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Putins Former Supervisor Mines a Fortune in Shares

Published: April 6, 2011 (Issue # 1650)



  • Vladimir Litvinenko, rector of the St. Petersburg Mining Institute, is worth an estimated $350 million to $450 million.
    Photo: Vedomosti

Vladimir Litvinenko is awell-connected man.

Therector ofthe St. Petersburg Mining Institute oversaw Vladimir Putins dissertation, which in1996 earned thecurrent prime minister adoctorate ineconomics.

Last year, Litvinenko became chairman ofthe board ofPhosAgro, thecountrys largest producer ofphosphate-based fertilizers.

Now he is amultimillionaire, worth anestimated $350 million to$450 million after aninvestor prospectus filed byPhosAgro last week showed he holds 5 percent ofthe companys shares.

Thefortune is raising eyebrows because Litvinenko, who has headed thestate mining institute since 1994, was not previously known as abusinessman. Litvinenkos apparently rapid rise toriches speaks volumes ina country where who you know can be as important as what you know if not more so.

Litvinenko seems toowe his luck tobeing theright man inthe right place atthe right time.

He is anexpert inthat sector, andhe has direct links with Vladimir Putin what more can you ask for? said Georgy Ivanin, asenior analyst with Alfa Bank.

Asked how Litvinenko became ashareholder, PhosAgro spokesman Timur Belov said bytelephone that thecompany has apolicy ofnot commenting onits shareholders beyond what is published officially.

Themining institute did not reply towritten questions sent toLitvinenkos office last week. One ofhis aides, who identified himself only byhis first name andpatronymic, Viktor Mikhailovich, said bytelephone that theinstitutes press service would look intothe questions.

Litvinenko has proved his political allegiance toPutin more than once. In2000 and2004, he headed theSt. Petersburg campaign team forPutins election as president.

His role insupervising Putins doctorate has been questioned since 2006, when Clifford Gaddy, ascholar atthe Brookings Institution inWashington, demonstrated that key parts ofthe dissertation, which discusses resources planning inSt. Petersburg andthe neighboring Leningrad Oblast, appeared tohave been plagiarized froma 1978 U.S. business school textbook.

Litvinenko has denied theallegations ofplagiarism, andPutins spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TheSt. Petersburg Times that they were slanderous.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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