Apr 20, 2008

The ‘Golden Hundred’ Goes Platinum

For the first time, Russia’s hundred richest people are all billionaires. “The combined fortune of the ‘Golden Hundred’ [rose] to $522 billion, or more than one third of the country's economy” (Bloomberg).

That's correct: more than 30% of Russia’s entire GDP is owned by 100 people.

Sitting atop his $28.6 billion fortune (according to Forbes), Oleg Deripaska dethroned Roman Abramovich for the top spot this year. High export prices for energy and aluminum are driving Deripaska’s wealth. Also, Deripaska was a key benefactor of the Yukos hijacking.

Meanwhile, Yelena Baturina (pictured) remains the only woman on the list. Baturina is the wife of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Her fortune comes from a lucrative construction company and a Moscow city administration which has conveniently muscled out her closest competition over the years.

Indeed, Russia's industrial titans teach us that honest business practices, a level playing field, and just a little hard work can make anyone a billionaire in Russia. Now that's capitalism!

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