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Is Vladimir Putin Secretly the Richest Person on Earth?

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N. Pompi Devi
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The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, could possibly be the richest person on earth. He could be worth $200 billion.

Ahead of the March 2018 elections, the President was made to reveal his average yearly salary to the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.

Putin declared that he earned £38.5 m, or $673,000 (£478,000) between 2011 and 2016, resulting in his annual income summing up to $112,000 (£79,600). He also listed assets including 13 bank accounts with a sum of $241,000 (£171,000) and 230 shares in Bank Saint Peters-burg, two Volga vehicles and an 800-square-foot apartment in Saint Peters-burg.

Putin claims that his income comes from his salary as Russia’s President, military pension and some small investments.

But some believe that Vladimir Putin is hiding more than what he is revealing. According to Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder, the Russian President net worth is a staggering amount of $200 billion. Browder has some bona fides to back up his Russia connections; the financier’s firm was once the largest portfolio investor in Russia.

However, Browder isn’t the only one to believe that Putin could potentially be the richest person on earth. Anders Aslund, economist and Russian expert, claims in his new book that he has amassed a net worth of around $160 billion.

In his book, “Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy,” Aslund puts forth that through the practice of ‘crony capitalism,’ the Russian President can be richer than the richest person on earth, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Crony Capitalism refers to a form of capitalism in which leading businessmen enjoy close personal relationships with key politicians, according to encyclopedia.com.

Putin’s political opponents state that much of his wealth comes from plundering various public institutions and state-run businesses.

Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky gave a comparatively lesser estimate of Putin’s fortune being $70 billion. Kremlin however, has claimed Putin’s fortune to be about $133,000 per year and that lives in a small apartment.

Forbes, an internationally accepted and known source of wealth has never included Putin in the list of richest because it excludes world leaders and “dictators who derive their fortunes entirely as a result of their position of power.”

A spokesperson of Forbes also said that “While Forbes has been able to track money tied to Putin’s allies, we have not been able to come up with a defensible, provable estimate of his net worth.”

Vladimir Putin is rumoured to own a £28m super yacht called Olympia, a private jet with a £50,000 toilet, and have access to a further 58 planes and helicopters. Although Putin claims that his only means of transport is a Lada.

The outdoor-loving tycoon is also said to own a Black Sea palace worth £800m and another 20 country retreats scattered across Russia.

Putin also has a passion for luxury watches and his collection of timepieces is worth a reported £500,000.

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