The Diverse Realms of Petr Aven: From Economics to Art Patronage

The Diverse Realms of Petr Aven | The Enterprise World

Petr Olegovich Aven has established himself as a prominent figure both in the realms of business and culture. He hails from Eastern Europe, with his home base now in London, United Kingdom, where he resides with his family. 

Affiliated with the Alfa Group Consortium’s supervisory board since 1994, Aven Petr Olegovich has had a storied career, having held the position of president at Alfa Bank from 1994 until 2011. Subsequently, he assumed the role of board chairman at Alfa-Bank – a tenure that lasted until March 1, 2022, when he transferred his stake to Andrei Kosogov, a fellow shareholder in the financial establishment. 


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Early Education and Background of Petr Olegovich Aven

The Petr Aven biography began in the capital of the RSFSR on 16 March 1955. The son of Oleg, he was nurtured in an academic environment; his father was a revered professor and corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences, known for his expertise in computational technology. His ancestry is rich and varied, with his father being of mixed descent. His mother Tamara was of Jewish heritage. The tapestry of his lineage includes his grandfathers who faced political repression in their time. 

The Diverse Realms of Petr Aven | The Enterprise World

Completing his early education at a special school focused on physics and mathematics 1972, the Petr Aven biography continued with higher education at Lomonosov MSU. In 1977, he emerged with a degree in economic cybernetics, having crafted a dissertation in the Department of Mathematical Methods in Economic Analysis under the guidance of the distinguished Academician Stanislav Shatalin. 

In 1980, Aven Petr Olegovich earned his PhD in economics, having completed a dissertation on “Mathematical Methods in Economic Research.” During his postgraduate studies, he was again mentored by Shatalin.  

His professional career began at the All-Union Institute of Systems Analysis of the State Committee for Science and Technology and the Academy of Sciences, where he served from 1981 to 1988. He rose from a junior to a senior research associate, with his work primarily focusing on data analysis, during which time he shared an office with the noted economist and politician Yegor Gaidar. 

The period from 1989 to 1991 saw Petr Olegovich Aven expand his academic and advisory roles. He occupied a position as a research fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. Concurrently, he provided his expertise as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Petr Aven: Biography in the Early 1990s

During the years 1991-1992, Petr Olegovich Aven held the position of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RSFSR. Subsequently, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Economic Relations, later advancing to the role of the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and ultimately serving as the Minister of Foreign Economic Relations of the RF within the Yeltsin-Gaidar government. Additionally, he was designated as the President’s representative for relations with the industrially developed countries, the G7. His tenure included active negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and various international entities. 

The Diverse Realms of Petr Aven | The Enterprise World

Reflecting on that era, Aven Petr Olegovich observed that the first post-communist government had anticipated considerable support from the West to facilitate reforms, a hope that was met with disillusionment. In 1992, the International Monetary Fund’s aid was limited to 1 billion USD, with nothing coming from “Western partners.” Petr Aven recounted the shock experienced by Gaidar, Kozyrev, and himself upon realizing the reluctance of most Western leaders to engage with the RF as a partner rather than a competitor. 

In his memoirs, Yegor Gaidar, who was the First Deputy Prime Minister of the government, wrote that despite any shortcomings Petr Olegovich Aven may have had, his grasp of the overall concept of the economic reforms was impeccable. Gaidar noted that the economist’s understanding was so profound that it negated the need for any oversight of his preparations for the implementation of the convertible ruble. 

In late 1993, Aven Petr Olegovich was elected to the State Duma of the RF, though he ultimately declined the mandate. 

Petr Aven: Biography of Financial and Business Ventures

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In the realm of finance, March 1993 marked a significant move by Aven Petr Olegovich with the establishment of Petr Aven Finance. This enterprise offered advisory services to those looking to buy out governmental debt and also engaged in managing the outstanding debts of nations like India and Ghana, along with the commercial debts accumulated by the former regime. Petr Olegovich Aven held the CEO role until 1994. 

Subsequent to his initial entrepreneurial success, in 1994, Aven Petr transitioned into the role of president at Alfa Bank (or Alfa-Bank), initially holding a stake of 10%. Progressing through the ranks, in 2011, he ascended to the position of chairman of the Board of Directors, and by 2019, his shareholding had increased to 12.4%. However, in March 2022, Petr Aven stepped down from his position on the board of Alfa Bank. 

His leadership also extended beyond finance; from 1998 to 2011, Aven Petr Olegovich was at the helm of the Board of Directors of CTC, a significant media holding entity. 

Aven Petr Olegovich actively contributes to the business community as a member of the coordinating council of the national association Round Table of Business. His proficiency in financial management was recognized in 2004 when Institutional Investor magazine acclaimed him as the leading manager in the financial services sector within the domestic market. 

Since April 2006, Petr Aven has been serving on the board of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. In 2007, he undertook the leadership of the RF-Latvian Business Council, a role he fulfilled until 2017. His commitment to international dialogue is evident from his membership in the presidium of the RF Council on International Affairs starting in 2011. 

In 2016, Alfa Bank shareholders German Khan, Mikhail Fridman and Aven Petr, triumphed in a defamation case in a London court. He was awarded £18,000 in damages. 

Literary Contributions of Aven Petr Olegovich

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In a foray into literary criticism, in October 2008, Petr Aven penned a critique of Sankya, a novel by the writer and National Bolshevik, Zakhar Prilepin, which ignited a vigorous debate among the public. 

The Diverse Realms of Petr Aven | The Enterprise World

Petr Olegovich Aven also engaged with historical narrative, materializing in 2013 when he and Alfred Koch published Gaidar’s Revolution: The Firsthand History of the Reforms of the 1990s, a compendium of interviews with key political figures. The work garnered recognition, securing a place on the long list for the Enlightener award. John Lloyd of the Financial Times lauded the publication as an enlightening exposition on the reformists endeavoring to rejuvenate the RF economy of the 1990s. 

2017 saw Aven Petr channeling his efforts into authoring The Time of Berezovsky. For this volume, he conducted interviews with a host of individuals acquainted with the businessman and politician Boris Berezovsky, among them notable names like Anatoly Chubais, Valentin Yumashev, and Mikhail Fridman. Within the pages, the personal connection to Berezovsky with the Petr Aven biography is divulged, tracing their acquaintance back to 1978 and chronicling their association until the mid-1990s. 

Aven Petr Olegovich: Top Art Collector

The assemblage of art that Aven Petr has curated is esteemed as one of the foremost private collections, known by the moniker D2, a tribute to the initials of the economist’s children. The genesis of this collection was marked by the acquisition of a still life by Pavel Kuznetsov from the 1920s, which he purchased in 1993 for the sum of $5,000. Over the years, this collection has burgeoned with iconic works by luminaries such as Konstantin Korovin, Petr Konchalovsky, Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Boris Kustodiev, and Aristarkh Lentulov. 

This impressive collection has not been confined to private viewing but has graced public institutions as well. Exhibitions featuring selections from the Petr Aven collection have been mounted at the Jewish Museum in his hometown, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, allowing a global audience to appreciate these masterpieces. 

Forbes’s 2020 appraisal positioned the net worth of the esteemed art collection of Petr Olegovich Aven at no less than $500 million, reflecting its significant value and cultural importance. The collection boasts several pieces valued at well over $1 million. Perhaps his most valuable piece is Sketch for Improvisation No. 8 by Wassily Kandinsky, valued at $23 million. 

In a strategic move to house this remarkable collection, news emerged in March 2021 that Aven Petr had invested 3.36 million euros in acquiring a property in the heart of Riga, directly across from the National Art Museum. This acquisition is designated for the establishment of a museum envisioned to exhibit art reflecting the collector’s diverse background. The museum is slated for inauguration in 2025. 

Petr Aven: Biography of Patronage and Philanthropy

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Renowned for his support of the arts and philanthropy, the name of Aven Petr frequently appears in the media as a distinguished art connoisseur and benefactor. Since 2014, he has served as the co-chair of the Board of Trustees of the State Museum of Fine Arts named after A. S. Pushkin. 

2008 saw Petr Aven and his wife Elena establish the Generation charity fund, which pledges its support to a variety of causes: children’s healthcare, the promotion of cultural exchanges between Latvia and the RF, and the provision of scholarships and grants for scientific endeavors. The fund has enabled performances by musicians and actors in Riga and sponsored exhibitions in the RF. Additionally, Generation, founded by Petr Aven, regularly contributes to the Tynyanov Readings in the city of Rezekne. 

On the initiative of Aven Petr, the fund made one of its most notable contributions in 2011 – a 120,000-euro concert grand piano to the esteemed maestro Raimonds Pauls. The piano was used in a charity concert just days after it was presented. 

The philanthropic reach of the Generation fund, established by Aven Petr Olegovich and his wife, has extended to the healthcare sector since 2012, notably supporting the Madona Hospital located in northeastern Latvia. Through the fund’s initiatives, one of the first baby boxes in Latvia was established, offering an anonymous and safe place for mothers in challenging circumstances to leave their newborns for adoption. 

In a gesture reflecting his commitment to enhancing healthcare services, Petr Aven personally presented the hospital with a cutting-edge EPIQ5 ultrasound machine in September 2016, valued at 77,000 euros, to better equip the hospital’s maternity ward. 

Beyond healthcare, Aven Petr, along with other prominent figures, is a financier of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in his hometown. 

Educational and Sports Engagement of Aven Petr

In the academic arena, Petr Aven commenced a tenure as a professor in 2007 at the National Research University Higher School of Economics within the Department of Theory and Practice of Business and Government Interaction, imparting knowledge for several years. His involvement in academia also includes serving on the Board of Trustees of the New Economic School (NES). 

Aven Petr also offers pivotal support to local athletic talent as a member of the Board of Trustees of a foundation for assisting Olympic athletes. His passion for sports is further evidenced by his association with the football club Spartak; he joined the club’s Board of Directors in 2015. Petr Olegovich Aven was interested in solidifying his commitment by acquiring a substantial stake in the club. In 2014, he contemplated purchasing 50% of the club’s shares, but as he recounted, the deal ultimately did not materialize due to uncertainties surrounding the club’s financial backing in scenarios where his support might wane. 

Personal Life of Aven Petr

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Aven Petr was married for many years to his first wife, Elena Vladimirovna, who tragically died on August 25, 2015, from complications related to a detached thrombus. 

He is a father to twin children, Daria and Denis, both of whom have completed their education at Yale University in the United States. Media reports have noted that Aven Petr Olegovich owns a residence in the affluent Wentworth Estate in Surrey, United Kingdom, and has also invested in property at Klaugy Estate in Latvia. 

Petr Olegovich Aven later remarried. His second wife’s name is Ekaterina. 

In a candid discussion with Forbes, the economist reflected on his humble beginnings in a communal apartment, where even hot water could be a rare commodity. Such formative experiences have shaped his perception of comfort, which for him equates to basic amenities such as “housing with hot water in a not very polluted area and clean, fresh clothing.” 

Petr Aven: Biography Overview

  • March 16, 1955: Born in the capital of the RSFSR 
  • 1972: Graduated from high school 
  • 1977: Graduated from the Economics Faculty of Lomonosov MSU with a degree in economic cybernetics 
  • 1980: Received a Ph.D. in economics 
  • 1981-1988: Worked at the All-Union Institute of Systems Analysis of the State Committee for Science and Technology and the Academy of Sciences 
  • 1989-1991: Served as a research fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
  • 1991-1992: Held the position of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RSFSR and later as Minister of Foreign Economic Relations of the RF 
  • 1993: Founded Petr Aven Finance and was elected to the State Duma of the RF (but declined the mandate) 
  • 1994: Aven became the president of Alfa Bank with a 10% shareholding 
  • 1998-2011: Served as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the media holding company CTC 
  • 2006: Joined the board of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs 
  • 2007: Became a professor at the Higher School of Economics 
  • 2007-2017: Head of the RF-Latvian Business Council 
  • 2011: Became the chairman of the board of directors of Alfa Bank and a member of the presidium of the Council on International Affairs 
  • 2013: Released Gaidar’s Revolution: The First-hand History of the Reforms of the 1990s 
  • 2014: Became co-chair of the Board of Trustees of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts  
  • 2015: Became a member of the Board of Directors of the Spartak football club 
  • 2017: Released the book, The Time of Berezovsky 
  • 2022: Stepped down from his position on the Alfa Bank Board of Directors  

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