Russia
by Jon Harden on July 7, 2019

Top 10 richest men in Russia in 2019 and how they came to be so

Russia is one of the few places in the world that has the privilege to house more than a couple of billionaires. In terms of the number of billionaires within its borders, Russia is the top sixth counties in the world, at least officially speaking. The country, right now, has around 96 officially recorded fabulously rich people. And while Switzerland might have more billionaires, the Russian billionaires have a higher net worth, landing them at around 264 Billion US dollars, making them some of the richest people n the world, on par with the most successful Forex traders in the world. Although, while the official records might be impressive, there are also some unofficial facts and rumours circulating around the world that may or may not be true. According to these rumours, Russia has way more than a measly 96 billionaires and 265 billion US dollars in their combined funds. Some say that just the Russian president, who is said to be the richest man in Russia and in the world, unofficially speaking, owns around two hundred billion dollars in assets. That is a fifth of a trillion dollars people and almost as much as all of the official billionaires in the country own! But alas, we are not here to speak about Putin, nor are we here to speak about all of the shadow billionaires in the largest country in the world.

This list concerns itself with official numbers only. Mostly because we don’t know the actual facts of how incredibly rich those shadow billionaires are, but we do know how incredibly rich the Russian billionaires in general. And it is not surprising that these people are so rich. Russia houses one of the largest and richest natural resources company in the world, Gazprom. There are also a huge number of other natural resource and mining companies within the country that has found a lot of success exporting goods all across the world. Combine that with the fact that the fall of the Soviet Union enabled some of these men to get a hold of some of the largest factories and production facilities in the world and all of a sudden you have a formula that results in a bunch of the people in the world being the end result. So, let us look who the richest Russian, officially speaking, is and find out where the person made most of their money, while we are at it. Maybe some inspiration could spur you to start trading with the best brokers and get rich on your own.

10. Alisher Usmanov

At the bottom of the top 10 richest people in Russia sits Alisher Usmanov, with a modest net worth of only 12.5 billion (we might be saying modest, but golly gee, that is a lot of money). This man was born in Chust, Uzbekistan in 1953, which made him a citizen of the Soviet Union. He studied in the Moscow State Institute of International relations and after graduating worked for a number of governmental agencies in Russia (some even allege that he may or may not have worked for the KGB!). After the fall of the Soviet Union, Usmanov quickly adapted to life in the capitalist system that was quickly taking over the country and started working for a number of local investment firms. After being part of the investment game for 5 years, he was appointed to be the CEO of Gazprom (jackpot), which resulted in him having a huge amount of power in defining where the company would be heading. This was already during the start of the rule of the current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

richest men in Russia

As CEO, he made sure to cement the name of Gazprom as that of one of the top natural resource exporters in the world. After working with Gazprom holding for several years, Usmanov moved on to start building his own mining and metals empire, starting his company Metallinvest, which he still has holdings in. This enabled him to create a huge amount of wealth for himself and move onto investing in different ventures. He became one of the shareholders of MegaFon, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Russia and a majority shareholder in the Kommersant newspaper. He also became an early investor in Facebook and owns stock in JD.com and Xiami, which makes him a major shareholder around the world. After making as much money as he did, he bought the Arsenal club, 30% of which he sold in 2018. All of this makes him one of the richest people in the world, allowing him to be the 118th richest billionaire around the world. Not too shabby too honest, but I wonder if he ever worries about not being in the top 100.

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9. Viktor Vekselberg

With the introduction of Viktor Vekselberg into the list, we are venturing into the top 100 list of billionaires around the world. Viktor is a Ukranian born billionaire who is now one of the richest people in Russia and the 99th richest person in the world with a net worth of 14.4 billion US dollars. He is also younger than number 10, being born in 1957 in Ukraine, when it was part of the Soviet Union. He also studied in Moscow, at the Moscow Railway Transport Engineering Institute, which he graduated from in 1979 and where he learned computer engineering. He later earned a PhD in Computer Engineering in the USSR Academy of Science’s Computer Center. He was a research associate at a state lab for about a decade, before the fall of the Soviet Union.

The first ever million he ever made was when he started selling scrap copper from worn out tables. After his first million, he was able to start accumulating stock and shares in oil, gas, financial and aluminium industries through his company, Renova. He was one of the first people to be able to participate in the state privatization program after the fall of the Soviet Union and was able to get a hold of enough assets to form the Russian aluminium giant company United Co. Rusal, which he was able to form as a result of merging with Oleg Deripaska’s Russian Aluminium. Today, these two men are fabulously rich Oligarchs living in Russia and hold assets around the world as some of the richest men in Russia in the world. Despite this, they have been sanctioned by the US today for many different reasons.

8. Mikhail Fridman

Mikhail Fridman is another Ukranian who managed to become fabulously rich in Russia. This man is worth 15.1 Billion and is the 91st richest man in the world, while also being the eighth Russia richest man. Born in Lviv in 1964, some of his ventures were related to music. In his youth, he was a part of a rock band and ran a club that was called “Strawberry Fields” when he was in University. While being seemingly a rebellious youth in the Soviet Union, he also ran several other businesses, including window cleaning and computer salesman businesses that were quite successful But the first billion he made after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Soon after the collapse he and two people that he had partnered with started Alfa Bank. The bank, through providing a much needed and nonexistent business in the region at the time, became the sixth largest bank in Russia over time, competing in size with the national banks and the largest non-state governed banks. In order to become as fabulously close the being the richest Russian man he also invested in other ventures, including some telecommunications companies and retail companies, while also investing in the Oil business, where he has managed to make most of his fortune (as all oil magnates tend to do).

7. Andrey Melnichenko

Andrey Melninchenko is the youngest billionaire on the list, being born in Gomel, Belarus in 1972. At only 47ish years old, he is already one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of about 15.5 billion US dollars and sitting at the 90th place of the richest men in the world. He studied at the Moscow state university, where he studied Finance and Physics. His very first businesses were nothing but currency exchange businesses in the 1990s, which means that the man started in Forex and managed to build a path to becoming a billionaire through this business and becoming one of the richest Russians. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and with the money that he made through exchange booths, he and some of his friends and partners were able to create the MDM bank. By the 2000s it had already become one of the largest banks in Russia, simply because of the fact that it was providing a much demanded and nonexistent service. By this time he had already started a partnership with Sergei Popov, a metals and oil trader and a fellow billionaire.

Although, the chance to become a billionaire did not come until after founding the EuroChem company, which is a fertilizer producer that operates in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. With this global business, he was also able to become one of the owners of SUEK, the largest supplier of terminal coal in Russia. With his businesses being all over the globe in terms of reach, he is able to come close to be being the richest person in Russia, but close is not enough Andriukha, going to have to try harder.

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6. Vladimir Potanin

The 88th richest man in the world is Vladimir Potanin, and he has 15.9 billion US dollars in all of his holdings. This man was born in 1961, in Russia and became part of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade after he managed to graduate from the Moscow Institute of Foreign Relations, where he made the majority of the connections that would come in handy in his journey towards having insane amounts of money. At 30 years old, he met Mikhail Prokhorov, who would become a billionaire in the future as well. Together, they managed to create a company known as the International Company for Finances and INvestments and later to create Onexim Bank. Within years of being founded, the bank quickly became the largest bank in Russia (for a time), landing them the base capital that would be used in order to become what the two are today. He would move on to become the deputy prime minister, which would allow him control over energy and the general economy under the then president Boris Yeltsin. He has since become a major investor and has owned shares in insurance, media, engineering, agriculture and oil companies. Today, he owns shares in Partovax Pharm and a ski resort in Sochi. Although the majority of his wealth comes from working with the metal industry and is trying to get closer to being Russia’s richest man.

5. Vagit Alekperov

Let us enter the world of the 20 billion, where Vagit Alekperov is the first person we will be discussing. This man was born in the o1950s in Azerbaijan and studied at the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemical Institute, from where he started working as an oil driller at the age of 22. After spending some time as an oil driller, he moved to Siberia, where he occupied senior positions in different companies, specifically for Bashneft and Sugutneftgaz oil companies, which is where his career got launched. When he reached the age of 40, he managed to become the first deputy minister of Russia’s oil and gas industry. When the USSR collapsed, he managed to keep being head of the newly created oil industry. The company he worked with was named Lukoil and it managed to become Russia’s largest independent oil company. Vagit owns about a quarter of the company, which makes him insanely, incredibly rich, and at one point made him the richest man in Russia.

4. Alexey Mordashov

Alexey Mordashov was born and has lived most of his life in Russia. He studied in the Saint Petersburg State University and then got his MBA at the Newcastle Business School. Today, he is worth around 21 Billion US dollars. He started his career as an economist and analytics specials at a steel mill in Cherepovets and when the USSR fell, became the financial director of the company. The mill was renamed to be referred to as Severstal and after the renaming of the mill, he issues shares of the mill to be purchased by investors. This is when he purchased the major shares in the mill and the company that would become a metal giant in Russia, by buying the shares that the workers owned. He remained to be the CEO fo the company for 19 years and resigned in 2015 while remaining one of the largest shareholders of the metals company. He also owns 23% of the shares of the TUI group, one of the largest travel and tourism companies around the world. He also has shares in the oil industry and a number of other industries that support his claim to being one of the richest men in Russia 2019,

3.Vladimir Lisin

Vladimir Lisin is currently only 500 million US dollars richer than Alexey Mordashov and is also a Russia native, born in 1956. He studied at the Siberian Metallurgical Institute and worked as an engineer all over Russia in different iron and steel plants. Eventually, he became the deputy chief engineer in the state-run Karaganda mill in Kazakhstan. The mill was the fourth largest in the Soviet Union and the place that would help him rise to become wealthiest Russians after the fall of the USSR. He traded metals there, and moved to Moscow after, where he became part of the Trans-World group, a company of traders that operated around the world and where he managed factories. When the partners split up, Lisin was able to receive the majority stake of Novolpetsk steel mill. This enabled him to accumulate enough wealth to become the controlling shareholder of Universal Cargo Logistics Holding, which owns the Freight One railway operator and ships around the world. Combined with a number of other shipping companies, they make him one of the richest people in the world.

2. Gennady Timchenko

Gennady Timchenko is a man who was born in Armenia and lived in Ukraine and East Germany, before moving o Russia to study at the Leningrad Mechanical University and moving on to work at nuclear plants around Russia. In the following years, he climbed his way through the opportunities given to him in order to reach a point where he became part of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade and became the deputy head of state exporter of oil products to the west. In order to become one of the casts of the richest in Russia, he had to work in Urals Finland, a company that imported Russian oils, where he got started on his oil trading company, Gunvor in the 2000s. This company has earned him the billions that he was able to reinvest into Novatek and Sibur Holding and become one of the richest Russians in the world.

1.Leonid Mikhelson

So who is the richest person in man in Russia in 2019? The answer is quite simple, but only officially speaking: Leonid Mikhelson is the richest man in Russia. He was born in the South part of Russia in 1955. he studied at Kubryshev Engineering and Construction Institute. After graduating he worked in the natural resources industry and accumulated the fabulous amount of wealth that he has in order to become the richest man in Russia on paper. After graduating from the university he worked as the chief engineer at Ryazantrsbovodstoy and became the head trust of the company within two years. He is the creator of the company Novafinvest, which has been investing in oil and gas resources since 1994. The company has now grown and is now known as Novatek and is the largest non-state-owned or controlled gas producer. It is second only to Gazprom in terms of production volume. He also has stakes in Sibur, a pharmaceuticals company, and a number of other ventures, which have landed him at the comfortable net worth of around 27 billion.

These are the officially richest people in Russia, but there are more billionaires that little known is about on paper. These billionaires possess huge amounts of assets and it would be interesting to see whether some of them would make it on the list. After all, seeing the true list of the top 10 richest men in Russia might also change who we think the top 10 richest men in the world are. But, for now, let us stick with the official numbers and see how things change in the near future.

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By Jon Harden

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