How did Russian Alexander Lebedev become a billionaire?
Well, we may never know for certain but as legend has it, it went down this way. It involved insubordination.
For much of the 1980s through to 1992, Lebedev worked for the Soviet government as a researcher and analyst. The final few years had him stationed in London where he worked for the KGB studying capital flight. During this KGB period Lebedev could see that the USSR was collapsing and so decided that a better use of his time would be to study how capitalism and the City of London worked. (Think of the City as London's Wall Street. It's the financial district.) This pivot in his research paid off handsomely when the USSR finally did come to an end. Lebedev was able to quickly jump on unfolding opportunities to acquire assets and used them to build his media empire in both Russia and the UK.
You can read more about him at his Wikipedia page.