Leonid Nevzlin: The Life and Legacy of a Russian-Israeli Oligarch and Philanthropist

Leonid Nevzlin: The Life and Legacy of a Russian-Israeli Oligarch and Philanthropist -

Leonid Nevzlin's life has been a remarkable journey from a software engineer in Moscow to a prominent figure in Russian business and politics, and ultimately, a philanthropist and opposition figure in Israel. His dedication to Jewish education, culture, and history has left a lasting impact on the Jewish community worldwide. While his life has been marked by controversy and legal battles, he remains a significant and influential personality in both Russian and Israeli affairs.

Leonid Borisovich Nevzlin, born on September 21, 1959, is a prominent Russian-Israeli Jewish oligarch. He rose to prominence as a key figure in the former Russian oil giant Yukos during the early 21st century.

However, in the latter part of the decade, he emerged as a vocal opposition figure against the Putin regime. In addition to his business ventures in Israel, Nevzlin was ranked 14th on the list of the 100 richest individuals in Israel by the newspaper "Maariv" in 2010, with an estimated fortune of 4.9 billion shekels.


Leonid Nevzlin was born in Moscow, then part of the Soviet Union, now Russia. He pursued his education in software engineering at the Institute of Petroleum and Gas Industry in Moscow and immediately began working in the Soviet Ministry of Geology. In 1987, he met Mikhail Khodorkovsky and became the deputy director of the newly established Scientific-Engineering Center for Youth, founded by Khodorkovsky.

In 1991, Nevzlin was appointed as the president of Menatep Bank, one of the first private banks in Russia, also founded by Khodorkovsky. Nevzlin continued to hold key positions at the bank until 1996. In April 1996, he was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of Yukos Oil Company, which was owned by Menatep Bank.

Nevzlin and Khodorkovsky were closely associated with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin and played a role in his successful re-election campaign in 1996. During the years 1999-2003, the group led by Nevzlin supported and nominated both democratic parties in Russia, Yabloko and SPS.

In 2001, Nevzlin was appointed as the president of the Russian Jewish Congress, and by the end of 2001, he was elected as a senator to the upper house of the Russian parliament, where he served as the deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee. He also served as the deputy CEO of Russia's government-owned news agency, ITAR TASS. In 2003, he was appointed as the rector of the Russian State University for the Humanities.

Leonid Nevzlin is known for his staunch opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among his allegations is the claim of government involvement in the death of the Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko. In 2008, a Russian court convicted him in absentia of attempted murder and sentenced him to life in prison. Nevzlin, on the other hand, contended that the trial was politically motivated and an attempt by Putin to silence him.

Extradition requests from Russia to Israel were rejected by the Israeli prosecution and the Supreme Court, citing that the evidence provided was not credible in Israel.

Furthermore, besides the Israeli Supreme Court, courts in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Cyprus, and Lithuania also rejected charges against him.

Activities in Israel

In late 2003, Leonid Nevzlin moved to Israel with his family. In Israel, he founded the Nadav Foundation in 2004, with the goal of funding projects related to Jewish studies, Jewish education, Israel-Diaspora relations, and the Jewish people's heritage and history. The foundation also supported initiatives aimed at strengthening the connections between Jewish youth in Israel and around the world.

Nevzlin served as the chairman of the board of trustees of Beit Hatfutsot (The Museum of the Jewish People). In July 2012, his daughter, Irina Nevzlin Kogan, became the chair of the board of directors of Beit Hatfutsot, and since then, Nevzlin has held the title of "Founding Chair" in the institution.

He also serves as a member of the board of governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as a member of the board of directors of the Center for Jewish Studies in Russia. Additionally, Nevzlin is the chairman of the Holocaust Foundation.

In 2011, he acquired a 20% stake in the newspaper "Haaretz."

In 2014, Nevzlin announced the establishment of the magazine "Liberal," inspired by leading political magazines abroad such as "The Atlantic," "The New Yorker," and "The Economist." The first issue was published in May 2014.

Personal Life

Leonid Nevzlin resides in Herzliya Pituach, a coastal city in Israel.

From his first marriage to Anna, Irina Nevzlin is their daughter, who married Yuli Edelstein in June 2016.

In February 2008, Nevzlin married Olga Kantor, and they have three children together. In October 2017, he married Tatiana Greenberg.

Published Works

Leonid Nevzlin has authored several books on public relations and their significance in the modern age. His works include: [List the books if available].

Reviews (0)
No reviews yet.