10 Things You Didn’t Know About Leonid Mikhelson & Family

Whether you’ve heard of Leonid Mikhelson or not, one thing is for sure: there’s more to this Russian billionaire and his family than you might think. A prominent figure in the Russian business world, Mikhelson’s life has been a perfect illustration of the phrase “rising from the ashes.” For those curious about the details of his life, here we explore 10 things you didn’t know about Leonid Mikhelson and his family.

1. Mikhelson’s Beginnings

Despite his astronomical success, Leonid Mikhelson came from very humble beginnings. Born in 1955 in Kaspiysk, Russia, his father worked in a local factory while his mother was a teacher. Despite the modest background, the family promoted the importance of hard work and education to young Leonid.

In the beginning, Mikhelson didn’t aim to become one of Russia’s richest men. His career kick-started in the construction industry, where he worked as an engineer and foreman. From these positions, he quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a director of an enterprise.

2. His Meteoric rise in Business

In 1987, Mikhelson became the Director of Kuibyshevtruboprovodstroy, one of the leading organizations in the pipeline construction field. From there, he ventured into the gas industry, where he found enormous success, which was only amplified with the fall of USSR.

In 1994, Mikhelson became the CEO of NOVATEK, Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer. Under his leadership, the company has grown exponentially and contributes a significant portion of Russia’s total gas production.

3. Art is his Passion

Away from his business engagements, Leonid Mikhelson is an avid art collector and enthusiast. His interest lies primarily in contemporary art, and he is considered one of the world’s top collectors.

To share his passion, Mikhelson founded the V–A–C Foundation in 2009 to promote contemporary Russian art. The foundation boasts an impressive collection and funds exhibitions in various international galleries.

4. Mikhelson’s Daughter, Victoria

Mikhelson’s daughter, Victoria, followed in her father’s footsteps – not into the energy sector, but into the arts. She is the director of the V-A-C Foundation her father created and is a prominent figure in the contemporary art scene.

Victoria is also known for her special interest in promoting Russian art globally. Like her father, she believes in the power of art to transcend national boundaries and cultural differences.

5. Mikhelson’s Net Worth

According to Forbes, Leonid Mikhelson is currently the richest person in Russia with a net worth of around $24.6 billion. The substantial chunk of his wealth comes from his stake in Sibur, a Russian petrochemicals company, and NOVATEK.

Mikhelson’s wealth is not static and has witnessed fluctuations depending on the performance of his companies and the global oil and gas market. However, despite economic challenges, his fortune has mostly been on an upward trend.

6. Far from Politics

Amidst a backdrop where Russian oligarchs are notorious for their political involvement, Mikhelson stands apart. He has largely remained apolitical, focusing on his business and philanthropic ventures.

Mikhelson believes in maintaining a clear line between politics and business and endeavors to keep his enterprises separate from the political arena. He considers his mission to build his businesses, expand them globally, and invest in philanthropy without any political distraction.

7. His Most Expensive Home

Allegedly, Mikhelson has spent around $150 million on a home in Barvikha, a neighborhood west of Moscow. This extravagant home, designed by Italian architect Antonio Citterio, is said to be Russia’s most expensive residential property.

Featuring state-of-the-art amenities such as a wellness center, home cinema, and bowling alley, this opulent home reflects Mikhelson’s luxurious lifestyle, amidst his otherwise unassuming persona.

8. Mikhelson’s Global Partnerships

Mikhelson doesn’t confine his business within Russia’s borders. He has forged numerous international partnerships, the most significant one being with France’s Total S.A and China’s CNPC and Silk Road Fund in his Yamal LNG project.

These partnerships are not just beneficial financially but they also strategically place NOVATEK in the global energy scenario, making it one of the most influential players in the industry.

9. Awards and Recognition

Over the years, Mikhelson has been recognized for his outstanding leadership and business strategies. In 2020, he was awarded “Russian Business Leader of the Year” by the World Economic Forum for demonstrating exceptional leadership through entrepreneurship.

While he has a low-profile lifestyle, these achievements highlight Mikhelson’s significant impact on the Russian and global business world.

10. His Philanthropic Work

Mikhelson is also known for his philanthropy, primarily through his V-A-C Foundation. He devotes considerable resources towards the promotion of contemporary art. However, his philanthropy doesn’t stop there – he also funds scholarships and research initiatives.

Mikhelson believes that the promotion of art is a vital part of cultural development and progress, and he dedicates a considerable amount of his wealth to this cause.

In conclusion, Leonid Mikhelson is much more than just a successful businessman. He is a passionate art collector, a dedicated philanthropist, and a father. His tale is undeniable proof of the power of dedication and hard work, and he continues to influence the Russian and global business world.

For more insightful stories about successful entrepreneurs like Leonid Mikhelson:

Forbes Billionaires List

For more information about Mikhelson’s V-A-C Foundation:

V-A-C Foundation