Kokorev, Vasilii Aleksandrovich
Born Apr. 23 (May 5), 1817, in Vologda; died Apr. 22 (May 4), 1889, in St. Petersburg. Russian industrialist who played an important role in the development of industry and commerce. Born to a lower middle-class family. The basis of his fortune was liquor licenses. He founded many railroad and steamship companies and industrial and commercial enterprises.
In 1859, Kokorev opened the first oil refinery, which by 1873 he had expanded into the Baku Oil Company. The Volga-Kama Bank, founded by Kokorev in 1870, belonged to his heirs until 1917. In the period immediately before the Peasant Reform of 1861, Kokorev maintained liberal ideas; he suggested using the money of the merchantry to buy farmsteads of pomeshchik peasants (peasants on lands belonging to the landlords) and advanced the idea of substituting taxation for leases. He subsequently criticized in print the economic policy of the government, defending the interests of Russian national capital. The memoirs of Kokorev were published in Russkii arkhiv (Russian Archive) in 1885–87.