Is he secretly the richest person in the world?

As global scrutiny of Russian oligarchs intensifies, the lingering mystery surrounding President Vladimir Putin and his net worth has recently sparked renewed curiosity.

The question came up again during a recent interview with “Technoking” Tesla and Putin’s self-proclaimed nemesis, Elon Musk. Despite having a net worth of US$260 billion – which officially grants him the title of the richest person in the world – when asked how he feels about being the richest person on Earth, Elon Musk simply replied:

” I think that [Vladimiri Putin] is much richer than me.



RELATED: Elon Musk challenges Vladimir Putin to fight against Ukraine

While this could easily be interpreted as another occasion where the C-suite memelord chose to talk shit instead of providing a serious answer, his statement lends itself to the ongoing debate regarding Vladimir Putin’s net worth; a shadowy fortune that no one has been able to quantify with an exact or approximate figure, or trace its precise location.

According to the Kremlin, as President of Russia, Vladimir Putin earns an annual salary of 8.6 million euros – currently valued at around 117,000 Australian dollars, which was previously worth a little more before the invasion of the ruble after the invasion of Ukraine. As for his publicly disclosed assets, the retired KGB intelligence officer is the proud owner of a humble 800 square foot apartment in Saint Petersberg, another 1,600 square foot apartment in Moscow, a towable tent-caravan and three cars. But the mounting evidence suggests that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s what we know about President Vladimir Putin and his real net worth.

Vladimir Putin’s fortune: a palace, 700 cars and 200 billion dollars in the bank

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The prevailing theory is that Vladimir Putin amassed the majority of his net worth shortly after imprisoning Russian oligarch and former country’s richest man Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2003. Months after criticizing Putin for corruption of state at a meeting, Khodorkovsky was jailed for fraud and tax evasion – charges he denies to this day. Khodorkovsky’s fortune, on the other hand, was immediately frozen and his immensely successful business was dissolved.

In his 2017 testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Hermitage Capital Management founder and CEO Bill Browder – the very person behind the US$200 billion estimate placed on Putin’s net worth – described what follows:

"After Khodorkovsky's conviction, the other oligarchs went to Putin and asked him what they needed to do to avoid sitting in the same cage as Khodorkovsky. From what followed, it appeared that Putin's answer was "50%." He wasn't saying 50% for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50% for Vladimir Putin personally."

More recently, former Russian government adviser Stanislav Belkovsky estimated the total to be a little closer to $70 billion. Anyway, thanks to the Panama Papers, we know there was a $2 billion trail of clandestine offshore deals and loans that pointed directly to Vladimir Putin around 2016.



The watches

Vladimir Putin Net Worth Watch Collection

Fortune reports that Vladimir Putin was photographed wearing a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar worth US$60,000, as well as a purported owner of a US$500,000 Toubograph A. Lange & Sohne and other watches extremely luxurious. They may be replicas. But that’s unlikely. Although, that’s not as unlikely as the guy making just $117,000 a year and at the same time rocking wrist candy of that caliber.

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Vladimir Putin Net Worth Flying Kremlin

In addition to his staggering net worth and watch collection, Vladimir Putin is said to have 700 cars, 58 planes and helicopters, a $100 million megayacht designed by the Russian Navy’s nuclear submarine designer, and most notably, a $716 million private jet dubbed “The Flying Kremlin”…which features a solid gold toilet. This modified Ilyushin Il-96-300PU also includes a fully equipped gym and a king-size bed.

The Black Sea Mansion (AKA “Putin’s Palace”)

As you will have understood by now based on everything, Vladimir Putin does not only own apartments in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Sources revealed that his property portfolio includes 20 undisclosed homes. By far the most impressive is a magnificent 190,000 square foot mansion set atop a cliff overlooking the Black Sea – Russia’s largest private residence, often referred to as ‘Putin’s Cottage’ and ‘Putin’s Palace’.

What does this sprawling upper level residence look like? According to Fortune (all $$$ = USD):

The Black Sea Mansion was designed by Italian architect Lanfranco Cirillo and cost $1.4 billion to construct.

The estate is Putin’s playland, boasting frescoed ceilings, a marble swimming pool lined with statues of Greek gods, a 27,000 square-foot guest house, spas with traditional hammams, a musical parlour, dressing rooms for all his staff, an amphitheatre, a state-of-the-art ice hockey rink, a Vegas-style casino, a nightclub equipped with stripper poles, a barroom showcasing more than $100,000 of wine and spirits, an underground tasting room overlooking the water, and much more.

Most of the mansion is reportedly decorated by an exclusive luxury Italian brand called Citterio Atena including Louis XIV style sofas, $500,000 in dining room furniture, and a $54,000 bar table. It even has decked-out bathrooms with fancy $850 Italian toilet brushes and $1,250 toilet paper holders.

On top of all the extravagant furnishings, an annual $2 million is spent just to maintain the property’s landscaping by a 40-person staff.  

A survey conducted by Reuters says funds for Putin’s palace were laundered directly from Russia’s $1.3 trillion ‘health project’, which bought medical equipment like high-tech scanners at two or three times the price of the market price. Seller? A company owned by a friend of Vladimir Putin.


How did Putin himself respond to all the allegations? Besides (probably) ordering the disappearance of a few nosy journalists who are now (probably also) kicking a cooler in Siberia, he came up with the mother of all non-answers…

“I am the richest man, not only in Europe but in the whole world: I collect emotions. I am rich in that the Russian people have twice entrusted me with the leadership of a great nation like Russia. I believe this is my greatest wealth.

Apparently, you can literally pass despair and human suffering.



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