Anatoly Chubais Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Anatoly Borisovich Chubais was born on June 16, 1955, in Borisov, a town in Belarus, which was at the time a part of the Soviet Union. His father was a retired colonel, a veteran of World War II, who worked as a Philosophy lecturer. His mother had a degree in economics, but she stayed at home to take care of their children. Anatoly also has an older brother, who became a philosopher.
Chubais studied at the Leningrad Institute of Engineering and Economics. While at university, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which he was a part of until 1991. After graduation, he began working at the Institute and started a political club Reforma. The club helped to create Leningrad into a model of political reforms. In 1982, Chubais was elected Associate Professor and in 1983 received Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) degree in Economics.
During the early 1980s, Chubais became an informal leader of market-organized economics in Leningrad. He and his colleague YuryYarmagayev published an article, arguing that central planning can’t predict the end-demand for products. In 1987, Chubais became the leader of Leningrad’s chapter of the club Perestroyka. The mission of the club was to discuss and promote democratic ideas.
To finance their seminars, the economists taking part organized a tulip farm. Selling the flowers just before the International Woman’s Day, they managed to earn the amount of money equivalent to the price of several Lada cars. The money was used to finance the elections of several Democratic candidates, resulting in more than 2/3 of 1990 Leningrad elections won by the opposition.
In 1990, after Anatoly Sobchak became the Chairman of the Leningrad City Council, Chubais became his Deputy. During this time he was trying to implement Sobchak’s idea to make Leningrad a free economic zone. He was also working as the president of the Wassily Leontief Center for Research in Economics. The following year, Chubais became a minister at the Yeltsin Cabinet and was responsible for handling privatization in Russia.
In the beginning, Chubais was an advocate for rapid privatization and raising revenue. However, the Congress of People’s Deputies of Russia rejected his model. Chubais later came up with a voucher privatization program, which he had criticized in earlier years. The massive program was initiated in 1991 and was later heavily criticized, since many Russian citizens lost their savings, and several oligarchs became billionaires.
Later Political Career
In 1994, Chubais became the deputy prime minister for economic and financial policy. At the time, Russia was financially stable. Chubais was also Russia’s delegate in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Multilateral Investments Guarantee Agency. In 1996, Chubais resigned as the deputy prime minister and began to manage Boris Yeltsin’s presidential re-election campaign. At the time, his ratings were low, roughly 3%, but Chubais managed to raise his popularity, eventually winning the re-election.
In 1998, Chubais became the Chairman of the Board of RAO UES- a state-owned electricity monopoly. He has been advocating reforms in the power industry, ending the era of monopoly and selling the shares to private investors. In 2000, he was elected the president of CIS Electric Power Council and held the post until 2004. He has also raised more than $30 billion in private investments for the Russian electric power sector, which was used to finance construction of new power facilities. RAO UES ceased to exist in 2008 after Chubais helped to break down the company into dozens of independent entities.
Since 2008, Chubais has been the General Manager of the State Corporation Rosnanotech. The company promotes innovations and modernization in Russia’s economy. Until 2015, Rusnanotech completed over 100 investment projects, which resulted in the opening of 68 new plants and 28 research and development centers.
Chubais is currently married to Aydotya Smirnova, a screenwriter and TV presenter. From his previous marriage, Chubais has two children-so Aleksey and daughter Olga.
In 2005, Chubais survived an assassination attempt. In 1997, Chubais was named world’s best Minister of Finance by the British magazine Euromoney. He was also awarded an honorary diploma of International Award by the International Union of Economics, for his contributions to Russian Federation. In 2008, he was awarded Presidential Commendation for his contributions in drafting Russian Constitution and contributions to democracy in Russia. This was his third presidential commendation award.