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AmChams Alexis Rodziankos Russian Ties

Published: February 19, 2014 (Issue # 1798)



  • When not busy promoting U.S. commerce, Rodzianko explores his roots.
    Photo: Pascal Dumont / For SPT

A descendant of tsarist Russias highest elected official, U.S.-born banker Alexis Rodzianko began speaking Russian before English.

His mastery of Russian and curiosity about his familys former homeland eventually brought him to Moscow, where he built a stellar career over the following 18 years. His work in Russia included heading the local branches of JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank where he even experienced first-hand some high-pressure tactics related to the Yukos case.

The son of Russian migrants to the U.S. has most recently taken up the job of promoting U.S. business interests here as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, or AmCham.

But it is not only deals that have kept him here so long: A longtime polo player, he also has a responsibility for his numerous horses.

I have gotten involved in a hobby that requires a lot of attention, money and time, he said. I own quite a few horses. That means I cannot leave them without feeding them; that means I have to hire the people to take care of them, I have to supervise them.

That hobby is something that provided a common ground for Rodzianko and billionaire Oleg Deripaska. A project by Deripaska to build a golf and polo club in the village of Tseleevo north of Moscow stuttered following the 2008 economic crisis, with only the golf course completed. Rodzianko agreed to finish the polo fields and the stables in exchange for a 10-year lease.

One of the most important representatives of the U.S. in Russia also passes his leisure time exploring his familys history. Among the 62-year-olds best-known ancestors is his great-grandfather Mikhail Rodzianko, chairman of the Russian Empires State Duma from 1911 to 1917. Another senior official in the family tree was Russias governor-general of Poland in the 19th century, Pavel Shuvalov, a relative on his mothers side. It still remains to be researched whether Rodzianko and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov share the same kin.

The new AmCham president sat down with The St. Petersburg Times, soon after his appointment, to talk about his life experience.

Q: Why did you come to Russia and why have you stayed?

A: I first came to Russia for two-week stints back in the mid-1970s as an interpreter with a group of U.S. scientists and engineers during the early days of detente when the Soviet Union and the U.S. started trying to be friends by exchanging delegations in various fields. I worked with delegations on education and training, irrigation and drainage, and oil and gas.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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