Russia's richest get richer in 2017, ranking shows

Russian President Vladimir Putin (front) and Russian steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin at a business event in Moscow on March 16, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (front) and Russian steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin at a business event in Moscow on March 16, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's 200 richest people became some US$100 billion (S$140 billion) richer in 2017 than last year, said the Russian Forbes which makes the annual ranking, attributing the growing wealth to rising commodities prices.

The total worth of Russia's two hundred richest was evaluated at US$460 billion, up by US$100 billion since 2016, while the number of Russian billionaires grew from 77 to 96 people after falling last year.

Russia's richest man is Leonid Mikhelson, who owns stakes in Novatek and Sibur energy companies and is worth US$18.4 billion. He is followed by Alexei Mordashov, the owner of Severstal, and Vladimir Lisin who owns the NMLK steel manufacturer.

Forbes said the cutoff for making the 200-richest ranking is the highest in 14 years of the ranking's history at US$500 million, going up from US$350 million last year.

Russian markets have rebounded in recent months after a slump of previous years. The rouble's strengthening and recovering oil prices have also contributed to the riches of Russia's richest.

The ranking is mostly men with just three women.

Most Russians have not benefited from the markets' recovery however, with state statistics released this week indicating that real earnings of households fell by 2.5 per cent year on year.

Purchasing power of ordinary Russians has also fallen in 2015 and 2016.