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Living High on the Svin’ia

The Russian financial magazine Finans has published more proof that capitalism under Putin is doing just fine. Fine for the Russia elite that is. Over the last year, Finans reports in its yearly tally of Russian super rich, the number of Russian billionaires has shot from 61 to 101. Their combined wealth comes to $715.3 billion and the top ten have a total wealth of $221 billion. Here are the top five richest Russians:

1. Oleg Deripaska, $40 billion, sole owner of Basic Element and chairman of Russian Aluminum.
2. Roman Abramovich, $23 billion, owner of Millhouse Capital and governor of Chukotka.
3. Vladimir Lisin, $22.2 billion, chairman of Novolipetsk Steel.
4. Mikhail Fridman, $22.2 billion, one of the main holders in Alfa Group.
5. Aleksei Mordashov, $22.1 billion, chairman of Severstal.

Finance and metals are what feeds the coffers of Russia’s super rich. Those and a good dose of political connections.

An even more interesting statistic is that Russia only trails the United States in the number of billionaires. There are over 400 American billionaires according to Forbes. Their net worth is around $1.54 trillion as of 2007. What are the sources of wealth for the top five richest Americans? The list includes Bill Gates ($59 billion), Warren Buffet ($52 billion), Sheldon Adelson ($28 billion), Lawrence Ellison ($26 billion), and Sergei Brin ($18.5 billion). Technology, investment and hotels/casinos serve as their sweet meats.

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