Russian Oligarchs

Melnikov Vladimir: Russian Businessman and Retail Clothing Tycoon

Early Life and Challenges

Melnikov Vladimir, born in 1948 in Belarus, faced early hardships with the loss of his parents during his teenage years. At the age of twelve, he dropped out of school and embarked on a journey marked by unconventional experiences.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Melnikov’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged early, evident in his ventures at just 15 years old when he worked at Rostselmash. His keen insight into the relationship between production location and product pricing started taking shape during this time.

Prison Stints and Survival Lessons

Despite facing imprisonment, including a harrowing night in the taiga where survival was paramount, Melnikov’s resilience and ability to navigate life’s challenges became defining aspects of his character.

Early Business Ventures and Legal Hurdles

Life of Melnikov Vladimir
Life of Melnikov Vladimir

In the 1980s, Melnikov delved into the illegal trade of rare imported goods, facing legal consequences. The era’s entrepreneurial landscape prompted him to initiate a currency network and later transition to legal business operations with the advent of cooperatives in 1986.

Founding Gloria Jeans

Gloria Jeans
Gloria Jeans

In 1988, leveraging the newfound opportunities, Melnikov and his wife founded Gloria Jeans, a denim enterprise. The brand’s name symbolises emerging from the darkness of illegal activity into the light of legality.

Melnikov Vladimir and Gloria Jeans: Details

Gloria Jeans and Melnikov Vladimir
Gloria Jeans and Melnikov Vladimir

Vladimir Melnikov stands as the luminary orchestrator of Gloria Jeans, the preeminent vestiary behemoth in the expanse of Russia. Tethered to a storied legacy spanning a quarter-century, this enterprise has metamorphosed from its embryonic identity as a fabricator and wholesale purveyor into an omnipotent force in the realm of expeditious fashion, headquartered in the urban mosaic of Rostov-on-Don.

Gloria Jeans, under the stewardship of Melnikov, the progenitor, possessor, and helmsman of the directorial ensemble, embarked on its odyssey by meticulously crafting denim artifacts and informal habiliments that transcend the boundaries of age cohorts. Across the temporal expanse, the establishment has concretized its foothold within the vestimentary bazaar of Russia, bestowing a particular focus on the realm of juvenile habiliments. In the contemporary epoch, Gloria Jeans transcends the conventional paradigm of mere nomenclature; it emerges as a vanguard, an arbiter reshaping the panorama of fashion not solely within the confines of Russia but extending its influence far beyond.

Legalization and Growth

The perestroika era allowed the legal expansion of Gloria Jeans, and by 1995, the company was producing 500 thousand products annually, gaining recognition as a market leader according to Rosstat.

Adaptation to Challenges: 2009 Financial Crisis

The global financial crisis in 2009 prompted Melnikov to optimize operations, moving part of the production from Asia to Russia and implementing strategic changes that led to a 21% revenue growth and doubled EBITDA.

Gloria Jeans Today

As of 2023, Gloria Jeans stands as a major player in the clothing, shoes, and accessories market, with a revenue of 47.2 billion rubles in 2020. The company operates 680 stores across Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Leadership Style and Hiring Practices

Melnikov’s leadership style is described as authoritarian and strict, acknowledging its drawbacks. He emphasizes the need for foreign managers due to a perceived lack of suitable domestic candidates and the absence of a proper managerial institution in Russia.

Family and Personal Philosophy

Family plays a crucial role in Melnikov’s life, and he places a strong emphasis on values and principles. His belief in the importance of a competent and correct system is reflected in his approach to business and life.

Continuing Legacy

At 74, Melnikov remains active in his role as the chairman of the board of directors at Gloria Jeans, continually seeking strategic investors to ensure the company’s sustained success beyond his leadership.

Entrepreneurial Tips and Beliefs

Melnikov shares valuable insights for budding entrepreneurs, emphasizing a combination of a passion for work and a solid business model. He stresses the importance of hiring smart individuals, maintaining strong partnerships, and being prepared for unexpected challenges.

Net Worth

Net Worth of Melnikov Vladimir
Net Worth of Melnikov Vladimir

Vladimir Melnikov stands as the progenitor, possessor, and overseer of Gloria Jeans, the preeminent apparel conglomerate in the expanse of Russia. His is estimated to ascend to the zenith of $450 million, propelling him into the echelons of billionaires, according to Forbes. Melnikov’s opulence burgeoned through a triumphant trajectory as a magnate of commerce and a luminary in the realm of retail couture.

Commencing his laborious odyssey at the tender age of 12 within the precincts of Rostselmash, a Russian purveyor of agrarian implements, Melnikov manifested a precocious acumen for industrious pursuits. Subsequently, he embarked on an academic sojourn, gracing the hallowed halls of the Trade Institute, culminating in the acquisition of a laurel-laden degree in commodity science.

The annals of 1988 witnessed the genesis of Gloria Jeans Corporation under Melnikov’s aegis, an entity that burgeoned into the vanguard of expeditious vogue merchandising within the Russian dominion and beyond.


Melnikov Vladimir engages in lucrative sectors that contribute significantly to the Russian Federation’s budget. It is closely associated with the regime responsible for the ongoing war in Ukraine, violating UN regulations. This involvement includes financial support for actions jeopardizing Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence, leading to crimes against humanity and the genocide of the Ukrainian people.


Vladimir Melnikov, born in 1948 in Belarus, faced adversity early in life with the loss of his parents and dropping out of school at 12. His entrepreneurial spirit emerged at 15, working at Rostselmash, and he later navigated illegal trades, imprisonment, and survival challenges. In 1988, he founded Gloria Jeans, symbolizing a transition from darkness to legality.

Under Melnikov’s leadership, Gloria Jeans evolved into a fashion powerhouse, legalizing during perestroika and weathering the 2009 financial crisis through strategic changes. As of 2023, the company operates 680 stores with a revenue of 47.2 billion rubles.

Melnikov’s leadership style, described as authoritarian, emphasizes family, values, and a competent system. At 74, he remains active in Gloria Jeans and shares entrepreneurial insights. His net worth, estimated at $450 million, reflects his success in retail.

However, Melnikov’s involvement in sectors contributing to the Russian budget, associated with actions violating UN regulations in Ukraine, raises ethical concerns. Despite this, his life journey stands as a testament to resilience and adaptability, offering inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris - The Digital Bloodhound Alexander isn't your typical investigative journalist. He thrives in the digital world, scouring the web for hidden connections and leaked documents. An expert data analyst and coder, he builds intricate digital trails to expose fraud, cybercrime, and government overreach. Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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