Alexander Abramov 101: The Russian Steel Magnate
Zatrun Published at June 14, 2024

Alexander Abramov, born in 1959 in Moscow, Russia, was destined for greatness. He hails from Jewish descent and embarked on his educational journey at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, where he pursued a degree in physics and mathematics.

His early career took a unique turn, as he initially worked in Russia’s space and defense program. However, his transition into the world of metal trading came as government funding for space and defense declined. is offering you our research on Alexander Abramov’s remarkable career and life.

A Steel Empire’s Genesis

Alexander Abramov’s rise to prominence in the steel industry is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and determination. In 1998, he ventured into an industry that would soon become his domain – steel. Unlike the first wave of politically connected Russian oligarchs, Alexander Abramov lacked the political leverage or financial resources to benefit from Russia’s chaotic privatization in the 1990s. Nonetheless, he recognized the potential in Russia’s steel industry and was determined to make his mark.

Under his leadership, EVRAZ emerged as one of the most aggressive and vertically integrated business groups in Russia and across the globe. The conglomerate’s diverse assets include ore mines and steel mills in Russia, steel mills in North America and Kazakhstan, and a Russian coal company, PJSC Raspadskaya. In 2005, EVRAZ Holding made its mark on the London Stock Exchange, signifying its global reach.

Commercial Entrepreneurship: The Art of Trading and Acquisitions

Abramov’s early career in trading, where he leveraged his connections with Russia’s steel mills, was marked by quick success. In the early 1990s, trading was a lucrative means of generating income in Russia, given the country’s economic challenges. His ability to provide much-needed cash to factories in distress earned him favor among these industrial entities. As time passed, trading became less profitable, and many companies, including Abramov’s, were owed substantial sums by producers.

In response, Abramov adopted a strategic shift by purchasing factories and exchanging debt for equity in the Nizhny Tagil steel mill. Simultaneously, he acquired stakes in the mill’s rail-producing plant from other shareholders. Unlike the initial generation of Russian oligarchs, who amassed assets indiscriminately, Abramov took a more focused approach. He aimed to build a monopoly in rail and steel construction products by seeking factories that offered synergies.

A Vision of Job Creation and Synergy

One of the key turning points in Abramov’s career was his venture into the industrial region of Kemerovo, home to Russia’s largest coal mines. Here, he sought to establish a monopoly for rail and steel construction products. With the help of his old trading contacts among coalmine bosses, Abramov connected with Aman Tuleev, the populist governor of the region. The two factories he had set his sights on were in dire straits, having declared bankruptcy in 1998. Employees had gone without salaries for up to eight months, and strikes were becoming a common occurrence.

Abramov and Tuleev devised a mutually beneficial deal. As a state creditor, Tuleev would assist in appointing external managers loyal to EvrazHolding to oversee the steel mills. In return, Abramov pledged to cover salaries and taxes, guarantee jobs, and support Tuleev’s social initiatives. This partnership not only resuscitated the struggling factories but also solidified Abramov’s position in the steel industry.

Over the years, EVRAZ’s expansion continued with significant acquisitions, including Oregon Steel Mills and Claymont Steel in 2007. The company’s journey under Alexander Abramov’s leadership has been characterized by innovation, adaptability, and a commitment to excellence.

Abramov’s success in the international arena was not without its challenges. In 2018, he was named in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by the US Treasury. Furthermore, in 2022, he faced sanctions from the UK government in relation to the Russo-Ukrainian War, underlining the complexities of his global business ventures.

Alexander Abramov: Personal Life

Beyond his professional endeavors, Alexander Abramov cherishes his personal life. He is a devoted husband and father of three children. His hobbies include fishing, swimming, and tennis. While he may live outside of Russia, his impact on the country’s steel industry and his journey from a physicist and mathematician to a steel magnate remains an inspiring story of entrepreneurship and vision.

In conclusion, Alexander Abramov’s remarkable career trajectory from a physicist to a leading figure in the steel industry is a testament to his unwavering determination and strategic acumen. His journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and underscores the importance of seizing opportunities, even in the face of adversity.

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