Roman Abramovich
Born: October 24, 1966

Roman Abramovich is a Russian business oligarch most known for being one of the richest people in the world and as the owner of British Premier League football (soccer) club Chelsea FC and as a major capital investor with a strong tie to the Russian government. According to Forbes Abramovich currently has a net worth of $10.2 billion as of March 2013. This currently makes him the 13th richest person in Russian and the 107th richest in the entire world. [Forbes] Abramovich was born in the Russian city of Saratov in October of 1966 but was soon orphaned due to the untimely death of both of his parents at the age of two. He ended up being raised by his uncle in the town of Ukhta and later went on to study at the Moscow Auto Transport Institute where he eventually formed his first company. [Russian Capitalist]

Abramovich Map

Location of Saratov and Ukhta within Russia.

Abramovich got his “rags-to-riches” story started by establishing a company that mostly sold rubber ducks from his apartment in Moscow. His business allowed him to attend the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas in Moscow and during his tenure there he traded commodities for Runicom, a Swiss trading company. [PBS] When perestroika came around in 1986 Abramovich decided to legitimize his old business and he set up a doll making company with his then wife, Olga. His business did so well that he was making 20 times the amount of an average state worker and was able to liquidate and buy out 20 companies during the 1990s. Eventually Abramovich got into the lucrative business of dealing with oil exploration licenses. Around this time Boris Yeltsin was selling much of the country’s oil and aluminum assets and Abramovich was quick to buy a lot of them, including the major Siberian oil company Sibneft. It was these deals with the Kremlin that led Abramovich to his first billion. [Independent]

Abramovich has always had a friendly relationship with many of Russia’s government officials. His close friendship with Vladimir Putin is what allowed Abramovich to gain enough support to take over Russia’s aluminum industry in the 2000s and currently he is in control of 50% of this industry alongside his friend and banker Alexander Mamut. His political connection has also lead him to be elected as a parliament member representing the Siberian oblast of Chukotka in 2000 after winning 92% of the vote. Abramovich invested over $200 million of his own funds into the area’s schools, housing and infrastructure which lead him to be re-elected in 2006. He has quit his role as parliament official since then. [Telegraph]

Abramovich and his buddy Vladimir Putin

It can be said that Abramovich is really famous for the way that he spends his billions. His most famous purchase came in June 2003 when he bought 50% of Chelsea Village for £30 million and thus becoming the majority owner of the world famous London football club Chelsea FC. [Bose] Since the acquisition Abramovich’s billions have allowed Chelsea to become one of the best football clubs in the entire world. Soon after the buyout Chelsea went on to win the English Premier League for the first time in its 100 year history and has since won the competition another two times and have won the country’s cup competition, the FA Cup, a further four times. Alongside success in England, Chelsea has also managed to win the UEFA Champions League for the 2011/2012 season and become European champions by defeating Bayern Munich in a close penalty shootout. In the 2012/2013 season Chelsea did not repeat their success but have managed to win the UEFA Europa League, a sort of second tiered, but still greatly respected, European football competition. [Chelsea FC]

Abramovich's Mega Yacht, The Eclipse

Abramovich’s Eclipse Yacht

Abramovich leads a rather lavish lifestyle thanks to his billions. He currently resides in his multi-million dollar apartment building in Knightsbridge, London but also owns other grand properties, including a multi-million dollar chateau in France and a 420-acre estate in West Sussex. [Harding] Abramovich has owned a grand total of five yachts during his lifetime but he currently possesses only two, one of them being the Eclipse, the second largest (first until very recently) yacht in the world. The Eclipse is a grand total 533ft long and includes two helicopter landing pads, two swimming pools, a cinema, and even a submarine. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Its most notable feature is an “anti-paparazzi” shield that uses lasers to detect and fire a bolt of light directly into cameras that obliterates any pictures taken of it. So far the entirety of the yacht has cost Abramovich a reported $1.2 billion after all of its current features were added. [Sorrel] When he is not acquiring footballers or sailing the seas on his mega yacht, Abramovich tends to enjoy art. In 2010 he bought former Soviet military buildings on the island of New Holland near St. Petersburg for £250 million and his current plans are to renovate the buildings and turn it into a grand art gallery. He entered the art scene in 2008 when in New York City he spent £60 million in just 24 hours with the purchase of a £17 million Lucien Freud painting (a record for a living artist) and a £43 million purchase of Francis Bacon’s Triptych. [Mendick & Rosser]

It is safe to say that Roman Abramovich has had an incredible journey from a poor and unfortunate childhood to becoming one of the richest men in the world. He is seen as the typical image of a modern Russian oligarch in the Putin era that saw the formation of many Russian millionaires and billionaires. Recently Abramovich spends most of his time in England attending the games of his football club and spends much more time enjoying his current wealth than attempting to make it any bigger.


Bose, M. (2003, July 2). Bates sells off Chelsea to a Russian billionaire – Telegraph. Telegraph.co.uk – Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph – Telegraph. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/2406994/Bates-sells-off-Chelsea-to-a-Russian-billionaire.html

Chelsea FC. (n.d.). Trophy Cabinet | History | Official Site | Chelsea Football Club. Chelsea FC. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.chelseafc.com/trophy-cabinet

Forbes. (n.d.). Roman Abramovich – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/profile/roman-abramovich/

Harding, L. (2011, November 1). Roman Abramovich admits having an ‘extravagant lifestyle’ | World news | The Guardian . Latest news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | theguardian.com | The Guardian . Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/nov/01/roman-abramovich-admits-extravagant-lifestyle

Independent. (2005, October 1). The great Roman empire – Independent.ie. Irish Independent | Read It. Like It. Share It. – Independent.ie. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/the-great-roman-empire-25959508.html

Mendick, R., & Rosser, N. (2010, November 28). Roman Abramovich to spend £250 million on St Petersburg art museum project – Telegraph. Telegraph.co.uk – Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph – Telegraph. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8164981/Roman-Abramovich-to-spend-250-million-on-St-Petersburg-art-museum-project.html

PBS. (n.d.). FRONTLINE/WORLD . Moscow – Rich in Russia . How to Make a Billion Dollars – Roman Abramovich | PBS. PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/moscow/abramovich.html

Russian Capitalist. (2012, April 23). Russian Capitalist » Abramovich, Roman. Russian Capitalist. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://russiancapitalist.com/capitalists/abramovich-roman/

Sorrel, C. (2009, September 21). Russian Billionaire Installs Anti-Photo Shield on Giant Yacht | Gadget Lab | Wired.com. Wired. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/russian-billionaire-installs-anti-photo-shield-on-giant-yacht/

Telegraph. (2011, October 31). Roman Abramovich: the orphan who came in from the cold – Telegraph. Telegraph.co.uk – Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph – Telegraph. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8859786/Roman-Abramovich-the-orphan-who-came-in-from-the-cold.html

Sydney Morning Herald. (2009, June 17). Russian tycoon buys a yacht to eclipse all others. SMH News Online – Australian, Business & World News. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from http://www.smh.com.au/world/russian-tycoon-buys-a-yacht-to-eclipse-all-others-20090616-cgkn.html


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