Andrew Paulson (born 1958) is an American entrepreneur living in London. He is a Director at: Varyag LLP, Hildebrand Technologies, Ltd., and the Listen Media Company. He is on the advisory boards of several foundations and technology companies: The Human Dignity Trust, The Weidenfeld Scholarships at Oxford, and State.com. He was an executive producer for Victor Ginzburg's award-winning film of Victor Pelevin's cult novel Generation "P". Paulson is the son of noted American professor Ronald Paulson and is married to Loic Landry Tchouante Dombeu.
As a student he worked with oncology and neurophysiology researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Yale University and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. While an undergraduate he ran the classical music program at WYBC, a commercial radio station in New Haven, CT, and founded The New Theater Company where he produced and directed numerous plays, including Jodie Foster’s stage debut, Getting Out.
Paulson graduated with a BA in French Literature and Literary Criticism from Yale University in 1981, writing on Proust and Beckett under the direction of Paul de Man, subsequently attending the Yale School of Drama. From 1982 to 86 he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing novels; from 1987 to 93 he lived in Paris, London and Milan, shooting fashion and advertising photography. During this period he co-founded (with Gilles Dusein) the Paris conceptual photography gallery Urbi et Orbi, and co-founded (with Kurt Novack) a graphic design studio, Pourriture Noble.
In 1991, David Hirson’s celebrated play La Bête was premiered on Broadway and in London. Valère, the principal character, is said to be largely based on the young Paulson. The Molière-inspired comedy, written in rhyming iambic pentameter, is set in 17th-century France and Valère’s 30-minute manic monologue, a theatrical tour-de-force, has become a staple of the modern American repertory. The play was reprised to great acclaim in 2010 in London and New York, with Mark Rylance as Valère.
Paulson was first invited to Russia in 1993 by the record label Polygram to make a photo-reportage of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, where he remained for the next 15 years. He developed the first color magazine in Russia, Delovie Lyudi (Russian: Деловые люди), for the French Groupe Hersant. In 1995 he launched Ponedyelnik (Russian: Понедельник), the first independent news/business weekly in Russia, financed by Len Blavatnik. And in 1997 he created Vechernyaya Moskva (Russian: Вечерняя Москва) a bi-weekly entertainment listings publication financed by the Bank of Moscow.
Shortly after the first Russian financial crisis of August 1998, Paulson together with Ilya Tsentsiper, financed by Anton Kudryashov, founded Afisha (Russian: Афиша), an entertainment and listings magazine, the importance of which as the cultural touchstone of Russia cannot be overestimated. According to Business Week, “[H]e got the formula right with Afisha, a biweekly guide to Moscow's cultural life. The timing was perfect. Nightlife in Moscow was taking off as the country emerged from an economic crisis, and Afisha quickly became the best-selling magazine in Russia.” In 2002, Paulson launched Bolshoi Gorod (Russian: Большой Город), a free bi-weekly ”Sunday Magazine Supplement to a daily newspaper that doesn’t exist." And in 2003, he launched the first Russian monthly glossy travel magazine MIR. Afisha Publishing House was acquired by the Russian media group ProfMedia in 2005 for $30m and merged with Rambler Media Group in 2010.
Afisha Publishing House set the high-water mark for professional journalism and cultural commentary in Russia, influencing the intellectual and artistic landscape of the times: Russians coming of age between 1998 and 2014 have been labeled the "Afisha Generation".
In 2006 Paulson founded SUP, financed by Alexander Mamut and ultimately consisting of LiveJournal (the principal blogging platform/social network in Russia), championat.com (the largest sports site in Russia), and gazeta.ru (the largest news site in Russia). In 2013, Rambler, Afisha and SUP were merged creating Russia's third largest online asset which was estimated to have a value of over $1bn.
In 2012, Paulson created AGON which was accorded by FIDE the long-term, exclusive rights to develop, organize and commercialize the World Chess Championship cycle. According to Chess Magazine, the 2013 London Candidates was “the most amazing tournament ever seen in Britain and will go down among the top half-dozen tournaments of all time... A page has turned in the history of the game." And World Champion Viswanathan Anand said that “It has been maybe the best ever Candidates tournament in history.” The Financial Times confirmed that, “Mr Paulson is pepping up the world chess championship with money, grandeur and innovation.” In October, 2013, he was elected President of the English Chess Federation; but in March 2014 he resigned from this position and sold AGON to Ilya Merenzon.
October 26, 2013 saw the first performance of the play "Virtual, or the Life and Adventures of Andrew Paulson, Entrepreneur" (Виртуал, или Жизнь и Приключения Эндрю Полсона, Предпринимателя) written by Julia Idlis, performed by Alexei Zherebtsov, directed by Viktor Alfyorov, produced by Eduard Boyakov. The play was commissioned by Theatre Praktika (Moscow) to be part of its highly regarded series "Человек.doc".
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- Brantley, Ben (14 October 2010). "Making Chaos Rhyme With Class, Er, Gas". The New York Times.
- Danilova, Maria (16 October 2003). "Young PR guru goes from Kant to shampoo". The Moscow Times.
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- "Chess: A Sporting Chance". The Economist. 5 October 2013.
- "Entrepreneur Andrew Paulson seeks sponsors as he aims to bring World Chess to British TV screens in 2013". 6 June 2012.
- Goodman, Matthew (27 May 2012). "If poker can make it on telly, so can chess". The Sunday Times.
- Klara, Robert (20 June 2012). "A media mogul's daring move to make chess big". AdWeek.
- Moss, Stephen (12 July 2012). "Chess impresario hopes to bring back the Fischer v Spassky glory days". The Guardian (London).
- Bush, Jason (3 April 2013). "The Blogging Czar of Moscow". ChessVibes.
- "Board and Officers". English Chess Federation. Retrieved 3 November 2013.