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Vladimir Putin net worth $40 billion

Is Russia’s outgoing President really the world’s fourth richest man?

Putin - power equals moneyIf you believe the rumours, Vladimir Putin has accumulated a personal fortune worth $40 billion dollars during his seven and a half years as President of Russia.

That would comfortably make Putin Russia’s richest man. And Europe’s richest man. In fact, if Putin really is worth $40 billion, he would be the fourth richest man in the world.

The allegations of Putin’s vast wealth come from Stanislav Belkovsky, described as a Russian political analyst by the Guardian. In an interview with them he claimed that Putin was worth:

“At least $40bn. Maximum we cannot know. I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about…. It may be more. It may be much more.

Putin’s name doesn’t appear on any shareholders’ register, of course. There is a non-transparent scheme of successive ownership of offshore companies and funds. The final point is in Zug [in Switzerland] and Liechtenstein. Vladimir Putin should be the beneficiary owner.”

Belkovsky goes into more detail in the Telegraph, who report that:

According to Mr Belkovsky, Mr Putin controls a 37 per cent stake in Surgutneftegaz, an oil exploration company, as well as 4.5 per cent of Gazprom, the state energy giant, and at least 50 per cent of Gunvor, a Swiss-based oil trading company that has won a series of state contracts.

Not bad for seven years work.

Only one minor detail – Belkovsky doesn’t appear to have given any evidence whatsoever to back up his claims. Which makes it all the more surprising that, since they first surfaced in a book he published last year, his claims have been picked up by Die Welt, the Washington Post and the Guardian – and now are whizzing around the global media as semi-fact.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Putin hadn’t provided generously for his retirement and had a few hundred million, perhaps even a billion or two tucked away somewhere for a rainy day.

But, seriously – Vladimir Putin net worth is $40 billion??

Come on. How on earth does the leader of Europe’s biggest country, in one of the most high profile presidencies in the world, manage to become the world’s fourth richest man with absolutely nobody noticing? Not even Forbes…


  • Stands in stark contrast to other recent news articles that placed him as the least wealth among the world’s prominent leaders.

    If you own something but there is no proof of it … do you still own it? Sort of like the tree in the forest argument.

    This seems to be a reaction from the original Reuters story in October of this year that showed Putin didn’t have much wealth at all.

  • Just wait until America get feed up with oil and decides to buy very little in the next few years.
    Putin will then be another russian punk who ego is bigger then his 5ft5 body.

  • Is America the only market and doesn’t Russia have other economic sectors besides fossil fuel?

    From a considerable distance, it’s safe to call a judo black belt a punk.

  • Belkovsky is a noted bullshitter (and mad Eurasianist) – for several years he wasspreading, not terribly convincingly, the “of course Putin does not want to be in power, he is a humble man who has taken this burden upon himself for the good of his people, he would like nothing more than to give up all power and status, there is no chance that he will seek to maintain his position beyond 2008 and would gladly give it all up much earlier if he could” line to gullible audiences.

    Taking anything he says as proven fact is, to say the least, risky. I’m wondering if he’s had a falling out with Putin of late – just what is the motivation for his latest claims?

  • Wow, I did not know Russia’s economy was dependent on oil exports to the US. Here I always thought that Russia exports almost nothing to the US, and here it turns out after all that I was wrong. Gosh do I feel dumb.

  • Russophile

    As per your link, I’m reminded of the Alexander Cockburn “beat the devil” kind of journalism.

    It’s much needed to set he record straight on some commentary.

    Stay tuned.

    Operation Kick Ass 2008 promises to provide a number of revelations.

  • Wow, stopping by here I noticed that I can’t seem to spell of the word poisoning. Ouch that hurts to read. Sorry that that software constantly sends pingbacks even if it is from the comments attached to a post rather than in the original posting. Anyway, I fixed the spelling of that title so the original link won’t work any more.

    Imagine someone printing an article like the one mentioned above ($40 billion) about Tony Blair or George Bush with zero proof. It would never make it past an editor to even discuss the rumor in print of any decent publication.

    Thanks Andy for posting about it. By the way, do you still have the links to the Die Welt and Wall Street Journal articles?

    Happy New Year!

  • Happy New Year!

    The Die Welt interview doesn’t seem to be online or, at least, if it is online I couldn’t find it. Can any of the German speakers reading this help out with a link?

    The Wall Steet Journal piece that I refer to doesn’t exist, because I should have typed Washington Post instead! I’ve fixed the typo in the article now. I assume that the article in the WaPo that the Guardian were referring to is this one by Anders Aslund on Russia’s New Oligarchy.

    (Oh, and I haven’t noticed a technical problem with lots of pingbacks from comments on Russophile).

  • MA

    “From a considerable distance, it’s safe to call a judo black belt a punk.”

    Is that your position that one must have sabstantial combat prowess to call someone like Putin a punk?

    Perhaps you need to remember that in a civilized sociaety, verbal exchange is an accepted manner of communication. Physical threat IS for punks and bullies. Dictators also use it a lot

  • Your attempt to misrepresent my point flunks.

    The point being that those prone to describing him as “another Russian punk” do so from a great distance and are unlikely to call him such in a face to face situation.

    Note how you don’t seem to have problems calling the democratically elected head of state a punk. The specific phrasing “another Russian punk” can be considered passively bigoted because it suggests that being a punk is a Russian trait.

    On another point of yours, dictators and bullies often use unsubstantiated characterizations of “punk” to describe others they disagree with.

    As for the “civilized society”, between Russia and America, the post-Soviet score for attacking other countries is 2-nil in favor of the US.

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