Although it seems like millionaires are a rarity in the world, with a select number of people ever having made that kind of financial status, even more rare are the billionaires around the globe. So when you hear about a billionaire, for some people it becomes a real interest to know how someone could really make that kind of money. The truth is, everyone has their own story of how they attained such wealth and they are all interesting. Billionaires can be found in an array of countries throughout the world, although some countries are home to more billionaires than others. Russia has several billionaires and here are the top ten richest in the country.
10. Gennady Timchenko – $9 Billion
Gennady Timchenko holds a dual citizenship with both Russia and Finland. Timchenko is hailed and respected as a leading and highly respected businessman in both his home countries, however, he is not viewed so fondly by the U.S. The U.S. placed sanctions on Timchenko and froze his assets due to connections with Russian leaders who were known supporters of the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. Timenchenko didn’t really need connections with the Western hemisphere, however, in order to accumulate his incredible wealth of $9 billion. His investment firm, the Volga Group made him a very successful man as one of the biggest contributors to his enormous bank account.
9. German Khan – $9.5 Billion
German Khan has made billions in the oil industry, black gold. He has paved his way through joint ventures, one of which was the Alfa group and Letter1 Investment firms as well as he was previously the exec director of TNK-BP, which happened to be a joint venture between Moscow and London based oil firms. Khan’s interests go beyond the oil fields, as he is a co-founder of the Genesis group, along with Mikhail Fridman, a charity group that promotes the advancement of Jewish culture and business. He also highly supports Life Line medical, raising millions for the charity. Today, German Khan is worth $9.5 billion dollars.
8. Vladimir Lisin – $11.3 Billion
Steel manufacturing is Vladimir Lisin’s calling and is a Russian magnate that got his start in the field during the USSR reign. Lisin is different than most of his colleagues. He not only knows just one side of the steel industry, but two, engineering and business, and is considered a top expert in both. As a matter-of-fact, he has had over 100 papers published on both Metallurgy and Economics throughout his career. He also has a variety of investments, including more than $600 million dollars worth of shares in a couple of coal mining companies. When you have a net worth of $11.3 billion, you can invest in pretty much whatever you want, which Lisin has done. He has two impressive pieces of real estate, one is the Aberuchill Estate located in Perthshire, Scotland on 3,300 acres. He is also the owner of the most expensive home that is worth over $230 million.
7. Vagit Alekperov – $11.4 Billion
Vagit Alekperov comes from a family that is well-known to the oil industry. He is now the second-generation of his family to work in the oil fields of Azerbaijan, although his path was a bit bigger for him. Alekperov went on to become the head of LUKOIL, one of Russia’s leading petroleum producers and is a company that made history with being the first to obtain an American one when it bought out Getty Oil back in 2000. He is a petroleum pioneer and is known world-wide. Vagit Alekperov’s s net worth is $11.4 billion.
Photo via Jeremy Nicholl
6. Viktor Vekselberg – $13.6 Billion
Viktor Vekselberg holds a dual citizenship; Russia and the Ukraine. Vekselberg has a net worth of $13.6 billion, and is one of Russia’s richest billionaires. He not only has strong ties to the Kremlin and duly worked to try to revitalize the Russian economy, but he is a huge collector of Faberge eggs and is actually the largest owner, of which he has 15 eggs to his name, with a price of about $1 million. Vekselberg’s work with the Kremlin created projects that were a huge financial benefit to him and he has a connection to many influential people that created a, Russia’s “best of” portfolio for him.
5. Alexey Mordashov – $13.2 Billion
Alexey Mordashov wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. As a matter-of-fact, his family was dependent on social welfare while growing up, due to his father’s steel plant job not being enough to support his family. Mordashov got his education at the University of Northumbria. After he completed his degree, Mordashov took a position at the same steel plant his father worked at but there was one difference in their career paths. Eight years after he started at the plant, Mordashov became the CEO of the company and later expanded his holdings to steel companies located in his home country, as well as companies in the U.S. Besides the love of steel, Mordashov sponsors many side projects, including 20 different sports complexes, a homeless shelter and several theaters. He has a net worth of $13.2 billion.
4. Mikhail Fridman – $13.4 Billion
Mikhail Fridman hasn’t always been rich, but he has been hardworking and business oriented, and it started when he worked as a window cleaner and employed fellow college students in his window cleaning business. Today Fridman is a successful businessman, and he gained this success by maintaining energy assets. Some of the biggest companies he owns or at least partly owns, include, Alfa Group, and North Seal oil fields. He is known to be a mastermind in foreign investments and holds several high positions regarding foreign investments as well as a position on the Board of Russian Union Entrepreneurs. Outside of his business wheeling dealings, Fridman’s strong roots in the Jewish culture have prompted him to work to promote the culture and business and was a founder of the Genesis group. Hiss net worth is $13.4 billion, putting him high on the list as being one of the richest Russian billionaires.
3. Alisher Usmanov – $14.2 Billion
Alisher Usmanov has been recognized as one of Russia’s wealthiest people with a net worth of $14.2 billion dollars which he has accumulated through his savvy business knowledge and developments. He is the owner of USM Holdings, a company that is tightly intertwined with the mobile network, Megafon, and the technology group (Mail.ru), all of which have helped to build his incredible worth. But that’s not all of where his wealth comes from. Usmanov also holds a 30% stake in the Arsenal Football Club, and a Tudor Mansion in Surrey, U.K., Usamanov loves to spread the wealth, though, and is a huge philanthropist for some great causes, including his hundreds of millions of dollars that he’s donated to cancer research, as well as his support of Russian museums, which he has personally donated highly many invaluable pieces of art to. Usmanov may be one of the richest billionaires in Russia today, but his past reveals a stint of 6 years spent in prison for fraud in 1980, though he was acquitted for later.
2. Leonid Mikhelson – $15.6 Billion
Lenoid Mikhelson gained his extraordinary wealth in the chemical and natural resource industry and is well-educated in civil engineering. During the fall of the Soviet Union, Mikhelson was busy creating his fortune with one of his accomplishments being that he achieved the position of General Director of a leading Petrol and Petrochemical company at the same time as becoming the top stock holder of one of his first privately owned companies, that was named NOVA, post-Soviet Union. Since then, Michelson has gained many high positions, and primary stake holder in a variety of companies that have been hugely successful. He has also dabbled in other ventures, such as his position on the supervisory board of Russia’s Regional Developmental Bank. When Mikhelson isn’t in an office, you will probably catch him out cruising on his mega yacht, The Pacific, which may not surprise most people.
1. Vladimir Potanin – $15.8 Billion
Vladimir Potanin has had a number of successes in his life that have contributed to his overall wealth of $15.8 billion dollars. He was born into a prominent communist family and was schooled for the Ministry of Foreign Trade. He spent a decade in this department before he ventured out in 1990 and started his own company, Interros, focusing primarily on foreign trade. His company grew to one of the largest, not only in Russia but globally. He has also played a huge role in the preservation of arts and literature and holds a seat on the board of the Guggenheim Foundation, and according to both Paris and Russia, Potanin is a saving grace for the arts, a hero, and was presented with the title of Officer of the Order of Arts and Literature. His business know-how and influential status have lead him to a wealthy life and very healthy bankroll.
*We could include Vladimir Putin but he’s more politician than anything else.