Vladimir Yakunin is a Russian public figure, businessman and former president of Russian Railways (June 2005 — August 2015). After stepping down as head of Russian Railways he has continued to be engaged in public work as a founder and president of World Public Forum «Dialogue of Civilizations». In October 2015 he started work on creating an international think tank focused on the search for solutions to help de-escalate tensions across the world. DOC Research Institute was launched in July 2016 in Berlin.
Yakunin graduated from the Leningrad Mechanical Institute where he studied aircraft construction, and specialized in engineering and the maintenance of long-range ballistic missiles. His career began in the State Institute for Applied Chemistry in Leningrad.
After demobilizing from the Soviet Army in 1977, Yakunin worked as a senior engineer in the State Committee for International Trade of the Council of Ministers.
From 1982–1985, Yakunin headed the Foreign Relations Department at the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute.
Between 1985 and 1991, Yakunin was part of the Soviet diplomatic mission to the United Nations, becoming the Mission’s First Secretary in 1988.
In 1997, Yakunin headed the Government Accountability Office’s Northwest Region Inspectorate.
From 2000 to 2002, Yakunin served as Deputy Transport Minister, under Transport Minister Sergey Frank, and was responsible for supervising merchant-fleet development and seaport business.
Afterwards Yakunin was appointed First Deputy to the Railway Transport Minister.
On June 15, 2005, Yakunin was appointed Head of Russian Railways. He was later reappointed three times.
On December 12, 2012 in Paris, the International Union of Railways General Assembly appointed Yakunin Chairman of the Union. He was unanimously reappointed on December 3, 2014 and continued to head it until his retirement.
In 2013, Vladimir Yakunin founded the Endowment for the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations, aimed at supporting research in the sphere of political and social sciences, religion and culture, developing communication between countries on political and economic matters, and seeking compromise in cases of social unrest and international disputes. In 2016, together with the Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer and Professor Peter W. Schulze of the Georg-August University of Gőttingen, he founded the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute. Vladimir Yakunin was appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Institute.
Since January 2006, Yakunin has been the Academic Supervisor and Chairman of the Supervisory Board for the Russian Academy of Sciences’ the Problem Analysis and Public Administration.
In 2005, he successfully defended his thesis, which was on. «Developing Geostrategies in Present-Day Russia».
He was awarded a Ph. D. in Political Science in 2007, after successfully defending his thesis «Process and Mechanisms involved in of National Policy Formation in Contemporary Russia»
His published monographs including «Developing Geostrategies in Russia: The Transport Component» (2005), «Political Science of Transport: Measuring Transport Development in Terms of Politics» (2006), and «National Policy Formation in Present-Day Russia: Theoretical and Practical Issues» (2006).
Since 2010, he has been Head of the State Policy Department at Moscow State University’s (MSU) Faculty of Political Science.
He is also visiting professor at the Stockholm School of Economics.
Honours and awards
- Order For Merit to the Fatherland, 4th class (June 16, 2008), for his outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport
- Order of Honour (August 10, 2006), for his outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport
- Medal «For the Development of Railways» (October 22, 2007) — for outstanding contribution to the development of rail transport
- Medal for Battle Merit (USSR)
- Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (June 14, 2002)
- Russian Railways’s Honorary Railwayman Badge (USSR)
- Order «For Services to Altai Krai,” 1st class (September 25, 2009), for outstanding contribution to the socioeconomic development of the Altai Territory
- Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria (Austria, 2011)
- Order «Danaker» (Kyrgyzstan, June 21, 2006) for his outstanding contribution to the development of economic relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation
- Order of Friendship (Azerbaijan, 2009) — for his outstanding contribution to the strengthening of cooperation and mutual relations between Azerbaijan and Russia
- Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy, June 9, 2011) for contributing to the development of cultural, economic, and political relations between Russia and Italy
- Order of Merit (Armenia) for significant contributions to the strengthening and development of cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation
- Order of Al-Fahr, 1st class (Council of Muftis of Russia, 2008), for significant contributions to the development and strengthening of the idea of a dialogue of civilizations, and spreading the ideals of peaceful coexistence of peoples and religious traditions, as well as on the occasion of his 60th birthday
- Order of the Holy Sepulchre (Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, 2004) for his outstanding contribution to the dialogue of civilizations and peoples and the Pan-Orthodox prayer «Pray for peace in Jerusalem»
- Spain’s Order for Civil Merit in the Grand Cross Class (August 9, 2012) for outstanding achievements in strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and Spain
- Gold Medal of the association La Renaissance Francaise (June 25, 2012) for contributing to the development and consolidation of relations between France and Russia
- Commander of the Order of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Antiochian Orthodox Church, 2010) — for his work for the Orthodox Church
- Order of St. Innocent, 2nd class (Orthodox Church in America, 2010)
- Certificate of Honour of the Russian Federation (June 30, 2008) for his great personal contribution to the efficient operation of rail transport
- Medal Paul Melnikov (Russian Ministry of Transport, 2005) — for his great personal contribution to the development of Russia’s transport infrastructure
- Medal «For assistance in Providing Special Programmes» (GUSP, 2009) — for the good organization of work on the implementation of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, «The Mobilization of the Russian Federation»
- Medal «90 years of the Transport Police» (Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety, 2009) for a significant contribution to the protection of public order, marking the 90th anniversary of the formation of transportationthe Interior Ministry’s Transport Police
- International Prize awarded by the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called «For Faith and Loyalty» (2000) — for his significant contribution to the formation of the Russian national identity and to the creation of the Centre of National Glory
- Award For Public Work Towards the Common Good, from the British organisation Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative
- Laureate of a Russian Government prize in science and technology
- France’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honour
- The Order of Dostyk (Friendship) 2-nd class, Kazakhstan’s highest award
- The Stolypin Medal, First Degree