Petr Aven

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Petr Aven is a Russian–Latvian entrepreneur and philanthropist, currently based in the UK. Having become a billionaire through his activities at Alfa Group – notably Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest private bank – and later the LetterOne investment company, Aven has stated in public that he was grateful to have made his money in his forties, at a time in life when he was capable of managing the new opportunities it presented. In fact, Petr Aven has repeatedly used his platform and personal wealth in the last couple of decades to support his efforts in philanthropy, diplomacy and charitable causes, as well as his passion for art collecting. In 2015, he was named a laureate of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in recognition of his efforts to strengthen US–Russian relations.


Aven is of Jewish heritage on his maternal side, and is an ardent supporter of Jewish causes, both in the country of his birth and around the world. He has donated his works for display at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow, and is one of the co-founders of the Genesis Prize along with his Alfa-Bank peers Mikhail Fridman and German Khan. Instituted by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, which supports Russian-speaking Jewish people around the world, the prize has been informally referred to as the “Jewish Nobel” and aims to celebrate the talents and achievements of prominent figures in Jewish public life.

 

Petr Aven has also paid tribute to his Latvian heritage – his paternal grandfather Janis Aven, or Jānis Avens, was a Latvian rifleman – in numerous ways. In the business sphere, Aven has guided relations between his two native countries as Chairman of the Russia–Latvia Business Council. In the social sector, meanwhile, he founded the Generation charitable foundation, which supports children’s healthcare, cultural exchange projects, and academic scholarships and grants in science between Latvia and Russia. He has also purchased a building in central Riga, Latvia, which he has suggested could become a permanent site for the display of his extensive private art collection.

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