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Boris Berezovsky

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Updated: 19.09.2003

The founder of the International Foundation for Civil Liberties and one of the most successful political leaders, businessmen and scientists of contemporary Russia, was born in January 1946 in Moscow.

Dr. Boris Berezovsky had three successful careers: in the academia, business and politics. In the Soviet times, he ran a research department in the Moscow Institute of Control Sciences. His specialisation was the theory of decision-making.

In 1989 Dr. Berezovsky left the academia to start a business, and became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the period of rapid transition to capitalism under President Yeltsin. His interests include auto industry oil, aluminium and mass media.

In mid-1990's Boris Berezovsky entered politics as a member of President Yeltsin inner circle. He is credited with masterminding Yeltsin's victory over Communists in the 1996 election. As a member of Yeltsin's National Security Council he negotiated the peace treaty that ended the First Chechen War in 1994.

He was elected a Member of the State Duma in 1999, and supported President Putin during the last elections. However, he resigned his seat six months later in protest over President Putin's policies and launched an effort to create an opposition movement. He is a co-Chair of the Liberal Russia party.

In August 2000 Berezovsky's media sharply criticised President Putin for his handling of the Kursk submarine disaster. The government responded with a pressure campaign that eventually succeeded in wrestling from Dr. Berezovsky control over two national TV channels.

In November 2000 Dr. Berezovsky announced that he is leaving Russia for political exile in the West. Since his departure, Berezovsky was forced to give up his controlling stake in the ORT channel. In September 2003, Dr. Berezovsky was granted a political asylum in the UK.

In December 2000 in New York City, Boris Berezovsky established the International Foundation for Civil Liberties with the original grant of $25 million. The Foundation's mandate is to support Russia's nascent civil society and to help protect Russia's most vulnerable citizens.

The Foundation builds on Berezovsky's experience with the "Triumph" Foundation, a successful philanthropic organisation designed to support Russia's arts through an annual award for outstanding achievements in several major categories.

Dr. Berezovsky chairs the Foundation for Civil Liberties, which supports a wide variety of liberal causes in Russia - from Andrey Sakharov Museum to Committees of Soldiers Mothers to legal defence fund for juveniles. He is also the principal donor to the Triumph Prize Fund for Russian Culture in Moscow.

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