Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is known for his expensive tastes, but did you know that he wasn’t born into money?
Putin was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to a middle-class family and lived in a communal apartment in the city with two other families. He went from earning a university law degree in his early 20’s to becoming the most powerful leader in Russia, appointed as president in 1999.
As arguably the most powerful world figure, the Russian president’s net worth has been a source of speculation for years. The former KGB agent’s wealth can’t be precisely measured given his private assets, secret real estate, company holdings and other sources of income.
In 2007, Political analyst Stanslav Belkovsky’s estimated Putin’s fortune at $40 billion. In 2012, Belkovsky expanded on his estimation, saying that Putin may be worth around $70 billion as a result of investments in various companies, although some have claimed his approximations as unsubstantiated.
But those guesses don’t come close to the most recent estimation
Vladimir Putin’s Net Worth as of 2017: $~200 Billion
This estimate is far from confirmed, but it has been heavily researched by author Bill Browder, who made the claim in 2015 while appearing on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.
“I believe that it’s $200 billion. After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn’t been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank–Swiss bank accounts–shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies,” Browder said.
In 1975, Putin joined the KGB, training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad. After completing his training, Putin worked in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence) before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate where he monitored foreigners and consular affairs.
From 1985-1990, Putin used a cover identity while working as a translator in Dresden, East Germany. According to his official biography, he burned KGB filed to prevent demonstrators from getting them during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
In 1991, amid the Soviet coup d’etat attempt against President Mikhail Gorbachev, Putin resigned from the KGB.
Following his resignation from the KGB, Putin became head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor’s Office. In this role, he was responsible for promotion international relations and foreign investments while registering business ventures. Within one year, Putin was under investigation by the city legislative council, which concluded that he had understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93 million in exchange for foreign food aid that was never given.
Putin remain in this role until 1996 while also holding several other political and governmental position in Saint Petersburg.
From 1995 through 1997, Putin acted as leader of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Our Home is Russia political power. Later that year, President Boris Yelstin appointed him deputy chief of Presidential Staff.
In 1998, Yelstin appointed Putin as Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the primary intelligence and security organization of the Russian Federation and the successor of the KGB.
On August 9, 1999, President Yeltsin appointed Putin acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation. He also announced that he hoped to see Putin succeed him.
On December 31, 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, making Putin the Acting President of Russia.
The first Presidential Decree that Putin signed that same day was titled “On guarantees for former president of the Russian Federation and members of his family”. This ensured that “corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives” would not be pursued by his administration. In 2000, a criminal investigation was dropped in which Putin himself was one of suspects as a member of the Saint Petersburg city government. Later that year, yet another case against the prosecutor general was dropped “for lack of evidence”, in spite of thousands of documents passed by Swiss prosecution.
Putin officially won the Presidency in May 2000. In March 2004, he was elected to the presidency for a second term, receiving 71% of the vote. His approval ratings skyrocketed to more than 80% as Russia continued to recover from the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, Putin’s policies drew heavy criticisms from countless world leaders.
Due to the Russian Constitution, Putin was barred from a third term as President and First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was elected as his successor. Only one day after Medvedev was given the presidency, Putin was appointed Prime Minister of Russia, maintaining his political power.
In 2011, Medvedev officially proposed that Putin stand for a third term as President in 2012, which Putin accepted. His election generated the largest protests within Russia of Putin’s career. He allegedly organized a number of paramilitary groups loyal to himself to deal with the protests.
In 2012, Putin was officially elected as Russia’s president despite widespread allegations of voter-fraud. He has remained in this position ever since.