Self-made e-commerce guru becomes Russia’s richest woman

MOSCOW: The founder of an online fashion start-up is now Russia’s richest woman, dethroning the wife of a former Moscow mayor, the Russian edition of Forbes reported on Thursday.
Tatiana Bakalchuk, 44, has amassed an estimated fortune of $1.4 billion, beating out 56-year-old Yelena Baturina’s $1.2 billion, it said.
Bakalchuk’s success at the helm of her online retailer Wildberries is an anomaly in Russia where most fortunes stem from the rapid privatisation of state companies following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Bakalchuk, a former English teacher, founded the company in 2004, at the age of 28, in her Moscow apartment while on maternity leave. She came up with an e-commerce business idea after trying to shop at traditional stores with a newborn.
Her site has since become the leading online business in Russia and other former Soviet Union countries, recording 88 per cent growth in 2019 with revenues of $3.5 billion.
Valery Fyodorov, the head of state polling agency VTsIOM, says the success of new, young, independent business personalities like Bakalchuk is the exception rather than the rule in Russia. — AFP