Zarakh Iliev is a thriving Russian businessman with an estimated net worth of around $5 billion. He is one of Russia’s wealthiest people. Iliev made his substantial fortune in the commercial property sector through Kievskaya Ploschad, a company he launched with his long-time business partner and friend. God Nisanov. Over the years, Iliev and Nisanov acquired and developed a large collection of commercial real estate projects including shopping malls, hotels, agricultural centers, urban restoration projects, restaurants, and more. Today, Kievskaya Ploschad is one of the top 100 private Russian companies, as per Forbes.
About Zarakh Iliev
Early Life and Location
Zarakh Iliev was born in a small village in Azerbaijan where he lived with his father, a shoemaker, his mother, and seven siblings. Iliev showed an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. Although he learned how to make shoes with the aim of following in his father’s footsteps, the young man was not content with the limitations of this line of work and began tailoring and fabricating hats which he sold in Quba, a city nearby. Several years of hard work inspired Iliev to seek his fortune further afield. He moved to Moscow in the early 1990s where he joined forces with God Nisanov and launched their company Kievskaya Ploschad. Since then, Iliev has invested in commercial real estate and other projects across Russia and abroad.
Shopping complexes – In 1998 they launched a shopping mall focused on top-quality electronics and appliances. It is known as the Elektronny Ray Shopping Center. In 2002, they opened the Panorama Shopping Center. In 2004, the Grand Furniture Mall was opened to supply local and imported furniture and offer a range of exhibitions, lectures, and showrooms. In the same year, Iliev launched the Moscow Automobile Shopping Center, a motor vehicle-focused shopping mall that supplies new and used cars. In 2006, the Evropeyskiy Shopping Center was launched boasting hundreds of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Soon this center became known as one of the busiest malls in Russia and Europe.
Hotels and business centers – In 2005, Iliev expanded his investment portfolio to include hotels and acquired Hotel Ukraina at a government auction. The hotel was renovated and relaunched as the Radisson Royal. In 2009, the entrepreneur added the Radisson Royal Flotilla to his investment portfolio. The flotilla consists of ten luxury yachts that offer river cruises throughout the year. In 2012, yet another hotel joined Iliev’s Radisson collection, the Radisson Slavyanskaya. This hotel included a sophisticated business center. The same year, Iliev also invested in the Vorobyevsky business center. In 2016, the entrepreneur acquired The Book, a historic building he plans to convert into a hotel. The same year Iliev’s company began constructing a multi-purpose hotel facility on Varvarka Street which will have hotel rooms and apartments. The Varvarka complex is scheduled for completion by 2022.
Transport – In 2015, Iliev opened a bus station in Moscow named the South Gate Bus Station. The popular bus station offers more than 200 daily trips on more than 30 comfortable buses. In 2017, his company began a large-scale renovation of the Schelkovsky Bus Station.
Food – In 2014, the entrepreneur and his company developed and launched something completely new to Russia – an agricultural cluster. Named Food City, the development stretches across 120 hectares and includes a large shopping center and several cross-docks for wholesale of fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish. In 2017, Iliev and Nisanov launched the Voskhod, a rooftop restaurant situated in Zaryadye Park where they also developed a gastronomic center known for serving traditional Russian food. In 2018, the company acquired a piece of land where they plan to open Food City 2, Russia’s second agricultural cluster. In 2019, they completed the restoration of the historic Miussky Tram Depot and launched a gastronomic center featuring restaurants, cafes, gift shops, and a farmer’s market.
Other projects – Between 2012 and 2019, Zarakh Iliev and his company worked on several urban restoration projects. Besides the renovations done on Miussky Tram Depot, the company also restored the Lesnoy Architectural Ensemble, a known cultural heritage site.
Another major investment was the Moskvarium which is the largest aquarium in Europe. Opened in 2015, the facility is also a marine biology and oceanography center.