God Semenovich Nisanov (Год Нисанов), a Russian businessman and philanthropist, is a self-made billionaire who acquired his vast wealth as a property developer and real estate investor. Although he is known as the ‘King of Russian Real Estate’, Nisanov expanded his business interests to incorporate wholesale food, including fresh fruits and vegetables and also serves as a board member for Ooo Biskvit, a Russian property company focused on restaurant ownership.
Nisanov was born in 1972 and raised in the city of Quba, home to the largest population of Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan. Once he completed his basic schooling, he furthered his education at the College of Finance and Credit, after which he graduated from the Baku Institute of Law with a diploma.
Climbing the Property Ladder
After completing his education, God moved to Moscow and started a partnership with another entrepreneur from Azerbaijan, Zarakh Iliev. Some of the first projects Nisanov worked on were building retail markets close to the Moscow metro stations. In a follow-up initiative, these markets were converted into shopping centres. The partners also developed a trade and exhibition complex in Lublino called Moscow, and a trading complex called European near the Kievsky station.
The property partners later branched out to developing hotels throughout Russia. Projects include ownership of the Radisson Royal Hotel and Radisson SAS Slavyanskaya Hotel. The Radisson Royal, which was originally commissioned by Joseph Stalin and named the Ukrainian Hotel, was acquired by Nisanov at an auction in 2005 for £59 million. The pair also own the European Shopping Centre and various large shopping centres in Moscow and surrounding areas. Most of the centres in outlying areas are popular with wholesalers from all over Russia. The business partners’ combined efforts eventually covered some 10.8 million square feet of ground.
Nisanov is an honorary member of the International Fund for Cooperation and Partnership of the Black and Caspian Sea (BSCSIF). BSCSIF is a non-profit organisation with the aim of cultivating charitable collaboration between countries located down the coastline of the Black and Caspian Seas. In July 2014 he was honoured by Russian President Vladimir Putin with the Order of Friendship and in September 2014 he was elected to be a member of the World Jewish Congress Executive Committee. Later that year Nisanov, along with wealthy and influential businessmen German Khan, Michael Mirilashvili and Mikhail Fridman journeyed to the UK as the Russian Jewish Congress. The aim of the delegation was to encourage philanthropic and business ties between Jews in the UK and Russia. Nisanov is also an attendee of the International Humanitarian Forum of Baku and served on the Board of Trustees at the Israeli Presidential Conference.
God Nisanov is married with three children, and lives with his family in Moscow.