Boris Berezovsky

Boris Berezovsky

Boris Berezovsky is a Russian businessman, government official and former mathematician. He was among the ‘oligarchs’ who acquired their wealth from the unruly years of the USSR and used it to form political power in the new Russia.

Berezovsky was born on 23rd January 1946 in Moscow, Russia. His father was a builder and mother was a nurse but they made sure that their only son got the best education. Berezovsky studied computer science and electronics and finished his post graduate studies in 1975. In 1983 he received his doctorate in the decision making theory. After that he got a job at the institute of the Academy of Sciences of USSR where he worked on information management. He became a corresponding member of the academy in 1991.

Berezovsky established his business during the final years of the Soviet Union. The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev made small-scale private enterprise legal, which allowed the Soviet businessmen to privatize the lucrative parts of their business. It also permitted them to exploit the gap between the controlled prices decided by the State and the prices of Soviet produced goods. Berezovsky epitomized these ‘new’ Russians. At the time he was a consultant at AvtoVaz, Inc. which was the biggest Soviet car producer. Berezovsky used his contacts from AvtoVaz to form his own capitalist car dealership by the name of LogoVaz. He purchased cars on the prices set by the state and sold them at much higher prices. He got so much profit from this that he started another ventures in oil and banking. He had a strong relationship with the president’s body guard and daughter and he used it to enter Kremlin. Consequently he also got financial control over Aeroflot (the former Soviet state airline) and ORT the Russian Public Television.

Boris Berezovsky assisted Yeltsin to get re-elected as President for which he was heavily compensated with political appointments. In 1996, he was appointed as the secretary of the Security Council and two years later as executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Berezovsky also supported Vladimir Putin. After the resignation of the president, Berezovsky became one of the most powerful men of Russia. But after Putin came to power, he felt a conflict in their interests as Putin promised to ‘liquidate the oligarchs as a class’. Berezovsky decided to form an opposition but none of his efforts seemed to work and he was soon banished from the Kremlin inner circles.   In December 2000 he declared that he was going to start a multi-million dollar foundation that would encourage judicial reform and help the expansion of civil society in Russia.

During his exile, Berezovsky continued to speak against the Russian government. It is reported that he even gave a large sum to the opposition to help them overthrow Putin. There were several charges against him and eventually the government demanded for his arrest. He was given refuge by the British government in 2003. He was tried by a Russian court in absentia and was found guilty of larceny from Aeroflot.