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I was born in Moscow in the early days of the Second World War, when my country’s very existence was in great jeopardy. In 1941, my family was evacuated to Ural, where we were rescued by German peasants who had been exiled to Ural as enemies of the Soviet authorities. My father was an artillery captain who joined the military in Byelorussia in the first days of the war. He became a commander of one of the first partisan detachments there and finished the war in Berlin as a colonel. We reunited with my father in 1944, after he rejoined Soviet troops following a year and a half in a concentration camp. In 1946, we moved to Lvov in western Ukraine, where I spent the next 20 years. I learned from my father the importance of being strong in the face of adversity. I can think of no more important lesson for someone starting a business today.
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