Two Volgas and a Lada: Putin releases official details of wealth, income
By ADAM TAYLOR | The Washington Post | Published: February 7, 2018
Vladimir Putin earned 38.5 million rubles (roughly $673,000) between 2011 and 2016, according to information publicly released by the Russian Election Commission on Tuesday, giving the Russian president an average yearly salary of about $112,000.
The president also listed a number of assets on his forms, including 13 bank accounts with a combined balance of 13.8 million rubles ($241,000), a roughly 800-square-foot apartment in St. Petersburg, 230 shares in Bank Saint Petersburg and two Soviet-made sports cars — Volgas made in 1960 and 1965 — and a 2009 Lada 4x4.
Putin was required to give details of his income and assets as part of his registration for the upcoming presidential election, due to be held March 18. Putin completed his registration Tuesday, according to reports in Russian state media.
Putin's stated income and wealth would make him relatively wealthy in Russia, where the average national salary was estimated to be less than $6,700 a year in 2015. The Russian president claims his income came from his official salary and a military pension, as well as income from saving accounts and shares.
However, most outside observers believe that Putin's actual wealth is far greater than what he lets on. Many estimates are generally in the billions — in 2015, Bill Browder, a former fund manager in Russia and major critic of Putin, estimated the president's net worth at $200 billion, a figure that would likely make him the richest person on Earth.
Proving these estimates has been difficult, though some details of the wealth in Putin's family have recently come out. Bloomberg News reported last month, for example, that Putin's son-in-law had acquired billions of dollars worth of shares in a Russian petrochemical giant after marrying into the family, though he since appears to have been forced to relinquish those shares due to marital problems.
Putin himself has also been spotted wearing expensive watches with a total value thought to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as have a number of other high-ranking Russian officials. The Obama administration considered releasing details of Putin's finances to embarrass him in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, officials later told The Washington Post.
Two other candidates registered for March's election earned at least twice as much as Putin between 2011 and 2016, according to the documentation they filed with the Russian Election Commission. Liberal Democratic Party candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky earned 98 million rubles ($1.7 million) in that period, while Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin made 157.4 million rubles ($2.8 million).
Russian presidents have publicly released their salaries since the Boris Yeltsin era. According to the RBC business portal, documents released by the election commission suggest that Putin's income more than doubled after the 2012 presidential vote, and the amount of money in his bank account almost tripled.