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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

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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