Alexander Smolensky

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Alexander Pavlovich Smolensky
Born (1954-07-06) July 6, 1954 (age 64)
Spouse(s)Smolenskaya (Marchenko) Galina Nikolayevna (b. 1959, Djambul)
ChildrenNikolay (b. 1980)

Alexander Pavlovich Smolensky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Па́влович Смолéнский) (born July 6, 1954) was the founder and president of one of the largest private banks in Russia - Bank Stolichny (later known as SBS/AGRO) which collapsed in the 1998 Russian financial crisis wiping out its investors' savings. When asked what he owed his investors he replied: "dead donkey ears".[1] In 1999, Russian prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest including charges of embezzlement and money laundering. This warrant, however, was later dropped.[2] He currently controls the newspaper Novaya Gazeta.[citation needed]

Smolensky began his business activities on the black market of the so-called "shadow economy". His private ventures included trading foreign currency, moonlighting on a second job in a bakery with a counterfeit permit as well as typesetting and printing Bibles using government presses and ink.[3] For these activities he was arrested by the KGB in 1981 and charged with economic crimes. Subsequently, he was sentenced to two years of hard labour although he only served one day.

Smolensky's net worth in 2003 was estimated to be 230 million USD.[4]


  1. ^ David E. Hoffman. The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia, Public Affairs (2003) ISBN 1-58648-202-5
  2. ^ Ian Jeffries. The New Russia: A Handbook of Economic and Political Developments, Routledge: 2002. ISBN 0-7007-1621-1
  3. ^ Render Unto Caesar: Putin and the Oligarchs By Marshall I. Goldman[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ The 100 Richest Russians, Alexander Smolensky