Alisher Usmanov Biography

(Russian Businessman and Oligarch)

Birthday: September 9, 1953 (Virgo)

Born In: Chust, Uzbekistan

Alisher Usmanov, is a Russian magnate with an approximate net worth of US$15.1 billion in 2017, according to ‘Forbes.’ He is also touted to be the richest Russian, and a few years back had claimed the 2nd spot in the list of Top 10 wealthiest persons in the UK. Usmanov is a self-established billionaire who started out with selling plastic bags, stockpiling a neat fortune, and then went on to increase his assets manifold by leveraging his investments in several infrastructure corporations. He invested his earnings in mining, lumber, and electrometallurgical companies, and later on acquired stakes in businesses involving publishing, mobile telephony, broadband services, and so on. He has also bought stakes in Arsenal FC and Everton FC, frontline EPL soccer clubs, and is the owner of ‘Kommersant’-a mainstream daily newspaper published from Russia. He has invested heavily in Russia’s largest internet company group as well as in leading automated social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter. Usmanov owns stakes in international technology behemoths like Alibaba, AirBnB, Groupon, ZocDoc, and Zynga. He is a Muslim by faith and happily married to his Jewish love, Irina Viner, a champion Uzbek gymnast, and chief of Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation of Russia.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov

Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Irina Viner-Usmanova (m. 1992)

siblings: Bakhodir Usmanov

Born Country: Uzbekistan

Billionaires Russian Men

Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males

Notable Alumni: Financial University Under The Government Of The Russian Federation, Moscow Institute Of International Relations

More Facts

education: Moscow Institute Of International Relations, Financial University Under The Government Of The Russian Federation

awards: Order of Honour

Childhood & Early Life
Alisher Usmanov was born on 9th September 1953 in Chust hamlet that fell under Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan which was once a confederate state of the erstwhile USSR. His father served as a public prosecutor in the Uzbekistan capital, Tashkent where he spent his early years.
As a youngster, he was instinctively drawn towards fencing and went on to excel in the sporting discipline, though his portly form might belie the fact he was once a champion fencer. Nursing ambitions of becoming a diplomat, he relocated to Moscow during his youth and attended the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.
The ‘MSIIR’ was once a celebrated university reputed for producing extraordinarily regimented candidates for unquestioningly serving the totalitarian communist regimes in USSR. Alisher earned his graduation in ‘international law’ from the institution in 1976 and moved back to Tashkent to join as Director of the Soviet Peace Committee’s ‘Foreign Economic Association’.
It was while studying at MSIIR that he built numerous strategic associations, some of which he exploited later on to lay the foundations for a scintillating professional career. Usmanov has admitted to having taken advantage of his high-profile connections with KGB members for furthering his empire building designs.
Alisher Usmanov was once arrested for fraud regarding socialist property in ‘Soviet Socialist Republic of Uzbek’ in 1980 and awarded a jail sentence of eight years; however, he was set free two years early. The Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, following the disintegration of USSR, overruled the original verdict, interjecting that the conviction was “unjust and…….that evidence was fabricated”.
Craig Murray, who once served as Britain’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, had mentioned in his website that Alisher had also been charged with rape. The Schillings law firm, based in London that represented Usmanov, pressurized the internet service provider hosting Craig’s site into not only removing the blog post but also deactivating the portal.
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The Meteoric Rise
By the time Alisher Usmanov was released from incarceration, Russia was unwittingly caught in the paroxysms of the twin forces of ‘glasnost’ (openness) and ‘perestroika’ (restructuring). He found himself back in the Russian capital, finalizing plans for establishing a plastic bag manufacturing firm in partnership with a KGB official.
By the time Alisher Usmanov was released from incarceration, Russia was unwittingly caught in the paroxysms of the twin forces of ‘glasnost’ (openness) and ‘perestroika’ (restructuring). He found himself back in the Russian capital, finalizing plans for establishing a plastic bag manufacturing firm in partnership with a KGB official.
He pooled all his accumulated assets to buy stakes in mining, steel, natural gas, timber, and electrometallurgical businesses. He founded the mining and metallurgy enterprise, ‘Metalloinvest’ by partnering with Vasiliy Anisimov and used it as a front company for overseeing his stakes in the metal sector.
Alisher Usmanov also created a trust company—USM Holdings—for monitoring his interests as an independent investo in iron and steel, mining and metallurgical, media, online technology, and pharmaceutical segments. Through ‘Metalloinvest’, he manages stakes in Ural Scrap Company, Ural Steel Mills, Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant, Mikhailovsky GOK, and Lebendinsky GOK.
Usmanov is a part owner of Norilsk Nickel, world’s leading producer of palladium and nickel and Nautilus Minerals. He fully owns the Baikal Mining Company that is involved in mining and extracting copper from one of the largest reserves in the world- Udokan Mine.
From 2006, he began investing in Australian mining firms, including Aztec Resources, Mt. Gibson, and Medusa via USM Holdings. Later on, he acquired a controlling stake in another Australian mining conglomerate, Strike Resources that was licensed to mine iron ore from a mine in Peru.
Digital Sky Technologies, renamed ‘ Group’, in which Usmanov has a significant stake, bought a 1.96% stake in Facebook by paying US$200 million in 2009. Thereafter, picked up stakes in other globally recognized internet technology companies and automated social media platforms like 360buy, Alibaba, ZocDoc, AirBnB, and Twitter.
His investments in the immensely popular networking site, Facebook and the e-commerce giant, turned out to be hugely propitious for him as the valuation of the stocks increased manifold. Emboldened by his unprecedented run of luck and success, he risked investing in Xiaomi—an unheard of Chinese smartphone manufacturer.
Usmanov was enormously enthusiastic about casting his investment net as widely as he could and make his multibillion dollar business as global as possible. At one time, he sincerely considered staking a significant proportion of his assets in India’s IT sector which was regarded as the world’s largest software hub.
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He has a 56% stake in MegaFon, the 3rd largest landline and the 2nd largest mobile telephony company in Russia. He sits on the board of ‘Gazprom Invest Holdings’—the holding firm of Gazprom, Russia’s largest natural gas extraction and marketing company as well as the biggest firm in terms of revenue.
As the General Director of Gazprom Invest Holdings, he transformed Gazprom into a profit-making public enterprise, retrieving majority of its resources and assets. His investments in the media industry which started in 2006 peaked with the buying out of Kommersant—a national daily.
He purchased majority stakes in ‘7TV’, a sports TV channel and MUZ-TV, a music TV channel in 2006 and 2007 respectively. He also co-owns UTH—a media trust company that owns 51% stake in Disney Russia and full stakes in U and MUZ-TV channels.
Straddling the World of Sports like a Colossus
Alisher Usmanov took the sporting realm by storm in August 2007 when he acquired a 14.58% stake in Arsenal FC—an English soccer club based in Highbury, London. He and his business associate Farhad Moshiri invested a whopping £75 million to purchase the stake. A trust subsidiary, ‘Red and White Holdings’ was incorporated to fulfill the purchase formalities.
Within one month, Alisher’s ‘Red and White Holdings’ had augmented its stake in Arsenal FC to 23%. By the end of 2013, he held more than 30% of Arsenal FC’s shares.
Alisher helmed the Russian Fencing Federation as its president for eight years and was also the president of the ‘European Fencing Confederation’ from 2005-2009. He was voted the president of the ‘International Fencing Federation’ in the conclave at Paris in 2008.
Philanthropic Pursuits
Alisher Usmanov has donated generously to several fencing bodies, including the Russian Fencing Federation, through his ‘International Charity Fund for the Future of Fencing’.
He founded the “Art, Science, and Sport” Charity Fund in collaboration with the London-based art gallery, ‘Tate Britain’ and arranged a string of exhibitions, including the Turner Exhibition in 2013.
He serves as a trustee of the ‘Russian Geographical Society’, ‘National Research University Higher School of Economics’, European University, St. Petersburg, and the ‘Moscow State Institute of International Relations’.

Awards & Honors
Alisher Usmanov was honored with the ‘Medal of Honor of Russia’ in 2004, and was bestowed with the ‘Order of Friendship of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2011.
He received the ‘Order for Service to the Fatherland IV class’ in 2013 and awarded the ‘Order of Alexander Nevsky’ in 2014 in acknowledgment of his charitable and community services.
Personal Life
Alisher Usmanov had befriended Irina Viner, a rhythmic gymnastics trainer, in his youth. Years later, they rekindled their friendship and married in 1992. The couple does not have any children of their own but are parents to a son from Irina’s earlier marriage.
He owns several plush homes, including a Tudor mansion in the countryside of Surrey. He also has a Beechwood House set in a sprawling 11-acre property in Highgate, a suburb of London.

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