Was born on September, 11th 1937 in Chasov Jar, Donetsk region, Ukraine. Jewish.
In 1956 he entered Dnepropetrovsk mountain technical school. Graduated from Gnessin State musical college, vocal class.
From 1956 till 1959 served in army where he was invited to song and dance band of the Transcaucasian military district.
Soloist of All-Union radio in 1959 - 1962, soloist of Moscow concert in 1962 - 1989.
Since 1984 - art director of vocal branch in Gnessin State musical college; head of vocal department of Gnessin Russian academy of music, professor.
Since 1986 - chairman of social council of the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs of Moscow. Under his initiative the Fund "Board and lyre" - fund of social security of police workers was created. Kobzon became the president of the Fund.
Since 1989 - soloist, art director of performing arts company "Moscow".
From 1988 - president of welfare fund “Muscovite".
Since November, 1990 - president of AO "Muscovite".
Since 1989 till 1992 - People's Deputy of the USSR.
In 1993 - 1994 together with Shabtay Kalmanovich organized several joint-stock companies under the name "Liat-Natalie" (by names of children of Kobzon and the general director of joint-stock company Shabtay Kalmanovich).
Vice-president of Association "XXI century".
In 1996 he declared that he was not more connected with AO “Muscovite".
In 1997 he made farewell tours around the country.
On September, 14th 1997 he was elected as the deputy of the State Duma.
Since November 1997 till December 1999 - vice-president of Committee on culture of the Second State Duma.
Since October, 1998 - co-chairman of social movement "For Honor and Advantage of the Country Citizen”
On December 19, 1999 he was elected as the deputy of the Third State Duma of the Russian Federation. Vice-president of Committee of the State Duma on culture and tourism.
President of Fund of humanitarian initiatives (FHI).
In December, 2001 he was elected as the leader of "Russian peace party".
On October 24, 2002 he participated in negotiations with the terrorists who grasped a culture centre with spectators (nearby 1000 persons) on October, 23rd in Moscow.
On December, 31st, 2002 Vladimir Putin awarded Kobzon with the order of Courage.
Joseph Kobzon was the president of cultural fund "ARTES", Relief fund for families of the lost policemen "Board and Lyre", AO "Liat-Natalie", councilor to the mayor of Moscow Jury Luzhkov on culture.
People’s Artist of the USSR, RSFSR, Ukraine, Dagestan ASSR, the honored artist of Checheno-Ingush ASSR, winner of the State award of the USSR (1984), winner of "Gold Orfeo" contest in Bulgaria (1968).
Awarded with the order of the People’s Friendship, an award "For merits before Fatherland" of III degree.
Honorable citizen of Saratov (1998).
Married for the third time. Wife - Nelly Mikhailovna Kobzon (the first wife - Veronica Kruglova, the second - Ludmila Gurchenko). Son Andrey (1974) graduated from musical institute in Hollywood, he is the drummer of the band "Voskresenye", then - "Moral code". Daughter Natalia (1976). In July 1999 Natalia gave birth to daughter Idel.
Sources: peoples.ru, flb.ru referring to nns.ru
Referring to operative materials there is some data in the Internet that already in Soviet period Kobzon promoted transfer of considerable shadow means abroad using the Jewish religious channels. Later, as it was informed, Kobzon transferred including from accounts of "Muscovite" abroad using false Chechen aviso.
Source: flb.ru from 11/1/1999
Kobzon was business partner of Shabtay Kalmanovich, the sports functionary, the businessman, and in the past - the scout killed in 2009 in Moscow. In mass-media there are data that Kalmanovich owed exactly to Kobzon for the early parole from the Israeli prison where he stayed for espionage in favor of the USSR. The press, referring to the former deputy of the State Duma Alexey Mitrofanov wrote that business of Kalmanovich was in many respects "conceptual". According to some information, as it is specified in a press the leader of Solntsevo criminal group Sergey Mikhailov ("Mikhas") and the thief-in-law Vyacheslav Ivankov ("Yaponchik") were close friends of Kalmanovich.
Source: novayagazeta.ru 11/3/2009, "Kommersant" № 54 (1236) from 4/17/1997
Kalmanovich persistently refused acquaintance to Mikhas and Yaponchik. But he recognized another doubtful acquaintance - with Grigory Luchansky, according to FBI - also the boss of Russian mafia. According to mass-media, joint business of Kobzon and Kalmanovich drew attention of FBI. It was affirmed that the third partner in one of their companies - "Liat-Natalie" – was the boss of Russian mafia in the USA Marat Balagula. The press did not exclude that also because of that reason Joseph Kobzon subsequently was not accessed to the USA, and bosom friends – Kobzon and Kalmanovich quarreled.
Source: "Money" № 44 (749) from 11/9/2009
As the press wrote, Kobzon was in fine relations with Vyacheslav Ivankov (Yaponchik). In 80s Kobzon petitioned for early parole of the "godfather of Russian mafia» imprisoned for 14 years in maximum security penal colony. Except Kobzon academician Svyatoslav Fedorov, legal expert Sergey Kovalev, deputy of Irkutsk country council Vladimir Nechaev ostensibly petitioned for Yaponchik.
Source: Magazine "Spark" № 23 (5101) from 10/19/2009
The press wrote about Kobzon's interrelation with criminal authority Alimzhan Tohtahunov ("Taivanchik"). Journalists gave a number of evidences of their close acquaintance. For example, in summer of 1999 Kobzon participated in ceremony of dedication of Tohtahunov in knights of St. Konstantin’s order.
Source: «Kommersant» № 127 (1771) from 7/21/1999
According to the press, since 1992, Kobzon was very close to the mayor of Moscow Jury Luzhkov and hoped to become the minister of commerce of the mayoralty of capital.
Source: "Power" № 45 (297) from 11/24/1998
In the late 90s Kobzon on a level with other well-known people stood up for the former deputy of Moscow regional Legislative Assembly Alexander Morozov. The investigation had the version that in 1993 Morozov created group of sportsmen which established control over many enterprises of Zlatoust. The obstinate general director of one of such enterprises was shot. On the grouping account as it was informed, there were also murders of competitors from other gangs, kidnappings, rape of the minor, robberies and weapon storage.
The press wrote that Joseph Kobzon time and again naming Morozov as a friend sent him a book to predetention center with the autograph: "Sasha, hold on, we will help you!"
In the spring of 2003 mass-media informed that Alexander Morozov got 20 years of imprisonment.
Sources: «Kommersant» № 34 (1919) from 2/29/2000, № 55 (2185) from 3/29/2001
In a press it is informed about Kobzon's interrelation with nowadays dead Otari Kvantrishvili which was named not only the businessman and the patron of art, but also one of the most influential people in underworld. Joseph Kobzon became the vice-president of Association «XXI century», created by Kvantrishvili together with Anzor Kikalishvili. Kikalishvili became the president of association and Kvantrishvili - one more vice-president.
In 1992 in a press there were data that Association «XXI century» «protected» trading tents at suburbs of Moscow and in general very powerfully covered all southern mafia of the capital.
Sources: www.newizv.ru from 13.06.06, the Newspaper "Kommersant" № 18 (171) from 10/26/1992
In December, 1992 in the newspaper «Soviet Russia» Larissa Kislinskaya's article «Under cover of O.V.» was published. In the publication it was told about Kobzon's interrelation with mafia. In particular, the journalist wrote that the singer was present on birthday party of the well-known Moscow thief-in-law by a nickname "Zahar" on December, 1st, 1992 in motel "Solar". In the night between 1st and 2nd of December, 1992 Moscow police made a round-up having detained 66 authorities of underworld. Kislinskaya also wrote that Joseph Kobzon ostensibly petitioned for a management of the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs for that all detained authorities to be released.
Kislinskaya wrote that in the status of the People's Deputy in 1990 Kobzon helped to be unbound ahead of schedule to the thief-in-law Victor Nikiforov ("Kalina") and criminal authority Petrik, and also helped to Yaponchik and one of authorized representatives of "Yaponchik" - to Vyacheslav Sliva. As it was informed Kobzon brought an action the claim to «Soviet Russia» about an honor and dignity protection.
Source: «Kommersant» № 149 (617) from 8/11/1994, "Kommersant" № 178 (1360) from 10/17/1997, "Tomorrow", 15.12.98
Without waiting for judgments, the singer informed the newspaper "Top secret" that Kislinskaya - «was up the tiles, drinking, smoking and combining two the most ancient trades". Then already the journalist submitted the claim to Kobzon, having estimated the moral harm made for her in 500 thousand dollars. The court obliged Kobzon to pay Kislinskaya 500 thousand roubles.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant" № 8 (726) from 1/19/1995, № 92 (810) from 5/20/1995
At trial upon Kobzon's claim Kislinskaya asked to request “criminal case of Yaponchik” as the proof of her correctness in which as she confirmed there was Kobzon's petition for "authority" early release. But, as it is informed, on inquiries of court the answers from police said that documents were destroyed in connection with the expiry of the term of their storage.
It was informed that the singer estimated the mental cruelty put to him in $100 thousand. The court obliged the newspaper to pay him 5 million roubles, the journalist - 3 million.
Sources: Newspaper "Kommersant" № 178 (1360) from 10/17/1997, № 178 (1360) from 10/17/1997
In connection with Yaponchik, according to the press, Kobzon was accused also by the agent of Russian FBI Department Lester Maknalti. Under his data, Kikalishvili and Kobzon received huge illegal payments from American joint venture "Russian—American" located in New York. Source: "Tomorrow", 15.12.98
In the summer of 1995, soon after arrest of Yaponchik in America, this country refused Kobzon to give him the entry visa, then they did it regularly.
Source: Newspaper "Tomorrow", 15.12.98
The press wrote about Kobzon's interrelation with Rashmiel Brandvain — the business partner of Ricardo Fanchini who was one of originators of "Kremlin group» (Kremlyovskaya Group Trading Unlimited, since 1994 delivered vodka to Russia and the CIS countries). Brandvain in a press is called as the successful speculator who emigrated from the USSR. Together with Fanchini Brandvain created in Belgium company M&S International. As the press wrote, through generals of the Ministry of Defense of Russia the company began to extort from the Minister of Defense huge budgetary funds under contracts on purchase of home appliances, clothes, cigarettes, vodka and foodstuff for Soviet, and then and the Russian army in Germany. In interview to "Moscow news" Brandvain declared that Joseph Kobzon helped him to establish close commercial communications with officials and generals of the Minister of Defense.
Source: «Kommersant» № 200 (1158) from 11/22/1996
In 1994 press mentioned Kobzon in connection with initiation of a criminal case concerning the deputy chief of investigatory committee (IC) of Internal Affairs Directorate in Tomsk region the chief of department on investigation of criminal groups’ activity the lieutenant colonel of justice Victor Kovalevsky. He was accused of official forgery, bribe extortion, abuse of powers, and also in rape of the wife of the person on remand. The lawyer of Kovalevsky connected arrest of the client with the fact that in 1993 he detained in Moscow one of vice-presidents of "XXI century" association Suchkov who was accused of plunder under false aviso. As the lawyer confirmed Kobzon appeared in the autumn of 1993 in Tomsk; after that Suchkov was released on the security in 10 million roubles and received 8 cars Alfa-Romeo back arrested by investigators.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant" № 203 (671) from 10/26/1994
In 1995 the American The New York Times newspaper called Joseph Kobzon as Russian Frank Sinatra, hinting at his possible communications with criminal "authorities".
Source: «Kommersant» № 116 (2719) from 7/5/2003
And "Washington Post" directly accused Kobzon of connection with «Russian mafia». In the publication «Tsar of Russian mafia №1» it was said Kobzon's gang included the mayor of Moscow Jury Luzhkov, the deputy minister of defense Boris Gromov and others. Kobzon submitted the claim about distribution of the facts which were not real at once for two respondents - to the newspaper and to US State Department as before to the singer was refused the entry visa.
Source: Magazine "Money" № 26 (36) from 7/5/1995
Proceeding lasted in the USA for about one and a half years. As a result the singer and his wife were deprived of the three-year American visa because of charges in drug traffic, the weapon and communications with Russian mafia. Attempts to protest this decision of the American embassy in the Russian law enforcement bodies and even in the Hague as Kobzon said had no result.
Source: newsru.com from October, 4th 2002
According to Kobzon, during the trial it was found out that in the USA he was smeared by Sam Kislin (according to the mass-media, one of Mikhail Cherny's first business partners). Kislin ostensibly informed that the singer was the drug courier from Afghanistan, sold the weapon to the Arabian countries in the north of Africa, had casino, brothels, night houses, supermarkets, hotels in Russia, was the cashier of all thieves' structures.
Source: flb.ru referring to the Business chronicle from 10/22/2002, "Express newspaper", 10/11/2002
In the summer of 1995 Kobzon came on opening party Independent Trade-Union Bank (ITB), created with the assistance of the Russian capital in territory of Republic of Northern Cyprus. Journalists noticed that the republic was recognized only by one country, and opening of the bank there opened new possibilities "for minimization of tax payments".
Source: «Kommersant» № 125 (843) from 7/7/1995
The conflict in which Kobzon also appeared was connected with bank opening on Cyprus. In the same summer of 1995 the management of the Moscow inter-regional bank (MMCB) declared that they invested 150-160 billion roubles in Pikombank got to a difficult financial position. Bank, as well as its borrowers - "Concorde" and "Justinlef" (in which activity the management of Pikombank was involved) did not return money back. As management of ММCB informed journalists, Pikombank and these firms were not going to return back means. Instead of that they demanded singer Joseph Kobzon to be the head of the bank and a head of Pikombank – his deputy. It was informed that at the same time head of Pikombank was occupied with opening of the First independent bank of Cyprus. Against all these events as the press wrote, the employee of security service of MMCB was killed, and the bank appeared in crisis.
Source: «Kommersant» №131 (849) от15.07.1995
According to the press, in June of 1995 Kobzon was elected on a post of chairman of the council in ММCB. And in a society hearings were spread that within means stolen at ММCB at the territories of Northern Cyprus the Independent trade-union bank was opened. It was informed also that one of the largest creditors of MMCB were firms which were headed by the former employee of Main Intelligence Directorate Georgy Ugolkov and the widow of criminal authority Sylvester Olga Zhlobinskaya. During crisis in MMCB as the press wrote there were attempts at the chairman of board of MMCB Albert Shalashov and banker Oleg Harlampovich. Shalashov declared that criminal structures aspired to put bank under the control.
Kobzon explained to journalists that he obtained a post of chairman of the council in MMCB occasionally, and, in particular, because the bank ran into debt to one of structures «Victory Fund»; Kobzon was its vice-president. The singer didn’t work within new post.
Source: «Kommersant» № 151 (869) from 8/19/1995
On January 2, 1996, by order of the minister of internal security of Israel Kobzon was detained at the airport of Tel-Aviv. The singer appeared in «black list» of persons to whom it was forbidden to enter the country. After intervention of the Russian embassy, the entry visa to Kobzon was given out personally by the prime minister of the country Shimon Peres.
Source: "Power" № 3 (405) from 1/23/2001
In 1996 Kobzon initiated the reference of 59 leading art workers, 15 well-known scientists and several Olympic champions with the open letter to the president of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin. The letter contained the request to protect Kobzon from slander and attacks. But as it was informed, Yeltsin officially did not react. Then the State Duma at the initiative of the singer directed deputy inquiry to the in General Office of the public prosecutor and the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the request "to inspect on the facts of charge of Joseph Kobzon with communications with mafia environment". From the Ministry of Internal Affairs it was received the answer that Kobzon was officially suspected and accused.
Source: Newspaper "Tomorrow", 15.12.98
On the eve of election to the State Duma in 1997, Joseph Kobzon told that his business was connected with oil refining, barter transactions with the foodstuffs, metals, investments.
Source: "Evening club" from September, 11th 1997
In 1997 press informed that Kobzon intended to initiate a criminal case against a weekly journal "Interlocutor". The singer was revolted that in 1996, in article «Full Kobzon» by Anton Bublikov it was told about his “oral abilities" and "defective consciousness". The author wrote that Kobzon's place is among "authorities" as "his belief quite answered criminal hysterical patriotism of the criminals". Kobzon considered that by this article he was five times slandered and also seven times offended.
Accusation under part 2 of the article 130 of the Criminal Code (the insult by mass-media) was brought to the editor of publicist department of "Interlocutor" Dmitry Bykov. The case was transferred to Tver court of Moscow in the summer of 1998. In 1999 the court stopped the case due to the expiration of limitation periods.
Sources: «Kommersant» № 22 (1204) from 3/1/1997, № 189 (1592) from 10/10/1998, № 189 (1833) from 10/15/1999
In April, 1997 it became known that Kobzon submitted the claim to district court of Tel Aviv to the Israeli newspaper "Ediot Ahranot" which in July, 1995 in one of publications named him as "Minister for Foreign Affairs and the treasurer of Russian mafia". The claimant demanded or 2,5 million shekels.
In connection with the claim the editor-in-chief of the Russian-language newspaper "Vesti" entering into holding "Ediot Ahranot" Eduard Kuznetsov informed the press that the edition knew Kobzon to be famous in CIA files as the person connected to mafia. Besides the police of Israel included him into the list of 34 unwelcome persons.
Source: «Kommersant» № 54 (1236) from 4/17/1997
Press described interesting circumstances how Kobzon became the deputy of the State Duma from Aginsky Buryat area. In March, 1997 a delegation arrived to the capital of Aginsky Buryat district, settlement Aginsky. Among visitors there was Kobzon and also the president of bank "BIN" Mikhael Shishhanov and the general director of financial corporation "BIN" Evgeny Marchenko. The area was offered the soft loan of 12 billion roubles for spring field works and given millions roubles for local sights and social offices.
Ill-wishers accused Kobzon of payoff of voters. But the district election committee and district Office of Public Prosecutor recognized charges as unreasonable.
Source: «Kommersant» № 34 (240) from 9/23/1997
In April 1999 on the 20th floor of the hotel "Intourist" where the offices of Kobzon and Artenyev (Kikalishvili) were located the bomb was blown up.
In 2009 press informed that FSB of Russia discovered opened the act of terrorism made in "Intourist". The customer was Shamil Basayev who, by one of the versions, having become interested in the program patronized by Joseph Kobzon "Front children of the Chechen Republic" started to extort money. And, having been refused, decided to revenge to philanthropists, having organized explosions in Moscow (the second explosion occurred also in 1999 in "Okhotny ryad". Operating complex PLAZA of Umar Dzhabrailov, on a version of the investigation, also refused to pay to Basayev).
Sources: "Kommersant" № 72 (1716) from 4/28/1999, № 193 (4248) from 10/16/2009
In press the example of how Kobzon could not succeed in sphere of mass media is described.
In the mid-nineties structure "Muscovite" friendly to Kobzon became the proprietress of the oldest radio station - "Radio-1. Culture" and invested $4 million in it. When the radio station was got, Kobzon has just appeared in the centre of the scandals regarding the charges in connection with mafia, and he needed the information resource. By 2000 "Muscovite" stopped financing an unprofitable radio station, it got bankrupt and stopped broadcasting
Source: «Kommersant» № 101 (1986) from 6/7/2000
In January, 2001 Kobzon supported the former head of presidential administration Pavel Borodin arrested in the USA.
Source: «Kommersant» № 12 (2142) from 1/25/2001
In 2002 Kobzon made a startler that he lost all his business. He informed journalists that, having won parliamentary elections of 2000, transferred shares of all firms in control to the partner. And that «sold out the shares, transferred money abroad and made the enterprise bankrupt», after that he disappeared in the USA. But the singer did not say the name of the person having declared only that it was a variety manager. Meanwhile, the press wrote that Kobzon's activity always remained opaque. They told that the singer at various times was engaged in mineral oil and ferroalloys, diamonds and medical preparations, media business and tobacco.
Source: "Company", 4/8/2002, the Interlocutor, N39, 1996
In the autumn of 2002 the initiative group led by Joseph Kobzon sent the letter to the president of Russia Vladimir Putin which contained the hint that the head of the state would rather meet the president of the USA George Bush and explain him who Kobzon was. The singer was still not welcome to the USA. In the letter there was also a request to make investigation of Kobzon’s activity and to inform the foreign Ministries of Foreign Affairs about the results of investigation.
Source: «Kommersant» № 181/P (2550) from 10/7/2002
In the summer to 2003 press informed that after the USA, Canada, Australia, Israel and a number of the European countries Kobzon was refused the visa by Latvia, under the official version - "in connection with threat of state security and public order".
Source: «Kommersant» № 116 (2719) from 7/5/2003
In July, 2004 the new head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Latvia made decision to exclude Joseph Kobzon from the “black list", having considered that there were no bases to forbid him to enter to the country.
Source: newsru.com from July, 1st 2004
In December, 2003 Kobzon's name was mentioned in connection with the scandal around the Russian-Swiss firms HSM and Sodepra. In 1997 the Police court in the Swiss city of None made decision to confiscate at these firms about one million Swiss francs ($800 thousand). Investigatory judge Jean Traccani decided that money was involved in Russian organized crime and made the decision on its confiscation in favor of the state. Traccani directed the commission to the State Office of Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation wishing to interrogate the persons having the right to dispose of accounts of the mentioned firms. But the State Office of Public Prosecutor of Russia refused the help. The judge considered it as additional evidence that the mentioned money belonged to "Russian mafia". A bit later accuser Jean-Mark Shventer named the Russian citizens who had access to accounts. They were vodka king Jury Shefler and Joseph Kobzon. The first, according to the public prosecutor, was ostensibly involved in extortion of money at the Swiss group Hopf from which he together owned large shop "Sadko" in Moscow. It was informed that according to the Interpol, these persons were in the lists of Solntsevo and Perovo criminal group.
Source: «Kommersant» № 231 (2834) from 12/19/2003, "Moscow news", 12/23/2003
In the beginning of 2003 the firm supervised by Kobzon bought advertising companies "Attik" from disgraced businessman Umar Dzhabrailov. During that moment "Attik" was under the threat of ruin: the authorities of capital demanded to dismantle about one and a half thousand advertising constructions as the abundance of the information placed on them disoriented drivers.
Source: «МК» from 4/24/2003
In January, 2006 Kobzon was one of those who signed the reference to the State Office of Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation with the request to soften a preventive punishment to the former head of Ministry of Atomic Energy Evgeny Adamov pining in predetention center. Adamov was accused of assignment of 9 million dollars given by Russia for the projects of maintenance of nuclear safety. The collective reference did not succeed.
Source: newsru.com from March, 29th 2006
Kobzon supported Adamov during trial as well, having given the flatter characteristic to his activity. Originally condemned to real term, Adamov as a result received conditional punishment.
Source: «Kommersant» № 66 (3883) from 4/18/2008
In 2009 Kobzon together with the mayor of Moscow Jury Luzhkov and other well-known people stood up for the chairman of city committee on advertising, the information and capital design Vladimir Makarov. The official was accused of granting preferences to the tenant of the cross street advertising banners; in result of that as investigation considered city budget lost at least 130 million rbl. Despite petitions was caused to the city budget, Makarov was left under the guard.
Source: "Kommersant" from 17.09.09
In 2009 Kobzon appeared in the scandal connected with his tours in Israel. Organizers of the tours accused the singer of that he owed them 72 thousand dollars. Kobzon ostensibly did not pay for work of the accepting party and left unpaid for the stay in Israel. According to organizers, they were aware that the singer never says "thanks" and that if they did not take away in time the money they would be left high and dry. Kobzon accused organizers of lack of professionalism
Source: «Your day» from 1/30/2009