Vladimir Putin's net worth: Is Russian president richer than Jeff Bezos? A look at his colossal wealth and empire
Born in 1952 in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin, the current President of Russia, is undeniably one of the world's most powerful people. The politician, who has been at the center of numerous controversies throughout his perpetual, unending reign, first served as Prime Minister for one year during Boris Yeltsin's presidency before ascending to the highest office in 2000. Interestingly, before entering politics, Putin was, from 1985 to 1990, a KGB agent in Dresden, East Germany.
Putin's international influence stems largely from Europe's dependence on Russian oil and gas as the state-owned Gazprom is one of the EU's largest suppliers. But, amidst all this, how much is Putin's personal wealth? Though no certain figure has ever been established, multiple reports throughout the years have claimed that the president of Russia is an incredibly wealthy man. Let's take a look at Putin's net worth.
Vladimir Putin's colossal empire
According to a report by Fox Business, the Russian president's estimated net worth is around a whopping $200 billion. This claim was made by former Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder, who is an opponent of Putin. Speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017, Browder said, "I estimate that [Putin] has accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains. He keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation. Therefore, he has a significant and very personal interest in finding a way to get rid of the Magnitsky sanctions." The Magnitsky Act, mentioned above, was passed by Congress in 2012 to impose travel and financial sanctions on top Russian officials and prosecutors. Magnitsky was a 37-year-old lawyer who claimed of uncovering $230 million in tax fraud by Russian officials. He died in 2009 while in pre-trial detention.
Before this, in 2007, Stanislav Belkovsky, a former Kremlin adviser, claimed that Putin was worth at least $40 billion. Speaking to the Guardian, Belkovsy said, "At least $40 billion. Maximum we cannot know. I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about." As per the same report, he made allegations that Putin "controls 37 percent of Surgutneftegaz, an oil exploration company and Russia's third-biggest oil producer worth $20 billion apart from owning percentages in Gazprom and Gunvor."
Clarifying that claims of Putin's involvement owning percentages in Gunvor are "false and wholly inaccurate," a representative for Gunvor told MEAWW, “We’d like to point out that President Putin does not and never has had any ownership, beneficial or otherwise in Gunvor. He is not a beneficiary of Gunvor or its activities. No evidence supporting claims about Mr Putin has ever been produced by Mr Belkovsky, the US government or anyone else.”
The representative also stated that “Mr. Belkovsky, upon whom this claim rests, has provided absolutely zero evidence to support it, and since 2014 has even backed off his assertion when asked about it.”
When it comes to his official earnings, the Central Commission of the Russian Federation said that Putin made about $673,000 between 2011 and 2016. According to the Washington Post, Putin's annual salary is around $112,000. The report also stated that Putin owns an apartment in St. Petersburg and two cars. Putin claims that all his income came from his "official salary and a military pension, as well as income from saving accounts and shares."
According to a report by the New York Times, Putin wears expensive clothes and watches and has 20 residences available to him as president. These include Constantine Palace, a Czarist-era estate on the Gulf of Finland, a ski lodge in the Caucasus Mountains, and a Gothic revival palace in Moscow. He also has 15 helicopters, 4 spacious yachts, and 43 aircraft alone worth an estimated $1 billion. All of this information was published in a report sarcastically titled 'The Life of a Galley Slave'. According to the BBC, a palace on the Black Sea was built for Putin’s personal use. Does Putin's total income, net-worth, influence and investments make him far richer than who the world believes is the richest man today – Jeff Bezos?
Putin has always vehemently opposed all reports of his large personal worth and has remained largely secret about the entire ordeal.