Usmanov Heads List of Russian Billionaires Donating for Fight against COVID-19

The ranking of the Russian richest businessmen who donated to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is topped by tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who has dedicated $33.2 million to the cause, bne Intellinews reported.

Forbes magazine, which publishes a famous annual ranking of the world’s richest, has been tracking spending, and recently released a list of the biggest donors who have publically revealed the amount of donations specifically targeted to aid in the fight against the virus.

Uzbek-born oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who owns mobile operator MegaFon and co-owns tech firm, was the highest ranked donor from emerging Europe and is the only one who is donating purely out of charity, as the other leading Russian industrial lights have donated to help regions that host their companies, bne Intellinews writes.

Usmanov comes in the list just behind Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, who donated $37 million and with whom Usmanov has done business. A large part of Usmanov’s wealth came from a 2008 deal to buy an 8% stake in Zuckerberg’s Facebook before it IPO’d in 2012.

And Usmanov comes in ahead of Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, the owner of the Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate, who donated $14 million and with whom Usmanov also has business ties in joint Russian-Chinese e-commerce sites.

Several other prominent Russian tycoons have also stepped up to the plate to do their part to protect their workers, often in remote regions, as well as help the cash-strapped local administrations prepare their medical systems for escalating infection rates, which took off at the start of this month.

Nornickel, owned by Russia’s richest businessman Vladimir Potanin, has earmarked $143 million to provide medical equipment, beds and social support to the regions where the metal and mining giant has its operations in Russia’s Far North.

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