Alexander Temerko was born in 1966 in Ukraine, then a constituent republic of the USSR. In 1983, aged 17, he moved to Moscow, where he acquired a degree in electrical engineering. While studying, he worked at several Moscow youth organisations and led the Centre of Student Cooperation.
He began his professional life in the field of environmental science, first as a leading engineer for capital construction at the USSR State Committee for Environment Preservation and then as director of the Environment Preservation Branch at the Forestry Ministry. He was later appointed as general director of the environmental arm of the All-Union Scientific and Industrial Association.
A supporter of the democratic movement, following the collapse of the USSR Alexander Temerko became a key negotiator in the team that formed around Boris Yeltsin. In 1991, he was engaged with the headquarters of the defence force protecting the Russian White House from the military junta, acting as the line of communication with the Soviet military and persuading them to stay neutral.
He was soon invited to join the Defence and Security committee as a member of the management board responsible for the formation of the new Russian military forces. In 1991, he became chairman of the Committee for Social Welfare of Military Personnel, an independent government agency that subsequently became part of the Defence Ministry. The Committee was in charge of pension coverage, the quartering of military personal, and resolving social and residential issues. It was also responsible for drafting legislation on military service and army discharge to the reserve, as well as for managing issues regarding the civilian oversight of the military and its supplies.
Continuing his career as an industrial manager, in 1995 he assumed the leadership of Russkoe Oruzhie, a united corporation that produced armaments for Russian military forces. The corporation’s main aims were to safeguard the most effective military manufacturing operations and to prepare them for privatisation and cooperation with Western industries. He held this post for five years, during which time he qualified as a Bachelor of Jurisprudence, among other honorific titles.
‘A supporter of the democratic movement, Alexander Temerko became a key negotiator in the team that formed around Boris Yeltsin.’