Aras Agalarov (Azerbaijani: Araz İsgəndər oğlu Ağalarov) is one of Russia’s real estate elite. The Azerbaijani-Russian businessman has made his fortune in a diverse range of ventures and is an outspoken public figure and a true symbol of a self-made business tycoon. On the Forbes List of Billionaires and Russian Billionaire’s List, Aras Agalarov is a true perestroika success story.
Education and Early Career
Born in Baku in 1955, Aras graduated from the Azerbaijan Polytechnic Institute in 1977 with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts/Science. Aras worked at a research institute in Baku until 1983, before serving on the Baku City Council for Trade Unions until 1987. During this time, Aras furthered his post-graduate education by enrolling in economics at the N. M. Shvernik Higher School of Trade Unions in Moscow. Committed to life-long education, Aras defended his Ph.D. entitled ‘The Formation and Use of Payrolls in a Telecommunications Agency’.
Move to Moscow
Fast recognizing that business opportunity lay in Moscow and the remnants of Soviet Russia collapsing, Aras Agalarov moved his family to Moscow where he founded the joint Soviet-American company Crocus International. The company focused on trade fairs and the development of some of Russia’s largest and most prestigious trade fairs. In the early 1990’s Aras made the move into retail space and real estate, quickly making his mark as one of the savviest businessmen of the decade with the foundation of Crocus Inter and the development of shopping malls, retails space and residential developments in Moscow. From one store named Crocus Inter, Aras developed the Crocus City Mall, the largest retail mall in Moscow, and Crocus Expo, the largest trade fair in all of Russia. The Crocus Group is the owner of Crocus Bank, Crocus Insurance and Crocus Logistics.
Current Construction Projects
Aras Agalarov and Crocus Group have several projects in Moscow underway the Manhattan Mixed-Use Residential-Commercial complex, which, once completed, will have 14 towers of luxury accommodation and retail-commercial space. The group is also focused on the Vegas City Hall, a concert venue, the development of the Oceanarium in Moscow and the further development of the Vegas chain of retail-entertainment venues and stores.
In 2015, Crocus Group signed one of the most lucrative deals to construct the initial phase of the new Central Ring Highway (TsKAD), circling Moscow. The 326-mile road deal is worth $610 million. Crocus Group is also the general contractor for the FIFA 2018 stadiums in Kaliningrad and Rostov-on-Don.
Miss Universe 2013
In a complete departure from the business of construction and the business of amassing a fortune, Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov, current Vice-President of Crocus Group, spent over $20 million bringing the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.
Aras is married with two children and lives in Moscow. Hi son Emin, in addition to his role in Crocus Group is an accomplished singer/songwriter who performs around the world in both Russian and English. He is divorced from wife Leyla, daughter of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilkham Aliyev. The couple have two children who live in Moscow.