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Bloomberg names 12 oligarchs who earn billions in payouts from Russia's war economy

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 9, 2024 11:32 AM 2 min read
In this photo illustration, a display of five thousand Russian rubles banknotes. (Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Russia's wartime economy has earned a dozen oligarchs $11 billion in dividends as Russian natural resource and finance giants earn record profits during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on July 9.

The oligarchs "received billions of dollars in dividends as their companies resumed or boosted payouts" as Russia became more confident that its economy would remain afloat in the face of international sanctions.

Bloomberg used publicly disclosed information on dividends to show that "at least a dozen business people gained more than 1 trillion rubles ($11.3 billion) for 2023 and in the first quarter of this year."

The top earner was Vagit Alekperov, a key shareholder in Lukoil, Russia's second-largest oil company, who received around 186 billion rubles ($2.1 billion) in dividends.

Alexey Mordashov earned 148 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) through Severstal, Russia's largest steel company, while Vladimir Lisin earned 121 billion rubles (1.4 billion) through Novolipetsk Steel, another top steel producer.  

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Alekperov is under U.K. sanctions but has not been sanctioned by the U.S. and the EU, while Mordashov is under U.S., U.K., and EU sanctions. Lisin has not been faced with any major restrictions, Bloomberg noted.

Other top earners include Uzbek-Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who has made his wealth through mining and metal companies, and has been sanctioned by the U.S., U.K., and EU.

The EU has described Usmanov as a "pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin" and dismissed his appeal to be removed from European sanctions lists in February 2024.  

Another top earner is Russian-Israeli oligarch Leonid Mikhelson, who has been sanctioned by the U.S. and the U.K, but not the EU. Mikhelson is the CEO of Novatek, Russia's second-largest natural gas producer after Gazprom.

Many state-controlled companies like Gazprom and Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, "never stopped making dividend payments as they racked up record profits during the war," Bloomberg said.

Ukrainian drone attack damaged Russia’s only full-cycle metallurgical enterprise, source says
Ukraine carried out a drone attack on July 1, “seriously” damaging the Russian military-industrial complex, the Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant (OEMK).

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