Which compatriots were on the Forbes list

Which compatriots were on the Forbes list

19 Russian businessmen are among the richest people on the planet for the first time. Forbes has published a new ranking of billionaires. According to the magazine, 125 Russians now have a fortune of over a billion dollars, which has become a record. Details from Daniil Babkin.

Most of the newcomers to the Forbes list are from the consumer sector: retail, agriculture, construction. For example, the founder of Gloria Jeans Vladimir Melnikov or the developer of Setl Group Maxim Shubarev. Kommersant FM’s interlocutors explain their enrichment by a change in the structure of the market, from which, for example, Western competitors left.

But there is also a separate, conditional category of businessmen who broke into the international Forbes list thanks to unexpected new assets. Among them, for example, is the former head of Kabardino-Balkaria Arsen Kanokov. His group “Sindika”, according to the magazine, received significant shares in “Tasty and full stop” and OBI. Kanokov entered the ranking of the richest people in the world for the first time and may have fulfilled the dream he spoke about in one of his interviews:

“I chose a goal – to realize myself, to prove that I can do something. As a young man, I wanted to make my parents and friends proud of me. I am constantly engaged in self-education, because nothing stands still, we need to react very quickly to the changes that are happening in the world.”

Perhaps the most successful Russian who reacts quickly to change is Ivan Tavrin. In December, Forbes named him one of the main buyers of assets of companies that left Russia. In 2022, his Kismet acquired the Dutch platform Avito for 151 billion rubles, and in just a year and a half it took part in more than 30 similar processes, a source told Forbes.

It is possible that next year the ranking will again be replenished with Russians, says anti-corruption expert Ilya Shumanov (the Ministry of Justice considers him a foreign agent): “According to my information, the number of companies that are waiting for the decision of the government commission to sell their assets in Russia is in the hundreds. Of course, new organizations will appear that are in the negotiation process to transfer part of their assets at a discount to other Russian owners who are not subject to sanctions. Therefore, I think that in the current environment we will see new players who have been able to enrich themselves in the difficult Russian market.”

The total wealth of all Russian billionaires grew by $71 billion over the year. The richest was the founder of LUKOIL, Vagit Alekperov, with a record $28 billion; Alexey Mordashov, the main shareholder of Severstal, who was blacklisted by the US Treasury, rose from fifth to fourth place.

Do such figures indicate the ineffectiveness of the sanctions that Western countries used to change the behavior of the business elite? Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Ivan Timofeev does not think so: “I don’t think that the list of billionaires is a reliable indicator of the effectiveness of sanctions. The wealth that was concentrated in sanctioned businesses could end up in the hands of others who find new business models. Sanctions can be compared to a natural disaster: there was a snowfall or a tsunami, after which someone was left homeless, and someone makes money from building new houses or repairing old ones, or from logistics to the disaster site.”

Forbes notes that there could have been more Russians with a fortune of more than $1 billion, but ten businessmen renounced Russian citizenship. Among them are the founder of the trading company XTX Markets Alexander Gerko, the founder of the fintech startup Revolut Nikolai Storonsky, the head of Freedom Holding Timur Turlov and entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan.

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