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AmChams Alexis Rodziankos Russian Ties

Published: February 19, 2014 (Issue # 1798)



  • When not busy promoting U.S. commerce, Rodzianko explores his roots.
    Photo: Pascal Dumont / For SPT

A descendant of tsarist Russias highest elected official, U.S.-born banker Alexis Rodzianko began speaking Russian before English.

His mastery of Russian and curiosity about his familys former homeland eventually brought him to Moscow, where he built a stellar career over the following 18 years. His work in Russia included heading the local branches of JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank where he even experienced first-hand some high-pressure tactics related to the Yukos case.

The son of Russian migrants to the U.S. has most recently taken up the job of promoting U.S. business interests here as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, or AmCham.

But it is not only deals that have kept him here so long: A longtime polo player, he also has a responsibility for his numerous horses.

I have gotten involved in a hobby that requires a lot of attention, money and time, he said. I own quite a few horses. That means I cannot leave them without feeding them; that means I have to hire the people to take care of them, I have to supervise them.

That hobby is something that provided a common ground for Rodzianko and billionaire Oleg Deripaska. A project by Deripaska to build a golf and polo club in the village of Tseleevo north of Moscow stuttered following the 2008 economic crisis, with only the golf course completed. Rodzianko agreed to finish the polo fields and the stables in exchange for a 10-year lease.

One of the most important representatives of the U.S. in Russia also passes his leisure time exploring his familys history. Among the 62-year-olds best-known ancestors is his great-grandfather Mikhail Rodzianko, chairman of the Russian Empires State Duma from 1911 to 1917. Another senior official in the family tree was Russias governor-general of Poland in the 19th century, Pavel Shuvalov, a relative on his mothers side. It still remains to be researched whether Rodzianko and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov share the same kin.

The new AmCham president sat down with The St. Petersburg Times, soon after his appointment, to talk about his life experience.

Q: Why did you come to Russia and why have you stayed?

A: I first came to Russia for two-week stints back in the mid-1970s as an interpreter with a group of U.S. scientists and engineers during the early days of detente when the Soviet Union and the U.S. started trying to be friends by exchanging delegations in various fields. I worked with delegations on education and training, irrigation and drainage, and oil and gas.

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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