Meet the 10 richest documented Russian billionaires, who have a collective net worth of almost $180 billion

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Putin with Vladimir Potanin, the richest man in Russia that we know of. Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS via Getty Images

The richest Russian people in the world are ultra-wealthy businessmen and investors with stakes in minerals, large banks, and even popular football clubs.

One name, however, is conspicuously absent: President Vladimir Putin.

There is no definitive answer on how much the Russian head of state is worth. In 2019, Quartz described Putin’s net worth, as based on financial disclosures released by the Kremlin, as “comically modest.” At a 2017 Senate Judiciary Hearing, outspoken Putin critic Bill Browder estimated the president “has accumulated $US200 billion of ill-gotten gains” and described him as “one of the richest men in the world.”

Here are the 10 richest people in Russia that we know of.

All net worths have been sourced from Bloomberg and industries have been sourced from Forbes.


10. Mikhail Fridman

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Net worth:
$US13.6
billion

Age:56

Industry:
Energy

Source of wealth: Self-made; oil, banking, telecom

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US292 million.

Fridman cofounded Alfa Bank in 1991. It later grew into Alfra Group, one of Russia’s largest privately owned investment groups. The majority of his wealth comes from the company.

In 2017 Fridman sued BuzzFeed over the publication of the Steele Dossier, parts of which said that the businessman bribed Putin in the 1990s. One of the most recent developments in the lengthy legal battle involved a London judge awarding Fridman $US20,000 in compensation, while arguing that Christopher Steele’s firm didn’t vet the allegations in the dossiers thoroughly enough.


9. Viktor Vekselberg

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Net worth:
$US14.8 billion

Age:63

Industry:
Energy

Source of wealth: Self-made; metals, energy

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US6.39 million.

Vekselberg heads an investment company with a stake in the largest aluminium producer in Russia, owns several regional airports, and “controls more than a dozen closely held companies” per Bloomberg.

The Ukrainian-born businessman is married with two kids.

In April 2018, Vekselberg was one of seven ultrawealthy Russian tycoons who were met with sanctions by the Trump administration over the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

The following month, he was stopped at a New York airport and questioned by federal agents working with special counsel Robert Mueller. He’s described as having a “favourable relationship” with President Putin.


8. Andrey Melnichenko

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Net worth:
$US15.5 billion

Age:48

Industry:
Energy

Source of wealth: Self-made; EuroChem; coal, fertiliser

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $US74.5 million.

Melnichenko’s $US15 billion net worth comes largely from stakes in EuroChem, a fertiliser company, and SUEK, a coal company.

He’s married to Serbian pop singer Aleksandra Nikolic. The couple has two kids. Melnichenko owns two yachts, one of which is worth $US300 and resembles a submarine.

He also runs an eponymous foundation that “supports talented children in science and education.”


7. Roman Abramovich

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Net worth:
$US15.8 billion

Age:53

Industry:
Diversified

Source of wealth: Self-made; steel, investments

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US582 million.

Per Bloomberg, Abramovich made his substantial fortune through selling state-owned assets that he bought after the Soviet Union’s fall.

Abramovich has been married three times and has seven kids.

He holds stakes in the Chelsea Football Club. He bought the club in 2003 for over $US100 million. In January 2020, Forbes reported that Abramovich has continued to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars of investment into the sports club despite a contentious relationship with Boris Johnson.


6. Vagit Alekperov

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Net worth:
$US16.1 billion

Age:70

Industry:
Energy

Source of wealth: Self-made, Lukoil; oil

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US6.19 billion.

Alekperov, a former oil rig worker, is the head of the Moscow-based oil company Lukoil. Per Bloomberg, the company has 100,00 employees and generated over $US114 billion in revenue in 2019.

Between 1990 and 1991, he served as Deputy Minister of the Soviet Union’s oil and gas industry.

According to a transcript released by the Kremlin, Alekperov and Putin met in early 2020 to discuss business.

In a 2004 story, Peter Maass wrote for the New York Times that Alekperov “has a laser stare that could melt an iceberg.”


5. Alexey Mordashov

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Net worth:
$US18.2 billion

Age:54

Industry:
Metals and mining

Source of wealth: Self-made; Severstal; steel, investments

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US1.71 billion.

Mordashov holds a majority stake in Severstal, one of the largest steelmakers in Russia. He was the CEO of the company from 2006 to 2015.

He also owns shares in TUI AG, a German tourism company.


4. Alisher Usmanov

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Net worth:
$US18.8 billion

Age:67

Industry:
Metals and mining

Source of wealth: Self-made; steel, telecom, and investments

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $US2.14 billion.

Bloomberg lists cash as Usmanov’s biggest asset.

A man of many investments, Usmanov holds stakes in a number of wildly successful startups like Airbnb, Alibaba, and Spotify. He was also an early investor in Facebook.

He founded USM, his investments and holding company, in 2012. Through USM, he owns part of Metalloinvest, a Russian steel company, and all of Megafon, a Russian photo operator.

He has donated north of $US2 billion to charity.

In 2018, he sold his stake in Arsenal Football Club for around $US700 million.


3. Leonid Mikhelson

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Net worth:
$US19.5 billion

Age: 65

Industry:
Energy

Source of wealth: Self-made; Novatek; gas, chemicals

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US5.06 billion in the last year.

Mikhelson holds a 25% stake in private Russian natural gas company Novatek – the source of the majority of his wealth. He’s the CEO of the company and the largest shareholder. Mikhelson founded the company in 1994.

In 2010, Mikhelson and his business partner, Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire who has close ties to President Putin, entered into negotiations to acquire Sibur, Russian’s largest petrochemical firm. Mikhelson owns close to 60% of the company.


2. Vladimir Lisin

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Net worth:
$US20 billion

Age:64

Industry:
Metals and mining

Source of wealth: Industrial; Novolipetsk Steel; steel, transport

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US1.35 billion.

Lisin derives most of his wealth from his stake in Novolipetsk Steel, Russia’s largest steelmaker. The company also exports steel across the world. He’s been the chairman of the company since 1998.

He’s married with three kids.

In 2018, he was elected president of the International Shooting Sport Federation.


1. Vladimir Potanin

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Net worth:
$US26.1 billion

Age:59

Industry:
Metals and mining

Source of wealth: Self-made; Norilsk Nickel; metals

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $US1.91 billion.

Most of Potanin’s wealth comes from his stake in Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest metal and mining company.

His Bloomberg profile calls him “the mastermind behind [Russia’s] so-called loans-for-shares program,” where individuals and companies lent money to the country in return for stakes in its natural resource companies.

In 1992, he joined forces with another Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, to found Onexim Bank, one of the largest private banks in Russia.

Potanin has been married twice and has seven kids.

He’s a part of The Giving Pledge, the charity founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, and is ice hockey buddies with Russian President Vladimir Putin.