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Russia's Bad Boy Hunts for U.S. Tech Treasure

A Putin-backed company spends billions on American R&D
Anatoly Chubais
Anatoly ChubaisPhotograph by Svetlana Privalova/Kommersant/Zuma Press

“Chubais is to be blamed for everything,” a popular Russian saying of the 1990s went. In the first post-Soviet decade, economist Anatoly Chubais helped organize the controversial privatization schemes that created Russia’s oligarchs while most Russians sank into poverty. Now, Chubais, a consummate insider who ran the electricity monopoly under Vladimir Putin (after serving as finance minister and first deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin), collects jokes about himself on his website. He also has access to billions in state funds to spend on cutting-edge research.