German Gref

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German Oskarovich Gref
Герман Оскарович Греф
Herman Gref - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2007.jpg
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russian Federation
In office
18 May 2000 – 21 September 2007
Preceded by Andrei Shapovalyants
Succeeded by Elvira Nabiullina
Personal details
Born (1964-02-08) February 8, 1964 (age 50)
Panfilovo, Pavlodar oblast' Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union
Citizenship Russian Federation
Political party No affiliation

German Oskarovich Gref (Russian: Герман Оскарович Греф, German: Hermann Gräf; born February 8, 1964) is a Russian economist of German ethnicity, the founder of Center of the Strategic Development. He was the Minister of Economics and Trade of Russia from May 2000 to September 2007. He currently is the president of Sberbank.

Education and early career[edit]

Gref was born in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (now Kazakhstan), the son of ethnic German deportees who were exiled there in 1941. He attended Omsk State University as a law student from 1985 to 1990 after fulfilling his two year military obligation. Then he moved to Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and taught law at Leningrad University while completing his post-graduate degree, which he finished in 1993. In addition to his teaching position at Leningrad University and his studies, Gref worked in the Saint Petersburg City Administration in various capacities, such as legal adviser (a position he had also held when in Kazakhstan), and other jobs, most dealing with property and real estate.

Moscow years[edit]

In August 1998, Gref was appointed First Deputy Minister of State Property of the Russian Federation, and was a member of its board until 2000. He was also appointed to the board of the Federal Commission for the Securities Market of the Russian Federation and the board of state-owned Gazprom in 1999, both positions he still holds.

Ministry of Economic Development and Trade[edit]

Gref was first appointed as Minister of the newly formed Ministry of Economic Development and Trade by Vladimir Putin on May 18, 2000. He held the position from 2000 until Putin sacked Mikhail Kasyanov's Cabinet in March 2004. Gref was reappointed to the position in the succeeding Cabinet, headed by Mikhail Fradkov.

In his position, Gref was one of major advocates of joining the World Trade Organisation. He is also responsible for creation of Stabilisation Fund. It was originally gathered for payments by the Russian external loan, but soon overrun the limits of the loan. The controversy spark among economists in Russia, should the government spend Stabfund money immediately on current needs, or should it, as Gref preferred, to keep and develop it, using it in stock investments.

He was dismissed from the Cabinet in September 2007, after Fradkov was replaced by Victor Zubkov.[1]

At an extraordinary general meeting on November 28, 2007 he was elected the new president of Sberbank.[2]

Liberal reformer[edit]

Gref was considered to be one of the "Liberal Reformers" in Putin's Administration. The others were Mikhail Zurabov, the Minister of Health and Social Development until September 2007, and Alexei Kudrin, Minister of Finance, and a Deputy Prime Minister under Prime Minister Putin. In early 2005, the three men came under fire for reforms to benefits for the elderly that they suggested and the State Duma had approved in 2004. Many of the reforms had to do with replacing free benefits, such as medical care and transportation, with cash benefits. This replacement angered many of the elderly because transportation costs were increasing. Protests took place all over Russia, but neither the administration nor the State Duma responded to these protests in any substantial way. The President reprimanded Kudrin on national television, and a few members of the State Duma went on a hunger strike for a short period of time. A no-confidence vote against Fradkov's cabinet was called by the State Duma in early February, but it failed.

Some analysts saw the whole affair as an attempt to either discredit or perhaps get rid of one of the three men by other members of the cabinet. However, this was never proven and Gref, Kudrin, and Zurabov all retained their jobs.

Personal life[edit]

German Gref married the designer Yana on May 1, 2004 in the throne room of Peterhof Palace.[3] His wife has a teenage son from a prior relationship.[3] just as German has a son Oleg from his marriage with Yelena (who refused to move to Moscow when German Gref was called into the government in 1998[4]). Since 2006 the couple has a daughter. His son Oleg studied jurisprudence in St. Petersburg until 2004 and moved to Germany for further education. German Gref speaks German and he loves Goethe and German Expressionism.[4]


  1. ^ James Rodgers, "New Russian cabinet takes charge", BBC News, September 25, 2007.
  2. ^ Catrina Stewart, "Sberbank Approves Gref as New Head", The Moscow Times, November 29, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "German Gref heiratet im Peterhofer Thronsaal", 5. May 2004, accessed 6. August 2010
  4. ^ a b Герман Греф в Лентапедии

External links[edit]