Oligarchs are business magnates who have accumulated significant resources through which they can influence national politics. Russian Oligarchs rose to prominence during Russian Privatization after the dissolution of the Soviet Unions.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has resulted in sanctions against several oligarchs, and they are suddenly making a lot of headlines all across the globe. But who are these people? Let’s have a look at the richest oligarchs of Russia.
1. Vladimir Lisin | $21.6 Billion
Vladimir Lisin is the richest oligarch of the Putin era with an estimated net worth of $21.6 Billion. He is the owner of Novolipetsk (NLMK), which is one of the four largest steel companies in Russia. Lisin began his career as an electrician in a coal mine in Siberia before turning to steelwork in Central Russia. He also owns a railway operator called First Cargo, some ports, and shipping companies in Russia.
2. Aleksey Mordashov | $21.2 Billion
Aleksey Mordashov is the shareholder of several prominent businesses in the steel, power and tourism industries, amongst others. Though blacklisted by the European Union, he is amongst the richest oligarchs in Russia.
3. Vladimir Potanin | $21.1 Billion
Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin is estimated to be worth $21.1 billion. Potanin is the president of Norilsk Nickel, a world leader in the production of refined nickel. His net worth includes three luxury yachts. His popularity rose to new heights when he spent a whopping sum of $10 million on his daughter's wedding on the French Riviera.
4. Leonid Mikhelson | $18.1 Billion
Leonid Mikhelson is the founder of Novatek which is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the world. Mikkelson started his career working on a gas pipeline in Tyumen, Russia. In 2017, Putin's former son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, sold Mikhelson a 17% stake in petrochemical company Sibur, increasing his stake to 48%. Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire who is closely associated with Vladimir Putin, is Leonid Mikhelson’s co-partner in both Novatek and Sibur.
5. Vagit Alekperov | $17.1 Billion
Vagit Alekperov is one of the richest Russian oligarchs. He owns LUKOIL, which is one of the leading Russian oil companies. He also owns 36.8% of Spartak Football Club (Moscow), which contributes to his $17.1 billion net worth. One time, an explosion on his rig forced him to swim for his life as he was tossed into the stormy Caspian Sea.
6. Alisher Usmanov | $16 Billion
Alisher Usmanov is one of the prominent oligarchs of the Putin era with a current net worth of $16 billion. Iron ore and steel giant Metalloinvest is his largest holding. Along with holding shares in Xiaomi, he was also one of the early investors of Facebook. This Russian oligarch sold his 30% stake in Arsenal Football Club in 2018 for almost $700 million in cash. Over the last decade, he has donated over $2.6 billion to causes such as healthcare and education through his Art, Science, and Sport Charity Foundation.
7. Andrey Melnichenko | $15.8 Billion
Andrey Melnichenko is a Russian industrialist who owns SUEK, a coal energy company, and Eurochem, a fertilizer producer. He set up a chain of currency exchange booths in the 1990s as his first business.
After earning money from banking, he made investments in the fertilizer and coal industries. Over the past 15 years, Andrey Melnichenko has invested a total of 23 billion dollars in fertilizer & coal production and currently has a net worth of $15.8 billion.
8. Gennady Timchenko | $15.2 billion
Aside from owning stakes in several Russian businesses, Gennady Timchenko is also involved in petrochemical producer Sibur Holdings and gas company Novatek. In 2014, Timchenko was subjected to U.S. sanctions because of his close ties to President Vladimir Putin.
Gennady Timchenko is one of the most powerful people in Russia. He is the president of the SKA Saint-Petersburg hockey club, in addition to serving as chairman of the Russian national hockey league KHL.
9. Pavel Durov | $15.1 Billion
Pavel Durov is the creator of Russia's largest social network, Vkontakte (VK). He is also the creator of the popular messaging app Telegram. Due to his role in VK, he is also called the Russian Zuckerberg. In 2015, he sold his stake in Vkontakte for $300 million and has a current net worth of $15.1 billion.
10. Mikhail Fridman | $12.3 Billion
Mikhail Fridman is one of the richest Russian oligarchs who rose to prominence in the Putin era. Mikhail Fridman controls LetterOne and Alfa Group along with college buddies German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev.
Mikhail Fridman hails from Ukraine. He is the founder of Russia's largest non-state bank, Alfa Bank. He and his partners gained $5.1 billion from selling stakes in oil giant TNK-BP for $14 billion in 2013. His $12.3 billion net worth also includes the UK house, Athlone House, which he bought for $90 million in 2016.
11. Roman Abramovich | $12.3 Billion
Roman Abramovich holds a large stake in the U.K. soccer team Chelsea FC, along with a stake in the steel companies Evraz and Norilsk Nickel. He also owns the second-largest yacht in the world, Eclipse, which he bought for nearly $400 million.
In 2005, he sold 73% of his shares in the oil firm Sibneft to the state-owned gas giant, Gazprom. He lost his British visa in 2018. After he was denied a new passport, he obtained Israeli citizenship instead.
Net worth is as of 11 March 2022.