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Evgeny Alexandrovich Lebedev (Russian: Евгений Александрович Лебедев, pronounced [jɪvˈɡʲenʲɪj ˈlʲebʲɪdʲɪv]; born 8 May 1980) is the Russian British owner of Lebedev Holdings Ltd, which owns the Evening Standard, The Independent and the TV channel, London Live. He is also a journalist, supporter of the arts and charity campaigner.

Evgeny Lebedev
Evgeny Lebedev
Evgeny Alexandrovich Lebedev

(1980-05-08) 8 May 1980 (age 39)
Moscow, Soviet Union
ResidenceLondon, England
EducationHolland Park School
Mill Hill School
Parent(s)Alexander Lebedev
Natalia Vladimirovna Sokolova
RelativesVladimir Sokolov (grandfather)

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Moscow, Lebedev is the son of Alexander Lebedev, a former spy for the KGB and later its successor the FSB, and his first wife Natalia Sokolova. He moved to London at the age of eight, when his father began working for the KGB. His father was in the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, where he worked until 1992. In London, he had the diplomatic cover of an economic attaché.[2]

Lebedev attended St Barnabas and St Philip's Church of England Primary School in Kensington, followed by Holland Park comprehensive and Mill Hill boarding school. He then went on to study the history of art at Christie's in London. He has lived in the UK ever since, and became a British citizen (with dual nationality) in 2010.[1]

His maternal grandfather Vladimir Sokolov was a scientist, and a member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, later the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Media interestsEdit

On 21 January 2009, Evgeny and Alexander Lebedev bought a 65% share in the Evening Standard newspaper.[3] The previous owners, Daily Mail and General Trust plc, continue to hold 24.9% of the company.[4] Under the Lebedevs' ownership, the Evening Standard became a free newspaper in October 2009, and confounded industry observers by moving from large losses to become profitable. Circulation tripled immediately to 700,000.[5] In January 2014, the circulation was increased to 900,000, and the paper now has a readership of more than 2 million people in London.

On 25 March 2010, just weeks before it was due to close, Lebedev bought The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. On 26 October 2010, the i newspaper was launched, the first national daily newspaper to be launched in the UK since The Independent in 1986, at a time of falling newspaper circulations and title closures worldwide.[6]

The i was named National Newspaper of the Year in 2015.

In 2011 he launched The Journalism Foundation, to promote "free and independent journalism throughout the world", although it was closed down after a year.[7]

The papers have been described as "progressive" in The New York Times.[8] In 2013, Amol Rajan became editor of The Independent, making him the second non-white editor of a national newspaper. Two of the other editors have been women: Sarah Sands preceding George Osborne at the Evening Standard, and Lisa Markwell of The Independent on Sunday. Some of the editors in Lebedev's newspaper group are unusually young; Rajan and the i editor, Oliver Duff, are both in their early thirties.

In February 2016, it was announcedby whom? that Independent Press Ltd had reached an agreement to sell the i to Johnston Press, and that The Independent would become digital-only from March 2016.

The 2019 sale of a 30% stake in the newspapers to a Saudi straw man led to an official government investigation.[9]

International journalismEdit

Lebedev travels widely as a journalist and has interviewed global leaders including Hamid Karzai, Ismail Haniyeh, Mikhail Gorbachev and Alexander Lukashenko.

In 2013 he interviewed the Ku Klux Klan at their Arkansas headquarters, while in 2014 he investigated the drug wars in Mexico.[10] In 2015 he visited Gabon, to write on the fate of the African forest elephant. These projects and others have produced a series of articles and broadcasts in Vanity Fair, The New Statesman, GQ, Vogue, The Guardian, the BBC and elsewhere.

Charity workEdit

Lebedev is the chairman of the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, which was founded with Mikhail Gorbachev in 2006, to help children with cancer.

He is the patron of the Evening Standard's Dispossessed Fund, which helps to address poverty in London, and has raised over £13m since its launch in 2010.[11]

Lebedev has spearheaded a number of campaigns and fundraising appeals run by the Evening Standard and The Independent, including the Homeless Veterans Campaign in 2014; the Space for Giants Elephant Campaign in 2013; and the Child Soldiers campaign in 2012. In 2015, the Great Ormond Street Christmas campaign raised more than £3.5 million, making it the most successful Christmas appeal in the history of The Independent.

Lebedev is now a patron for Space for Giants, an international conservation charity. In 2015, he worked with Space for Giants to launch the Giants Club initiative, which unites leaders of African states and heads of businesses to save Africa's remaining elephant population.

Other business interestsEdit

Lebedev co-owns The Grapes pub by the Thames in Limehouse, London along with Ian McKellen and Sean Mathias[12].

Lebedev purchased the historic Château Gütsch in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2012, and he turned it into a luxury hotel-restaurant.[13]

Lebedev claims to be a strong supporter of the arts. He is chairman of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, which he co-hosted with Anna Wintour in 2014.[14] However, in June 19, the Evening Standard sacked both its theatre critics.[15] He also supports Moscow Art Theatre.

Personal lifeEdit

Lebedev has properties in the UK and Italy. His house in Hampton Court Park was renovated by the interior designers Patrick Kinmonth and Edward Hurst,[citation needed] and has featured in World of Interiors and the Financial Times.[citation needed] His houses in Italy have featured in The Sunday Times and Architectural Digest. According to The Telegraph he has been linked to British actress Joely Richardson.[16]

He also collects modern British art, and owns pieces by Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and the Chapman brothers.[17] According to The New Statesman, he also has a wide knowledge of Renaissance art and vorticist poetry.[18] He has a pet wolf called Boris.[19]


  1. ^ a b Gray, Freddy (26 September 2015). "The strange world of Evgeny Lebedev". The Spectator. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  2. ^ Sweney, Mark (8 January 2009). "Profile: Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  3. ^ Andrew Cave (2 July 2009). "Evgeny Lebedev spells out his vision for the Evening Standard". The Telegraph.
  4. ^ Tristan O'Carroll. "DMGT confirms Standard to be sold to Lebedev". MediaWeek.
  5. ^ Stephen Brook (15 January 2010). "ABCs: Free London Evening Standard breaks through 600,000 barrier". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Lebedev family buys Independent in deal to secure paper's future" Archived 27 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine, London Evening Standard website
  7. ^ Greenslade, Roy (10 February 2012). "Journalism Foundation gets its first project off the ground". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  8. ^ Porter, Charlie (31 December 2014). "The Rise of Evgeny Lebedev". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  9. ^ Hopkins, Nick (26 July 2019). "Morning after: Boris Johnson recovers from Lebedev's exotic Italian party" – via
  10. ^ "Tale of a city: See, hear, taste, touch". New Statesman. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Comic Relief gives the Evening Standard's Dispossessed Fund a £1m". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  12. ^ "The Grapes, Limehouse. Spanning 500 years of history". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  13. ^ Doak, Alex (12 January 2015). "Chateau Gütsch: Journey to Lucerne, the ticking heart of watchmaking". City A.M. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Anna Friel brings sheer glamour to the Evening Standard Theatre Awards". Daily Mail. 23 November 2009.
  15. ^ Masso, Giverny (4 June 2019). "Theatre critics Henry Hitchings and Fiona Mountford lose Evening Standard roles in 'cost-cutting' drive".
  16. ^ Williams, Sally (4 October 2015). "Joely Richardson interview: 'Work saved me from my grief'". Telegraph.
  17. ^ Sunyer, John (2 April 2015). "Evgeny Lebedev, Britain's youngest newspaper proprietor". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Oligarch, reinvented". New Statesman. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  19. ^ Hatterstone, Simon (4 May 2012). "Evgeny Lebedev: Don't call me an oligarch". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 February 2016.