Monday, October 3, 2011

DST Global's Connections to the Russian Government

I've created a Prezi which depicts the many connections between the principals of DST Global and the Russian government. The Prezi graphical user interface allows you to zoom in to each of the connections. Sources and a description follow:

Yuri Milner
Milner currently serves the Russian government directly through several affiliations. He serves on the Presidential commission for the modernization and technological development of the Russian economy, a body on which Vladislav Surkov is deputy chairman. The commission is chaired by President Medvedev, and Sergey Sobyanin, who is Chief of Government Staff and Deputy Prime Minister, also serves as deputy chairman. [1]
The Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications created three bodies to aid in its efforts to monitor Runet, all of which can be connected to Milner:
  • Council on Internet Group’s VP of Legal Affairs, M.V. Bobin is a member. [2]
  • League of Internet Safety – Group’s CEO Dimitry Grishin is a member. [3]
  • Council on Social Communications – Grishin and Milner are both members. 
In addition to his affiliations with these bodies, Milner was also specially appointed by the Ministry to monitor and analyze illegal content on Runet between 2009 and 2010.[4] Through his involvement in Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications cyber-related projects, Milner can be associated with the wider Russian cyber infrastructure, which includes:
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs, Center E – suppresses extremist organizations and associations.
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs, Directorate K – investigates cyber-crimes and illegal activity related to information technology.
  • Federal Security Service (FSB) – responsible for protecting critical infrastructure, including communication networks [5]
Alisher Usmanov
Another key individual that links Milner to the Kremlin is Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek-born Russian oligarch. Usmanov is co-owner of DST and is the largest shareholder of the company with a 32% stake. [8]
  • Usmanov co-owns mining and metallurgy company Metalloinvest with State Duma member Andrei Skoch.[9]
  • Usmanov has a long-term business relationship with Yevgeny Anayev, who is a former senior officer with the 6th Directorate of the KGB.[10] Anayev is also a former head of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s arms export agency.[11] The agency is a previous shareholder of Russian automobile manufacturer AvtoVAZ, and it offered to sell its shares to Usmanov in 2007. [12] Anatoly Isaikin is the current head of Rosoboronexport.[13]
  • Usmanov is the chairman of the board for Gazprominvestholdings, the investment holding subsidiary of Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company.[14] President Dimitry Medvedev was chairman at Gazprom from 2002-2008.[15] Vladimir Alganov, a known supporter of global energy dominance for Gazprom, is a former SVR employee.[16] Gazprominvestholdings is a crucial funder of government organization Nashi, a youth organization founded by Surkov to support the United Russia party.[17] 
  • Businessman Boris Berezovsky is a previous shareholder of AvtoVAZ (through investment fund All-Russia Automobile Alliance, or AVVA).[18] He is also a previous shareholder of Russian newspaper Kommersant, for which Usmanov is a current shareholder.[19] Berezovsky, now exiled from Russia, has been claiming part of Vasily Anisimov’s stake in Metalloinvest since 2009.[20] Berezovsky is also a former Duma member.[21] Berezovsky founded LogoVAZ, at which Georgian businessman Arkadi “Badri” Patarkatsishvili worked.[22]
  • Patarkatsishvili also was the business and financial director from 1995-2006 at ORT (Obzhestvennoye Rossiskoye Televidenye, Russian Public Television), where Surkov was the first deputy general director from 1998-1999.[23]
Milner also serves on the Commission on High Technologies and Innovations, which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs.[6] This commission held a meeting on 3 August 2010 at Gazprom’s VNIIGAZ research institute, which further connects him to Usmanov.[7] Neither Usmanov nor Milner are listed as official members of the commission on its government website, but this is not surprising given both men’s attempts to downplay their Kremlin involvement, especially in the Western media.

[1] “Russia Launches Initiative To Police The Internet”, Radio Free Europe / Radio
Liberty website, 08 Feb 2011
[2] “RIPN Representatives Joined Internet Development Council in the Ministry of Communications of Russia,” Russian Institute for Public Networks, accessed September 28, 2011,
[3]  Kevin O'Flynn, “Russia Launches Initiative to Police Internet,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, February 8, 2011, accessed September 29, 2011,
[4] Vladislav Novy, “Yuri Milner Will Clean Up The Internet,", May 13, 2010, accessed September 29, 2011,
[5] "Yuri Milner will clean up the Internet", 13 May 2010
[6] William F. Jasper, “Facebook: Are You Interfacing with the Russian Mafia & KGB?,” The New American, August 18, 2010, accessed September 29, 2011,
[7] “Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Government Commission on High Technology and Innovations at the Gazprom VNIIGAZ research institute for natural gas and gas technologies,” Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, August 3, 2010, accessed September 29, 2011,
[8] Madhav Chanchani, “All You Wanted to Know about Digital Sky Technologies,”, January 14, 2011, accessed September 27, 2011,
[9] “Andrei Skoch - Forbes,” Forbes, last updated March 2011, accessed September 28, 2011,
[10] Ian Cobain, “Usmanov's responses to Guardian questions,” The Guardian, November 18, 2007, accessed September 28, 2011,
[11] Staff Writers, “Ex-Arms Exporter Wanted in Italy,” The Moscow Times, June 24, 2004, accessed September 28, 2011,
[12] “Russia's Mordashov, Usmanov eye AvtoVaz stake: Ifax,” Reuters, September 26, 2007, accessed September 29, 2011,
[13] “Anatoly Isaikin Named as Head of Rosoboronexport,” RZD-Partner, November 26, 2007, accessed September 28, 2011,
[14] “ALISHER USMANOV - Founder of the Holding,” Metalloinvest, accessed September 28, 2011,
[15] “Profile: Dmitry Medvedev,” BBC News, last updated May 7, 2008, accessed September 29, 2011,
[16] Neil Barnett, “From Poland to Hungary, Gazprom Takes Stealth Route to Domination,” The Independent, January 8, 2006, accessed September 28, 2011,
[17]  Jeffrey Carr, “The War that We Don't Recognize is the War We Lose,” Forbes, July 13, 2010, accessed September 28, 2011,
[18] Alla Startseva, “AVVA Positions to Swallow AvtoVAZ,” The St. Petersburg Times, December 5, 2000, accessed September 29, 2011,
[19] Nabi Abdullaev, “Metals Oligarch Buys Up Daily Newspaper,” The St. Petersburg Times, September 5, 2006, accessed September 29, 2011,
[20] Alexandra Terentyova, “Metalloinvest Co-Owner Vasily Anisimov May Sell His Stake,” The St. Petersburg Times, October 29, 2010, accessed September 29, 2011,
[21] David Hoffman, “Russia Vote Returns Tycoon to Spotlight,” The Washington Post, December 23, 1999, accessed September 29, 2011,
[22] “Background Briefing: Arkadi “Badri” Patarkatsishvili,” The Georgian Daily, accessed September 29, 2011,
[23] “SURKOV, Vladislav Yuryevich,”, last modified August 26, 2010, accessed September 29, 2011,

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