Smolensky is the son of businessman Alexander Smolensky, the former head of large Russian bank Agroprombank/SBS-Agro-Bank which collapsed in 1998. He is an associate of fellow Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, and due to his wealth, youth and his oligarch father, has been dubbed in the press as the "baby oligarch".
Raised as “a sworn enemy of communism”, according to his father, Smolenski was educated in Austria and England. After his father's bank SBS-Agro collapsed in 1998, Alexander launched a new banking group, First OVK. In 2003, this was handed to Nikolai, who declared it would triple in size to 1,500 branches. Two months later, he sold the business for an estimated £80m to Rosbank, a member of Interros Group.
In June 2013, it was confirmed that Nikolay Smolensky had sold his entire ownership of TVR to a syndicate of British Businessmen led by Les Edgar, a millionaire British entrepreneur,.
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