Ivan Savvidis

Ivan Ignatyevich Savvidi (Russian: Иван Игнатьевич Саввиди, [jɪˈvan jɪɡˈnatʲɪvit͡ɕ sɐˈvʲɪdʲi(s)], Greek: Ιβάν Σαββίδης, romanizedIvan Savvidis, [iˈvan saˈviðis], Georgian: ივან ეგნატეს ძე სავიდი, Ivan Egnates dze Savidi, [iˈvɑn ɛɡˈnɑtɛs d͡zɛ sɑˈvidi], also known as Ivan Savvidis; born 27 March 1959[1]), is a Russian-Greek oligarch and politician. Savvidis is one of Russia's wealthiest men and was a member of the Russian Parliament, closely linked to the President Vladimir Putin.[2]

Ivan Savvidis
Ivan Savvidis.jpg
Ivan Savvidis in 2010
Deputy of the State Duma
Fifth Convocation
In office
2 December 2007 – 4 December 2011
Fourth Convocation
In office
7 December 2003 – 2 December 2007
Personal details
Born (1959-03-27) 27 March 1959 (age 63)
Santa Gruzino, Tsalka District, Georgian SSR, USSR
NationalityRussian, Greek
Political partyUnited Russia
Residence(s)Thessaloniki, Greece
Rostov-on-Don, Russia
EducationRostov State University of Economics, Rostov-on-Don
OccupationOwner of PAOK F.C.
Founder & Owner of Agrokom Group
Chairman of CJSC Donskoy Tabak
Owner of Dimera Group Ltd
Owner of Dimera Media Investments
Owner of Belterra Investments Ltd
Owner of Open TV

Professional biography

Savvidis was born in Santa Gruzino, Tsalka District, Georgia, to Pontic Greek immigrant parents from Dumanlı (Sanda).[3] After serving in the Soviet Army,[4] Savvidis was educated at the Rostov State University of Economics in Rostov-on-Don.[1] In the 1980s and early 1990s, Savvidis was employed in various positions at the Don State Tobacco Factory.[4] In 1992, the tobacco factory was privatised and renamed CJSC Donskoy Tabak; in the following year Savvidis was appointed as its General Director.[4] Savvidis and his wife, Kyriaki Savvidi, are now formally the majority shareholders of Donskoy Tabak, the largest Russian tobacco company.[5]

Between July 2002 and July 2005, Savvidis was President of FC Rostov.[6]

As of 10 August 2012, he had acquired ownership of the Greek football team PAOK[7] and entered the Forbes list of the richest people in the world.[8]

In 2013, Forbes listed Savvidis as the 30th wealthiest Russian businessman in the world.[9] In 2013 he purchased 82% of the Greek tobacco company SEKAP.[10]

In 2015 Savvidis paid all of the club's debts to the Greek State, an amount that totalled at €10,886,811.[11] After his exit from the tax office he stated: "I had a cup of tea that cost me 10,8 million €."[12]

He has 19% of Mega Channel and in 2017 his Dimera Media company acquired the Pegasus Publications, which includes the newspapers of Ethnos and Imerisia.[13] On 11 August of the same year, he bought the E Channel from businessman Philipos Vryonis and the market agreement was ratified on 21 August 2017.

In March 2018, he sold the Donskoy Tabak, together with the Greek SEKAP, to Japan Tobacco for 1.6 billion.[14]

Real estate

In February 2013, Savvidis took over the management of the Macedonia Palace in Thessaloniki.[15]

He has also acquired a number of historic villas of Thessaloniki (such as the Longos mansion, Villa Zardinidi etc), while his recent investment in Porto Carras reaches the half billion €.[16]

Political career

Savvidis was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Rostov Oblast in 1998 and 2003. In 2003, Savvidis was elected as a Deputy in the State Duma; he subsequently served as the Deputy Chairman of the Budget Committee and Taxes. In 2007, Savvidis was re-elected as a Deputy in the State Duma as a member of the party United Russia led by chairman Vladimir Putin, serving until 2011. He served as a member of the Committee International Affairs,[4] as coordinator of Interparliamentary Relations with the Hellenic Parliament[4] and as Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russia-Belarusian Union.[17]

He has previously made positive comments about the Greek political party Syriza and has likened Alexis Tsipras to Vladimir Putin.[18] Ivan Savvidis is accused by a section of the press of being involved with Kyriakos Velopoulos, president of the Greek Solution.[19][20]


On 11 March 2018, during the PAOKAEK football match at the Toumba Stadium and after PAOK had a goal ruled out for offside in the 90th minute, Savvidis entered the pitch with his bodyguards and tried to take the team off. It later surfaced that he had been carrying a handgun in a holster when he entered the pitch. The Greek Super League was subsequently suspended[21][22][23] and Savvidis had a three-year punishment of entering football stadiums by the HFF.

In 2018, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia (today North Macedonia), Zoran Zaev, reportedly accused him of giving hundreds of thousands of euros to individuals and groups who participated in the riots against the Prespa agreement in Skopje.[24] Savvidis with an official statement denied these accusations.[25]

Personal life and community service

Savvidis is President of the Federation of Greek Communities of Russia,[26] and was a key figure in pushing for the newly created region by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad in the Black Sea countries.

He is married to Kyriaki Savvidi and has two sons, George (Giorgi) and Nick (Nikolai).



  • Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" IV degree (21 February 2008) – for achievements in legislative activity, strengthening of Russian statehood and the development of Rostov-on-Don[27]
  • Order of Honour (13 December 2003) – for labor achievements and many years of diligent work [28]
  • Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" II degree (6 September 1999) – for his contribution to the socio-economic development of the city of Rostov-on-Don, and in connection with its 250th anniversary [29]


Public organizations

  • Medal "Patron of the Year" – for the revival of Russian culture and the Rostov-on-Don region (1999–2009)


  1. ^ a b "Саввиди Иван Игнатьевич" [Savvidi Ivan Ignatievich]. State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
  2. ^ "Putin's Wealthy Ally behind Sole Bidder for Bulgartabac". Novinite. One Click Media Group. 7 August 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  3. ^ Мария Строителева (20 July 2018). "Кто такой Иван Саввиди? Биография ростовского бизнесмена, которого называют агентом влияния Путина в Европе" (in Russian). Yuga.ru. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Иван Саввиди" [Ivan Savvidis]. Savvidi.ru. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Smoke Clears as Laws and Marketing Shift". Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  6. ^ Светлана Кочеткова (12 November 2015). "Бизнесмен Иван Саввиди оказал финансовую помощь ФК "Ростов"" (in Russian). Yuga.ru. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  7. ^ Ανακοίνωση ΠΑΕ ΠΑΟΚ (in Greek). paokfc.gr. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Ivan Savvidis". forbes.com. 11 May 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Ιβάν Σαββίδης: Ο 30ός πλουσιότερος Ρώσος" [Ivan Savvidis: The 30th Highest Russian]. Ta Nea (in Greek). 24 August 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Savvidis was aware of the problems when he bought SEKAP".
  11. ^ PAOK FC (12 May 2015). Πληρώθηκαν τα χρέη, 14.15 ο Ιβάν στην ΦΑΕ! [Debts were paid, 14–15 Ivan to FAE!]. OLAPAOK (in Greek). 24 Media Group. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Ξεχρέωσε ο ΠΑΟΚ - Σαββίδης: «Ήπια τσάι στην Εφορία αξίας 10,8 εκατ.»". Typosthes.gr.
  13. ^ "Η είσοδος του Ιβάν Σαββίδη στον Πήγασο" [The entry of Ivan Savvides to Pegasus]. Naftemporiki (in Greek). 27 July 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Ο Ιβάν Σαββίδης πούλησε τη Donskoy Tabak στην Japan Tobacco για $1,6 δισ". ProtoThema. 16 March 2018.
  15. ^ Pegasus Interactive. "Ivan Savvidis changes 'Macedonia Pallas'". Ethnos. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Δίκη: «Μισό δισ. ευρώ η επένδυση Ιβάν στο Πόρτο Καρράς» (ηχητικό)". 31 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Парламентское Собрание Союза Беларуси и России / Главная страница". www.belrus.ru. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Ιβάν Σαββίδης: Ο Τσίπρας στη Βουλή μου θύμισε τον Πούτιν". ProtoThema (in Greek). 2 May 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  19. ^ Λευτέρης, Χαραλαμπόπουλος (16 November 2019). "Κυριάκος Βελόπουλος : O διάδοχος του Καμμένου στη λούμπεν ακροδεξιά". Ειδήσεις – νέα – Το Βήμα Online (in Greek). Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  20. ^ IEFIMERIDA.GR, NEWSROOM (3 November 2016). "Stern: Ο Πούτιν, ο Ιβάν Σαββίδης και ο Κυριάκος Βελόπουλος | ΚΟΣΜΟΣ". iefimerida.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Greek game interrupted after 'armed' owner protests decision". Washington Post. Associated Press. 11 March 2018. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Greek Superleague – PAOK vs AEK: PAOK president takes gun onto the pitch to remonstrate with the referee – MARCA in English". MARCA in English. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Greek Super League suspended after PAOK Salonika president invades pitch with gun". BBC Sport. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  24. ^ Cvetkovska, Saska. "Russian Businessman Behind Unrest in Macedonia". www.occrp.org. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  25. ^ "Διαψεύδει τις κατηγορίες Ζάεφ για εμπλοκή στο ονοματολογικό ο Σαββίδης". 17 July 2018.
  26. ^ "SAE – Ivan Savvidi re-elected President of the Federation of Greek Communities in Russia (AGOOR) / World Council of Hellenes Abroad". en.sae.gr. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  27. ^ "Presidential Decree on February 21, 2008 № 233". Archived from the original on 9 July 2012.
  28. ^ "Presidential Decree of 13 December 2003 № 1485".
  29. ^ "Presidential Decree on September 6, 1999 № 1172". Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  30. ^ DECR Communication Service (24 July 2011). "Состоялся торжественный акт по случаю 65-летия Отдела внешних церковных связей Московского Патриархата" [A solemn act on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate]. The Russian Orthodox Church (in Russian).