Fortunes of Russia’s richest decline dramatically

Feb 25, 2022 | BUSINESS

Stock market crash wiped out $39 billion in collective net worth of Russia’s wealthiest individuals in just 24 hours

Russia’s 22 richest individuals have seen their net worth plunge by a cumulative $39 billion in less than 24 hours after Moscow’s launch of a military operation in Ukraine, and the subsequent sanctions imposed on it. That’s according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index which showed the wealth wipeout came as a result of the Russian stock market crash, which saw it plummet 33% on Thursday.

Russian billionaires lost more money on February 24 than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, statistics show. The Thursday wipeout doubled their losses since the start of the year and follows a $32-billion rout ahead of the military action.

Chairman of Russian oil major Lukoil, Vagit Alekperov, has led the list, with his wealth falling by one-third in a day to $13 billion as the company’s share price nosedived 32%.

Alekperov was followed by Alexey Mordashov, chairman of steel giant Severstal, whose one-day loss amounted to $4.2 billion. His fortune currently stands at around $23 billion.

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Another steel tycoon, Vladimir Lisin, has lost $3.9 billion, with his fortune dwindling to $22.4 billion.

Russian gas company Novatek’s chairman and major shareholder, Leonid Mikhelson, saw his net worth decline by $3.8 billion on Thursday, to $22.2 billion. The businessman’s fortune has dropped by around $10 billion since the beginning of the year.

The list of Russia’s top ten richest people hit by the sanctions also included Vladimir Potanin (down by $3 billion), Roman Abramovich (down by $1.8 billion), Alisher Usmanov (down by $1.2 billion), as well as Viktor Vekselberg, Mikhail Prokhorov, and Andrey Melnichenko.

On Tuesday, the United States announced sanctions that included measures against Russian oligarchs and their family members. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden doubled down with another round of sanctions. The UK has also announced sanctions on five Russian banks and three individuals. Switzerland has sanctioned three Russian banks and imposed travel restrictions on 361 State Duma deputies.

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