The global king of cotton: Ludwig Knoop’s contribution to his industry development cannot be underestimated. This Bremen-born merchant was involved in the founding of about 200 cotton factories across Russia, the USA and England. In 1857, he established the Kreenholm Manufacturing Company, a textile factory located on the island Kreenholm in Narva, Estonia. The cotton spinning and cloth mill were the largest factories of the world with a workforce reaching up to 12,000 people.
In 1929, Thomas Mann used the Knoop family history as a basis for his Nobel prizewinning novel called “Buddenbrooks”.
Ludwig Knoop studied in Germany, then, he continued to refine his skills by working for “De Jersey & Co”, an English-based cotton exporter, where he specialised in yarn export to Russia. After his first visit to Moscow as a commis voyageur armed with both business acumen and diplomatic skills, he turned the market around, in just a few years, he took control and he run a monopoly.
In 1877, the Tsar Alexander II bestowed upon Ludwig Knoop the title of Baron of the Russian Empire. Today, his descendants collect both source materials and family photos for the family museum in Moscow.
Dr. Andrea von Knoop, the only Russian based member of this family, is the honorary president of the German-Russian chamber of foreign trade and she is also the deputy chairman of the board of the German-Russian forum. In addition, Aleksey Ginzburg, from a famous architect’s lineage, is currently working with Dr von Knoop on the reconstruction project of the Andrey L’vovitch Knoop formerly owned building turned museum. That is just like their forefathers, Gerasim Ivanovitch Khludov and Alexey Ivanovitch Khludov, were Ludwig Knoop’s partners in the Kreenholm Manufacturing Company.
“He loved Russia very much – Even when he was an old man, he travelled to Russia very often.” Dr. Andrea von Knoop says. Thanks to his efforts, the first foreign steam engines for the textile industry were brought to Russia. He sold them to the local merchants in instalments. However, he was partly paid in equity, to the point where in the 19th century the following expression became proverbial: “No church without a priest, no factory without Knoop”. By the end of this century, Ludwig Knoop was the shareholder of more than 100 textile companies the most popular was Danilovskaya Manufaktura.
The mansion owned by Andrey L’vovitch Knoop, the son of Ludwig Knoop, is located in the historic center of Moscow. This property resembles the family castle in Mühlenthal which was located in the current Knoop’s public park. Indeed, the mansion and the castle were decorated by the same renowned Bremen based interior designer. “It is therefore conceivable that both houses were decorated in the same style of that period, – Andrea von Knoop believes – We were fortunate as we managed to find Ruslan Goryukhin, an investor with a keen eye for art, a man ready to restore the house to its historic appearance thus preserving this heritage for future generations”. Hence, Ludwig Knoop German based great-grandchildren have provided photos from the family album to both restorers and founders of the museum to assist them in their restoration efforts.
Following Ludwig Knoop’s death, in 1933, the castle was demolished. That was a direct consequence of the high upkeep that none of his heirs could afford. Yet, every summer, a classical music festival called Summer in Lesmona is held in the Knoop’s Park. In 1989, a section of the park was made accessible to visually impaired, it was the first of its kind in Germany.
*Ruslan Goryukhin – a short biography
He was born on February 2, 1966 in Odessa, USSR.
From 1988 to 1997, he managed the Roskhim and Roteks 66 companies operating in the light industry.
From 1997 to 1998, he became the co-founder and the executive manager of the company “Kuznetskie Ferrosplavy”.
From 1998 to 2015, he cofounded and run “Severnye Gazovye Magistrali”. There, along with his associates, he was involved in oil and gas pipeline laying.
Ruslan Goryukhin created his own logistics group after identifying a market need for high-quality logistics for the likes of Gazprom, Tatneft, Lukoil and many more.
From 2007 to 2013, Ruslan Goryukhin cofounded “Promgazresurs Trading House” LLC which was specialised in supplying the large diameter pipes for Gazprom’s affiliated societies.
From 2008 to 2014, Goryukhin was appointed CEO of Stroygazmontazh (SGM) that he left in 2014.
From 2013 to 2015, Ruslan cofounded and run “Rodnoy Gorod-Development” company. He left the company in 2015.
Since 2015, he mostly focuses on private investments and philanthropy.
His hobbies and activities include rock-climbing, hiking, tracking and the shooting range.