Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin (Russian: Владимир Иванович Якунин; born June 30, 1948 in Melenki, Vladimir Oblast) is a Russian Russian public figure, businessman and former president of Russian Railways(2012 – august 2015). Since 2012 elected chairman of the Union of Railways (UIC) since 2012 till 2015. After stepped down as the head of Russian Railways he continued to be engaged in public work as a founding-president of World Public Forum “Dialogue of civilizations”. In October 2015 devoted himself to create an international think tank to search for solutions to de-escalate tensions across the world.
Vladimir Yakunin was born in Melenki in Gus-Khrustalny District of Vladimir Oblast. Until the age of 14 he was living in Pärnu, Estonia. His father was a pilot of the USSR Border Troops. His mother was an accountant. In 1964 his father demobilized and the family moved to Leningrad, the city Yakunin refers to as his home town.
In 1972, Yakunin graduated from the Leningrad Mechanical Institute where he studied aircraft construction. He graduated as master mechanic specializing in engineering and maintenance of long-range ballistic missiles.
His career began in the State Institute for Applied Chemistry in Leningrad, where he worked from 1972 to 1975
In 1975, he joined the Soviet Army. After demobilizing in 1977, he worked as a senior engineer in the State Committee for International Trade of the Sovmin until 1982
In 1982-1985, he was the head of the Foreign Relations Department at the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute
Early in 1991 he left government service to become a businessman. He was chairman of the board in the International Business Cooperation Center
Since the early 90s, Yakunin owns a dacha in Solovyovka, Priozersky district of Leningrad region, which is located on the eastern shore of the Komsomol'skoye lake on the Karelian Isthmus near St. Petersburg. His neighbours there are Vladimir Putin, Andrei Fursenko, Sergey Fursenko, Yuriy Kovalchuk, Viktor Myachin, Vladimir Smirnov and Nikolay Shamalov. On November 10, 1996, together they instituted the co-operative society Ozero (the Lake) which united their properties.
In 1997, he once again became a government official, working as head of the Northwest Regional Inspection of Government Accountability Office.
From December 7, 2000 to February 2002, Yakunin was Deputy of Russia's Transport Minister Sergey Frank, supervising merchant-fleet development and seaport business functions.
On October 24, 2003, Yakunin became Deputy Head of the Russian Railways headed by Gennady Fadeev, which was created out of the Ministry. On June 15, 2005, he was appointed Head of the Russian Railways (Government Decree 786-r, June 14, 2005). He was later reappointed to the same office three times (Government decree 843-r, June 12, 2008, Government decree 987-r June 10, 2011, Government decree 1606-r, August 25, 2014).
On December 12, 2012 in Paris, the International Union of Railways General Assembly appointed Yakunin chairman of the Union. He was unanimously reappointed to this office on December 3, 2014 and ran it till his retirement.
Yakunin is also President of the "World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations", an International NGO, registered in Vienna, Austria, which he co-founded with C.Kapur of India and N.Papanikolao from Greece/USA. "World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations" is an initiative to link people of different civilizations, traditions and religions. It organizes the annual Rhodes Conference on Dialogue of Civilizations.
- Since January 2006, Yakunin has been the academic adviser and chairman of the Guardian Council of the Problem Analysis and Public Administration Center at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
- In 2005, he passed Candidate's dissertation defense, the theme for his thesis being "Developing Geostrategies in Present-Day Russia".
- He has a Ph.D. in Political Science, defending his Ph.D. defense in 2007 with the thesis “Proceeding and Mechanics of National Policy Formation in Present-Day Russia”
- His monographs include “Developing Geostrategies in Russia: The Transport Component” (2005), “Political Science of Transport: Measuring Transport Development in Terms of Politics” (2006), and “National Policy Formation in Present-Day Russia: Theoretical and Practical Issues” (2006).
- Since 2010, he has been the Head of State Policy Department of the Moscow State University (MSU) Faculty of Political Science
- He is visiting professor at the Stockholm School of Economics
Social activities and charity
- A member of the Guardian Council of Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater.
- Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Center of the National Glory of Russia and St. Andrew's Foundation, organizations which fund Orthodox Church-related projects.
- Chairman of the Guardian Council of the “Spread your wings!” Children's Fund, which was established in 2007 to provide financial aid for orphans, handicapped children, children with serious health issues, etc. His company sponsors the fund’s projects, which include social adaptation programs for orphans and the handicapped, as well as adoption assistance.
- President of the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations and a member of the jury of the Rhodes Youth Forum, organized by Youth Time.
Honours and awards
- Order For Merit to the Fatherland, 4th class (16 June 2008), for outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport and the many years of diligent work
- Order of Honour (10 August 2006), for outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport and the many years of diligent work
- Medal "For the Development of Railways" (October 22, 2007) - for outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport and labour achievements
- Medal for Battle Merit (USSR)
- Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (14 June 2002)
- Russian Railways’s Badge of Honorary Railwayman (USSR)
- Order "For Services to Altai Krai," 1st class (September 25, 2009), for outstanding contribution to the socioeconomic development of Altai krai.
- Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria (Austria, 2011) 
- Order "Danaker" (Kyrgyzstan, 21 June 2006) for outstanding contribution to the development of economic relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation
- Order of Friendship (Azerbaijan, 2009) - for outstanding contribution to the strengthening of cooperation and mutual relations between Azerbaijan and Russia
- Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy, 9 June 2011) for contributing to the development of cultural, economic, and political relations between the Russia and Italy
- Order of Merit (Armenia) for significant contributions to the strengthening and development of cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation.
- Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, 1st class (Russian Orthodox Church, 2008)
- Order of St. Andrei Rublev, 1st class (Russian Orthodox Church, 2009)
- Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 2nd class (Russian Orthodox Church, 2005)
- Order of the Al-Fahr, 1st class (Council of Muftis of Russia, 2008), for significant contributions to the development and strengthening of the idea of a dialogue of civilizations, and spreading the ideals of peaceful coexistence of peoples and religious traditions, as well as on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
- Order of St. Sava, 1st class (Serbian Orthodox Church, December 17, 2005), for the activities of the brotherly love for the Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church
- Order of the Holy Sepulchre (Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, 2004) for outstanding contribution to the dialogue of civilizations and peoples and the Pan-Orthodox prayer "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem"
- Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius (Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, 2009) for his contribution to strengthening friendship between the peoples of Russia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
- Spain’s Order for Civil Merit in the Grand Cross Class (9 August 2012) for outstanding achievements in strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and Spain
- Gold Medal of the association La Renaissance Francaise (June 25, 2012) for contributing to the development and consolidation of relations between France and Russia.
- Commander of the Order of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Antiochian Orthodox Church, 2010) - for his work for the good of the Orthodox Church
- Order of St. Innocent, 2nd class (Orthodox Church in America, 2010)
- Certificate of Honour of the Russian Federation (30 June 2008) for his great personal contribution to the efficient operation of rail transport and many years of hard work
- Medal Paul Melnikov (Russian Ministry of Transport, 2005) - for his great personal contribution to the development of the transportation complex of Russia
- Medal "For assistance in Providing Special Programmes" (GUSP, 2009) - for the good organization of work on the implementation of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, "The Mobilization of the Russian Federation"
- Medal "90 years of the Transporting Police" (Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety, 2009) for a significant contribution to the protection of public order, and in connection with the 90th anniversary of the formation of internal affairs in transportation
- International Prize of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called “For Faith and Loyalty” (2000) - for a significant contribution to the cause of formation of the national identity of Russia and to the creation of the Centre of National Glory
- Award For Public Work Towards the Common Good of the British organisation Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative.
- Laureate of a Russian Government prize in science and technology
- France’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honour
- The Order of Dostyk (Friendship) 2-nd class, Kazakhstan’s highest award
- The Stolypin Medal, First Degree
In October 2007, for his contribution to the implementation of measures to reform the railway transportation development strategy of the Russian railways, providing constructive social policy and effective communication with the public authorities of the Russian Federation and the subjects of the Russian Federation, as well as with foreign railway administrations and international organizations, he was awarded Honourable Railwayman of Russian Railways.
On March 20, 2014, the United States government sanctioned response to the Russian government’s role in the ongoing unrest in Ukraine. The sanctions include a travel ban to the United States, freezing of all Yakunin’s assets in the United States, and a ban on business transactions between American citizens and corporations and Yakunin and any businesses he owns.
Retired from Russian Railways
In August 2015, it was reported that Yakunin had retired from his post as head of Russian Railways, but in October, media reported that he had been dismissed from his post. Russian and British media have alleged that Yakunin’s dismissal was a direct result of his son Andrey Yakunin’s decision to apply for UK citizenship.
Sets Up International Think Tank
In October 2015 during Rhodes Forum announced setting up international think-tank. This think tank will be tasked with searching for solutions and developing particular proposals to lower tensions worldwide.
- Russia Monitor, personalities - Vladimir Yakunin
- Russian Railways. Executive management
- Politician from Russia, Vl. Yakunin
- Anticompromat, Internet library
- How the 1980s Explains Vladimir Putin. The Ozero group. By Fiona Hill & Clifford G. Gaddy, The Atlantic, February 14, 2013
- Владимир Прибыловский, Юрий Фельштинский. Операция "Наследник". Главы из книги.Штрихи к политическому портрету В. В. Путина
- Vladimir Yakunin Elected as Chairman of UIC
- Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President of the WPF "Dialogue of Civilizations"
- The SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION of the CIS
- "Board of Trustees". Russkiy Mir Foundation.
- "Open lecture "Global geopolitical and geoeconomical transformations: a big war or a big breakthrough" by V.Yakunin". LinkedIn.
- "The World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" is an international, independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization. Management". WPFDC.org.
- "Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria was awarded to Vladimir Yakunin". World Public Forum. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- [Vladimir Yakunin, co-president of the Association Dialog Franco-Russe http://dialoguefrancorusse.com/en/association-uk/board/557-vladimir-yakunin.html]
- "Russian Prime Minister Awards the Stolypin Medal, First Degree, to Vladimir Yakunin". WPF DIALOGUE OF CIVILIZATIONS. 26 December 2015.
- "Якунин о вручении ему медали Столыпина: наград никогда не ожидаешь". RIA Novosti. 25 December 2015.
- "Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Of The Russian Leadership’s Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine". US Department of the treasury.
- "Executive Order - Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine". The White House - Office of the Press Secretary.
- "СМИ связали отставку Якунина с заявкой его сына на британское гражданство". РБК. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
- "Vladimir Yakunin opens 13th Annual Rhodes Forum and announces launch of think-tank". Rhodes Forum. 11 October 2015.
- "Якунин займётся неправительственными организациями и наукой". RIA Novosti. 9 October 2015.
- "Russian Railways ex-chief sets up international think tank to ‘reduce tensions worldwide’". Russian News Agency TASS. 12 January 2016.
- Vladimir Yakunin’s blog
- Yakunin: Crowds do not define public will
- Putin Confidant Yakunin: 'Russia and the West Are Drifting Apart'
- Excerpts From the Interview With Vladimir Yakunin
- Q & A: Vladimir Yakunin
- Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways
- US accused of ‘trying to destroy Russia’
- KFAS Interview : Vladimir Yakunin
- IBNA Interview: Vladimir Yakunin
- Former Kremlin insider expects 2-year economic downturn
- Modifying Russia according to Western patterns impossible — Russian Railways ex-CEO
- Russian Railways ex-chief sets up international think tank to ‘reduce tensions worldwide’
- Message of UIC Chairman V. Yakunin on the occasion of the UN Climate Summit 2014
- Message by V. Yakunin, UIC Chairman, on the occasion of the UIC General Assembly, Portoroz, 27 June 2014
- Address by UIC Chairman Mr. Vladimir Yakunin June 2014
- Message by Vladimir Yakunin, UIC Chairman, on the occasion of the UIC General Assembly Paris, 3 December 2014
- Vladimir Yakunin: We should stop playing innocent September 29
- Under US sanctions, Russian patriot Yakunin speaks in Berlin
- For Putin Ally, U.S. Sanctions Only Add to Anti-Russia Conspiracy Theory
- Russia's Yakunin Blasts "Global Financial Oligarchy" on Ukrainian Crisis
- Vladimir Iakounine: "Nous avons besoin de garder un partenaire français dans Gefco"
- France 24, Business Interview
- Russian railway boss Vladimir Yakunin is trying to keep his company, country and President on track
- Victor J. Yasmann "Russia: Could Yakunin Be 'First-Called' As Putin's Successor?", Radio Free Europe, 21 June 2006.
- Yambaeva, Renata. The Railwayman Kommersant, 15 June 2005.