has registered businesses in Monaco, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Cyprus. Additionally, he owns real estate in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is a resident of Monaco.

In his career, he has held various positions, including being the director of Azalium Trading Limited since July 6, 2022. He also served as the head of the Historical Medieval Battle Sports Association Monaco starting on February 15, 2020. Notably, he was the vice president of the board of the МОО СРВИР “ДОБЛЕСТЬ ВЕКОВ” from August 10, 2009, until September 28, 2022. In 2008, he worked as an employee at CJSC “INTERROS Holding Company,” and in 2004, he was an employee at Vnesheconombank USSR.

Evgeniy Strzhalkovskiy has been associated with several legal entities. Notably, he has been a co-owner of THE LEEWARD RUM COMPANY (UK) LIMITED, with a 50.000% share, since December 9, 2021. He was also a co-owner of ООО “ДЖИ ЭМ ЭС” with a 20.000% share and ООО “ДЖИ ЭМ ЭС ДЕНТАЛ” with a 5.000% share from August 13, 2015, until December 13, 2022. He co-founded БФПСМОД “ЖИЗНЬ СЕМЬИ” from June 20, 2012, until December 2, 2016. Additionally, he was a co-founder of МОО СРВИР “ДОБЛЕСТЬ ВЕКОВ” from August 10, 2009. Furthermore, he is the beneficiary of THESAURO PRAETOR SAM, which has the taxpayer’s number 16S07122.

After losing his lawsuit over the alienation of his share in the firm leasing land for a yacht club on Krestovsky Island, Vladimir Loginov, one of the founders of the yacht club, came to an unexpected conclusion. He decided that behind all the troubles was a Moscow entrepreneur Evgeny Strzhalkovsky. And declared the loss of business worth 200,000,000 rubles.

Daughter

STRZHALKOVSKAYA Vanda Vladimirovna, the daughter of Vladimir Igorevich Strzhalkovsky, was born on December 19, 2008.

Vanda Vladimirovna

Legacy and Impact

Strzhalkovsky’s influence on Russia’s business and political landscape

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s impact on Russia’s business and political landscape, especially in corporate governance, mining, and politics, is notable. Here’s an overview of his influence:

  • Corporate Governance
    During his tenure as CEO of Norilsk Nickel, Strzhalkovsky spearheaded efforts to enhance corporate governance. These measures included establishing an independent board of directors and adopting international accounting standards. These changes have significantly improved the company’s operations and reputation.
  • Mining
    Strzhalkovsky’s leadership at Norilsk Nickel led to a substantial increase in the company’s production of nickel, copper, and palladium. This growth has had a profound effect on Russia’s mining industry and its economy.
  • Politics
    Strzhalkovsky’s background as a former KGB agent and his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin have made him a controversial figure in Russian politics. However, there is no concrete evidence of his direct involvement in politics beyond his business endeavors.
  • Business Lobbying and Government Relations
    Business lobbying and government relations in Russia are intricate and often involve “grey” and “dark” areas. Strzhalkovsky’s business activities and his connections to Putin may have granted him influence in these spheres.

Enduring effects of his actions and associations

Here are some of the ways in which Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s actions and associations have left a significant impact:

  1. Increased Scrutiny on Russian Oligarchs:
    • Strzhalkovsky’s close ties to Putin and business connections in Russia have drawn heightened attention to Russian oligarchs and their activities.
    • This scrutiny has contributed to a negative perception of Russian business and politics in the global community.
  2. Escalated Russia-Norway Tensions:
    • The incident involving Strzhalkovsky’s stranded superyacht in Norway, a result of local fuel suppliers’ refusal to refuel it, has exacerbated tensions between Russia and Norway.
    • It underscores the ongoing geopolitical strains between Russia and Western nations.
  3. Impact on Norilsk Nickel:
    • During Strzhalkovsky’s leadership at Norilsk Nickel, the company experienced significant growth in nickel, copper, and palladium production.
    • Nevertheless, allegations of corruption and environmental damage associated with the company have cast a shadow over its reputation and operations.
  4. Negative Perception of Russian Politics:
    • Strzhalkovsky’s background as a former KGB agent and his close ties to Putin have contributed to an unfavorable view of Russian politics on the global stage.
    • This has hindered Russia’s efforts to engage with other countries and further strained relations between Russia and the West.

Luxury Assets of Vladimir Strzhalkovsky

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a wealthy individual with a net worth of $400 million, is renowned for his extravagant lifestyle. This lifestyle encompasses ownership of a lavish residence, a private jet, and a 223-foot (68-meter) yacht named Ragnar, valued at approximately $85 million.

Strzhalkovsky amassed his fortune as the CEO of Norilsk Nickel, where he received a notable payout of $100 million when he stepped down from the position a decade ago. In addition to his business ventures, he has served as Russia’s deputy economics minister and currently holds a position on the board of the Dynamo Moscow football club.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is the owner of a remarkable superyacht known as the Ragnar. Originally constructed in 2012 as an ice-breaking multipurpose supply vessel called the Sanaborg, it underwent a transformation into an explorer yacht in 2017, courtesy of Icon Yachts. Measuring at 68 meters in length, Ragnar offers accommodation for up to 18 guests in nine well-appointed cabins. With a crew of 13, the yacht is powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines combined with Wärtsilä diesel-electric pods, achieving a maximum speed of 12 knots and cruising comfortably at 10 knots. Its impressive range extends to 6,000 nautical miles.

What sets Ragnar apart is its fully certified helipad, capable of hosting an Airbus ACH145 helicopter. The vessel is equipped with a range of recreational amenities, including two Castoldi jet tenders, four jet skis, a three-seater submarine, and a custom-built Ripsaw EV2 amphibious vehicle. Additionally, Ragnar carries four snowmobiles and four quad bikes for adventure enthusiasts.

FAQS

  • Who is Vladimir Strzhalkovsky?

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is a rich Russian businessman who gained recognition as the CEO of Norilsk Nickel.

  • What is Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s net worth?

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky’s net worth is estimated to be $400 million.

  • How did Vladimir Strzhalkovsky amass his wealth?

Strzhalkovsky became wealthy mainly by serving as the CEO of Norilsk Nickel, a significant producer of nickel and palladium.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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