Tycoon Profiles

Business lessons and insights from billionaires and tycoons.

Russian Tycoon Alexander Lebedev

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 a group billionaires, or “Oligarchs,” quickly emerged in Russia. By about 1995 there were a handful of billionaires helping Boris Yeltsin to run the country as well as many other up and comers who would comprise the second and third waves of tycoons. As a group these men are fascinating to study because of the unstable and very dangerous environment they had the courage to operate in. Back then to build an empire you also needed a private army of former military, police, and intelligence types to protect your assets.  Some of these private armies had up to 1000 or more members. They guarded the tycoon’s banks, factories, head offices, and families. Whenever a tycoon had to travel across Moscow to attend a meeting it was in a convoy of armored limos and SUV escorts packed with machine-gun wielding men.  Continue reading

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