Russia’s wealthiest lose billions due to Ukraine crisis

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Fortunes of Russia’s super-rich tumble a combined $32 billion as Ukraine-related tensions simmer

Russia’s wealthiest have lost $32 billion in 2022 with losses projected to increase as the crisis in neighboring Ukraine continues to escalate, with the US and her Western allies mulling new rounds of anti-Russian sanctions.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a list of the world’s 500 richest people, Gennady Timchenko, who owns stakes in energy companies as well as other businesses, headed the list of wealthy Russians who have seen their fortunes decline. The billionaire, who derives the bulk of his wealth from a stake in a major Russian gas producer Novatek, has reportedly lost $6.47 billion since the beginning of the year. His fortune currently stands at around $16 billion.

Another Novatek shareholder, Leonid Mikhelson, saw his net worth decline by $6.2 billion in 2022 to $26.2 billion, while Lukoil Chairman Vagit Alekperov’s fortune dropped around $3.5 billion in the same period to $19.3 billion, as the energy company’s stock slid almost 17%.

The net worth of the country’s 23 billionaires currently stands at $343 billion, according to the wealth list, down from $375 billion at year-end.

Russian stock markets slumped this week after President Vladimir Putin recognized the independent status of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.

The US announced the first round of fresh anti-Russian sanctions, targeting “Russia’s elite and family members,” and are supposed to “cut off Russia’s government from Western financing” by putting restrictions on investing into its sovereign debt.

At the same time, Germany suspended Nord Stream 2 pipeline certification, puting the energy project with Russia on hold indefinitely, while the UK imposed sanctions on five of the country’s banks and three of its wealthiest individuals, including Timchenko.

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