Russian Oligarchs

Vladimir Yakunin : A Thrilling Russian Oligarch Biography [2023]

Who Is Vladimir Yakunin ?

Vladimir Yakunin OR Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin (full name ) is a Russian Oligarch / businessman and close Vladimir Putin confidant. He was born on June 30, 1948, in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia. Yakunin has held a number of high-profile positions in the Russian government and business world, including president of Russian Railways from 2005 to 2015. He is also a co-founder of the Ozero cooperative, a dacha community that is said to be a favorite of Putin and other Russian oligarchs.

Yakunin is a controversial figure. He has been accused of corruption and cronyism, and he has been a vocal supporter of Putin’s authoritarian policies. In 2014, Yakunin was placed on the US sanctions list in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Despite his controversial reputation, Yakunin remains a powerful figure in Russia. He is a close ally of Putin, and he is said to have significant influence over the Russian economy.

Vladimir Yakunin Biography : Early Life and Career

Vladimir Yakunin was born in the city of Melenki in the Vladimir region on June 30, 1948.

Vladimir is tThe son of a military pilot, he was brought up in Estonia, studied in St Petersburg.

Vladimir Yakunin, earned a degree in aircraft manufacturing from the Leningrad Mechanical Institute (Voenmekh) in 1972. He then worked in the design and maintenance of long-range ballistic missiles.

In his book, Vladimir Yakunin mentioned that he was an officer of the KGB for 22 years, working in the scientific and technical department of its First Main Directorate, which was engaged in espionage and sabotage outside the USSR. He later served as the secretary of the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the UN in New York from 1985 to 1991.

Vladimir Yakunin returned to Russia in February 1991 and became the head of the board of the International Center for Business Cooperation in St. Petersburg. Around this time, he met Vladimir Putin and co-founded the Lake (Ozero) Dacha cooperative with Putin and his friends. In 1997, Putin moved to Moscow to head the Main Control Directorate (GKU) in the presidential administration, and Yakunin was soon appointed head of the GKU’s northwestern branch.

Vladimir Yakunin moved to Moscow in 2000 after Putin came to power and became the Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation. He then served as Deputy Minister of Railways of Russia until the ministry was abolished in 2004. In 2005, he was appointed Vice President of Russian Railways, a newly created state corporation that took over many of the functions of the former ministry.

On June 14, 2005, Vladimir Yakunin was appointed President of Russian Railways, the largest railway company in Eurasia. In 2008, he also became President of the Armenian South Caucasus Railway (SCR), which was completely dependent on Russian Railways. The SCR was involved in several corruption scandals, including tax evasion, embezzlement, and non-fulfillment of obligations to develop its infrastructure.

Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund began investigating corruption at Russian Railways in 2013. Their investigations exposed a number of schemes in which Yakunin and his associates allegedly misappropriated billions of rubles from the company. For example, one investigation found that Yakunin had used company funds to build a lavish mansion in the Moscow Region.

Navalny’s investigations caused a public outcry and put pressure on the Kremlin to take action. In 2015, Yakunin was dismissed from his position as President of Russian Railways. It is widely believed that his dismissal was due to the corruption scandals that had been exposed by Navalny and his team.

Yakunin has denied any wrongdoing, but he has never been able to fully explain the source of his wealth. He has also been accused of using his position at Russian Railways to enrich his family and friends.

Vladimir Yakunin Honours and awards

Order For Merit to the Fatherland, 4th class (June 16, 2008), for his outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport
Order of Honour (August 10, 2006), for his outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport
Medal «For the Development of Railways» (October 22, 2007) — for outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport
Medal for Battle Merit (USSR)
Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (June 14, 2002)
Russian Railways’s Honorary Railwayman Badge (USSR)
Order «For Services to Altai Krai,” 1st class (September 25, 2009), for outstanding contribution to the socioeconomic development of the Altai Territory
Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria (Austria, 2011)
Order «Danaker» (Kyrgyzstan, June 21, 2006) for his outstanding contribution to the development of economic relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation
Order of Friendship (Azerbaijan, 2009) — for his outstanding contribution to the strengthening of cooperation and mutual relations between Azerbaijan and Russia
Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy, June 9, 2011) for contributing to the development of cultural, economic, and political relations between Russia and Italy
Order of Merit (Armenia) for significant contributions to the strengthening and development of cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation
Order of Al-Fahr, 1st class (Council of Muftis of Russia, 2008), for significant contributions to the development and strengthening of the idea of a dialogue of civilizations, and spreading the ideals of peaceful coexistence of peoples and religious traditions, as well as on the occasion of his 60th birthday
Order of the Holy Sepulchre (Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, 2004) for his outstanding contribution to the dialogue of civilizations and peoples and the Pan-Orthodox prayer «Pray for peace in Jerusalem»
Spain’s Order for Civil Merit in the Grand Cross Class (August 9, 2012) for outstanding achievements in strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and Spain
Gold Medal of the association La Renaissance Francaise (June 25, 2012) for contributing to the development and consolidation of relations between France and Russia
Commander of the Order of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Antiochian Orthodox Church, 2010) — for his work for the Orthodox Church
Order of St. Innocent, 2nd class (Orthodox Church in America, 2010)
Certificate of Honour of the Russian Federation (June 30, 2008) for his great personal contribution to the efficient operation of rail transport
Medal Paul Melnikov (Russian Ministry of Transport, 2005) — for his great personal contribution to the development of Russia’s transport infrastructure
Medal «For assistance in Providing Special Programmes» (GUSP, 2009) — for the good organization of work on the implementation of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, «The Mobilization of the Russian Federation»
Medal «90 years of the Transport Police» (Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety, 2009) for a significant contribution to the protection of public order, marking the 90th anniversary of the formation of transportationthe Interior Ministry’s Transport Police
International Prize awarded by the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called «For Faith and Loyalty» (2000) — for his significant contribution to the formation of the Russian national identity and to the creation of the Centre of National Glory
Award For Public Work Towards the Common Good, from the British organisation Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative
Laureate of a Russian Government prize in science and technology
France’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honour
The Order of Dostyk (Friendship) 2-nd class, Kazakhstan’s highest award
The Stolypin Medal, First Degree1

Vladimir Yakunin Family : Wife And Two Sons

Vladimir Yakunin married Natalia Viktorovna Yakunina (AKA Natalia Yakunina ). Natalia Viktorovna Yakunina is chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the “Sanctity of Motherhood” program and board member of the Istoki Endowment Fund She also chairs the St Andrew the First-Called Foundation .

They have two sons Andrey Vladimirovich Yakunin ( Born : April 5, 1975 ) and Viktor Vladimirovich Yakunin ( Born : June 16, 1979 ) .

Vladimir Yakunin Family : Wife Natalia  And Two Sons ( Andrey & Viktor )
Vladimir Yakunin Family : Wife Natalia And Two Sons ( Andrey & Viktor )

He has also published a book called Treacherous Path with London-based publishers Biteback.

The Treacherous Path by Vladimir Yakunin
Treacherous Path 

Andrey Vladimirovich Yakunin : Elder Son Of Vladimir Yakunin

Andrey Vladimirovich Yakunin was born on April 5, 1975 . Andrey Yakunin has a doctorate in Finance and Credit from St. Petersburg State University, a master’s degree in Economics and Mathematics, and an Executive Master of Business Administration from London Business School and Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is also an associate professor of economics at St. Petersburg State University.

Andrey Vladimirovich Yakunin
Andrey Vladimirovich Yakunin

He has British citizenship and citizenship of the Russian Federation.

Andrey Yakunin, who founded the private equity firm Venture Investments and Yield Management (VIYM) in London in 2006, resigned as its CEO and majority owner in March 2021. In 2020, VIYM’s investments in Russia were estimated to be worth $300 million.

The company has an extensive range of investments listed on its website including:

  • A luxury hotel in the centre of St Petersburg that was the first of the prominent Four Seasons franchise to open in Russia.
  • A luxury cottage village near St Petersburg on the shore of the Gulf of Finland that boasts 52 houses and a landscaped park.
  • The Radisson Blu Royal Palace Hotel in Vienna.
  • The Hard Rock Hotel in Davos, a Swiss ski resort that hosts an influential annual gathering of world leaders and business people.
  • A full-scale reconstruction of a medieval estate in Umbria, southern Italy.

Andrey Yakunin purchased a mansion on West Heath Road in Hampstead through his company, Diamondrock, using a £4.5 million loan from EFG Private Bank. He also ran a UK-based venture capital firm and owned a property on Acacia Road in St John’s Wood through another company, Terphos Financial Corporation. This property sold for nearly £18 million in 2021.

He has also published a book called Treacherous Path with London-based publishers Biteback.

Norwegian Police Detained Andrey Yakunin For Drone Flying in 2022

Andrey Yakunin, 47, was arrested in Norway’s Arctic region in October 2022 for flying two drones while sailing the Svalbard archipelago along the Norwegian coast. Norwegian laws prohibit aircraft operated by Russian citizens and companies on Norwegian territory.

Prosecutors sought four months in prison for Andrei Yakunin. But Norwegian court , The Nord-Troms and Senja District Court acquitted Andrei Yakunin and decided on December 7 that flying a hobby drone is not covered by the ban.

In June 2023, the Supreme Court of Norway canceled the acquittal of Andrei Yakunin, who was found not guilty in December of violating a Norwegian law that bars Russian citizens from flying drones in the country. The Supreme Court ruled that the flight ban for Russian nationals includes drone flights and sent the case back to the district court in Tromso.

Viktor Vladimirovich Yakunin : Younger Son Of Vladimir Yakunin

Viktor Vladimirovich Yakunin was born on June 16, 1979 . Viktor holds dual Russian-Cypriot citizenship. Viktor graduated from the Faculty of Law of St. Petersburg State University. In the late 90s and early 2000s Viktor worked as a lawyer in the Russian divisions of Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young.

Viktor Vladimirovich Yakunin
Viktor Vladimirovich Yakunin

From 2004 to 2008, Viktor Yakunin worked in the Geneva office of Gunvor, a trading company that specializes in the sale of Russian oil. At least from 2008 to 2010, he was involved in legal issues related to the construction of an oil export terminal at the port of Ust-Luga by Rosneftbunker, a subsidiary of Gunvor.

From 2011 to 2013, Yakunin worked as a co-director of the Samara Bearing Plant, one of Russia’s two manufacturers of large-sized bearings. He also headed the infrastructure investment department at his older brother’s company, Venture Investments & Yield Management (VIYM), and managed its Russian division, VI Management LLC. In 2012, VIYM acquired a stake of about 20% in SDRs.

He married Darina Vladimirovna Yakunin ( Born : Oct. 9, 1982 as Darina Ferbikova ). They have a daughter named Polina. Darina had founded her own publishing house of children’s books, Polyandria ( named after her Daughter Polina) . The bookstore closed on March 21,2022.

 Darina Vladimirovna Yakunin
Darina Vladimirovna Yakunin

2010 Political Scandal in Estonia By Yakunin Vladimir ?

On 21 December 2010, Estonia’s counterintelligence agency KAPO declassified information showing that Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin offered Tallinn’s mayor 1.5 million euros to support his political party in Estonia’s parliamentary elections.

The police warned Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar that the deal with Vladimir Yakunin could compromise himself and risk national security, so the deal was abandoned. Savisaar said that he was seeking funding to build an Orthodox church in Tallinn, according to a statement on his party’s website. Yakunin grew up in Estonia and is a prominent Orthodox believer.

FAQs on Vladimir Yakunin

Q: Who is Vladimir Yakunin?

A: Vladimir Yakunin is a Russian businessman and former public official. He served as president of Russian Railways from 2005 to 2015. He is also a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Q: What is Yakunin’s net worth?

A: Yakunin’s net worth is estimated to be around $1 billion. He is one of the wealthiest people in Russia.

Q: What is Yakunin’s political affiliation?

A: Yakunin is a member of the United Russia party, which is the ruling party in Russia. He is also a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Q: What are some of Yakunin’s business interests?

A: Yakunin has a wide range of business interests, including transportation, energy, and real estate. He is also the founder of the think tank DOC Research Institute.

Q: What are some of the controversies surrounding Yakunin?

A: Yakunin has been accused of corruption and cronyism. He has also been criticized for his close ties to Putin.

Q: Is Yakunin subject to sanctions?

A: Yes, Yakunin is subject to sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

Q: Where does Yakunin currently live?

A: Yakunin currently lives in Switzerland.

Q: What is Yakunin’s educational background?

A: Yakunin has a Ph.D. in Finance and Credit from St. Petersburg State University. He also holds an MA degree in Economics and Mathematics and an Executive Master of Business Administration from London Business School and Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Q: What are Yakunin’s hobbies and interests?

A: Yakunin is interested in history, economics, and religion. He is also a keen hunter and fisherman.

Q: What is Yakunin’s legacy?

A: Yakunin is a controversial figure, but there is no doubt that he is one of the most influential people in Russia. He played a key role in the modernization of Russian Railways and has amassed a vast business empire. He is also a close ally of Putin and has been involved in a number of high-profile political scandals.

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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