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Leonid Borisovich Nevzlin

NEVZLIN, LEONID BORISOVICH (1959– ), Russian tycoon. Nevzlin was born in Moscow and graduated from the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas in 1981, specializing in automation and computers. Subsequently he graduated from the G.V. Plekhanov Economic Academy, specializing in management and marketing. In 1981–87 Nevzlin worked as a programming engineer at the Zarubezhgeologia foreign trade firm. In 1987 he was appointed manager of the contract department of the Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity for Youth (MENATEP), attached to the district Komsomol committee. There he began his long-time association with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who would become Russia's richest man. In 1989–91 Nevzlin was the president of the Commercial Investment Bank for Scientific and Technical Progress.

In the privatization period Komsomol money was an important source of private business formation. Nevzlin enjoyed rapid advancement in the MENATEP bank and in 1993–96 was first vice chairman of its board of directors and the head of the public relations department (1994–96). In 1996 he became first vice chairman of the board of directors and vice chairman of the executive committee of the ROSPROM financial and industrial group. In 1996 he was appointed vice president of the YUKOS joint-stock oil company and made a member of the board of directors. In 1996 he was named among the 50 most influential businessmen in Russia. He was the chairman of the Russian Investors Union, a director of the TEPKO bank, and a member of the editorial board of Ekho Planety magazine. In 1997 Nevzlin became first vice chairman of the joint board of directors of the ROSPROM-YUKOS group. In 1997–98 he was first deputy to the general director of the Russian ITAR-TASS information agency in charge of economic affairs. He worked out the gradual transformation of the agency into a joint-stock company. In 1998 he became first vice chairman of the board of directors of the YUKOS-Moscow company.

Nevzlin was active in Jewish communal life. In 2000 he became chairman of the coordinating council of the Congress of Jewish Religious Communities and Organizations. In 2001 he was nominated acting president of the Russian Jewish Congress. He resigned at the end of year when he was appointed representative of the Mordovian Republic in the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament. The political activity of Nevzlin was greatly appreciated by President Yeltsin. During the Putin presidency, however, relations between the authorities and the business community changed. With Khodorkovsky's arrest and prosecution and later accusations of economic crimes against the heads of MENATEP and YUKOS, Nevzlin came under fire. In 2003 he resigned from the Federation Council and left Russia, becoming an Israeli citizen. In June 2003 the Leonid Nevzlin Center for the Study of Russian and Eastern European Jewry was opened at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His net worth has been estimated at $2 billion.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.