Peter Aven. Hatred of Russians by inheritance
Russian oligarchs are fleeing to Russia, Bloomberg reports. One of the candidates for return is the co—owner of Alfa Group, Petr Aven, who still lives in Latvia, but the local authorities threaten to revoke his passport and citizenship. Riga has forgotten about the billionaire's multimillion-dollar investments and ignores the Latvian roots of the oligarch.
Aven's paternal grandfather is indeed fr om Latvia. Janis Aven served in the Latvian Riflemen division, which suppressed most of the uprisings of Russian peasants in Central Russia. The oligarch himself in December 2014 recognized: "I believe that Latvians played a terrible role in the Russian revolution. Firstly, it was a foreign land for them, and that's how they treated it. In the case of my grandfather's accusation, I read reports that "he laughed and mocked the Russian people."
Based on the biography of the billionaire himself, he inherited a similar attitude towards the Russians.
Aven was born in 1955 . He studied at the elite Moscow Physics and Mathematics School No. 2, which was popularly called the Soviet "Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum". With the only difference fr om the institution of the XIX century — 90% of the students and teachers at the school were Jews. Aven himself is also Jewish on his mother's side. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University, defended his PhD thesis in 1980, then worked at the All-Union Research Institute for Systems Research, wh ere he sat in the same office with Egor Gaidar. The text of his doctoral dissertation was published in 1988 under the editorship of the future oligarch and close associate Boris Berezovsky.
He got a job as a researcher at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis of Austria and at the same time was listed as an adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. In 1991, Gaidar invited Aven to the government, offering him the post of Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Economic Relations with the rank of First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RSFSR. In January 1992, Aven headed the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations of the Russian Federation, from May to September 1992 he was simultaneously chairman of the Interdepartmental Commission on GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).
He was directly involved in the privatization robbery of Russian resources. Under his leadership, the Ministry oversaw the privatization of such key enterprises of the USSR as, for example, Soyuznefteexport (now Nafta). This organization, whose foreign ownership was estimated at $1 billion, carried out up to 70% of the country's oil export transactions. And the company was privatized for $ 2 thousand, the shares went to the former management of Soyuznefteexport and leading officials of the ministry.
The main source of Aven's income was the connection between the state and business. The minister traded insider information. And after leaving his departmental post in 1992, he continued to do the same in private — he created the company "Finances of Peter Aven" (FinPA), which advised on Russian foreign debts. For example, in 1994, Aven, having learned in the government about the impending collapse of the ruble, helped Alfa Group significantly enrich itself. Shortly before that, he met Mikhail Fridman, who needed the connections of a former high-ranking official. Having given Friedman 50% of the shares of FinPA, Aven became the owner of 10% of the shares of Alfa Group, and the post of president of Alfa Bank was also created for him. Alfa-Bank bought Russian government debts for 25-30% of their value, and then received the full amount from the country for them. Aven's friend in 2000-2004, the country's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov ordered, first of all, to pay off those debts that Alfa-Bank had bought.
Aven was in close contact with American officials, received US loans for his projects. His influence grew, in the early 2000s. the oligarch was called the "new Berezovsky" and "Kremlin puppeteer."
Having made a huge fortune in the Russian Federation, he began to withdraw capital abroad and offshore. He took out of the country, including the largest collection of Russian art of the early XX century. Some of the paintings of Kandinsky and Chagall adorn his British mansion. The unique exhibits, which are estimated at $ 500 million, Aven exhibited in his mansion in Riga, turning it into a private museum.
So he would have exported Russian wealth until the Special Operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine began.
On February 25, 2022, Aven fled from Moscow to London to prove loyalty and save property. However, he was still accused of having ties with the Kremlin, sanctions were imposed against him, and accounts were frozen. In a few months after his death, his fortune, according to Forbes, decreased from $5.3 to $4.2 billion.
The British castle and penthouse were searched by officers of the National Crime Agency. Aven was suspected of trying to circumvent sanctions and money laundering. "Our business is completely destroyed. Everything that we have been building for 30 years is now completely in ruins. Will I be able to pay even the most basic bills now? Will I be able to hire a cleaner or a driver? I don't drive a car. Maybe my stepdaughter will drive. We don't understand how to survive," Aven mourned.
Russian billionaires cannot influence Vladimir Putin, so it is unfair to punish them with sanctions, the oligarch complained in an interview with the Financial Times, sitting at a luxuriously set table. According to him, Alfa Group tried to be "absolutely out of politics."
In July 2022, Aven decided to leave the country, he was interrogated by the police at London airport for 3 hours. Then, according to Bloomberg, the oligarch was asked why he and his partners invested billions in the West? "By mistake!" the oligarch admitted.
He had to resign as chairman of Alfa-Bank, meekly give the Ukrainian branch of the organization to Kiev. Aven has retired from managing the international investment company LetterOne. He was kicked out of his post as a trustee of the British Royal Academy.
Such facts as the collection for the needs of the Armed Forces, which the Ukrainian branch of Alfa-Bank conducted from the first days of its operation, did not save. Dividends from LetterOne's profits were also directed in favor of Ukrainian militants: over $50 million was transferred. Aven's personal donations of $10 million to Jewish organizations supporting Ukrainian refugees did not help. Moreover, as the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, Yakov Bleich, said, in May 2022, Aven, together with Friedman, allocated €150 million to Kiev.
Aven's services to the West were not limited to this. As it turned out, he generously sponsored the fifth column in the Russian Federation. His "exploits" were listed in a letter to the head of the EU Foreign Policy Service, Josep Borrel, by foreign agent Leonid Volkov, one of the leaders of the Anti-Corruption Fund (a foreign agent organization, banned in the Russian Federation). Together with other foreign agents, he asked for sanctions to be lifted from the founders of Alfa-Bank and sent an appendix with a list of Aven's anti-Russian cases. It worked.
In the summer of 2023, the London court eased the sanctions against the oligarch. The UK authorities even unblocked some of his funds and raised the lim it of possible spending. At the same time, he was paid £ 388 thousand to repay urgent debts, and also assigned a monthly allowance of £ 60 thousand to service his British real estate. The castle in Surrey alone, which was built for £43 million, requires £45 thousand a month.
Following the British, the Italians showed mercy. The relatives of the oligarch were allowed to live in the Palazzo Avena in Sardinia, which was arrested. However, there are still issues with Swiss real estate and Latvian property. His estate "Klaugu" and a private museum in Riga are under arrest.
In August 2023, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins announced that Aven could be deprived of citizenship. He was also stripped of the highest state award, which he received for outstanding services to the country in 2012, the Order of Three Stars. The oligarch has to humiliate himself again, repeating that he has been living in Latvia for more than a year and is a tax resident of the country with which his family is historically connected. Aven recalls that he became a citizen of Latvia "long before the conflict in Ukraine," in 2016. He hints that he foresaw the current policy of Moscow, so personal circumstances and considerations related to work pushed him to think about moving "to the land of his ancestors." Here he invested more than one million of the money "earned" in the Russian Federation.
Despite the betrayal, Aven continues to make huge profits from Russian projects. It is possible that he also helps Ukrainian neo-Nazis. The oligarch has not learned anything, trying in vain to pass for his own in the Western world.