Alisher Usmanov

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Person.png Alisher Usmanov   History Commons TwitterRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(businessman, billionaire)
Alisher Usmanov.jpg
BornAlisher Burkhanovich Usmanov
9 September 1953
Chust, Namangan Province, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union
Alma materMoscow State Institute of International Relations
SpouseIrina Viner
Uzbekh-Russian billionaire who made his wealth after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Took down Craig Murray's allegations by threatening his web host.

Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov is an Uzbekh-Russian billionaire businessman.[1] By 2022, Usmanov had an estimated fortune of $19.5 billion and was among the world's 100 wealthiest people.[2]

Early life

Usmanov was born in Uzbekistan in the provincial town of Chust.[3] He spent his childhood in the capital Tashkent, where his father was a state prosecutor.[4] Planning to pursue a career of a diplomat, he later moved to Moscow. After first failing to be accepted, one year later he made the cut and was accepted to the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, from which he graduated in 1976 with a degree in international law.[5][3][6] Usmanov then returned to Tashkent, where he was appointed director of the Foreign Economic Association of the Soviet Peace Committee.[7]


Usmanov was arrested and convicted on charges of fraud, corruption, and theft of state property, which charges included shaking down an Army officer, in Uzbek SSR in August 1980. He spent six years in a Soviet prison in the 1980s on charges of fraud and embezzlement, he later, when he became a billionaire, had his conviction overturned. In 2000, he was eventually rehabilitated by the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan, which ruled that the case against him was trumped up and no crime had been committed.[8]

Usmanov made his wealth after the collapse of the Soviet Union, through metal and mining operations, and investments.[3][9] He is the majority shareholder of Metalloinvest, a Russian industrial conglomerate, which consolidated in 2006 JSC Metalloinvest's assets (Mikhailovsky GOK and Ural Steel) with those of Gazmetall JSC (Lebedinsky GOK and the Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant).[10]

He owns the Kommersant publishing house. He is also a co-owner of Russia's second-largest mobile telephone operator, MegaFon, and owner of Udokan copper which develops one of the largest copper deposits in the world. Usmanov eventually teamed up with Yuri Milner[11] and became the largest investor of Digital Sky Technologies ("DST"). On 16 September 2010, Digital Sky Technologies (DST) changed its name to " Group".[12] He also holds shares of a number of international technology companies.[13] He was the president of the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime, the international governing body of the sport of fencing, from 2008 until 2022.[14][15]

On 28 February 2022, in reaction to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union blacklisted Usmanov, imposing an EU-wide travel ban on him and freezing all his assets.[16] On 3 March, the United States imposed similar sanctions on him, with some exceptions for his companies.[17][18][19] Usmanov was named in the Official Journal of the European Union, the publication of record of the EU, as a "pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin [who is] one of Vladimir Putin's favorite oligarchs."[15]

Suppression of online criticism

On 2 September 2007, Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan referred to Usmanov's criminal conviction,[20] claiming that Usmanov "was in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who rightly did six years in jail"[21] and his pardon was the work of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov on the instructions of Uzbekistani power broker and alleged drug trafficker Gafur Rakhimov.[22][23] In the face of libel threats from Usmanov's lawyers Schillings, some media had to apologize for publishing them. Murray persists in the allegation.[24] The article was subsequently removed by Murray's web host, allegedly under pressure from Usmanov's legal team, London's Schillings law firm.[21] However, what followed was that Schillings contacted owners of independent blogs and websites warning them to remove any references to Murray's allegations, and any reproduction of Murray's blog post.[20] UK Indymedia reported that they were one of the sites that had been issued with a take-down notice, on 10 September 2007 and again on 21 September.[25] On 20 September 2007,, the weblog of Tim Ireland, was taken down for reproducing Murray's article, incidentally causing the loss of other blogs belonging to the MP Boris Johnson and councillor Bob Piper – neither of which had been used to repost the article.[26]


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