From time to time Western journalists and bloggers speculate whether Putin is one of the richest people in the world or only the richest political leader. If you search on Google, estimates are between 40 and 70 billion dollars.
The media generally rely on each other, but most of them refer to one fundamental source – interview in November 2007 that Stanislav Belkovsky gave the German Die Welt. In the interview he claimed that Putin controls 37% of the oil company Surgutneftgas and 4.5% of Gazprom. The estimate of Putin wealth of 40 billion dollars, is the market value of its stake in these companies.
Putin’s wealth lately
Lately, when reporters ask Belkovsky about the total worth of Putin he replies: Today this sum probably reaches 60-70 billion dollars.
” The problem is that there is no proof at all that Putin owns this companies. Western journalist that use Belkovsky as a source, probably don’t know him. They just reuse his accusation because it’s interesting.
Belkovsky was a former programmer, who later became political consultant. He wrote several books about Putin and comic theatrical representation on Russian politicians.
Belkovsky is charming and has easy-style writing that made him popular columnist among the Russians. The late tycoon Berezovsky once admitted that he hired Belkovsky, who is a Jew, to fit Russian nationalists against Putin. The project was never realized, perhaps the bulk of Russian nationalists are anti-Semites” writes Bloomberg.
When Associated Press reporter asked Putin about his wealth back in 2008 he said: “There is nothing to discuss. It’s only gossip. I may be the richest person not only in Europe but in the world. I collect emotions, I am rich because people of Russia believe in me and I’m leader of this great nation as Russia – I believe it is my greatest treasure.”
Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was deputy prime minister at the time of Yeltsin, in 2012 announced objective report on how Putin is getting rich. The report of Nemtsov is not about Putin’s personal wealth or how big this wealth is. As a former government official, Nemtsov knows that in Russia, the government leader does not need money or property. He has the whole country behind him. Just a whisper and wealthy private businessman will donate to the luxurious renovation of the presidential palace,“explains Bershidski.
When he completed his second presidential term in 2008, Condoleezza Rice stated that he was seriously alarmed for his future and securing immunity from the law, if a future government ever decides to prosecute. That’s why he sets Medvedev to be his successor at the time. However, it turns out that Putin had no thought of retreat, and his current presidential term expires in 2018. By this time he will need to decide whether to expel another presidential term “or to monetize everything for all the services he gave to his partners all over his political career.”