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Gives away a tenth to orphans of fallen FSB agents

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is a former KGB officer and longtime associate of Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving. Ex-Norilsk-Nickel boss and former KGB agent Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is in Christmas spirit and has decided to give away a tenth of his $100 million payout to charity.

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On Monday, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky had his last day in office as CEO of Russia’s giant Norilsk-Nickel mining and metallurgical combine. Working for the company for four years, the board members issued a statement yesterday expressing their gratitude to Strzhalkovsky for the years of fruitful cooperation. 

The gratitude was not only in written, like posted on the company’s website. He also got Russia’s largest ever parachute compensation; $100 million (€76 million) as reported by BarentsObserver on Monday.

The $100 million payout is in comparison nearly twice as much as Norway once offered in assistance to ecological clean-up to Norilsk-Nickel’s smelter in Nikel, a few kilometers from the border to Norway. Norilsk-Nickel never implemented new technology in Nikel and the plant is still emitting some 90,000 tons of sulpur dioxides destroying the fragile environment in the border area. Norway has now withdrawn the offer of eco-assistance. 

After the business daily Vedomosti reported about the giant severance package, Vladimir Strazhalkovsky announced at a news conference in Moscow that he would donate a tenth to a charity for buying housing for orphans and widows of FSB agents.

“He is a former KGB officer, and so giving this amount of money to the families of FSB and KGB guys who died in conflict is meaningful for him,” a representative of one of the shareholders in Norilsk-Nickel told the New York Times.

The newspaper writes that the $100 million parachute is likely to be remembered most as another date point in the shift of corporate wealth and influence away from the first generation of former Soviet businessmen, the oligarchs, towards a coterie of well-connected former security service agents who made their mark under President Vladimir Putin.

Strzhalkovsky worked together with Vladimir Putin as a KGB officer in Leningrad, a fact not mentioned in his CV Norilsk-Nickel yesterday posted on its web-portal.