The war between Russia and Ukraine weighs on the wealth of Russian billionaires. After one year of the war, the 23 richest Russian oligarchs have lost a combined $67 billion, about one-fifth of their combined wealth, according to the Bloomberg news agency figures.
They suffered a tremendous loss at the beginning of the invasion, but sanctions from the European Union and other countries also had an effect.
A balance sheet from the Bloomberg news agency has revealed how much the war costs Russian billionaires. For the 23 Russians who are part of the top 500 of the world’s wealthiest people, their wealth was compared on February 23, the day before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the situation one year later.
As of February 23 last year, the 23 richest Russians had a net worth of $339 billion. One year after the start of the war, they lost almost 20 percent of that fortune: together, they lost $67 billion, about four times more than the other billionaires in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The owners of two steel giants were hit the hardest. Alexey Mordashov, the primary owner of Severstal PJSC, lost $6.7 billion, and Vladimir Lisin of Novolipetsk Steel PJSC lost $5.8 billion. On the other hand, three of the 23 Russians have seen their fortunes rise slightly since the war.
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States seem to have a relatively limited long-term effect. First, the collective wealth of the 23 richest Russians reached its lowest point just weeks after the start of the war. On March 9, 2022, this amounted to $248 billion. Then things got better for a while, but in recent months their fortunes again gradually declined.
The sanctions do hit the billionaires in other sensitive areas. For example, oil billionaire Roman Abramovich had to sell the English football club Chelsea and Viktor Vekselberg’s $90 million yacht was confiscated. The United States, among others, is also exploring new options for sanctioning Russia.