Who are the Russian Oligarchs?
Russia’s richest individuals have lost more than $38 billion in 2022 because of Western sanctions on Russia in reprisal for the invasion of Ukraine.
Together, the top 10 Russian oligarchs have a net worth of $186 billion, equivalent to the market cap of large publicly-traded companies like McDonald’s and AMD.
But who are the Russian ultra-rich? In today’s graphic, we use data from Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index to show Russia’s richest individuals… and how much they’ve lost due to the war so far.
Metals, Art, Luxury, and Sports
The richest person in Russia, Vladimir Potanin, has a 35% stake in Moscow-listed Nornickel.
The company is the world’s biggest producer of palladium, a metal used in vehicle catalytic converters, and also the world’s largest producer of nickel, an essential metal for EV batteries and renewable energy.
|Rank||Name||Net worth USD||$ YTD change*||Bloomberg List|
*Based on Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as of March 24, 2022
Former First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and a close associate to President Vladimir Putin, Potanin is a major benefactor of the arts. He recently stepped down from the board of the Guggenheim Museum, after 20 years as a trustee.
Arts and luxury are common among the Russian oligarchs.
The Russian ultra-rich are also among the biggest owners of private jets and superyachts—some of which are getting snagged by law enforcement as part of the sanctions designed to crack down on Russia.
The fifth-richest man in Russia, Alisher Usmanov, owns Dilbar, the largest motor yacht in the world by gross tonnage. The boat is 512-feet long and reportedly cost $800 million, employing 84 full-time crew members.
Named after Usmanov’s mother, the yacht was seized by German authorities who later discovered that it’s really owned by a Malta-based firm and registered in the Cayman Islands.
Besides art and luxury, the Russian oligarchs are also deeply involved with sports.
Roman Abramovich, once Russia’s richest man, is the departing owner of Chelsea Football Club, a London-based soccer team. He was sanctioned by the UK while trying to sell the club for $3.9B.
Besides Abramovich, Mikhail Prokhorov—founder of Onexim Group, a Moscow-based company with interests in banking, insurance, and real estate—owned the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and its home arena from 2009 to 2019.
The list also includes Vladimir Lisin, chairman of the steel group NLMK. A shooting sports enthusiast, he is the president of the European Shooting Confederation.
Fading Fortunes? Not so Fast
This is not the first time Russian oligarchs have faced tough economic sanctions. Since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, 20 Russian billionaires have been sanctioned by the EU, U.S., U.K., Switzerland, or Canada.
Most of them have real estate ownership in relatives’ names or have assets registered in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands or the Isle of Man.
For example, upon being hit by sanctions, steel baron Alexey Mordashov transferred his majority stake in gold miner Nordgold to his wife, Marina.
Despite the crash of the ruble and the tanking of the Moscow stock market, Russian oligarchs are still able to shield their money and assets in creative ways.
Mapped: The Migration of the World’s Millionaires in 2023
Where do the world’s wealthiest people want to live? This map tracks the migration of the world’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).
Mapping the Migration of the World’s Millionaires 2023
Just like everyone else, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) traveled less than usual during the pandemic, and as a result their migration numbers trended downwards. But millionaires and billionaires are on the move again and it is anticipated that 122,000 HNWIs will move to a new country by the end of the year.
Henley & Partners’ Private Wealth Migration Report has tracked the countries HNWIs have moved from and to over the last 10 years; this map showcases the 2023 forecasts.
In this context, HNWIs are defined as individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million USD.
The Countries Welcoming New Millionaires
The top 10 countries which are likely to become home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires in 2023 are scattered across the globe, with Australia reclaiming its top spot this year from the UAE.
Here’s a closer look at the data:
|Rank||Country||Projected HNWI Inflow 2023|
|10||🇳🇿 New Zealand||700|
Only two Asian countries make the top 10, with the rest spread across Europe, North America, and Oceania.
Despite historic economic challenges, Greece is projected to gain 1,200 High Net Worth Individuals this year. One reason could be the country’s golden visa program, wherein wealthy individuals can easily obtain residence and eventually EU passports for the right price—currently a minimum real estate investment cost of 250,000 euros is all that’s required.
Many of the leading millionaire destinations are attractive for wealthy individuals because of higher levels of economic freedom, allowing for laxer tax burdens or ease of investment. Singapore, which expects to gain 3,200 millionaires, is the most economically free market in the world.
The Countries Losing the Most Millionaires
China is anticipated to lose 13,500 High Net Worth Individuals this year, more than double as many as the second place country, India (6,500).
Here’s a closer look at the bottom 10:
|Rank||Country||Projected HNWI Outflow 2023|
|6||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||-1,000|
|7||🇰🇷 South Korea||-800|
|9||🇿🇦 South Africa||-500|
In a number of these countries, strict regulatory bodies and corrupt governments can hinder the ease with which HNWIs can manage their own money.
In Russia, many wealthy individuals are facing personal tariffs and trade restrictions from Western countries due to the war in Ukraine. China’s crackdowns on Hong Kong have made it a less attractive place for business. And finally, the UK’s exit from the EU has caused many businesses and individuals to lose the easy movement of labor, finances, and investment that made operations across European borders seamless.
Some of these countries may still be adding homegrown millionaires and billionaires, but losing thousands of HNWIs to net migration does have a considerable economic impact.
Overall, millionaires are increasingly on the move. In the 10 years of reporting—despite a dip during the pandemic—the number of HNWIs moving away from their countries of origin has been growing every year.
Here’s a look at the numbers:
|Year||Projected HNWI Migration|
In a geopolitically fragile but more connected world, it’s no surprise to see millionaires voting with their feet. As a result, governments are increasingly in competition to win the hearts and minds of the world’s economic elite to their side.
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