Ranks of Russian billionaires grow – Forbes

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Many Russian businessmen saw their profits soar last year despite the pressure of Western sanctions and the volatile state of the global economy, Forbes reported on Friday.

The latest Forbes Russian billionaire list now includes 110 names compared to 88 a year earlier. The businessmen who managed to pass the threshold to become billionaires did so thanks to the recovery of the country’s stock market, the outlet noted. Domestic stocks initially collapsed shortly after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, but later rebounded as the economy gradually adjusted to Western sanctions.

The combined fortune of Russians in the new Forbes ranking grew from $353 billion to $505 billion since last March. The ten most successful billionaires increased their fortunes by a combined $77.4 billion. Out of those present in both last year’s and this year’s rankings, 58 people saw their fortunes grow – by a total of $140.3 billion.

Andrey Melnichenko, whose businesses include the fertilizer producer EuroChem and the coal producer SUEK, was the biggest winner, topping the Russian Forbes list for the first time. His fortune more than doubled since last March, soaring to $25.2 billion from $11.1 billion.

However, there were also those whose wealth shrunk throughout the year. Thirteen businessmen lost a total of $8.5 billion in 2022. While sanctions affected some of them, many of those whose major assets are located abroad also saw their fortunes dwindle on the drop in the S&P and the Nasdaq indexes. The US Federal Reserve’s rate hikes and the deflating big-tech bubble also had an impact, Forbes notes.

The biggest loser among Russia’s billionaires was Pavel Durov, the owner of the Telegram messaging app, who was considered the third-richest Russian businessman in March 2022. He saw his fortune shrink by $3.6 billion compared with 2021, to $11.5 billion.

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