10 Things You Didn’t Know About Gennady Timchenko

In the stratosphere of Russia’s wealthy elite, the name Gennady Timchenko commands rightly respect. As an impressive businessman ranking high in the hierarchy of Russia’s wealthiest individuals, Timchenko’s status is formidable. However, there’s far more to him than a vast fortune. Here are 10 intriguing facts you probably didn’t know about Gennady Timchenko.

1. His Origin

Gennady Nikolayevich Timchenko was born on 9th November 1952, in Leninakan, Armenia, USSR. Though his family is Russian, they were living in Armenia at the time of his birth due to his father’s military career. Gennady was raised in the military environment as his father served in the Soviet Union’s air defense division.

Despite his homeland’s turbulent history and political climate, Gennady has always been proud of his Russian heritage. His upbringing instilled in him strong work ethics and an uncompromising sense of honor and loyalty to his country, traits that have greatly influenced his business demeanor.

2. He Holds Dual Citizenship

Timchenko holds not just Russian, but also Finnish citizenship. In 1999, he acquired Finnish citizenship, reportedly due to his extensive business dealings in Finland. His dual citizenship has created several benefits, bolstering his international status.

His Finnish citizenship has often given him an edge in international business negotiations, opened doors to new global markets, and provided a safety hedge against potential political instabilities in Russia. It’s a strategic move that many elite Russian businessmen have also made.

3. He Co-Founded Gunvor Group

In 2000, Timchenko co-founded Gunvor Group, a commodities trading company initially focused on the oil markets. He established the company with former Swedish intelligence officer Torbjörn Törnqvist. Under their leadership, Gunvor became a global player in the energy markets.

Timchenko’s deep connections within the Russian government, especially those linked to the energy sector, played a significant role in Gunvor’s rapid rise. By 2007, Gunvor was handling up to a third of Russia’s seaborne oil exports, becoming a prominent player in global energy markets.

4. His Vast Wealth

According to Forbes, Timchenko is among the wealthiest individuals in Russia. As of 2021, his net worth is estimated to be $20 billion, making him the sixth richest person in Russia and the 75th richest person globally.

Despite the immense richness, Gennady Timchenko is famously modest. He is not known for public displays of his wealth, preferring instead to live a low-profile life away from the public eye when not engaged in business activities.

5. He Knows President Putin Personally

One of the facts Gennady Timchenko is most known for is his relationship with Vladimir Putin. The two reportedly share a long-standing friendship dating back to the early 1990s when Putin was still serving as the mayor of Saint Petersburg. Over the years, their relationship has evolved, with Timchenko now regarded as part of Putin’s inner circle.

This connection has been more pivotal than most. As a close ally of Putin, Timchenko’s rise to billionaire status has often been linked to their relationship, although he firmly denies these claims, asserting that his success mostly stems from his business acumen and hard work.

6. He is Subject to Sanctions By The USA

In 2014, the US government levied sanctions against Timchenko, accusing him of being a member of the Russian leadership’s inner circle. These sanctions were issued following Crimea’s annexation, a move widely criticized by the international community.

As a result of these sanctions, Timchenko’s assets in the US were frozen, and he was barred from doing business with any US businesses or individuals. The decision had a significant impact on Timchenko’s businesses, notably his investments in the energy sector.

7. He’s Heavily Involved in philanthropic activities

Despite his status and often controversial political connections, Timchenko is also known for his philanthropic endeavors. He and his wife have founded the Neva Foundation, a charity focused on promoting Russian culture and facilitating Russian-French exchange programs.

Furthermore, he established the K-19 Foundation, which provides aid and support for former ice hockey players who have fallen on hard times. Gennady’s philanthropy shows a man dedicated to making a difference beyond his business empire.

8. He is active in the Sporting World

Timchenko has a considerable influence on the sporting story of Russia. Not only is he the chairman of the Russian national judo team, but he is also a major shareholder and chairman of the Kontinental Hockey League’s (KHL) SKA Saint Petersburg.

As sports serve as a medium for promoting unity and national pride, Timchenko’s involvement could also be viewed as another testament to his commitment to Russia and its people.

9. He Controls Significant Shares in various industries

Apart from oil and energy, Timchenko has shown great business diversity, with his interests extending into other sectors, such as transportation engineering, infrastructure development, finance, and construction.

His diversified portfolio allows him to continue reaping significant profits and maintaining economic influence, even during turbulent times. It is a testament to his foresight and exceptional business acumen.

10. He is Very Private

Despite his significant wealth and influence, Timchenko is extremely private. He rarely grants interviews and hardly appears in public functions that are not in line with his business or philanthropic commitments.

Timchenko’s reserved nature is rare among men of his status, who are often in the limelight for their opulent lifestyles. This discretion has not only allowed him to maintain a dignified public image but it also allows him to focus on his businesses, sporting initiatives, and charitable endeavors.

To learn more about Gennady Timchenko, his rise to power, and his current business exploits, follow the links below:

Forbes Profile
Bloomberg Profile
KHL’s SKA Saint Petersburg
Neva Foundation