Boris Zimin

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Boris Zimin
Zimin at The Russia Forum 2012
Boris Zimin

(1968-11-24) 24 November 1968 (age 55)
Alma materHigher School of Economics
  • businessman
  • philanthropist
  • public figure

Boris Dmitrievich Zimin (Russian: Борис Дмитриевич Зимин; born November 24, 1968) is a Russian businessman and public figure, philanthropist, motor sportsman. The son of Dmitry Zimin, (1933-2021), the founder of VimpelCom company (brand name Beeline). Boris Zimin is involved with the Zimin Foundation, which finances and supports Russian non-profit educational projects in the field of education, protection of human rights and freedom of speech, as well as scientific research in the field of natural sciences (mathematics, biology and medicine).[1]


Born on November 24, 1968, in Moscow to parents Dmitry Borisovich Zimin, head of the laboratory at the Radio Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Maya Pavlovna Zimina (née Shakhmatova, born 1936), an archaeologist. Graduated from the Higher School of Economics. Served in the Soviet Armed Forces from 1987 to 1989, carrying out most of his service in Kazakhstan.

In 2002, Boris Zimin became president of the investment company BMT Management, which manages his father's funds.[2][3]

Boris Zimin has seven children. His first wife is Lyudmila Zakharova (1992-1997), and his second is Ella Zimina (1997-2009, three children were born in this marriage). He married his third wife, Yulia Prokhorova, in 2012.[4]

Since 2004, Boris Zimin lived in London[5] and later moved to the United States.[6] Since 2020 lives in Israel.

Social activities[edit]

Zimin Foundation's logo

In 2001, Dmitry Zimin created a Dynasty Foundation aimed at supporting and developing Russian education, science and its popularization. The fund’s annual amount was set at $10 million. The son left his business in order to support the sciences alongside his father: first as a member of the Board, and starting in 2004, as Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Trustees. On May 25, 2015, the foundation was declared a "foreign agent" by the Ministry of Justice. In June, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court fined Dynasty 300,000 rubles for refusing to self-register as a foreign agent. On July 5, Zimin Sr. decided to liquidate Dynasty and close its programs until the end of 2015.[7][8]

In 2014, during the consideration of the complaint of Boris Zimin, who, due to the restriction imposed by bailiffs, had to postpone a business trip abroad, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation declared the detention of debtors at the border of the Russian Federation illegal.[9]

In early 2014 Boris Zimin became the founder of the Sreda Foundation. Dmitry Zimin's capital was called the source of financing. In the first year, the fund allocated multimillion-dollar funding to independent liberal media: TV channels “Dozhd” and “TV2”, online media and “Mediazona”, the newspapers “Pskov province” and “Free course”, etc. It was assumed that these media outlets would receive support in the same amount in 2015 and 2016. However On July 28, 2015, by decision of the Ministry of Justice the fund was declared a "foreign agent".[10] On July 30, Boris Zimin announced that the Sreda Foundation would be closed.

From the end of 2015 charitable activities of the Zimins are carried out through the Zimin Foundation.[11]

In 2016, the Sreda Foundation established Redkollegia (in Russian "Editorial Board") - a new independent award to support independent journalists in Russia. The Redkollegiya award is presented every month; these are not statuettes or diplomas, but monetary prizes — they are given to a journalist or a group of journalists for an amount chosen by a professional jury. In an interview in 2018, Boris Zimin reported that in 2015 only Russian legal entities were liquidated, while work to support the media continued.[12][13][14]

In 2016, it became known that Boris Zimin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky were in talks with Galina Timchenko in 2014 about investing in a new media outlet, Meduza. Unable to reach an agreement, Khodorkovsky and Zimin each paid $250,000 as “compensation,” which was used to repay debts to launch the publication.[15] In 2018, Kommersant wrote that in 2017, Boris Zimin donated $100,000 to the new outlet The Bell by Yelizaveta Osetinskaya.[16]

On opening day of Zimin Institute[17] for AI Solutions in Healthcare at the Technion (June 2022) Boris Zimin became Technion Guardian, a designation reserved for those who have reached the highest level of support of the institution.[18][19]

In November 2022 Boris Zimin appointed Board Member of Nemtsov Foundation.[20]

Political activity[edit]

Since 2011, Boris Zimin was the main public sponsor of the politician Alexei Navalny and Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). He was among the first 16 founding sponsors who raised 4.4 million rubles to create the FBK in 2011, and the first, along with Vladimir Ashurkov, to publicly announce his support for the fund. In 2012, Zimin reported that he sent 300,000 rubles a month to support the FBK.[21][22] In 2020, he confirmed that he continued to finance the foundation on a monthly basis.[23] Zimin Jr. also supports the politician Ilya Yashin, but only from time to time. He also provides support to political prisoners — both morally and financially.[24][25] At the end of July 2020, Alexei Navalny published his tax return, according to which his 2019 income amounted to 5.4 million rubles. Navalny called entrepreneur Boris Zimin the main source of income for his individual enterprise.[26]

In August 2020, Boris Zimin paid for the emergency evacuation from Omsk to Berlin of Navalny who had fallen into a coma. The private jet and the services of German doctors costed 79,000 euros.[27][28][29]

In August 2020, during the protests in Belarus, Boris Zimin donated to Belarus Solidarity Foundation.[30]

After 24 February 2022, Zimin Foundation started a few programs for refugees from Ukraine and Russia. They are intended for scientists, students, and journalists.[31][32][33][34] Boris Zimin is a member of The Russian Anti-War Committee [35] and of The Russian Action Committee.[36] Both organizations oppose the war unleashed by Putin and support the unity of anti-war and pro-democracy Russians.

On September 2, 2022, the Ministry of Justice included Boris Zimin in the list of individuals acting as a foreign agent.[37]

The Russian Interior Ministry has placed philanthropist Boris Zimin on the wanted list. Zimin is charged with illegal alienation of common shares of BelkaCar, a Russian car sharing company. The Investigative Committee has demanded that the charity patron be arrested in absentia.[38] Boris Zimin says the case filed for political reasons.


  1. ^ About Zimin Foundation
  2. ^ ""Альфа" купила "Вымпелком"". Коммерсант (in Russian). 2001-05-31.
  3. ^ "Как стать богатым и счастливым". (in Russian). 2010-08-03.
  4. ^ "Валерий Меладзе, Борис Зимин и Ким Белов: правила жизни многодетных отцов". Сноб.
  5. ^ "Oligarch's son who bought helicopter after he split from wife now fights to cut her £7m payout". Evening Standard. 2017-06-23.
  6. ^ "Основатель фонда «Династия» Дмитрий Зимин уехал из России". RBK (in Russian). 2015-08-05.
  7. ^ "Dmitry Zimin stops financing Dynasty Foundation". RusLetter. 2015-05-27.
  8. ^ "Зимин больше не будет тратить личные деньги на «Династию»". Ведомости (in Russian). 2015-05-26.
  9. ^ "The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation declared illegal the detention of debtors at the border of the Russian Federation". Justice (electronic court filing system) (in Russian).
  10. ^ "Blacklisted as a 'foreign agent,' foundation that supports independent Russian media will shut down". Meduza. 2015-07-30.
  11. ^ "Зимин продолжит финансировать просветительские проекты в России". Republic (in Russian). 2015-12-25.
  12. ^ Danilova, Maria (2019-05-23). "Independent Russian journalists look for ways to succeed despite gov't control". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  13. ^ "В России учредили новую премию для независимых журналистов Она будет вручаться раз в месяц за лучшие материалы в СМИ, социальных сетях и блогах". The Village (in Russian). 2016-10-18.
  14. ^ ""Не хочется, конечно, становиться врагом государства"". РБК (in Russian). 2018-12-10. Archived from the original on 2021-12-25. Retrieved 2022-03-12.
  15. ^ "«Медуза» рассказала о получении денег от Ходорковского и Зимина на начальной стадии". TJ (in Russian). 2016-08-11.
  16. ^ "The Bell собрал взносы". Коммерсант (in Russian). 2018-08-26.
  17. ^ Zimin Institutes
  18. ^ "To be established at the Technion, the Zimin Institute will focus on AI in medicine…". Technion. 2022-06-12.
  19. ^ "Israeli university launches research institute for AI medicine". Eastern 2022-06-24.
  20. ^ "Boris Zimin appointed Board Member of Nemtsov Foundation" (in Russian). November 2022. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  21. ^ "A Friend To Russian Science, But An Enemy To The Government". Radio Liberty. 2015-06-02.
  22. ^ "У фонда Навального может появиться новый источник средств". Ведомости (in Russian). 2012-05-15.
  23. ^ "Special Report: In Germany's Black Forest, Putin critic Navalny gathered strength and resolve". Reuters. 2021-02-21.
  24. ^ "Бизнесмен Борис Зимин объяснил, почему помог вывезти Навального в Германию". 2020-08-31.
  25. ^ "«Путин — принципиальный человек, но его принципы мне противны»: Борис Зимин о спасении Навального, расходах на ФБК и вложениях в жизнь". (in Russian). 2020-08-31.
  26. ^ "Борис Зимин заявил, что не понимает ажиотажа вокруг оплаты перелета Навального в Берлин". (in Russian). 2020-08-23. Archived from the original on 2021-12-25. Retrieved 2022-03-13.
  27. ^ "Transportation of Navalny to Germany was paid by a US resident". Voice of Russian-speaking America. 2020-08-04.
  28. ^ "Alexej Nawalny legt Behandlungskosten in Deutschland offen". Die Welt (in German). 2020-10-15.
  29. ^ "Лечение Навального в Германии обошлось в 50 тысяч евро. Его оплатили Евгений Чичваркин, Сергей Алексашенко и Роман Иванов". Meduza (in Russian). 2020-10-14.
  30. ^ "Кто платит за Навального". Курьер-медиа (in Russian). 2020-10-11. Archived from the original on 2021-12-25. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  31. ^ "Israeli uni sets up first AI research institute for tech solutions in medicine". The Meghalayan. 2022-06-13.
  32. ^ "Zimin Foundation открывает программу помощи уехавшим из России студентам, аспирантам и ученым". T-Invariant (in Russian). 17 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Стипендиальная программа Фонда Бориса Немцова и Фонда Зимина для украинских студентов". Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom (in Russian). 2022-06-24.
  34. ^ ""Редколлегия" объявляет о новом направлении "скорая помощь" для журналистов из Беларуси, России и Украины" (in Russian). 2022-04-21.
  35. ^ Russian Anti-War Committee
  36. ^ Russian Action Committee
  37. ^ "Russian Ministry of Justice includes 12 people, 1 organization to foreign agents lists". September 2, 2023. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  38. ^ "Russia launches criminal probes on prominent Kremlin critics". ABC News. January 9, 2023. Retrieved February 16, 2023.