Born into a Jewish family on 11 November 1961 in Moscow, Yuri Milner was the second child of Russian intellectuals. His father, Bentsion Zakharovitch Milner, was active in the sphere of management and organization. He was Chief Deputy Director at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Betty Iosifovna Milner, Yuri's mother, worked at the capital's state-run virological laboratory for disease control. His older sister, eight years his senior, is an architect.