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Roman Avdeev: Passions of a philosopher banker

Roman Avdeev’s latest philanthropic project, Good Arithmetic, was founded this year to support Russia’s legion of orphans – recent estimates put the number as high as 700,000 – as children and young adults. For Avdeev, however, its most important function will be working to prevent orphanhood – the vast majority of abandoned children in Russia have parents living – and promote adoption.

“The government is spending a lot of money to improve conditions in orphanages but what we really need is to convince people that orphanages are not the answer,” he says. “Children should never have to grow up in orphanages. When you grow up like that it’s not possible to live normally, you just don’t acquire the knowledge of how to live independently that you do from growing up in a family.”

That, he adds, is why in 2002 he and his wife began taking orphans into their own home – now a complex of four houses – in Odintsovo, near Vnukovo airport on the western fringes of Moscow.

Avdeev family

Given his philanthropic instincts, as well as his conviction that everyone should find and follow their true calling, it seems slightly surprising that Avdeev should have opted for a profession as cold-blooded as banking.

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