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Olga is a project partner based in our Paris office who focuses on infrastructure and energy mandates across the world.

Olga is a seasoned practitioner and leads large-scale complex energy and infrastructure development projects. She is a champion for promoting best international practices for infrastructure investment across the CIS and CEE countries.

She advises both public clients (including state authorities and state-owned companies) and private international sponsors and lenders, as well as subcontractors and operators on all aspects of cross-border projects. She has been involved in many high profile and high value infrastructure projects including in the transportation (airports, roads and ports), utilities and energy sectors.

Olga was one of the few lawyers involved in the very first attempts to implement PPP projects in Russia and CIS countries in the early 2000s.

She is the head of the Paris CIS and CEE Desk assisting international clients in any aspects of their business and litigation procedures in the region.


  • Top-ranked by leading international legal directories in the past 14 years including most recently Band 1 in Projects in Infrastructure – Russia by Chambers Europe 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and "Leading Individual" in PPP and Infrastructure Projects – Russia by Legal 500 EMEA 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018
  • "Women Leaders" in Russia by IFLR 1000 2021 and 2020
  • Tier 1 in PPP/Infrastructure by – 300 2021
  • "She's commercially oriented. She has very good management skills, which for a partner is very important", Chambers Europe 2021
  • "She always brings innovative solutions and knows how best to apply them in the local business environment", Chambers Europe 2020.
  • "She's commercially oriented, has very good management skills, which for a partner is very important and regularly assists with PPP and infrastructure projects for clients from the transportation and utilities industries and also acts for banks that provide financing to projects", Chambers Europe 2020.
  • "Olga Melo Zanelli is a market leader in this area and has great experience. She is always ready to provide personal attention and advice", Legal 500 EMEA 2020
  • "Olga Melo Zanelli is responsive and experienced, with strong client relationships", Legal 500 EMEA 2020
  • "the excellent Olga Melo Zanelli […] has excellent depth. I have found them to be very commercial and responsive, with strong client relationships with both sponsors and lenders", Legal 500 EMEA 2020
  • "open-minded lawyer with a good eye for business realities", Chambers Europe 2019
  • "the top-class and well-connected", Legal 500 EMEA 2019
  • "sources praise her constructive approach and extensive experience", Chambers Europe 2018
  • "a strong project manager with solid commercial skills", Legal 500 EMEA 2018
  • "she is proactive and commercially sensitive. She has a good understanding of practical and political realities in dealing with Russian regional authorities", Chambers Europe 2017
  • "open-minded, very attentive and fully understands client needs", Legal 500 EMEA 2017


  • The Public-Private Partnership Law Review – 7 Edition (2021): Russia Chapter (by Olga Melo Zanelli, Roman Churakov and Lola Shamirzayeva)
  • The Government Procurement Review – 8 Edition (2020): Russia Chapter (by Melo Zanelli, Lola Shamirzayeva and Olga Polkovnikova)



Olga obtained her law degree from the Moscow State University. She joined the firm as partner in 2010 after more than a decade of working in the Moscow and Paris offices of another international law firm. She is the member of the Paris and Moscow bar.

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • a consortium on the construction and operation of the "Big Almaty Ring Road" in Kazakhstan on a build-transfer-operate basis
  • Ekibastuz GRES in Kazakhstan (a joint venture between Samruk Energy and Inter RAO UES) on the construction of its third energy block, including the preparation and negotiation of an EPC agreement and other project and finance documentation
  • the Government of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on the toll road PPP project in Kyrgyzstan
  • a sponsor on the structuring of the investment project for the development of airports of Samarkand, Namangan and Urgench in Uzbekistan
  • lenders in relation to financing for Air Marakanda (as borrower and private partner) for the purposes of modernisation and management of the Samarkand International Airport in the Republic of Uzbekistan, implemented on the basis of a public-private partnership involving Uzbekistan Airports (as state partner), wholly-owned by the Republic of Uzbekistan represented by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • the winner of a concession tender (DSK Avtoban) on a PPP projects for the construction of the Central Ring Road in Moscow Region (sections 3 and 4). European Energy and Infrastructure Deal of the Year 2017, The Lawyer
  • Government of the Russian Federation on Platon Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system concession project, introduced to facilitate and process the collection of toll charges offsetting the damage caused to Russian Federal Highways by vehicles exceeding 12 tons of gross vehicle weight, and concession on implementation of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems to identify the vehicles and weigh-in-motion (WIM) systems
  • the Russian Highways State Company (Avtodor) on M11 Moscow - St. Petersburg toll motorway (sections 7 and 8: 543km – 684km)
  • Government of St Petersburg on the reconstruction and expansion of the Pulkovo airport, the third busiest airport in Russia (Winner of the 2011 Transport Deal of the Year award, Infrastructure Journal), private investors and regional governments for regional airports in Russia
  • a bidding consortium comprising Incheon International Airport Corporation (South Korea), IC Ictas Altypi Yitirimlari VE Isletme A.S. (Turkey), VTB Capital Infrastructure Holdings Limited (Cyprus) on the project for the construction, maintenance and operation of the Belgrade Nikola Tesla International airport in Serbia
  • a bidding consortium in relation to its bid for the Sofia Airport concession in Bulgaria
  • CCCC-Makyol consortium on its bid for Ploiesti-Brasov Highway Project from the pre-qualification stage, the bidding stage and the negotiation stage