Russia's Most Powerful Man

At 36, Vladimir Potanin rules the country's economy. Here's how he does it

Vladimir O. Potanin was in top form. After his chauffeur-driven BMW dropped him off inside the Kremlin gates, the athletic, 36-year-old president of Oneximbank strode confidently into the office of President Boris Yeltsin. Looking Yeltsin in the eye, he shook his hand and took the place of honor at the table across from the head of state. Trailing behind Potanin were five of Russia's other business princes in their hand-tailored suits and silk ties, including the aggrieved Mikhail M. Fridman, 33, chairman of conglomerate Alfa Group, and media magnate Vladimir A. Gusinsky, 45. Potanin had bested them in the sale of one of the state's crown jewels: a 25% stake in telecommunications giant, Svyazinvest.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.