Abramovich, Roman Arkadyevich

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ABRAMOVICH, ROMAN ARKADYEVICH (1966– ), Russian billionaire of Jewish origin. Abramovich was born in Saratov of a non-Jewish mother who died soon after giving birth to him, and later defined himself as "Ukrainian." His father, Arkady Nahimovich, who worked at the Siktivkar economic council (sovnarkhoz), died in an accident when he was four years old. Abramovich was then adopted by his uncle Abram and lived with the family in Moscow, where he finished his secondary schooling. According to Abramovich, he graduated later from the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas. After the fall of Communism, Abramovich became active in business, taking over control of the Sibneft (Siberian oil) company after his mentor Boris *Berezovsky, who brought him into Yeltsin's inner circle, fled the country in the wake of a criminal investigation. Abramovich also owned 50% of Rusal (Russia's biggest aluminum company) and 26% of Aeroflot. In December 1999 he was elected deputy of the State Duma from the Chukotsk Autonomous Region. In December 2000 he was elected governor of the region.

In 2003 Abramovich bought London's Chelsea soccer club. He also owned the Russian Avangard Omsk ice hockey team. In 2003 he was included in Fortune magazine's list of the world's richest men under 40, with his personal wealth estimated at $8.3 billion. In the same year Forbes also included Abramovich in its list of billionaires, placing his wealth at $5.7 billion.

[Naftali Prat (2nd ed.)]