The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

CEE banking souvenirs: Seed capital

Russia's Lebedev goes with his gut feeling when it comes to gifts.


Euromoney has been given some unusual souvenirs by bankers in central and eastern Europe (CEE) over the years, from a yurt moneybox – sadly abandoned in a Bishkek hotel room for reasons of space – to a heart-shaped Albanian handbag-hanger.

Even by these high standards, however, the parting gift from Alexander Lebedev stands out.

Once one of Russia’s leading bankers, Lebedev has pulled back from the sector during the past decade after his National Reserve Bank was repeatedly targeted by state security services.

Today he is better known as the owner of various newspapers, including local opposition paper Novaya Gazeta and the UK’s Evening Standard and Independent.

As part of our 50th anniversary coverage, however, Euromoney was keen to speak to him about the early years of post-Soviet banking. This involves a lengthy wait as Lebedev, although now officially off the Forbes list of billionaires, maintains oligarchic traditions by being extremely late for meetings.

Fortunately, the Moscow headquarters of his National Reserve Corporation boasts a restaurant on the ground floor, to which we are ushered. There, seated beneath framed Evening Standard front pages – praising Theresa May and condemning Jeremy Corbyn – we are served an array of baked goods made with buckwheat and linseed.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree