Capital Group Vladislav Doronin

The holes in Vlad Doronin’s biography

In this photo the 8-year old Doronin stands next to the teacher in the 2nd row

Despite the high profile maintained by Vlad Doronin and the massive amount of information available about him in open sources, virtually nothing is known about his parents and about his early life. In the dozens of interviews given by him he carefully evades any discussion of his life in the USSR, including the profession of his father and the details of his emigration from the Soviet Union. According to the few bits and pieces of information provided by Doronin:

  • his father was able to travel abroad (including to the West) in the Soviet times;
  • he grew up in Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg);
  • he moved to Moscow in his late teens to pursue his studies.

Virtually nothing is known about the occupation of Doronin’s parents (to whom he has always referred with great respect). However, the fact that his father, unlike the vast majority of Soviet citizens, was able to travel regularly to the West suggests that he was employed with the merchant marine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aeroflot (Soviet airlines) or with the intelligence services (KGB or GRU), i.e. in one of the few professions that allowed one to visit capitalist countries.

Doronin’s father – Yurii Grigorievich Doronin

Doronin’s elderly mother, Zinaida Mikhailovna Doronina, is a well known figure, who is used by him as a nominal owner of assets in Russia (from luxury real estate to stakes in businesses) and there is much information about her in publicly available databases. However, Doronin’s father, Yurii Grigorievich Doronin, is an entirely different matter. There is absolutely no record of his father’s employment until the late 1990-ies (when he briefly worked for the Central Plywood Research Institute, which is known to develop and produce materials for the military aviation industry) and no banking records – a situation unthinkable for an average citizen unless that citizen has been employed by the security services, in which case personal information would be withheld from most databases. Another telling fact about Doronin’s father is that when he retired in 1997, he was granted a full pension (which means that he had went on pension having reached retirement age or the necessary duration of service) and the honorary title of ‘Veteran of Labor’, which is awarded for having served at least 25 years, generally in government institutions or state owned enterprises, and for having received decorations from the government. For example, the title of ‘Veteran of Labor’ was usually awarded to members of Soviet and Russian security services upon retirement with a full pension.

It is known that Doronin’s father is still married to his mother. A November 2020 power of attorney signed by him empowered his wife (Doronin’s mother) Zinaida to handle all of his financial affairs until November 2030. It is also known that Doronin’s father left Russia in September, 2019 on a flight from Moscow to Ibiza (where Doronin owns a holiday home) and has not returned since. Interestingly, Doronin has never used his father as a nominal owner for any of his assets in Russia and the latter, according to official records, owns only a share in a small Soviet apartment. Based on all of the above, it appears probable that Doronin’s father had been a career officer with Soviet intelligence service.

Power of attorney granted by Doronin’s father to his mother

It has been claimed in many publications that Doronin went to or graduated from Moscow State University (the USSR’s most prestigious institution of higher education). Doronin himself never publicly mentioned having gone to MSU (unusual because MSU graduates tend to be extremely proud of their affiliation with the university) but at the same time made no effort to refute such statements by the press and did not deny having moved to Moscow from St. Petersburg in his youth. His name is not included in the publicly available lists of MSU graduates. Doronin is not known to have made any financial contributions to the university and has never been active in any MSU alumni organizations. It must be noted that in Soviet times such ‘holes in biographies’ often pointed to periods of time spent in training at institutions of higher learning, run by the Soviet intelligence services, such as the Andropov Red Banner Institute of the KGB and the Military Diplomatic Academy of the GRU.

According to Doronin, he emigrated from the Soviet Union and then renounced his Soviet citizenship in 1986. This is yet another inexplicable hole in Doronin’s biography because at that time the Soviet Union was still behind the iron curtain and going to the West was an impossibility for the absolute majority of Soviet citizens. It would have been impossible for Doronin to leave the USSR for any reason (work, study or marriage) without official permission from the authorities, which necessarily included the consent of the omnipotent and omniscient KGB. The former, as a matter of principle, allowed foreign travel and permitted marriage to foreigners only to trusted citizens or those who cooperated with the intelligence agencies and traveled for some specific purpose. Doronin claimed in court filings that he renounced his Soviet citizenship in 1986 and became a political refugee as designated by the United Nations. However, any defection of the Soviet citizen and renunciation of Soviet citizenship would have been a major public incident (while Doronin’s defection has gone unreported and unnoticed) and would have inevitably triggered serious reprisals against the family of the defector (which does not seem to have been the case, judging by Doronin senior’s unbroken work record and his state decoration).

The next mystery in Doronin’s biography has to do with his employment by Marc Rich. Doronin has mentioned in passing that Rich offered him a job as a result of a casual acquaintance. It must be noted, however, that at the time the fugitive American billionaire was actively involved in trade with the Soviet Union, where he had strong working relationships at the highest level, handling large volumes of contracts in raw materials. It is possible but not probable that the young Doronin with his very basic knowledge of the English language would have been useful in anything other than Soviet trade (an area where his defection would have made him impossible to use).

Last but not least, Doronin’s official biography is silent about the way he acquired Swedish citizenship. According to the people who were close to Doronin in the 90-ies, he was extremely secretive about the mere fact of his Swedish nationality and confessed to some of them that he had acquired it through an arranged and fictitious marriage to a Swedish national. The fact of Doronin’s first marriage to a foreign national is corroborated by many press accounts but nothing is known about the personality of his first wife (presumed to be Swedish). It is known, however, that from December 28, 1987 Doronin was registered as a resident at Vallhornsvägen 12, 142 32 Skogås, which is a small municipality not far from Stockholm. On June 10, 1993 Doronin informed the Swedish tax authorities that he had relocated to Russia. This happened less than a year after Doronin was granted his Swedish citizenship on September 22, 1992. It is believed that he has not lived in Sweden ever since, has paid no income tax there although he travels on that country’s passport. The story of Doronin’s Swedish citizenship is made even more intriguing by the fact that in 1988 he married his high school sweetheart Ekaterina, which makes fictitious marriage an even more plausible explanation of his naturalization there.

Doronin’s Swedish Passport

Doronin’s marriage to Ekaterina Moulari was registered in 1988 in Manhattan, New York City (license number 20747), i.e. before he received his Swedish citizenship in 1992 but already after he was registered as a permanent resident of Sweden in 1987. It is unknown why the marriage was registered in New York and not in Sweden and how Ekaterina Moulari was able to travel from the still closed off Soviet Union to the US. One of the possible explanations is that Doronin was still fictitiously married to a Swedish national (in the expectation of getting a right to citizenship after a period of 3 years) at the time he married Ekaterina. Doronin’s marriage to Ekaterina Moulari also ended in a mysterious manner. On November 19, 2010 Doronin filed a divorce lawsuit against Moulari in the court #177 of the Western Administrative District of Moscow (case #77MS0177-01-2010-000036-12) and the lawsuit was granted. At the same time as late as 2012 the press reported, referencing Moulari herself, that she and Doronin were still married.