Five Russian billionaires earned more in 2019 than the entire population of Russia
At a time when the incomes of most Russian citizens are still stagnating after a record dip since the 1990s, Russia’s billionaires have continued to amass wealth at a startling rate.
According to Forbes, the five wealthiest Russians became $27 billion richer.
Converted to rubles at the current exchange rate, Nornickel stakeholder Vladimir Potanin, Novatek co-owner Leonid Mikhelson, Lukoil president Vagit Alekperov, Vladimir Putin’s “friend” Gennady Timchenko and Power Machines’ owner Alexey Mordashov gained 1.67 trillion rubles.
This is 46% more than all of Russia’s citizens had been able to deposit in the bank since the start of the year. According to the Bank of Russia, deposits by physical entities, including both ruble and foreign currency deposits, grew by 1.14 trillion rubles.
Forbes notes that Vladimir Potanin’s net worth grew the fastest, growing by more than 30% over the course of the year to $23.8 billion.
Second fastest was Mikhelson, whose wealth grew by $5.9 billion to $27 billion, thereby retaining first position on Forbes’ list of the 200 wealthiest Russians.
Third fastest was Alekperov, who amassed another $5.3 billion ($23.8 billion).
Volga Group owner Gennady Timchenko became $4.1 billion richer in 2019. His net worth is now estimated at $22.7 billion.
Alexey Mordashov, who was hit by US sanctions and said last year that he would “not survive” without government support, became $3.8 billion richer, with an estimated total of $20.2 billion according to Forbes.