According to the Kremlin, Putin’s earnings extend only as far as his annual salary of $140,000. His only publicly listed properties are a 1600 sq ft. home in the Moscow suburbs and an 800 sq ft. apartment.
While former US President Trump is happy to declare ‘I’m really rich’, Putin is intent on obscuring the true scope of his wealth.
What Is Vladimir Putin’s Net Worth?
Putin’s exact net worth is unknown, but it is undoubtedly significant. Financier Bill Browder testified to the US Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 that Putin has a net worth of $200 billion (£159 billion). This would make him the wealthiest man on Earth.
Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, locates the primary source of Putin’s wealth to his targeting of Russian oligarchs. In 2003 Putin ordered the arrest of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s wealthiest man at the time who controlled 17% of the country’s oil production. The Russian President then outlined what he expected of the remaining oligarchs if they were to avoid a similar fate to Khodorkovsky, Browder testified that Putin wanted ‘50%, he wasn't saying 50% for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50% for Vladimir Putin personally’.
Hermitage Capital Management is an ‘activist fund’ that often exposes the corruption of certain companies with the intention of improving managerial behaviour and, in turn, improving the share price. Browder has been persecuted by the Russian state on a number of occasions due to Hermitage’s targeting of large Russian companies such as Gazprom, Unified Energy Systems of Russia, and Sidanko.
Putin has used this extreme wealth to buy a $1.4 billion mansion on the coast of the Black Sea, known as ‘Putin’s Palace’. Whilst Putin has never officially claimed ownership it is widely accepted that he is the owner of this estate which has an amphitheatre, a casino and a nightclub. The ‘palace’ also has an ice hockey rink, his opponents are forced to let him win and, on one occasion, he was allowed to score eight goals. I’m not sure what he’s trying to compensate for when he stages these matches, but it’s all very bizarre.