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Russia has a record number of US dollar billionaires

February 19, 2013, 10:40 UTC+3
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MOSCOW, February 19 (Itar-Tass) - The CEO magazine published the rating of Russia's wealthiest people, according to which the number of US dollar billionaires has reached a record high of 131. In just 12 past months, their number has increased by 11. Their aggregate capital is estimated at 450 billion dollars. Economists say Russia remains among the countries with one of the highest level of inequalities in wealth.

Metalloinvest owner Alisher Usmanov has been rated the wealthiest Russian for several years, the Komsomolskaya Pravda writes, despite the fact that he lost almost two billion dollars in a year. The CEO magazine estimates his wealth at 18.72 billion dollars. Renova chief Viktor Vekselberg was a most successful businessman in Russia last year. The oligarch profited from the sale of his stake in the TNK-BP company to the state-owned Rosnef. As a result, his capital increased by two-thirds to 16 billion dollars. Economists believe that the news is good for those on the list of billionaires, but not for the Russian society, the Novye Izvestia underlines. Director of the department for strategic planning at an auditing and consulting company Igor Nikolayev thinks that the gap between the rich and the poor is one of the main woes of the Russian economy, which provokes tensions in the society. According to the Global Wealth Report by Switzerland's bank Credit Suisse, the inequality in wealth in Russia is the highest in the world, if one does not take into account small nations of the Caribbean basin. Meanwhile, according to the official statistics cited by President Vladimir Putin, 13 percent of the population live below the poverty line, i.e. some 18 million people. The Rosstat Russian Federal State Statistics Service said the number of Russians with incomes below the minimal subsistence level increases year in and year out. A number of studies conducted by the Sociology Institute, Russian Academy of Science, show that some 40 percent of the population regard themselves as poor. "The incomes of wealthy Russians often exceed the level of the poor strata by 100 times," director of the center for sociology and economics at the Institute for Social and Political Studies Igor Bogdanov said. Aside from billionaires, Russia has 160,000 people whose annual incomes exceed one million dollars, while another 440,000 have incomes over more than 100,000 dollars a year. "Eighteen million Russians have to survive on five dollars a day," the expert underlined, "no other country has such inequality."

Sociologists claim that his gap in incomes of the rich and the poor generates the so-called subjective property, where people who do not actually live in poverty, begin to call themselves poor. "Often, they are parents who cannot provide for the future of their children: buy homes for them or pay for their education," director general of the all-Russia center for standard of living Vyacheslva Bobkov explained.

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