Yelena Baturina

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Yelena Baturina
Yelena Baturina.jpg
Born Yelena Nikolayevna Baturina
(1963-03-08) 8 March 1963 (age 53)
Moscow, Russian RSFR, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Occupation Founder of Inteco and BEOPEN
Known for Richest woman in Russia[1]
Net worth US$1.05 billion.[2]
Spouse(s) Yury Luzhkov (m. 1991)
Children Elena (born 1992)
Olga (born 1994)

Yelena Nikolayevna Baturina (Russian: Еле́на Никола́евна Бату́рина; born 8 March 1963) is a Russian enterpreneur and philanthropist. She used to own a major investment and construction company Inteco.[3] Presently owns a hotel chain[2] and is the founder of BE OPEN philanthropic foundation.[4]

Baturina is still Russia's richest woman[1] and the only Russian woman worth more than a billion dollars. She is the 1557th richest person in the world currently, after tumbling from a much higher wealth.[2] Her husband, Yury Luzhkov, was mayor of Moscow from 1992 to 2010.


Baturina is a Moscow native who began working as a design-technician at the Fraser plant (where her parents worked) after graduating from high school.[5] She later got a degree, graduating from the Moscow-based S. Ordzhonikidze State University of Management in 1986.

  • 1980-1982: the Frazer plant, technician-designer, then senior design engineer of the Chief Technologist Department;
  • 1982-1989: Institute of Integrated Economic Development of Moscow, researcher; Russian Union of United Cooperatives, head of the Secretariat; the Mosgorispolkom Commission on cooperative activity, senior specialist.
  • since 1989 engaged in private business activities;
  • 1991-1994: LLP "Inteco", director;
  • 1994-2011: CJSC "Inteco", president;
  • 2006 - 2011: deputy head of the interdepartmental working group on the priority national project "Affordable and Comfortable Housing to Russian citizens", a member of the Commission on the development of affordable housing under the President of the Russian Federation on the implementation of priority national projects and demographic policy.

Baturina met her future husband, Yury Luzhkov, in 1987 when they were both serving at Mosgorispolkom, a Soviet-era municipal commission. At the period of their co-working the relationships were purely professional. In one of her interviews Baturina remembers: “We never even thought about anything like that when we were working together, it all happened much later”.[6] Baturina and Luzhkov married in 1991. The next year he became mayor of Moscow. In 2010 he was dismissed by President Dmitry Medvedev amidst still unproven accusations of corruption and mismanagement voiced on state run television.[7] Yury himself had at one time been tipped to run for president, though he never did.

After her husband’s dismissal Baturina moved to London. She explains the choice of the city by the fact that her two daughters were studying in London. She explains the choice of the city by the fact that her two daughters decided to study in London[8]

In November 2010 Luzhkov gave an interview to the Telegraph newspaper stating that the couple was sending their daughters to study in London to protect them from possible persecution from the Russian authorities. He also said that a house had been bought in the west of the city for them and that he and his wife intend to visit them regularly.[9] Luzhkov also claimed that the Russian authorities were planning to break up Baturina's business empire and that the couple would fight the attempt: "We will not give up. My wife will battle for her business and for her honour and self-worth. That is for sure.”.[9]

In September 2009 The Sunday Times erroneously stated that Witanhurst, a large house in Highgate, North London, had been bought by Baturina, via an offshore front company. Baturina sued the papers owners, Times Newspapers, a subsidiary of News International. Times Newspapers apologized for the story and paid damages to her in October 2011.[10]



In 1989 Baturina launched her first enterprise with her elder brother Victor, primarily dealing with software and hardware for computers.[11] In 1991 Baturina founded her company, Inteco ("Inteko" (Интеко) in Russian), which focuses on construction though it began as a plastics business. In 1994 Inteco purchased a plastic factory. In 1998 the company won the contract for producing 85,000 seats for Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow's largest stadium. The critics claimed that the decision was affected by Luzhkov as Mayor of Moscow, though Inteco stated that their price was 50% less than their nearest competitor’s.[12]

In the middle of 1990s Inteco entered the construction business focusing on development of advanced materials and technologies for facade work, cement, brick and poured concrete construction, architectural design and real estate business.[13]

In 2001 Inteco acquired from a private person the controlling stake in one of the leading house-building factories in Moscow DSK-3. Following modernization the construction plant provided 500,000 square meters of housing per year. This acquisition, according to Baturina’s interviews, became the starting point for the company’s major construction activity. “DSK-3 is my first real step into construction. I had been viewing the market for a long time. I saw how quickly and dynamically it was developing, how many opportunities it was offering. Still the deal took place sort of accidentally. The lawyers of the former main owner’s widow came to me and said that some unfriendly entities were questioning her property rights and trying to simply rob her of her stake. And the frightened woman had decided to sell all the shares to Inteco on the condition that we defend her rights in court. We have successfully managed that and just like that, almost by accident, became the owners of the plant."[14]

At one point Inteco was said to control 20% of construction in the capital.[15] However, according to experts, quoted by media, from 2000 to 2010 of construction activities Inteco's share in the state order was no more than 2%. While the main contractors for the implementation of the Moscow government orders were construction companies MFS-6 (24.5%) Glavmosstroy (20.7%), SU-155 (13.7%) and MSM-5 (12.2%).In 2002 Inteco created a subsidiary "Strategy Construction Company", whose main objective was the construction of monolithic buildings. Such cement plants as "Podgorensky cementnik" and "Oskolcement", one of the largest cement producers in the central Russia, were also bought at that time.[16]

In 2002 Inteco created a subsidiary "Strategy Construction Company", whose main objective was the construction of monolithic buildings. Such cement plants as "Podgorensky cementnik" and "Oskolcement", one of the largest cement producers in the central Russia, were also bought at that time.[17]

In 2005 Inteco sold its cement works for estimated US$800 000 to Eurocement Group in order to consolidate financial and administrative recourses that the company needed for the implementation of perspective construction programs.[18]

Shortly Inteco sold DSK-3, a producer of prefabricated buildings, as well and fully concentrated on the construction of monolithic housing and commercial real estate.[19]

Part of the proceeds from the sale of these assets were directed by Baturina to buying some high-yield "blue chips" of the largest Russian companies such as Gazprom and Sberbank. This step allowed the visionary businesswoman to later sell the shares in the crisis year of 2009 at a significant profit and return Inteco’s earlier business development bank loans ahead of schedule, which allowed to keep the businesses afloat. The interest rate on loans at that time sprang up from 10.8 to 18 percent, which led to the ruin of a significant number of Russian developers.[20]

At the same time, as part of a new cement project, Inteco purchased Verkhnebakansky Cement Plant and the Atakaytsement cement factory located in the Krasnodar region.[21][22]

As of 2007, the company owned such entities as Inteko Plast (55%), Bistro Plast (50%), construction firms SK DSK-3 (100%), Styre (100%), Inteco CENTER (100%), Inteco Chess (Elista, 100%), Intekostroy (70%). The company also owned enterprises in the city of Sochi - Park (100%), The Matrix (100%), Sochi AO (75.58%), Horizont (50%), Selectioner (Belgorod region., 100%) and Uspensky Agromashplast "(Moscow reg., Uspensky, 38%). Inteco Group also included Russian Zemelny Bank and trading house Moscow River involved in the supply of grain.

In 2007, the company's revenue, according to its own data, amounted to $ 1 billion.[13]

At the end of 2008, alongside with Gazprom and Russian Railways, Inteco was included into the list of 295 strategic enterprises of the country.[23]

In 2009, the company begins cooperating with an outstanding Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill as part of the programme aimed at creating of fundamentally new systems for mass housing in Russia.[24]

In 2010 Inteco launched the construction of the second academic building for the Moscow State University named after Lomonosov.[25]

In 2010, Yelena Baturina was named one of the largest taxpayers in Russia, the taxes to the state budget for 2009 amounted to 4 billion rubles. As of 2009, 99% of the company is owned by Yelena Baturina, 1% is on the balance sheet of the Company itself. The project development portfolio is more than 7,000,000 square meters, the cement capacities exceed 0.6 million tons per year.[26]

At the end of 2010 Baturina has sold its Russian Zemelny Bank (RZB) to foreign investors.[27]

The most significant completed projects of Inteco in Moscow (in the period of company Yelena Baturina’s ownership) are: the residential quarter "Shuvalov" (270,000 square meters), the residential quarter "Grand Park" (400,000 square meters), the residential site "Volga" (400,000 square meters), the multifunctional complex "Fusion Park" with the "Autoville" - museum of unique cars from private collections (100,000 square meters), the Fundamental Library (60,000 square feet), and the academic building for Humanities (100,000 square meters) of the Moscow State University.[28]

After her husband’s resignation Baturina starts selling her assets in Russia. The best offer was filed by Mikail Shishkhanov and Sberbank Investments. They bought the 95% and 5% shares of Inteco correspondingly.[29] The exact amount of the transaction was never disclosed, but the report of Sberbank stated that according to the experts that participated in the preparation of the deal, the market value of Inteco, its projects and structures was around 1.2 billion dollars.[30] The deal did not include the cement plants of Inteco. One of them was later sold to Lev Kvetnoy for estimated 17 billion rubles.[31]

Hotel business[edit]

The first development in the new hotel chain was the five-star Grand Tirolia Golf & Ski Resort, located in the heart of the Eichenheim golf club in Kitzbühel, Austria. Construction, which was completed in 2009, cost in the region of €35-40 million.[32] The hotel is located in the center of the golf club Eichenheim, together they make Grand Tirolia Golf & Ski Resort. In 2009 the hotel achieved honorary status as the “Home of Laureus” in Austria, and became the official venue for the annual ceremony of the prestigious international award that those in the field call the "Oscar" of sports journalism.[33]

In 2010, Baturina opened the New Peterhof Hotel in Saint Petersburg, which received a number of architectural awards.[34] In 2012, following major reconstruction work, Baturina opened the Quisisana Palace in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Housed in a late 19th century building, the hotel combines elements of Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Gothic styles. The restoration of the historic building required significant investment.[35] The hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World association.[36] In 2013 Yelena Baturina opened the Morrison Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. She bought it from NAMA in early 2012 for €22 million.[37] The 138-room hotel on Dublin’s Lower Ormond Quay has undergone a €7 million refurbishment.[38] All the hotels in Yelena Baturina’s chain are managed by Austrian-based Martinez Hotels & Resorts.[39]

Yelena Baturina has announced her intentions to the press to continue to expand her hotel chain. "In the future, we think of making up hotel clusters in those regions where we are already present. These are Ireland - United Kingdom, Northern Italy - Austria - Germany, the Baltic States - Russia - Kazakhstan," Yelena Baturina said in her interview to “Sobesednik”.[40]

Development business[edit]

In a series of interviews Baturina mentioned that she is co-investing two development funds: Queen's Gate and Rosamund. Her partners in this project are the people whom she knows since Inteco times. The funds are involved in the acquisition and construction of real estate, one will invest in European properties, and the other, in U.S. real estate.[41] One works with residential, the other — with commercial real estate.[42]

Veedern Group[edit]

In 1999 Baturina became chairman of the Equestrian Federation of Russia, and in 2000 acquired the "Veedern" estate in the Suvorovka village of the Kaliningrad Region. Here she planned to revive two-centuries old traditions of horse breeding of the Trakehner horses.[43]

In 2011 the retired Yury Luzhkov took up the management of the estate. He conducted reconstruction of the historical buildings, launched a few innovative cattle-breeding and agricultural projects. Today the estate breeds, trains, rents and sells Hanoverian and Trakehner horses.[44]


In 2007 Viktor Baturin, Yelena's brother, with whom she founded Inteco, sued Inteco for US$120 million for wrongful dismissal.[45]

Intimidation of Inteko[edit]

On 9 October 2005 executive director of Inteko-agro Alexander Annenkov was attacked in Belgorod by three assailants armed with axes. He survived.[46] At the time Baturina had been having business problems in Belgorod, with her attempts to modernise farmland there being opposed by local governor Yevgeny Savchenko.[46]

On 13 October 2005, Inteco lawyer Dmitry Steinberg was shot at the entrance to his house. Baturina attended his funeral.[47]

Allegations of Criminal Links[edit]

According to secret cables published by WikiLeaks, the US ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, reported allegations that Baturina had links to major criminal groups, particularly Solntsevskaya Bratva.[48] Beyrle stated that her husband Yury Luzhkov sat on top of a "pyramid of corruption". "Luzhkov oversees a system in which it appears that almost everyone at every level is involved in some form of corruption or criminal behaviour," wrote Beyrle. "Analysts identify a three-tiered structure in Moscow's criminal world. Luzhkov is at the top. The FSB, MVD and militia are at the second level. Finally ordinary criminals and corrupt inspectors are at the lowest level." Beyrle also suggested that much of Luzhkov's business empire had been acquired using municipal finances to invest in "less than transparent" projects with former Soviet republics.[49] The couple denied the accusations as "total rubbish".[49]

Personal wealth[edit]

According to Forbes magazine, Baturina's net worth was US$4.2 billion in 2008,[50] up from US$3.1 billion in 2007,[2] US$2.3 billion in 2006[51] and US$1.1 billion in 2004.[52] According to magazine Finans, her wealth fell during the credit crunch to just US$1 billion in February 2009, causing her to ask the Russian government for a bailout for Inteko.[53] Her wealth, as of 2012, was listed as US$1.1 billion.[2]

Baturina has a diverse portfolio. She owns hotels in the Black Sea tourist resort of Sochi, a hotel in Dublin through a private foundation in Austria, other hotels in Austria and the Czech Republic,[54] over 72,000 hectares of agricultural land in the Belgorod Oblast, and also a factory that produces a million cans of sweetened condensed milk each year.[52]

2013 - 98th place, and $1.1 billion, still the richest business woman in the country.[55] In 2013 the Sunday Times included Baturina into the annual Sunday Times Rich List,[56] the list of the wealthiest people in Britain. The Russian entrepreneur took the 122nd 12th in the women list.[57]

Afterwards a few British journalists pointed out that if you discount the number of women who made the list due to "family wealth" (which they may have contributed towards to a greater or lesser degree), inheritance or divorce — the first self-made female richlister is Yelena Baturina.[58] "Money is like cement in construction. Money is not a goal but a means to reach the goal, the opportunity to do the things you want to do. The more money I have, the more large scale tasks I can solve. But I think you will agree that not everyone who owns a lot of money ever sets himself any tasks".[42]

Honours and awards[edit]

Yelena Baturina won the State Prize of the Russian Federation for Science and Technology in 2003. Inteco and its projects have won numerous awards and competitions, including: the "Russian Building Olympus" prize for "Architecture and Design Planning" (2008);[59] "Brand of the Year/EFFIE 2007"; national prize for "Construction and Real Estate" (2008);[60] International Star of Leadership award for quality at the 13th Business Initiative Directions (B.I.D.) international convention (Paris, 2009);[61] "Company of the Year" national prize for business for "The Best Investment and Construction Company in Russia in 2009" (2009);[62] International Award for Technology & Quality (Madrid, 2010);[63] International Construction Award (France, 2011).[64]

Community involvement[edit]

In 2006, Baturina assumed position of Deputy Head for the inter-ministerial group under the national project "Affordable and Comfortable Housing for Russian citizens." Yelena Baturina was the only representative of the construction industry in the group. In connection to the project Inteco formed a special commission that was inspecting various regions in Russia in order to evaluate the state of the local construction enterprises, to determine the demand for construction materials and to collect demographic and sociological data. As a result, the commission developed the concept of the federal target program "Development of the construction industry". Later on, the Government of the Russian Federation based its "Strategy of development of building materials industry up to 2020” on that program.[65][66]

In 2010, Yelena Baturina became one of the first business leaders to provide support to the victims of fires in the Tula region. Among other projects, Inteco also fully sponsored a construction of a nursery school. In addition, Baturina addressed the leaders of other construction companies in Russia and urged them to follow the example.[67]

Support of sport[edit]


Inteco has sponsored Russian Open Golf Championship, one of the stages of the PGA European Tour, as well as provided assistance to members of the Russian junior team during their participation in international competitions. In addition, Yelena Baturina supported charity golf tournament for the Russian Federation President Cup and «Rotary Golf World Championship» in Kitzbühel, Austria.[68]

Equestrian sport[edit]

From 1999 to 2005 Yelena Baturina served as President of the Equestrian Federation of Russia. During this period, the Federation began arranging international competitions for young sportsmen, formed teams of riders of respective age categories that were qualified for participation in the European championships. In Moscow the Federation held multiple competitions, including the Moscow Mayor Cup, one of the stages of the World Cup.[69]

Baturina succeeded in raising funds for developing equestrian sport in Russia to the sufficient level for such competition. The sponsoring was directed not only to support adult tournaments, but to the development of youth and junior sports schools as well. Many equestrian sport bases underwent reconstruction, too.[70]

Arts and Culture[edit]

"Russian seasons" in Europe[edit]

The first "Russian Season" organized by Yelena Baturina took place in Kitzbühel, Austria in 2008 - that was a celebration of Russian Orthodox Christmas with classical Russian musicians and Russian folklore ensembles. The following “Russian Seasons" were held not only in Austria but in several other European countries.[71]

Jazza Nova[edit]

Baturina organised the international music festival Jazza Nova in Kitzbühel, which featured headliners such as Stevie Wonder and Carlos Santana, Liquid Soul and Brazzaville, "Turetsky Choir", Sergey Zhilin, etc. Entry was free of charge by invitation, which were distributed through public and charity foundations.[71]


Yelena Baturina is the founder of the charity foundation "Noosphere" designed to support education and to promote tolerance in society. It provides training courses, information and leisure centers, grant and scholarship programs. The “Noosphere" foundation is the initiator and one of the main organizers of the educational festival "Team of Tolerance" in Moscow.[72]

Housing Charity[edit]

Baturina initiated a charity project called "Revival of Russian tradition of collective house construction". This project was to bring together business organizations, individuals and administrative workers in various regions of Russia in order to address the housing needs of people in dire need of better housing conditions. Within that project Inteco presented flats to a number of families in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Saint Petersburg.[73]

BE OPEN Foundation[edit]

In 2012, Yelena Baturina founded the BE OPEN Foundation, a "creative think-tank" aimed "to encourage creativity and innovation among young designers and artists and to build bridges between Russia and the rest of the world".[74] The Foundation's stated commitment is to become a bridge between contemporary thinkers and creatives and media and business. Yelena Baturina: “We launched Be Open against a background of worldwide economic and political turmoil, a time when there is a crucial need for long-term, regenerative thinking, innovative ideas. It is at times like these that society historically turns to the creative community for solutions. And that is what we are doing with Be Open. By travelling the world, the project will reach out to local audiences globally. Alongside the conferences, we are also staging competitions, exhibitions, master classes, cultural and art events, all conceived to help identify original thinking and bring it to fruition”.[75][76]

Personal life[edit]

Baturina and Luzhkov

In 1991 Yelena Baturina married Yury Luzhkov. In 1992 their older daughter, Yelena, was born, followed in 1994 by the younger, Olga. In November 2010 Luzhkov gave an interview to the Telegraph newspaper stating that the couple were sending their daughters to study in London to protect them from possible persecution by the Russian authorities.[77] Today both daughters of Baturina and Luzhkov live in London and are studying Politics and Economy at University College. In her interviews Baturina often says that she and Luzhkov are very lucky, as they still love each other. She enjoys cooking his favourite dish, borscht, and claims that a traditional "Soviet upbringing" made a good housewife of her.[78]

Baturina has an older brother, Viktor Baturin, who is also a businessman. In 2007 Viktor Baturin tried to sue his sister's company Inteco for US$120 million for wrongful dismissal, but lost the case. Yelena Baturina has had no contacts with his brother since a public conflict on business issues that occurred in 2007 and resulted in mutual lawsuits, that later were settled.[45]

Hobbies and Interests[edit]

Baturina enjoys horseriding, and has invested significant money into equestrian sport in Russia.[79][80] She owns the "Veedern" horse breeding estate founded in the 18th century. After a major reconstruction the estate is now successfully breeding Hanoverian and Trakehner horses.[80] Baturina has said: "You should put a man on a horse to see how he will behave in a team: will he become a leader or not, will he be a dictator or is he ready to compromise. Generally it is easier for men to handle horses. They have a strong hand and they can easily stop the animal. For example, Luzhkov can handle any horse".[79]

Baturina also enjoys mountain skiing, and it was the main reason for her setting up the first hotel of her chain in Tyrol.[81] She is also fond of golf which she plays together with her husband.[82]

She claims to own one of the largest private collections of Russian Imperial porcelain, preferring the porcelain of the era of Nicholay I.[83] In April 2011, Yelena Baturina donated about 40 pieces of art — a part of her collection of rare porcelain — to the "Tsaritsyno" museum in Moscow.[84]

Interesting facts[edit]

  1. 28-year-old Baturina and Luzhkov can be seen together as a cameo in "The Genius" movie (1991).
  2. Yelena Baturina thinks that her best acquisition is her private jet which saves her "lots of time and nerves".[85]
  3. In 2011, Baturina won a lawsuit against the British newspaper "The Sunday Times", which attributed to the Russian businesswoman the acquisition of Witanhurst estate in London, which is the second value after Buckingham Palace. As a result, the newspaper published a retraction and apologized.[86]
  4. On her husband’s 75th birthday, Yelena Baturina presented him a seeder.[87]
  5. Baturina's favorite thing in her London office is a Vienna porcelain vase of the 19th century.[88]
  6. Yelena Baturina, unlike most wealthy people, claims that she is not going to surround her adult daughters with wealth and insists on them achieving success in life on their own. "I long ago declared to the children that I am supporting them financially only while they are getting education. When they graduate, they will start providing for themselves'.[89]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ a b c d e "Elena Baturina". Forbes. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Sean (2011). "Prominent Russians: Yelena Baturina". Russiapedia. RT. 
  4. ^ Mascheroni, Loredana (21 June 2012). "Elena Baturina: Be Open". Domus. 
  5. ^ Nikolaeva, Anna; Lyauv, Bela; Panov, Andrei (26 November 2007). ""Я всегда мечтала быть аналитиком", - Елена Батурина, президент ЗАО "Интеко"" ["I always wanted to be an analyst," - Elena Baturina, President of JSC "Inteko"]. Vedomosti (in Russian). 
  6. ^ Skvortsova, Elena (20 May 2013). "Елена Батурина: Не плачу, не травлю себя и ни о чем не жалею Источник". Sobesednik (in Russian). 
  7. ^ "Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov sacked by President Medvedev". BBC. 28 September 2010. 
  8. ^ McGurk, Tom (28 April 2013). "The Sunday Interview: Yelena Baturina". Sunday Business Post. 
  9. ^ a b Osborn, Andrew (7 November 2010). "Former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov: 'I fear for my family'". The Telegraph. 
  10. ^ Halliday, Josh (20 October 2011). "Sunday Times apologises to Russia's richest woman over mansion story". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Maksimovskaya, Marianne (30 January 2012). ""Взятки давала. Откаты не платила"" ["Bribes give. Kickbacks are not paid"]. Ogonek (in Russia). 
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  83. ^ [44] Dozhd TV channel
  84. ^ [45]
  85. ^ "Елена Батурина: Не плачу, не травлю себя и ни о чем не жалею". 
  86. ^ "Russia's richest woman wins Sunday Times libel battle". 
  87. ^ "Все тайны нового поместья Юрия Лужкова в Озерском районе". 
  88. ^ "Es muss genug Luft zum Atmen übrigbleiben". 
  89. ^ "Елена Батурина: Не плачу, не травлю себя и ни о чем не жалею". 

External links[edit]