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Undisclosed Facts About Vladimir Potanin’s Life




Many people knew Vladimir Potanin as part of the “Putin List” or the individuals who are closely associated with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. And are allegedly involved in compromising the 2017 US Presidential election. But not a lot of people knew about his philanthropic work and how his programs made a difference in Russia’s economy. This article highlights the side of Vladimir Potanin in which mainstream media does not include.

Who Is Vladimir Potanin?

Vladimir Potanin was born in Moscow, Russia on January 3, 1961, into a high-ranking communist family. He was born when Russia was still known as the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic) wherein communism was the type of government that governed the country. His father worked in the Soviet Union’s Ministry of Foreign Trade as a senior official during that time. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1983 with a degree in International Economics.

Potanin’s first marriage was to Natalia Potanina, with whom he has three children. Unfortunately, the couple divorced in 2016 after a billion-dollar lawsuit wherein the divorce settlement included a monthly allowance of $250,000 as well as real estate in Moscow, London, and New York. Now, Potanin is married the second time, to Ekaterina. He is is a very intelligent man and is fluent in many languages including English, and French.

Entrepreneurial Works

Shortly after graduation, he followed in his father’s footsteps and began his career by working at the USSR’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, where he worked until 1990. During the perestroika, which is mostly associated with Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev wherein he began to reform the Russian government and made economic changes to make Russia more open to capitalist opportunities, Vladimir Potanin quit this job in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, and in 1991, he created the private association Interros which is one of the largest private investment companies in Russia. By 1995, Potanin expanded his business interests by buying significant shares of Unexim Bank, MFK bank, Norilsk Nickel, Solglasie, and Interoos Dostoinstvo, two financial services companies, IR Leasing. He was also involved in industrial types of equipment Sidanko, an oil company, and North-Western Shipping Company. In 2007, Interros was valued at $30 billion, making it one of the largest holding companies in Russia today. In 1993, after significant investments, he became the President of UNEXIM Bank and Chairman of the Board at MFK bank. By 1998, Unexim Bank was the fifth-largest bank in Eastern Europe but now it is restructured to form Rosbank. Interros bought a major stake in Norilsk Nickel, the largest producer of palladium and nickel, the fourth-largest producer of platinum, and among the largest copper producers in the world. In 2013, it had revenues of $11.5 billion.

Political Work

From August 14, 1996, to March 17, 1997, he served as the first deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation under Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, and he was in charge of the country’s economic issues. During his time in office, Potanin headed twenty or so federal, governmental, and inter-agency commissions. While working in government, he was also Russia’s Governor at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). In 1995, Potanin was instrumental in the creation of the “loans for shares” auctions that became a fundamental pillar of Russia’s post-Soviet economic reform. The auctions allowed the selling-off of Russian firms’ assets at below-market prices in exchange for stakes at state-owned companies. Additionally, this event was regarded as the founding moment of Russia’s oligarchy which influences Russia’s government even today.


Early in his career, Potanin had already focused on his philanthropic activities. In 1999, he founded the Vladimir Potanin Foundation which gives grants to teachers, students, and museums for academic accomplishments. He has also contributed millions to the Guggenheim Foundation, Moscow State Institute of International relations, and the Russian Olympic Foundation. He built the Rosa Khutor skiing facility for the Olympics. Further, Potanin is the only Russian to have signed The Giving Pledge, with a promise to donate at least half of his wealth to charity. He is even active in helping the Eastern Orthodox Church in their missionary work and other financial responsibilities.

These benevolent activities do not reach mainstream media. We often attribute our impressions to people based on what they are known for or what we see on our televisions. Although this might be true in some cases, most of the time we perceive these people negatively. Nowadays, it is important to know that the bad deeds of people do not make them who they are.

3 Tips From Vladimir Potanin

“BE HUMBLE. “It is not good to demonstrate your luxury and your wealth: to rub it in the faces of others is insulting. So you should be modest; try not to insult people by showing that you can do what they cannot.”

“BE DOWN TO EARTH. “It is not so much that I am a blue-blooded oligarch: I just don’t feel like an oligarch.”

“BE HONEST. “There are ways of fighting for your interests. I never do something in business that I wouldn’t do in life.”

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