About the Enlightener Prize

Founders

Dmitry Borisovich Zimin — founder and Honorary President of VimpelCom (the Beeline cell phone network), academician of the International Telecommunication Academy, Presidium member of the Russian Academy for Business, founder of the non-profit Dynasty Foundation.

Dmitry Borisovich Zimin was born on 28 April 1933 in Moscow. He went to Moscow school № 59 where he started to deal with radio-frequency engineering, and together with S. M. Alexeev, a physics teacher, wrote a book Shkolnaya UKV-stanstsya (School VHF station). In 1950, D. Zimin enrolled at the Faculty of Flying Vehicles Radio Electronics of the Moscow Aviation Institute and then worked as an engineer in a “Problem Lab” at the Department of Radio Transmitters, headed by Professor M. S. Neiman. In 1962, he was invited to work in one of the closed research institutions – Radio-Technical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, which was headed by the academician A. L. Mints. In the spring of 1963, Mr Zimin defended his Candidate of Sciences dissertation. In 1965, he was awarded the Vasil A. Popov Prize of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR as a co-author of a book on scanning antennas (Skaniruyuschie antennye sistemy SVCH). For 35 years Dmitry Zimin held senior positions at the Radio-Technical institute. He worked as the head of a laboratory, and for 14 years he was the head of a scientific department, and later he was the director of the Center for developing radio engineering equipment. In 1984, he defended his Doctor of Sciences dissertation. As a recognized authority in the field of phased antenna arrays, he was appointed deputy chief constructor of a large land-based radar station that was part of the anti-missile defense system of the country. In 1993, he was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation as a co-author of antennas based on phase arrays. Dmitry Zimin is the author of more than a hundred scientific works and inventions.

After the sharp reduction in military orders in the early 90s, Dmitry Zimin took an active part in the defense conversion with the goal of creating jobs for highly skilled specialists from the military industry. He became deputy chief designer in an institute which dealt with this conversion. On 6 March 1991, a small enterprise called KB Impuls was established within the conversion program. Its first job was the development of the satellite TV system. The system was produced in a factory in Vilnius, and even sold in Moscow in the Efir shop on Tverskaya Street. There was almost no profit from the project. The next project was the cable TV system – AC-600. This time the project made more profit.

In 1991, there was a new task which caught Mr. Zimin’s attention – creating a mobile network. He began working on the development of the mobile network in 1991, when he organized a group of technical experts within the Radio-Technical Institute. At the first stage his business partner was an American company called Plexis, which belonged to Augie K. Fabela II.

In 1992, VimpelCom was established at the initiative of Dmitry Zimin in order to produce equipment for the mobile network, and Mr. Zimin became the President and the Director General of the company. An AMPS mobile station which covered the Garden Ring in Moscow was put into operation. At the beginning it had about 200 users. Under the leadership of Dmitry Zimin, VimpelCom made a significant contribution to the development of the mobile network in Russia by working on adapting AMPS/D-AMPS and GSM-1800 standards in Russia. It made the mobile network services available to the general public.

In May 2001, when the VimpelCom client base exceeded one million clients, the company made a profit and the Alfa Group became one of the shareholders of the company. Mr. Zimin resigned from his post of the Director General and became the Honorary President of VimpelCom.

Nowadays, Mr. Zimin is engaged in social work and charity. He cooperates with many universities and non-governmental organizations. Since October 2000, he has been a member of the Russian Government's Council on Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship. In November 2000, he was elected as a member of the Board of the Russian Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP). Since June 2001, he has been a member of the Working Group which was responsible for developing the RSPP’s position concerning Russia’s accession to the WTO and the reform of customs policy.

In 2001, Dmitry Zimin was awarded the Reputation medal by the Business Olympus National Prize. In 2002, he founded the non-profit Dynasty Foundation, and since then he has served as its President. The main mission of the Foundation is to support and to promote fundamental science. In 2008, Dmitry. Zimin was awarded the Symbol of Science medal.