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Yury Valentinovich Kovalchuk (Russian: Юрий Валентинович Ковальчук, born 25 July 1951) is a Russian billionaire businessman and financier who is "reputed to be Vladimir Putin's personal banker".[1] The May 2008 issue of Russian Forbes listed him for the first time in its Golden Hundred of Russia's richest, calling him and another new entrant to the List, Gennady Timchenko, "good acquaintances of Vladimir Putin."[2] The magazine placed him at number 53 on the Russians-only list, with an estimated fortune of $1.9 billion. After sanctions imposed on Kovalchuk in 2018, this dropped to $650 million.[3]

Yury Kovalchuk
Yury Valentinovich Kovalchuk

(1951-07-25) 25 July 1951 (age 68)
Leningrad, Soviet Union (now St Petersburg, Russia)
OccupationChairman and largest shareholder, Rossiya Bank
Known for"Putin's personal banker"
Net worth$1.9 billion
RelativesMikhail Kovalchuk (brother)

From 1987 to 1991 he was the first deputy director of Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute. Since 2004 he has been chair of Rossiya Bank and its largest shareholder.[4][5][6]

Since the early 1990s Kovalchuk has owned a dacha in Solovyovka in the Priozersky District of the Leningrad region, located on the eastern shore of the Komsomolskoye lake on the Karelian Isthmus near St. Petersburg. His neighbours there are Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Yakunin, Andrei Fursenko, Sergey Fursenko, Viktor Myachin, Vladimir Smirnov and Nikolay Shamalov. Together they instituted the co-operative society Ozero (the Lake) which united their properties on 10 November 1996.[7][8] [1]

His elder brother Mikhail Kovalchuk is the scientific secretary of the Council for Science and High Technologies attached to the president of the Russian Federation.

In 2015 Yury Kovalchuk's National Media Group (NMG) and US Discovery channel joined forces to form Media Alliance  of which NMG owns 80% [9]. Later that year, Kovalchuk acquired the rights to Ted Turner’s Russian assets including the Russian version of CNN, Cartoon Network and Boomerang. The reason for the sale was based on the Russian media ownership law that limits ownership of Russian media by foreigners. [10]

In 2017 Kovalchuk purchased the century-old Novy Svet vineyard in the Crimean Peninsula for $26.4 million in one of the first privatization deals in the region since the annexation of the region by Russia. [11]


Kovalchuk was one of several individuals sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department on 20 March 2014 in response to the 2014 Crimean crisis. According to the U.S. Treasury, Kovalchuk is a close advisor to President Putin and has been referred to as one of his “cashiers.”[12][13][14][15][16][17]

Kovalchuk is a known friend of Putin’ he hosted the wedding of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova to Kirill Shamalov at his wholly owned ski resort, Igora, in 2013.[18]

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ "Russians make leap forward on global billionaires' list". Radio Liberty. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  2. ^ Kremlin-linked tycoon eyes Russia media firm-report 23 April 2008.
  3. ^ "Russia Loses 23 Billionaires to Economic Crisis". Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  4. ^ Anna Shcherbakova. Interview with Mikhail Klishin, Director general of the Russia Bank. Vedomosti #35(1316), 1 March 2005. (in Russian)
  5. ^ The Origin of Putin's Oligarchy Archived 22 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine by Vladimir Pribylovsky. Ms., 11 October 2005. (in Russian)
  6. ^ The Russia Bank,
  7. ^ How the 1980s Explains Vladimir Putin. The Ozero group. By Fiona Hill & Clifford G. Gaddy, The Atlantic, 14 February 2013
  8. ^ "Владимир Прибыловский, Юрий Фельштинский. Операция "Наследник". Главы из книги". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Billionaire Kovalchuk's National Media Group to Buy Russian Distributor of CNN". Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  10. ^ "'Putin's personal banker' Kovalchuk to buy CNN Russia as Turner moves out". Eurasian Business Briefing - Information for Investors. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Putin Ally Targeted by U.S. Sanctions Buys Winery in Crimea". Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Executive Order - Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine". The White House - Office of the Press Secretary.
  13. ^ "Ukraine-related Designations". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN) Human Readable Lists". Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Of The Russian Leadership's Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine". United States Treasury Department. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  16. ^ Shuklin, Peter (21 March 2014). "Putin's inner circle: who got in a new list of US sanctions". Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  17. ^ President of The United States (19 March 2016). "Ukraine EO13661" (PDF). Federal Register. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  18. ^ "The man who married Putin's daughter and then made a fortune". Reuters. Retrieved 22 November 2018.

See alsoEdit