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Exiled Oligarch Does Business With Bushs Brother

Published: October 11, 2005 (Issue # 1112)


MOSCOW Kremlin outcast Boris Berezovsky and Neil Bush, the scandal-tainted brother of the U.S. president, have joined forces in an educational software company that they are trying to promote in the former Soviet Union.

With the unusual partnership, many believe Berezovsky has succeeded in further annoying President Vladimir Putin, who counts George W. Bush as a friend.

The investment in Bushs company, Ignite!, also sees him joining a well-connected group of former and current shareholders such as former President George H.W. Bush and major Asian and Middle East financiers, at a time when Berezovsky claims he has been struggling to gain permission to travel to the United States.

The flip side for Berezovsky is that he has become a shareholder in a U.S. company that has come under criticism in the United States for dumbing down schoolwork and for peddling political ties.

In recent months, Berezovsky has helped Neil Bush take his company on a tour of countries from the former Soviet Union that have spun out of Moscows sphere of influence. First stop was Ukraine in June, where Berezovsky said he had masses of friends who helped Bush find his way. Then a few days later was Georgia, where Berezovskys longtime partner and Tbilisi power broker Badri Patarkatsishvili was on hand to wine and dine the U.S. presidents brother. Last month, they were in Latvia.

He asked me to think about possible projects in the regions that I know about, Berezovsky said of Bushs expansion plans for the company he founded in 1999. Ive known this region for a long time. The CIS is my area of expertise.

Berezovsky, a former Kremlin king-maker who had extensive business interests in Russia, served a stint as executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States under former President Boris Yeltsin. He became an archenemy of the Kremlin after falling out with Putin shortly after his election in 2000.

Since fleeing for Britain, where he has been granted political asylum, Berezovsky has continued to irk the Kremlin by funding anti-Putin activities and by emerging as a possible string puller in revolutions that brought pro-Western leaders to power in Georgia and Ukraine. In Latvia, one of his charitable foundations funds pro-Western programs aimed at the Russian-speaking community.

When Berezovsky turned up with Bush in Latvia two weeks ago, Russias patience frayed. Once again, prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to have him extradited to Moscow, where he is wanted on charges of fraud.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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