Despite economic sanctions and political turmoil, Russia continues to mint billionaires. Forbes‘ annual list of billionaires revealed that the country welcomed 22 new billionaires in 2022, bringing the total to 105 billionaires as of March 2023.
A check by News About Nigeria showed that the country’s billionaires collectively control about $474 billion, a gain of $154 billion from the previous year.
Interestingly, the number of billionaires in Russia had dropped from 117 in March 2021 to 83 in March 2022, indicating a significant rebound in fortunes.
The local Russian edition of Forbes listed 110 billionaires, including Russian-born billionaires such as Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, and brothers Dmitry and Igor Bukhman, who founded online gaming company Playrix.
While the West and its allies have been slapping multiple economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, it appears that Russian billionaires have managed to set up their game plan in reaction to sanctions, which only came much later after the war started.
Sanctions lawyer Viktor Winkler told Forbes that many Russian billionaires have reacted remarkably well, and “their assets have survived remarkably well.”
Russia’s richest person is currently Andrey Melnichenko, whose family wealth soared from $11.1 billion to $25.2 billion over the last year as his key fertilizer and coal businesses were supported by robust commodity prices. Even billionaires hit by Western sanctions are doing just fine.
For instance, steel tycoon Alexey Mordashov has been sanctioned by the US, EU, and UK, but his wealth soared from $13.2 billion in March 2022 to $20.9 billion in March 2023. Sanction-hit mining magnate Andrei Skoch and his family also saw their net worth rise from $4.7 billion to $7.9 billion in the same period.
While some Russian billionaires may not have been so lucky, it’s clear that the country’s billionaires are flourishing despite global economic challenges.
This is in stark contrast to American and Chinese billionaires, who saw significant drops in their collective net worths between March 2022 and 2023, amid a broad market rout and recession fears.