Distinguished Speakers

Talk: Andrey Bezrukov, lecturer at MGIMO – Inside the American Mind: What to Expect from the Incoming US Administration



When: Thursday, 10th November From 7.00pm.
Where: Kelia Business Club


Andrey Bezrukov and his wife Yelena Vavilova spent many years as undercover agents in the United States. Under the name Donald Heathfield, he received a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is now an associate professor at MGIMO and an adviser to the CEO of Rosneft.
Addressing a mixed audience less than 48 hours after Donald Trump’s historic election as president, he described American politics as a series of 50-year cycles, with each one consisting of a period of great inequality that gave way to a phase of fairness. The most recent period of fairness was the era of 90% taxation during the Second World War. He said that Trump’s election represents the start of another era of “fairness” and the rejection of an elite that dominates media, politics, finance and academia. He said its members can switch easily from one field to another and cited Strobe Talbott as an example.
He said that these elites have been united by an international perspective that is blind to the interests of most Americans who identified more closely with a different elite of industrialists and the military, among them Donald Trump, who want to invest in US industry. Bezrukov contends that this is a far more productive route for enhancing American economic growth and even social cohesion, given the intensity of robotics in modern manufacturing which renders overseas capital investment less attractive. Investing in US industry also enhances the protection of US intellectual property. This focus, combined with its energy independence, will also steer the US away from further geopolitical entanglements.
In answering a question about the future of US-Russia relations, his view is that the two countries have little underlying educational, cultural and personal ties and that they should be the underpinnings of a more cooperative relationship which could lead to closer economic ties.
He answered a couple of questions about life as an undercover agent, describing his emotions as he and his wife watched the Soviet Union collapse on a television screen in a hotel room in Buffalo.



Dinner & Discussion: Good News about the Russian Mafia from Mark Galeotti (Joint Event with NYU)


When: Wednesday, 16th March From 8.00pm.
Where: Chicago Prime Steakhouse – Moscow, Strastnoy Boulevard 8A, Moscow, Russia, 107031

Vladimir Lukin: “Russia’s Role in the World” (a joint event with the Oxford University Society, Russia)







In the newly-opened Moscow Impact Hub, CantabAIB in association with the Oxford University Society, Russia hosted an old-timer in Russian politics: Vladimir Lukin, one of the founders of Yabloko, former Russian Human Rights commissioner, former ambassador to the USA and Putin’s advisor and strategist during the Ukraine crisis. Speaking in Russian, Lukin was candid about “Russia’s role in the world”, setting out the country’s position and stance towards Ukraine, drawing a couple of probing questions from the audience and dropping in an anecdote about how Vladimir Putin once summoned him at short-notice without taking account of the Moscow traffic. CantabAIB would like to thank Vladimir Lukin for talking, Andrew Grenfell at Impact Hub for hosting, and Peter Prabhu & Alexis Tchoudnowsky for providing drinks. (James Robbs)

Event summary

When: Tuesday, 11th November From 7.30pm
Where: Impact Hub Moscow, Khokhlovskiy pereulok, 7 str.3, Moscow


Ruben Vardanyan: “From Investment Banking to Social Entrepreneurship”



29th October 2014
Cambridge Alumni in Business Russia had the pleasure of hosting Ruben Vardanyan, who addressed a packed house on the subject “Investment Banking to Social Entrepreneurship”.


Ruben shared his inspiring tale: from a first foray into the world of Finance as an Economics student at Lomonosov Moscow State University to eventually becoming the leading shareholder of Troika Dialog, having worked for the group since shortly after its founding, in 1991.


He then talked about his various charitable projects, detailing his work towards Armenia’s development and his passion for education. He discussed the Tatev Revival Project, the establishment of the SKOLKOVO business school in Russia, and the pioneering result of the intersection of these two interests: Armenia’s UWC Dilijan College, which opened its doors this year.


Afterwards, the engaged audience had a chance to question Ruben about some of the more intimate details of his financial and philanthropic career.

The organising committee would like to thank Cabinet Lounge for hosting the event and providing refreshments.

Cabinet Lounge Moscow

Cambridge Alumni in Business


Ruben Vardanyan – “From Investment Banking to Social Entrepreneurship”

About the speaker The biography that follows was written by RVVZ Foundation:
A well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ruben Vardanyan is a co-founder of RVVZ Foundation. He served as CEO, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Troika Dialog, one of the oldest and largest investment banks in Russia and the CIS, prior to its merger with Sberbank in January 2012. Mr. Vardanyan strongly impacted the development of Russia’s stock market and related institutions. He is a founding partner of Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO and Vice-Chairman of its International Advisory Board. Ruben’s expert insights on the world and Russian economies, BRICS, entrepreneurship and leadership, philanthropy and education make him a frequent guest to economic forums and investment conferences and among the most oft-quoted experts in Russian and international media.
RVVZ is a family foundation that has three priority areas: education, philanthropy development and territory development with main focus on Russia, Armenia and other CIS countries.

Event summary

When: Wednesday, 29th October From 7.00pm. reception, talk and discussion with refreshments
Where: Cabinet Lounge –  No. 6 Novaya Ploshad’, Moscow, 109012 / Новая площадь, д. 6 (вход с Малого Черкасского переулка)

Dr Mark Galeotti: “Where Has the Russian Mafia Gone?”



18th April 2014
It was standing room only for the address by Dr Mark Galeotti, renowned expert on Russian organised crime and security.

Dr Mark Galeotti speaks to Cambridge alumni in Moscow

In the wake of corruption scandals connected with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Dr Galeotti described the changing face of the Russian mafia and its differences from the Yakusa, Triads and Cosa Nostra.
The Russian mafia retreated from the streets after the drive-by shootings and gangs of the nineties, becoming a vast, flexible and entrepreneurial network.
It plays a major role in the trafficking of Afghan heroin, as well as bribery and institutional corruption.
The audience’s questions focused on the function of the government and the future of organised crime in Russia.

Dr Mark Galeotti talk in Moscow
For more information, check out Mark’s report for Chatham House on the transnational aspects of organised crime or his posts on the subject in his blog In Moscow’s Shadows.
Dr Galeotti is currently in Moscow, writing a book on the history of Russian organised crime.
The organising committee would like to thank Cabinet Lounge for hosting the event and providing refreshments.


“Where has the Russian mafia gone?”

In the 1990s, the tattooed thug was a staple of Russian life and Boris Yeltsin was warning that Russia was becoming a “superpower of crime.” But while that Russian gangster is still alive and well in films and airport thrillers, Moscow’s streets are safer than New York’s. Have the old-style thugs just died out or moved away? Are we seeing the demise of Russian organised crime, or is it simply transforming itself into something else — and if so, what, and is this an irreversible process? Last year, one of the surviving kingpins of the Russian underworld said that “there is no organised crime in Russia” while the head of the Investigatory Committee warned that there was an urgent need to step up operations against organised crime. Can they both be right?

About the speaker

Dr Mark Galeotti has been researching Russian history and security issues since the late 1980s, having read history at Robinson College, Cambridge, and took his PhD in politics at the LSE. He is now Clinical Professor of Global Affairs at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and an associate member of NYU’s History and Russian & Slavic Studies departments. Until 2008, he was head of the History department at Keele University in the UK as well as director of its Organised Russian & Eurasian Crime Research Unit. He has also been a special adviser on Russian security issues at the Foreign Office, Visiting Professor of Public Security at Rutgers-Newark and a consultant to bodies from NATO and Interpol to corporations and NGOs.

He is currently in Moscow working on a history of Russian organised crime and a co-authored study of Russian politics. As well as producing over a dozen books, he is a regular contributor to Jane’s Intelligence Review, Oxford Analytica and many other outlets. Until the newspaper’s untimely demise, he wrote a regular column, ‘Siloviks & Scoundrels,’ for the Moscow News, and he blogs at ‘In Moscow’s Shadows‘.

Event summary

What: Talk by Dr Mark Galeotti, “Where has the Russian mafia gone?”
When: Friday, 18th April
Where: Cabinet Lounge, No. 6 Novaya Ploshchad (metro Lubyanka)



Derk Sauer, founder of Independent Media: “Can you still make money from news?”


What: “Can you still make money from news?” a talk by Derk Sauer – founder of Independent Media, newly-appointed CEO of RBK Holding – followed by a discussion and drinks.

When: from 7.30 p.m. Wednesday November 13

Where: Cabinet Lounge, No. 6 Novaya Ploshchad/Новая площадь, д. 6 (metro Lubyanka)

About the speaker
Derk Sauer moved to Moscow from Amsterdam in 1989 and launched Russia’s first glossy magazine at a time when Pravda was the most prominent publication on newsstands.

When he founded The Moscow Times in 1992, it provided international news for a pre-internet generation of expats. His publishing house, Independent Media, went on to launch many of Russia’s most successful publications, including its biggest magazine, Cosmopolitan, and Vedomosti, a newspaper that has changed business reporting in Russia.

He sold the company in 2005 to Finland’s Sanoma, but stayed on until he was asked by Onexim Group to become CEO of RBK Holding, which owns a newspaper, television channels and websites.

Organised jointly by
CJBS Alumni in Russia
Oxford University Society, Russia
Russian Cambridge Society
Saïd Business School Alumni in Moscow

Cabinet Lounge (venue)