Ozero (Russian: О́зеро, lit. lake) is a co-operative society allegedly instituted on November 10, 1996 by Vladimir Smirnov (head), Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Yakunin, Andrei Fursenko, Sergey Fursenko, Yury Kovalchuk, Viktor Myachin, and Nikolay Shamalov. The society united their dachas in Solovyovka, Priozersky District of Leningrad Oblast, which is located on the eastern shore of Lake Komsomolskoye on the Karelian Isthmus in Priozersky District of Leningrad Oblast, near Saint Petersburg, Russia.
By now, its shareholders have assumed top positions in Russian government and business. As of 2008, Vladimir Putin is the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Yakunin is the Head of Russian Railways, Andrei Fursenko was the Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Sergey Fursenko, a brother of Andrei Fursenko, is the Director-General of Lentransgaz and the President of the Football Club Zenit (St. Petersburg), Yury Kovalchuk is the Head of the Board of Directors and a major shareholder of the Russia bank, Viktor Myachin is its former Director General (1995-1998, 1999-2004), Nikolay Shamalov and Vladimir Smirnov are prominent businessmen.
Support for Putin
Boris Nemtsov, former deputy prime minister of Russia and current co-chair of RPR-PARNAS oppositional political party, suggested in a 2011 interview that only those in Ozero really support Putin any more: "Everyone is unhappy with Putin, save perhaps his closest friends, members of the so-called Ozero dacha cooperative [...] In only a few years these fellows turned from medium-sized entrepreneurs into dollar billionaires. For example, the Kovalchuk brothers have seized power over Gazprom; the KGB veteran Gennady Timchenko is now a trader who controls 40 percent of all crude oil exports; Putin's former sambo coaches, the Rotenberg brothers, continue to get lucrative contracts, and there are a few more people like this."
- Who was Mister Putin? An Interview with Boris Nemtsov, Open Democracy
- How the 1980s Explains Vladimir Putin. The Ozero group. By Fiona Hill & Clifford G. Gaddy, The Atlantic, February 14, 2013
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