V Potanin turns new page in the history of Russian charity.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the president of Inteross said that he intends to leave most of his property to charities. As Larisa Zelkova, director of the department for public relations, explained in an interview with ASI, Vladimir Potanin plans to leave his children and grandchildren the means to enjoy a ‘comfortable lifestyle’ after expending the rest of his money on charity. Furthermore over the next ten years the businessman is to increase the amount of his donations to $25 million per annum and perhaps more. At present his charitable fund set up eleven years ago distributes in the order of $10 million per annum.
The director of development and consultancy at CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) Russia, Inga Pagava, considers that the Russian state and public should count themselves fortunate to have such a ‘hero in their midst – a broadminded, freethinking person motivated by considerations of the highest order who in no way falls short of the best traditions of western philanthropy of all time’. In an interview with ASI, Ms Pagava said that Mr Potanin was an extraordinary person who had set up the first charitable fund in Russia and now characteristically had announced publicly what he intended to do with his property after death. ‘This announcement has amounted to turning a new page in the history of Russian philanthropy’, emphasised Ms Pagava. ‘It is the next important milestone for the non-commercial sector following the introduction of targeted capital’. In her opinion this episode should alter the outlook of the sceptics. ‘It is now possible to say that charity has become a reality for Russia and will long remain so’, she said.
Natalya Kaminarskaya, executive secretary of the Donors’ Forum, said that Mr Potanin’s decision accorded with the best international practice and that it was a logical extension of the development of philanthropy in Russia and the activities that the businessman had undertaken in that regard (e.g. by expressing support for enactment of the Law on targeted capital and conducting public hearings as chair of the relevant committee of the Public Chamber). Ms Kaminarskaya sees Mr Potanin’s announcement ‘as flagging up a new era in national philanthropy’. She proposed that the Potanin Fund might undertake the formation of targeted capital like the Dmitry Zimin Fund. Currently Mr Potanin meets expenditure out of the current revenues of Interross. Ms Kaminarskaya emphasised the importance of the fact that Mr Potanin was engaging in charitable endeavour whilst still working as a businessman and not just after his career as such was over.