"Not many people helped me": Sergey Lavrov's daughter on her life and career
Careers of the first rank Russian officials’ children almost always develop successfully. Most of them achieve success in civil service or in business closely connected with the public sector. But there are exceptions: children who decide to do something they like. Russiangate reports about the life and achievements of the daughter of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Lavrov’s daughter was born in 1983. At that time, her father worked in New York as the plenipotentiary representative of the USSR’s Permanent Delegation to the United Nations. Having changed several positions and worked as deputy foreign minister after the collapse of the Union, in 1994, Lavrov became the authorized representative to the UN again, but this time from Russia.
The same year, he tries to find a good school for his daughter, Yekaterina, in New York; she is supposed to go to the sixth grade. Following his friends’ advice, he chooses one of the elite educational institutions in Manhattan called – The Dwight School. However, he did not have enough money to pay for the daughter’s education. Lavrov concluded a deal with the director. Yekaterina studies at the school for free, and in exchange the Russia's envoy to the UN is giving lectures to the students of The Dwight School.
The next stage in Yekaterina’s education was the famous Columbia University, where she studied political science from 2001 to 2005. Right after that, she gets her master's at the London School of Economics, from which she graduated in 2006.
“I have never concealed who my father is. But I almost never talk about it. And everyone who knows me knows that there are very few people who helped me in my life. Undoubtedly, the main help was the education that was given to me,” the daughter of Lavrov told the magazine Marie Claire 11 years later.
BACK TO MOSCOW
After graduating from foreign educational institutions, 23-year-old Yekaterina comes back to Moscow. A year before, in 2004, Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed her father as the head of the Foreign Ministry.
After returning to her homeland, Lavrov's daughter worked for a year in the press service of an oil and gas company. After that, in 2007, Putin’s famous speech in Munich took place: it was the beginning of exacerbation of relations with the West.
Subsequently, Yekaterina will remain in Russia. She finds her passion in a field far from her education - art. She starts working in the representative office of the London art gallery Haunch of Venison, where she would spend the next three years.
“I was born in a family where art was always respected. My grandmother and mother often took me to exhibitions. And then, I grew up in New York, where there's a huge number of museums and a very developed exhibition activity. I got involved with modern art at a professional level by accident. When I moved to Moscow, my friends introduced me to the founder of the Haunch of Venison gallery, Harry Blaine, and he offered me a job. I honestly admitted that I know little about modern art and all my knowledge was based on several courses I had at the university. He replied: “It’s okay, it’s is a field where you can learn everything on the go.” That’s how I started doing that,” Lavrov’s daughter replied to a question about how her passion for contemporary art began.
In 2010, Yekaterina starts working for the auction house Christie's, where she heads the business development department in Russia and CIS. At that time, she has already got married and took her husband's surname: Vinokurova. Over time, she became the director of the Russian branch and opened an office of the auction house in Moscow. During her work at Christie’s, Vinokurova supervised exhibitions in GUM, House of Muraviev-Apostol, House of Spiridonov.
In January 2017, Yekaterina, along with colleague from Christie's named Anastasia Karneyeva, established a company Smart Art. Now, the daughter of the Minister of Foreign Affairs promotes contemporary artists and works of art, acting as an intermediary between the artists and collectors. The company focuses on cooperation with Russian artists. The founders believe that the Russian contemporary art market is underdeveloped, and the work of the local artists is underestimated.
“The financial factor is not the main component of my work, although it is important for me that the project is commercially successful. There is another motivation: to make a contribution to the future, i. e. to be at the source of something new and to work with art that will become a cultural heritage of the country. I hope that in 10-15 years our artists will take a pride of place in museum collections, in collections of large funds and in the homes of important collectors. This is my main motivation!” Vinokurova said talking about her work.
Yekaterina met her future husband Alexander Vinokurov during her studies in London in 2005. Three years later, they got married. Vinokurov began his career in the investment bank Morgan Stanley. After returning to Russia, he became co-head of the Russian branch of the private equity fund TPG Capital. According to Vinokurov, by the time of the wedding, his career had already succeeded.
“I am proud of my kinship with Sergey Viktorovich and try to follow his lead,” Vinokurov said.
At the same time, Forbes, referring to his sources, wrote that the relationship with Lavrov “has given a certain synergistic impulse to the family business, including through contacts of his father-in-law.”
In 2011, Lavrov's son-in-law was 28 years old. Young and successful, he becomes president of the group of companies Summa owned by Ziyavudin Magomedov. The holding is engaged in investing in construction, oil and gas sector, telecommunications. For having Vinokurov as the head of the company, the founder of the holding paid him $ 2 million as a sign-on bonus and gave him an annual salary of $ 2 million. On top of that, Vinokurov received from $ 2 to $ 6 million bonus per annum.
Having worked in the company for three years, Lavrov’s son-in-law becomes subordinate to the oligarch Mikhail Fridman. Vinokourov becomes the head of the investment department of Alfa Group – A1, where he will work for the next three years. Forbes’ sources anonymously told that Fridman needed a person close to authorities, in case some problems emerge.
During Vinokurov’s work at Alfa, A1 sells one of the two largest cinema chains in Russia, Formula Kino, to Alexander Mamut, buys block of stocks of Polyplastik, one of the leaders in the polymer pipes production. In May 2017, Vinokurov decides to leave the company and focus on his own business – pharmaceuticals.
As early as 2015, Vinokurov’s company Santa Deni and subsidiary of the state-owned Rostech – the National Immunobiological Company (NIK) – established a joint company called Natsbiopharm. 100 million USD were allocated to the company to develop import substitution of medicines. The company’s plans were to produce 60 kinds of drugs in the volume of up to 1 million packs per year. To do this, it was necessary to build a factory. Soon the idea of building a plant was dropped, and Rostech’s subsidiary and Vinokurov’s Santa Deni will cooperate on the basis of the pharmaceutical factory Sintez.
Pharmaceutical business for Vinokurov is a family business. In the early 1990s, Alexander Vinokurov's father, Semyon, worked in the pharmaceutical company Liat-Natali, founded by singer Iosif Kobzon and owner of Dorogomilovsky market Shabtay Kalmanovich. Then, Vinokurov Sr. became the head of SUE called Capital’s pharmacies.
Now, together with his son, he owns the company called Genfa, a subsidiary of the Swiss Genfa Global Laboratoires Biopharmaceutiques SA, which is engaged with the distribution and localization of medical supplies.
In February 2017 – before leaving A1 – Alexander Vinokurov received full control over the pharmaceutical distributor SIA International, one of the five largest in Russia, according to the rating of the analytical company RNS Pharma. Vinokurov plans to create the largest pharmacy chain in the country. In order to do this, he will invest 6 billion rubles to launch 3,3 thousand pharmacies of the company Mega Farm (A-Mega and Da, Zdorov! (Yes, Healthy!).
In May 2017, Vinokurov continued to increase his pharmaceutical holding’s production. He bought 30% of Bentus-Laboratory LLC, which produces antiseptics Sanitelle. Also, Vinokourov purchased the Fort LLC. The company is affiliated with Rostech and is engaged in the production of immunobiological vaccines, including against influenza.