Richest Russian of Silicon Valley gives up citizenship after war

Russia Ukraine Crisis, Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin
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Yuri Milner, wealthiest man in Russia’s Silicon Valley, said on Monday that he had renounced his Russian citizenship.

Yuri Milner, Silicon Valley’s wealthiest Russian, said on Monday that he had renounced his Russian citizenship.

Milner completed the process in August, according to a post on his venture firm DST Global’s website, which addresses its “background in relation to Russia” — a topic that’s become controversial following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a tweet, Milner said that he and his family “left Russia for good” in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. When Russia attacked Ukraine earlier this year, DST Global released a statement condemning “Russia’s war against Ukraine, its sovereign neighbor,” and his foundation spoke out against “unprovoked and brutal assaults against the civilian population.” Milner said he stood behind those statements.

Milner was born in Moscow and was the most prominent tech leader to seek to distance his firm from Russia as Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion drew condemnation and sanctions from Western governments. Milner’s ties to the country sparked some consternation in Silicon Valley, where he is a longtime fixture. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates Milner’s wealth at about $3.5 billion. DST Global made lucrative investments in tech giants including Facebook, now Meta Platforms Inc., and Twitter Inc.

DST Global drew scrutiny for taking Russian funds from a state-controlled bank and other Russian backers in 2011. DST hasn’t taken any money from Russia since that time, nor has it made any investments in the country, Milner told Bloomberg in March. In 2011, Vladimir Putin was not the president and it appeared to be a sunnier time for US-Russia relations.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek in March, Milner said, “I cannot change the fact I was born in Russia. I cannot change the fact we had some Russian funds.”

Milner has a house in Los Altos, California, which he purchased in 2011 for $100 million. He holds an O-1 visa in the US, a type popular with entrepreneurs and reserved for people of “extraordinary ability.”

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