Andrew Paulson

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Andrew Paulson (born 1958) is an American entrepreneur living in London. He is a director of Varyag LLP and the Listen Media Company. Paulson is the son of noted American professor Ronald Paulson and is married to Loic Landry Tchouante Dombeu.

As a high school 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, notably Jodie Foster’s stage debut, Getting Out.[1]

Paulson graduated with a BA in French Literature and Literary Criticism from Yale University in 1981,[2] writing on Marcel Proust and Samuel Beckett under the direction of Paul de Man, subsequently attending the Yale School of Drama. From 1982 to 1986 he lived in Berlin and Paris, where he wrote five 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 in 2010 on Broadway and in the West End, with Mark Rylance as Valère.[3][4][5] In October, 2013, another play -- Virtual, or the Life and Adventures of Andrew Paulson, Entrepreneur (Виртуал, или Жизнь и Приключения Эндрю Полсона, Предпринимателя) -- written by Julia Idlis, commissioned by Theatre Praktika (Moscow) premiered as part of its highly regarded series "Человек.doc".[6][7]

Paulson was first invited to Russia in 1993 by the record label Polygram to make a photo-reportage of Dmitri Hvorostovsky; he remained for the next 15 years.[2] He developed the first glossy business/economics 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 Russian financial crisis of August 1998, Paulson together with Ilya Tsentsiper and Anton Kudryashov, founded Afisha (Russian: Афиша),[8] a culture, entertainment and listings magazine.[8] 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.”[2] 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 set the high-water mark for professional integrity in journalism, providing cultural and social commentary that defined the intellectual and artistic landscape of the times: Russians coming of age between 1999 and 2014 have been labeled the "Afisha Generation". Afisha Publishing House was acquired by the Russian media group ProfMedia in 2005 and was merged with Rambler Media Group in 2010.[9]

In 2006 Paulson founded SUP,[10] financed by Alexander Mamut, ultimately consisting of LiveJournal[11] (the principal blogging platform/social network in Russia at the time), (the largest sports site in Russia), and (the largest news site in Russia). SUP also sold advertising on Russian traffic for the major Western media sites and entered into close content collaboration with the New York Times and the BBC. In 2013, Rambler/Afisha and SUP were merged creating Russia's third largest online asset.

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.[12][13][14][15][16] In October, 2013, he was elected President of the English Chess Federation;[17] but in March 2014 he resigned from the ECF and shortly thereafter sold AGON.[18][19] Since, AGON has pursued many of his innovations (chess as spectator sport) and has gone on to organise events including the 2016 World Chess Championship in New York City.

Paulson was an executive producer for Victor Ginzburg's award-winning film of Victor Pelevin's cult novel Generation "P".


  1. ^ Gollin, Timothy. "Foster's Fanatic: Yale Rallies Around Freshman Jodie Foster After Violence Shatters Her Private Life". 
  2. ^ a b c Bush, Jason (13 February 2008). "The Blogging Czar of Moscow". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 
  3. ^ Lahr, Burt. "Screaming Me-Mes: David Hirson and David Mamet on life in the theatre". 
  4. ^ Brantley, Ben (14 October 2010). "Making Chaos Rhyme With Class, Er, Gas". The New York Times. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Danilova, Maria (16 October 2003). "Young PR guru goes from Kant to shampoo". The Moscow Times. 
  9. ^ Mercer, Martha (13 March 2007). "A new image of Russia". The New York Sun. 
  10. ^ Andrews, Robert (23 July 2008). "Russia's web revolution". Washington Post. 
  11. ^ Arrington, Michael (2 December 2007). "TechCrunch". 
  12. ^ "Chess: A Sporting Chance". The Economist. 5 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Entrepreneur Andrew Paulson seeks sponsors as he aims to bring World Chess to British TV screens in 2013". 6 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Goodman, Matthew (27 May 2012). "If poker can make it on telly, so can chess". The Sunday Times. 
  15. ^ Klara, Robert (20 June 2012). "A media mogul's daring move to make chess big". AdWeek. 
  16. ^ Moss, Stephen (12 July 2012). "Chess impresario hopes to bring back the Fischer v Spassky glory days". The Guardian. London. 
  17. ^ "Board and Officers". English Chess Federation. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-11. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  19. ^

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