As the plan to split up Yandex was being agreed with Kiriyenko, an asset swap was launched between Yandex, the social network VK (whose CEO is Kiriyenko’s son Vladimir) and Sberbank. It was announced
on August 23, but the operation itself, which consists of multiple stages, should take several months.
Kudrin's move to Yandex, according to Meduza
, was definitively approved
by Putin at another meeting in September. At the end of September, Pavel Demidov, a trusted Kudrin associate who is known as “Kudrin's commissar,” became the head of government relations at Yandex, moving over from the Accounts Chamber. In 2012-16, Demidov was an adviser to Kudrin at the Foundation for the Support of Civil Initiatives. In June 2018, shortly after Kudrin became chair of the Accounts Chamber, Demidov was named his assistant. A month later, Demidov was named head of the external relations department at the Accounts Chamber.
Back on November 25, according to RBC and The Bell
, Kudrin again went to Putin to finalize the scheme to split up Yandex’s Russian and foreign businesses, after which he met with the board of directors in Istanbul. Upon his return, on November 30, the Federation Council approved Kudrin’s immediate resignation as chair of the Accounts Chamber.
Kudrin's current position at Yandex is “adviser on corporate development.” Kudrin seems poised to eventually head up the board of directors of a new holding, which is planned to unite all the Russian assets of Yandex and preserve the brand.
As of September 30, the shareholder structure of Yandex NV
was as follows: the Volozh family trust held 8.5% of the equity (but a 45.1% voting share), the management and employees 3.2% (6.6% voting share) and pre-IPO investors 0.7% (2.0% voting share), while the free float was 87.6% (46.3% voting share). According to The Bell
, the biggest voting share of the Russian Yandex will be held by a fund that will include Kudrin and three top managers. As part of the reorganization, a new holding will be established with all the company’s main assets from the Netherlands-registered Yandex NV. Initially, the Dutch company will own 100% of the new holding, but soon after will sell a controlling stake to a pool of Russian investors, among which are said to be entities
of Vladimir Potanin, Roman Abramovich and VTB Bank.Kudrin and Yandex: The prequel
The story of Kudrin's move to Yandex has two backstories: one of Kudrin and one of Yandex.
In brief, the Kudrin backstory is that Kudrin, being a close and longtime associate of Putin, had been working on a program for the fourth Putin presidential term since 2016 as the head of the revived Center for Strategic Research. It was thought that after the 2018 presidential election, Kudrin would implement the program either as prime minister or a first deputy prime minister responsible for reforms.
That did not materialize, as Kudrin’s program failed to garner interest, and he was sent to the Accounts Chamber, where he was to be the “backup prime minister” and a kind of presidential commissar tasked with oversight of Dmitri Medvedev’s government. Initially, Kudrin had great ambitions for the position, hoping to transform the Accounts Chamber into a strategic guide for the government. However, the appointment of Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister in January 2020 essentially meant a final rejection of Kudrin’s strategic plan and reforms.