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From Russia With…Startup Dreams

Alexander Galitsky is a man of many parts: veteran of the Soviet space program, serial tech entrepreneur, pioneer of Wi-Fi, and currently a venture capitalist whose two dozen investments are concentrated in Silicon Valley. One thing he is not is Russian, a fact that he needs to emphasize more often these days. Galitsky, who goes by the Slavic diminutive Sasha, was in fact born in 1955 in Ukraine, in the Ukrainian-speaking Catholic community that tilts strongly anti-Russian these days. He carries a Dutch passport and says that he lives on airplanes. Galitsky works as a managing partner at Almaz Capital, which is based in Portola Valley, California, just west of Palo Alto, and counts Cisco Systems and the World Bank among its investors. Alexander Galitsky [Photo: 4ibon4ik /Wikimedia Commons] Before the fall of Communism in 1991, Galitsky spent 12 years as a rising star in the Soviet space and defense establishment, designing software for, among other projects, Moscow’s planned response to Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” network of orbital weapons. After the Soviet Union, he turned into a high-tech diplomat, nurturing a close friendship with legendary Sun Microsystems founder Bill Joy, while also doing stints at state-owned Russian Technologies and advising Skolkovo, the Kremlin’s version of Silicon Valley, outside the city limits of Moscow. Until recently, such a wealth of experience was a good thing. Now, with Kremlin-backed hackers dominating headlines and defining for many the image of a Russian technologist, it’s become a liability. He prefers to avoid the R word, substituting “Eastern Europe” for the land of his earlier success, bristling when asked about his roots.

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From Russia With…Startup Dreams

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