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Ukrainian oligarchs in tsarist Russia: With what savings 100 years ago a Kievite bought the world's largest yacht
Ukrainian oligarchs in tsarist Russia: With what savings 100 years ago a Kievite bought the world's largest yacht

Kiev resident Mikhail Tereshchenko owned a fabulous fortune, the world's largest yacht and the world's second largest blue diamond. A native of Ukrainian petty bourgeois Cossacks, he gravitated towards politics, had a reputation as a successful entrepreneur of the Russian Empire, managed to visit the finance ministers under the Provisional Government. Tereshchenko is credited with sponsoring the February Revolution of 1917. Some historians claim that his funds were used to prepare and organize the overthrow of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II.

Ancestral wealth

Nikola Tereshchenko

The founder of the famous Ukrainian dynasty of sugar refiners Artemy Tereshchenko descended from the Chernigov Cossacks. He got his nickname "karbovanets" because the money stuck to him. The grandfather of our hero started with small trade, later he sent carts of goods from the Crimea to northern Ukraine. Having amassed a decent capital, Artemy traded "on credit", and the true wealth overtook him with the beginning of the supply of essential goods for the Russian army in the Crimean War of 1853-1856. The son of Artemy, Nikola Tereshchenko, has strengthened his father's position in the sugar market, having established himself as an irrepressible worker. Partners said that his working meetings started at 5 in the morning. At the same time, Nikola, who could afford any waste, every penny knew its own ruble.

Over the course of several years, the family bought dozens of sugar producers, after which supplies were organized to all corners of the empire and even abroad. In parallel, Tereshchenko traded in timber, iron, alcohol, cloth. Their family coat of arms said that any activity should be combined with public benefit. And the slogan has always been confirmed by deeds. Artemy Tereshchenko bequeathed to his heirs to direct 80% of the net profit to patronage and invest in his native land. Subsequently, Tereshchenko financed the construction in Kiev of the Vladimir Cathedral, KPI, Tchaikovsky Conservatory, maintained shelters and hospitals for the poor. The Tereshchenko family was fabulously rich: about 40 sugar factories, unlimited arable land, hundreds of thousands of hired workers. During their activity, almost every tenth Ukrainian received a salary from Tereshchenko.

Diamond "Tereshchenko" and personal yacht

Young Mikhail with older relatives

Mikhail Tereshchenko was born on March 18, 1886. When his father, Ivan Nikolaevich, died in 1903, a 16-year-old boy inherited a colossal fortune. Having received an excellent education, Misha spoke English, French, German, knew the ancient Greek language and understood Latin. During his life, he mastered 13 foreign languages. After Kiev University, he received his economic education in Leipzig. Not stopping there, in 1909 he graduated as an external lawyer from Moscow University. Skillfully running the family business, he was known as a generous benefactor, without advertising his own virtue in any way. Mikhail was passionately fond of ballet, supported creative teams, paid attention to improving conditions for the workers of his enterprises. On the initiative of Tereshchenko, family money was used to publish books by today's Russian classics.

As a reward for his charitable work and active civic position, Tereshchenko was promoted to the court rank of chamber junker. While resting in Feodosia, Mikhail drew attention to the moored yacht "Yolanda" 127 meters in length. Immediately calling the steward, Tereshchenko ordered the purchase of the ship from the American Morton Plant for any money. Then "Yolanda" was the largest yacht in the world.

In 1913, Mikhail bought the world's second largest diamond. From it, Cartier jewelers made a unique blue diamond of 43 carats. Mikhail called it "Tereshchenko", made the centerpiece in a necklace of 47 diamonds and presented it to the Frenchwoman Margarita, who gave birth to the millionaire's son Ivan. True, the baby died a few days after birth.

Kerensky, Trotsky and the Provisional Government

Tereshchenko, surrounded by employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

After becoming a State Duma deputy, Tereshchenko became interested in Freemasonry and met Kerensky, the future head of the Provisional Government, along the way. Figures dreamed of a new Russia, making grandiose plans. In the First World War, Tereshchenko was appointed head of the Kiev military-industrial committees. Military support throughout the Southwestern Front fell into his hands, thanks to which he seriously increased his capital. Ambition grew with wealth. Some historians have information that Tereshchenko personally offered Kerensky to finance the change of power. The backbone of the conspirators were Deputy Guchkov, Prince Lvov, Kerensky and General Krymov. Tereshchenko paid for everything. British Ambassador Buchanan advised the Maidan.

Doing business abroad and getting to know Rothschild

A hospital built with Tereshchenko's money

At the age of 30, Tereshchenko became the Minister of Finance under the Provisional Government, and later also the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Those in power trusted the financier unconditionally, and he himself, as a man of action, took upon himself any responsibility for Western loans against personal property. We can say that in such a scenario, Tereshchenko guaranteed the solvency of Russia in 1917.

Mikhail was extremely responsible for his post. Any other ministers allowed themselves to take advantage of their high position and neglect the affairs of state. And only Tereshchenko was invariably present at every meeting. He did not even miss those meetings where the lower circle of politicians gathered. This is understandable: when paying for political deals, he preferred to control what was happening.

Yacht "Yolanda"

Tereshchenko advocated autonomy for Ukraine after the overthrow of the tsar. But with the arrival of the October Revolution, he found himself behind bars. His wife was able to find Trotsky and exchanged her husband for that very unique diamond. The oligarch was allowed to leave for Murmansk, from where he fled to Norway. Then, of the entire fortune, he only had a gold cigarette case. But the born businessman Tereshchenko soon amassed a new fortune, allegedly thanks to his friendship with the Rockefellers. In the 1920s, Mikhail was known in Europe as one of the most influential bankers. And in 1938, he managed to pay off a loan to the Entente, which the Provisional Government received under the good name of Mikhail Tereshchenko.

Usually, people think about rich people that they often change their life partners. But these 4 Russian oligarchs did not exchange their youthful friends for anyone.

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