The past 18 months might have been a dismal period for most of us, but for Russia’s ultra-rich, times have never been better. The country now has 117 billionaires to its name (an increase of 18 from 2019) with a collective net worth of $582 billion. The bulk of that is held by just 10 tycoons, all of whom have seen their personal fortunes sky-rocket over the past year. As to who ranks as the richest of the rich, find out now as we rank the 10 richest people in Russia.
10. Suleiman Kerimov & Family – Net Worth: $15.8 Billion
Economist Suleiman Kerimov was doing very nicely for himself investing in distressed companies in Russia up until the early 2000s. Then, in 2007, the news of an impending financial crisis made him break ranks. He invested billions into global investment banks like Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, believing the west would be better protected against a crash than Russia. The exact extent of his investment was never revealed, but according to Wikipedia, it was enough to get him a call from the United States Treasury begging him not to sell his stakes when the crisis did eventually hit. He lost billions, but was eventually able to recover his status as one of Russia’s richest people when he decided to bet $1.3 billion on OAO Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest gold producer. The gamble paid off, and he’s now believed to be worth the grand sum of $15.8 billion.
9. Pavel Durov – Net Worth: $17.2 Billion
Up next is Russia’s very own Mark Zuckerberg, Pavel Durov. At the age of 22, Durov founded the social network site VK. In 2014, he was dismissed from his position as the company’s CEO. VK’s board claimed it had been working off a resignation letter he’d posted a month earlier; Durov claimed it was down to his refusal to hand over the personal details of VK users to federal law enforcement. Either way, he ended up ditching Russia for St Kitts and VK for Telegram, an encrypted messaging service. Forbes places his current net worth at $17.2 billion.
8. Andrey Melnichenko – Net Worth: $17.9 Billion
At number 8 with a net worth of $17.9 billion is Andrey Melnichenko. Melnichenko began his career by launching a chain of currency exchange booths in the 1990s. Since then, he’s founded several companies, including the Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK) and the Siberian Generating Company. He’s also acquired a major stake in the mineral and chemical Company EuroChem. In addition to being one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals, he also has a reputation as one of its most philanthropic, having contributed generously to numerous charitable causes over the years.
7. Alisher Usmanov- Net Worth: $18.4 Billion
Back in the ’70s, Alisher Usmanov made his first fortune by producing plastic bags. Since then, he’s made many more fortunes in metal, mining, investments, publishing, and telecommunications. In addition to owning the Kommersant publishing house, he serves as co-owner of the Mail Ru Group, the largest internet provider in Russia, and MegaFon, Russia’s second-largest mobile telephone provider. These days, he’s worth an estimated $18.4 million.
6. Gennady Timchenko – Net Worth: $22 Billion
With a net worth of $22 million, Gennady Timchenko ranks as the 6th richest person in Russia. The multi-billionaire holds stakes in a variety of home-grown businesses, including petrochemical producer Sibur Holding and gas company Novatek. He also serves as the president of the SKA Saint-Petersburg Hockey Club and chairman of the Russian national hockey league KHL. In 2014, his close ties to President Vladimir Putin inspired the wrath of the US government and a bunch of sanctions to boot. But US support or not, he still ranks as one of the richest and most influential business people in Russia.
5. Leonid Mikhelson – Net Worth: $24.9 Billion
Leonid Mikhelson shares co-ownership of Novatek and Sibur with our previous entrant, Gennady Timchenko. Despite working in the same industry and sharing the same job title, he just manages to beat Timchenko to the position of Russia’s 5th richest person thanks to a fortune of $24.9 billion. Not bad for someone who used to work as a foreman for a construction company.
4. Vagit Alekperov – Net Worth: $24.9 Billion
Next up is Vagit Alekperov. Alekperov began life as an oil rig worker before being appointed to the position of deputy energy minister of the former Soviet Union. The union may have crumbled, but Alekperov hasn’t, thanks largely to the 30 percent stake he owns in Lukoil, the world’s second most powerful oil company in terms of reserves after ExxonMobil. Like many of his oligarch friends, Alekperov has ventured into banking and media in recent years, and is now one of the two main stakeholders of IFD Kapital Group. His net worth is $24.9 billion.
3. Vladimir Lisin – Net Worth: $26.6 Billion
Vladimir Lisin is the chairman and majority shareholder of Novolipetsk (NLMK), one of the biggest and most powerful steel companies in Russia. Recognized as something of an authority in his field, he’s published hundreds of articles on metallurgical processes and holds various patents. As of 2021, he’s worth the grand sum of $26.6 billion.
2. Vladimir Potanin – Net Worth: $27 Billion
Vladimir Potanin used to be the richest man in Russia. This year, he’s been dethroned. He’s still immensely wealthy though, with a net worth that’s estimated to be around $27 billion. He earned most of his wealth from the controversial loans-for-shares program that helped well-connected Russians take control of state-owned companies during the 1990s. These days, he keeps his bank account healthy thanks to his stakes in various Russian businesses, including palladium and nickel producer Nornickel and pharmaceutical company Petrovax Pharm.
1. Alexei Mordashov & Family – Net Worth: $29.1 Billion
For the last few years, Vladimir Potanin has reigned supreme as Russia’s richest person. But now there’s someone else at the top of the pile. The child of two former Soviet steel mill workers, Alexey Mordashov came from nothing to become his homeland’s wealthiest son. He built his fortune as the CEO and majority stakeholder of Cherepovetskiy Metallurgical Plant and as the founder of the steel, coal, and mining conglomerate, Severstal. In 2018, he transferred his shares in several businesses to a holding company to allow his sons to gain greater business experience. Taking into account both his personal wealth and the wealth held in trust for his children, he and his family are worth $29.1 billion.