The former co-owner of Rambler, one of the richest businessmen in Russia, Alexander Mamut, left Russia after the start of the war, Meduza reports , citing four sources: one of the participants in the Russian Forbes list, two of Mamut's acquaintances, and one interlocutor from the billionaire's entourage.
According to sources of the publication, the businessman is trying to avoid sanctions in this way, now he lives in two countries - Great Britain and France. In 2018, he was included in the pre-sanctions "Kremlin list" of the United States, but sanctions against him were never imposed.
A source close to the billionaire adds: “He wants to become a ‘good Russian’, to cleanse himself as much as possible – and for this purpose he decided to create a media that will promote the liberal agenda. It is not yet clear in what form this will be done: maybe print media, maybe radio. Maybe he will limit himself to a fund to support the media. Another source said that it could be a "media holding".
Two economists also reported that Mamut consulted with Sergei Guriev, Provost of the Paris Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po), writes Meduza. Guriev himself noted in a conversation with the publication that he did speak with Mamut several times, but not about creating media, but about the possibilities of financing a research project at Sciences Po.
Meduza notes that the businessman has practically no profitable assets left in the Russian Federation - he still owns the country's largest cinema chain Cinema Park and Formula Kino through the investment company A&NN, but in September 2022 he left the post of chairman of the board of directors of the company . A&NN itself is a large debtor of Trust Bank, the debt is 19 billion rubles. In addition, Mamut owns a small stake in the Polymetal gold miner, which is less than 5%.
Most of all, Mamut is known as the performer of scandalous personnel decisions in the media. In particular, in 2014 he fired Galina Timchenko, editor-in-chief of Lenta.ru, who was followed by a significant part of the editorial staff. Later they created the Meduza edition. The formal reason for the dismissal of Galina Timchenko was a warning from Roskomnadzor on the subject of extremism after the publication of an interview with Ilya Azar with one of the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalist movement "Right Sector" Andriy Tarasenko, in which there was a reference to the statements of Dmitry Yarosh.