Russia’s richest are $27.89 billion poorer than they were at the beginning of the year, when the coronavirus started spreading across the globe, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index (BBI).
While some tech moguls such as Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg have seen their net worth skyrocket by dozens of billions amid the pandemic-triggered lockdowns, Russian tycoons appear to have lost money.
As the pandemic hit gas and oil markets, the country’s energy billionaires saw their fortunes falling, with two of them among top 10 global losers this year on Bloomberg’s list.
The pandemic cut the net worth of Leonid Mikhelson, the founder and chairman of natural gas producer Novatek, by $5.34 billion. He is now worth a measly $19.2 billion.
Another energy tycoon, Lukoil President and CEO Vagit Alekperov, followed Mikhelson in the loss column. He is now $5.18 billion poorer, retaining $17.1 billion worth of assets.
Gennady Timchenko, who owns stakes in energy companies as well as other businesses, came third, losing “just” $370 million less than the Lukoil CEO.
The country’s richest person, Vladimir Potanin, who heads metals giant Norilsk Nickel, has seen his $28 billion fortune reduced by $1.56 billion. In addition to the expected fall in demand for metals, the company also recently found itself at the epicenter of an environmental scandal. In May, more than 20,000 tons of diesel fuel escaped from a storage tank of a plant operated by a Norilsk Nickel subsidiary, resulting in massive contamination of soil and water.
Despite the coronavirus crisis, some Russian billionaires have seen their fortunes rise. Alisher Usmanov’s net worth has increased by over $1.9 billion since the beginning of the year, hitting $18.6 billion. Usmanov is the founder of USM, a private holding company that controls Russian mining and metallurgy firm Metalloinvest, among others.
The wealthiest people in Russia are still super rich regardless of the pandemic. The total net worth of 23 Russian magnates included in Bloomberg Billionaires Index now stands at $277.94 billion.
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