Animated: Change in Russian Billionaires’ Wealth Since 2022
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, many countries retaliated with sanctions targeting Russian billionaires—the oligarchs—and politicians directly.
And as the war has progressed, those sanctions have intensified, with even the relatives and shell companies of these billionaires being targeted over time. The reason? These oligarchs are interconnected to Russia’s government, lending vocal and fiscal support in exchange for sweetheart deals or beneficial government oversight.
This animation from James Eagle shows how the estimated net wealth of the 22 wealthiest Russian billionaires on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in April 2023 has changed since January 2022, prior to the start of the conflict.
Net Wealth of Top Russian Billionaires
The 22 wealthiest Russian billionaires in April 20, 2023 lost a collective $90.4 billion in net worth since January 5, 2022.
|Rank||Name||Main Industry||Net Wealth|
(Apr 20, 2023)
(Jan 5, 2022)
The heaviest hit include Viktor Vekselberg, who holds a stake in UC Rusal, the world’s third largest aluminum producer. Since the start of the war, he’s lost an estimated $11.3 billion or 61% of his net worth from January 2022.
Roman Abramovich, who got his start in the early oligarchy through oil conglomerates, was also hit hard by the sanctions. He lost $10.5 billion or 58% of his net worth from January 2022, and was forced to sell Chelsea Football Club in one of the biggest sports team sales in history.
Notably, the richest oligarchs haven’t lost as much. Mining giant Norilsk Nickel’s largest shareholder, Vladimir Potanin, saw his net worth only drop by 4.8%. After being hit hard at the onset of the war in Ukraine, he quickly rebounded and at many times had an even higher net worth, reaching $35.6 billion in June 2022.
And a few oligarchs, like former Norilsk Nickel CEO Mikhail Prokhorov and phosphate-based fertilizer baron Andrey Guryev, saw their wealth increase since January 2022. Guryev grew his net worth by $2 billion or 26%, while Prokhorov (who formerly owned the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets) saw his net worth even out at a gain of $0.3 billion or 2%.
Oligarch Support of Russia (or Lack Thereof)
As Russia’s war with Ukraine has dragged on, and sanctions have continued to weigh on Russian billionaires, politicians, and companies, their effects have been uncertain.
Oligarchs have lost net worth, relinquished foreign businesses, and even had prized possessions like mansions and yachts seized. At the same time, though Russia’s economy has weakened under sanctions, bolstered trade with countries like China, India, and Saudi Arabia have kept it stronger than expected.
And though some oligarchs have voiced various concerns over the ongoing war, the wealthiest have been careful to toe the line. Russian billionaires and politicians that did vocalize criticism, including Lukoil chairman Ravil Maganov, have been found dead in apparent suicides, heart attacks, and accidents.
The most serious oligarch rebellion wasn’t due to economic hardships, but military operations. Oligarch and mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin launched an attempted coup in June 2023, reportedly retreating after support from within Russia’s military quickly fizzled.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
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