Russia’s war economy is so hot that at least 12 of its oligarchs received $11 billion in dividends over 15 months

Former Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov, who pocketed the most dividends from January 2023 to March 2024, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s economy is boosting wealth for of oligarchs, some of whom are sanctioned.A dozen Russian tycoons pocketed $11.4 billion in dividends for all of 2023 up until the first quarter of 2024.The payouts illustrate how Russia’s biggest companies are still raking it in despite the West’s isolation of its economy.

Russia’s wartime economy has not only made some poor people better off — some of Russia’s oligarchs are getting richer, too.

At least 12 businesspeople received more than 1 trillion rubles, or $11.4 billion, in dividends for all of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, according to Bloomberg on Tuesday. The outlet based its calculations on publicly disclosed information.

Many of the tycoons who received the dividend windfall are closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the news outlet. Some of them have been sanctioned by the West.

The biggest winners from the dividend payouts were commodities exporters that have benefited from Russia’s pivot of its trade eastward toward China, India, and other countries in the global south. Their key customers were previously from Europe.

The biggest winner was Vagit Alekperov, a key shareholder and former president of oil giant Lukoil, who received 186 billion rubles in dividends, per Bloomberg. He has been sanctioned by the UK and Australia.

Alexey Mordashov, chairman and a main shareholder of steel company Severstal, pocketed 148 billion rubles in dividends. The US, the UK, and the EU have sanctioned him.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Lisin, the chairman of Novolipetsk Steel, raked in 121 billion rubles in dividends.

The payouts illustrate how Russia’s biggest companies are still profiting despite the West’s isolation of the country’s economy, which grew 5.4% in the first quarter of this year from a year ago.

Russia’s war-driven economy is so hot that the World Bank upgraded it to a “high-income country” last week.

However, Russia’s Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting — a key think tank — warned the country’s economy could cool and slip into crisis in the second half of this year should the Bank of Russia hike interest rates, reported Kommersant, a business news outlet, on Monday.

Elvira Nabiullina, Russia’s central bank chief, has signaled an interest-rate hike ahead due to higher-than-expected inflation.

Russia’s key interest rate is already at 16% to cool price rises, but inflation hit 8.3% in May — well above the official 4% target.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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