Zahir Ebrahim in the comments questions the figure $75 billion. Well, I used the term “apparently” because there’s not much concrete to go by, but that is the figure (or $70b) given out by critics.
How credible is it? No way to know for sure, but besides the Gazprom shares, Putin is said to secretly own shares in many other companies:
“While many previously state-owned industries were privatized, Putin allegedly has used his power to build large secret ownership stakes several multi-billion dollar commodity firms. His most vocal critics assert that Putin has leveraged his power to acquire a 4.5% ownership stake in natural gas producer Gazprom, a 37% stake in oil company Surgutneftegas and 50% stake in Swiss oil-trader Gunvor. Gazprom alone does over $150 billion in revenue annually, Guvnor does $80 billion and Surgutneftegas over $20 billion. Using their most recent market capitalizations, Putin’s combined ownership stakes would give him a personal net worth of $70 billion!So what evidence is there of Putin’s secret obscene fortune? Let’s start with the small stuff. Putin is known to sport a $150,000 Patek Philippe watch on most occasions and his total collection has been valued at $700,000. He also has full access to a $40 million ultra-luxury yacht that features a wine cellar, Jacuzzi, helipad and outdoor barbecue area. In terms of living accommodations, Putin has access to 20 mansions throughout the world including a lavish ski lodge and Medieval castle. The crown jewel of his property portfolio is a $1 billion palace overlooking the Black Sea that he allegedly owns through an anonymous trust. Furthermore, Putin makes frequent use of 15 Presidential helicopters and more than 40 private jets, many of which feature gold plated interiors.”
The reports are based on an interview given by Stanislav Belkovsky to Die Welt, also described here.
Some other related links about Putin’s associations with the oligarchs:
Roman Abramovich once had close and privileged ties to Putin.
Abramovich fell out with one-time associate Berezovsky but stayed friendly with Putin.
Oligarchs like Abramovich, Fridman, and Miller are close to Putin.
The second plundering of Russia, according to Stanislav Belkovsky
More here about Putin’s business dealings.
Corruption alleged by Boris Nemtsov, Deputy PM under Yeltsin and an Opposition leader.
NOTE: I’m going to do another post about Putin because I think I might have swallowed some disinformation put out. I didn’t realize that the $70-75b. figure only came from that interview, because I saw it repeated by another investigator, but I’m wondering now if there is some disinfo in all this.
It’s been interesting to me to see the right regarding President Putin as some kind of Christian hero
Even Bill Lind has joined the chorus.
It’s certainly true that Putin says a lot of things that conservatives want to hear.
He’s outfoxed the Bolsheviks of the US State Dept.
But, as I’ve pointed out before, there’s plenty of evidence that Putin himself is beholden to the right wing of the New World Order.
One can accept the secession of Crimea as a relatively peaceful process and an understandable reaction to the US’s own belligerent posturing and meddling in the region, but it doesn’t follow that one should then swallow the narrative of Patrick Buchanan that Putin stands for Christianity.
These are deep waters. Nothing is as it seems. Anyone who subscribes to black-and-white narratives can be easily manipulated by the powers-that-be.
A lengthy article on the Russian Orthodox church since the fall of communism argues that the Moscow Church was completely under the Soviets and acted as an agent of the KGB; that the transition to “democracy” in the 1990s was only a transition to criminality and a change in rhetoric not substance; that there is little real orthodoxy left under the Sovietized Orthodox Church; and that simony, occultism, paganism, and ecumenism reign in the present-day Russian church, not traditional belief.
The blog La Russophobe has a list of what it calls “Putin murders” – assassinations of civil society figures – journalists and activists.
That list would be the Russian equivalent of the Clinton body count.
In India, The Hindustan Times points out that no world leader annoys America’s belligerent leadership more.
But the enemy of my enemy is…sometimes….just another enemy:
The red flags are there to see:
1. Vladimir Putin to revive Soviet Hero of Labor award (Daily Telegraph, Dec 11, 2012)
2. Vladimir Putin compares Lenin to holy Christian relics (Daily Telegraph, Dec 12, 2012)
3. Vladimir Putin’s net worth
I am going to retract this assessment of Putin’s net worth. The reason is that the origin of the figure comes from an interview by a Putin biographer, Stanislav Belkovsky, in Die Welt, who claims Putin has never sued him. The estimate seems to be based on Belkovsky’s book on Putin’s finances and his research as head of a Moscow think-tank. It’s not improbable, given Putin’s career as a close associate of several oligarchs, himself a KGB chief, and allegedly involved in corrupt dealings following the death of Yeltsin, who passed on power to him.
However, I went back to look more closely and came across a retraction by the Economist of one of Belkovsky’s claims, on threat of suit.
($75 billion $40-70b, apparently from shares in companies including his 4.5% shares in Gazprom revenues). That makes him the richest man on earth
[Lila, added on 4/8): He is said to own shares in several other companies, the total of which at market valuation in 2007 was $40b. I assume the $70-75 is accounted for by the valuation since then, but I didn’t calculate it myself.]
4. Vladimir Putin’s Jewish embrace: Is it love or politics?
QUOTE: “Putin has carefully cultivated relationships with Russia’s many subgroups and regions as a means of projecting his government’s authority.”
QUOTE: “Under Putin, harsh laws have led to a crackdown on ultranationalist groups that once had flourished in Russia.”
QUOTE: “Putin may be good for Jews, but he’s bad for Russia,” said Michael Edelstein, a lecturer at Moscow State University and a journalist for the L’chaim Jewish newspaper.”
QUOTE: “Freedom of expression has been severely restricted and politically motivated prosecutions remain widespread under Putin, according to Amnesty International’s 2013 report on Russia.”
QUOTE: “The preferential treatment of Chabad by Putin’s government “is creating a monolithic Jewish institutional life and preventing grass-roots development, which is the real key for Jewish rejuvenation,” said Michael Oshtrakh, a leader of the Jewish community of Yekaterinburg.”
5. Putin targets foes with zombie guns, which attack victim’s central nervous system
‘Such high-tech weapons systems will be comparable in effect to nuclear weapons, but will be more acceptable in terms of political and military ideology.” (Exactly the same rationale used by the CIA to justify “torture-lite,” radiation weapons, microwave weapons, etc.)
7. Putin is alleged to have been a Royal Arch Mason who trained with MI6, according to The Big Breach, a memoir by a disgruntled MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson.
The relevant material is summarized at this blog.
8. 9/11 insider job “impossible to conceal” says Vladimir Putin (Russia Today, August 2, 2011)
Why does Putin deny that 9/11 could have been an intelligence coup?
Perhaps, because he himself came to power in just such a KGB/FSB coup and has too many skeletons in his own closet…
Perhaps, because one way to fight the opposition is to lead it….