Gennady Nikolaevich is an engineer and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, professor of mechanical engineering. He was born in Soviet Armenia, grew up in East Germany and Ukraine, graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Mechanical Engineering in 1976 and Moscow State University in 1978.
He began his career at the Ischorski plant in Leningrad, which specialised in the construction of generators. From 1982 to 1988 he worked as a senior engineer for the Ministry of Foreign Trade and two years as director of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering in Moscow.
In 1988, Gennady Timchenko became head of the Moscow-based State Foreign Trade Association, the Federation of Foreign Trade Associations of Russia and the Russian Federation. In this position, he was responsible for relations with foreign partners and for developing trade agreements with the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
In 1991 Timchenko moved to Finland and started working for Ural – Finland Oy, where he became deputy general manager of the Finnish company. In 1995 it changed its name to KiNEx, a subsidiary of Gunvor, one of Russia’s largest oil and gas companies. In the same year, it began to cooperate with the Committee on External Economic Relations in Leningrad, which was chaired by Vladimir Putin at the time, and was founded in 1997 with a Swedish partner, Torbjorn Tornqvist.
In 2007, Gennady Timchenko founded his own oil and gas company, Volga Vostochny, and in 2014 he sold his stake to another partner to protect the company from sanctions against Russia. In 2007, Gunvor accounted for more than 80% of the oil sold abroad through its subsidiaries in Russia and a significant portion of the company’s revenues.
His total wealth is estimated at $20 billion (£20 billion) by 2019, according to Forbes. His assets are concentrated in energy and transportation infrastructure, and his total wealth is $1.5 billion.
Russian and foreign media conducted an investigation in 2003-2004 that portrayed Timchenko as a close friend and confidant of Putin. According to Time Magazine, he is close to Putin and is a friend of judo. He and Putin have reportedly shared commercial interests since the 1990 “s, and he has amassed a fortune of more than $1.5 billion in Russia and the US. As well as holding large assets, he also served as one of Putin’s purses, according to the New York Times.
The Economist published an article on corruption in Russia, mentioning Timchenko and his company Gunvor, and linked his success outside Russia to corruption programs. The Economist, which linked its “success outside Russia” to a corruption scheme, largely benefited from Gun Voronikov, the former head of Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the FSB.
Following the March 2014 referendum on Crimea’s status, the US Treasury added Timchenko to its list of “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDN) – individuals sanctioned as members of the Russian leadership’s inner circle. This is in line with the fact that the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has listed him and the Volga Group as SD nations of designated Ukrainian nationals.