Russia’s wealthiest are getting demolished this year.
Over the course of the year, the 20 richest Russians have lost a combined $US62 billion, according to Bloomberg.
(For a reference point, that’s three times the GDP of Afghanistan.)
And while 2014 certainly hasn’t been easy for Russian billionaires, the last week has been straight up brutal: The 20 richest lost a whopping $US10 billion in just three days.
The major drop over the last three days follows several economic issues. On early Tuesday morning (late Monday ET), the Russian Central Bank raised rates to 17% from 10.5%, in order to limit the devaluation of the ruble and inflation risks.
In a sentence, it did not work. The Russian currency fell to new lows, reaching 80 rubles to the dollar and 100 rubles to the euro that day. Although the ruble has recovered a bit, it dangled around 63 on Thursday.
Since the end of June, the ruble has dropped 50%.
The biggest loser in dollar value, the CEO of the second-largest gas producer, Leonid Mikhelson, dropped $US8.7 billion since January — twice the GDP of Sierra Leone.
The co-founder of a commodity trading company, Gennady Timchenko, and steel magnate Vladimir Lisin lost $US7.8. and $US7.5 billion respectively — roughly the GDP of Rwanda.
And percentage-wise, Vladimir Evtushenko was hit the worst. Formerly Russia’s 14th richest person, Evtushenko watched 90% of this wealth evaporate over the year. And to make things worse, he was placed under house arrest by a Moscow Court back in October.
“A chill went through everybody’s spine when [Putin] arrested him,” Rob Lafranco said on Bloomberg TV earlier on Thursday.
He was officially released on Wednesday — just one day before Putin’s press conference, which was seen as a “message that the state will not target business owners as the economy threatens to collapse,” according to Bloomberg.
“The optimists who thought in March that everything would be all right in the end now understand that nothing will be OK,” Stanislav Belovsky, a Kremlin adviser during Putin’s first term told Bloomberg.
“Russia’s richest take this situation very negatively,” he added, “but they do not have the tools to reverse it.”
You can watch the full Bloomberg interview here.