If Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama can get through their tiff over Bachar al-Assad and stop pulling the covers to their own side of the geopolitical bed, then the Russian leader may just up sticks and move into the US where he will be able to spend his money rather than making out that he is a poverty-stricken in Moscow to the Russian people.
For many years Putin has cried wolf that he is a poorly-paid servant of the state. Although, he probably heard what General de Gaulle had to say about servants: “in order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant”. How very true. Pose as the master and you are called a dictator and everybody hates you. Pose as the servant and you become the master. But, it’s only a game. Vladimir Putin has taken heed of those power-hungry words and done exactly that. He said that he was a ‘galley slave’ on the ship that was being sailed in Russia, a forced worker and the ‘humble servant’ of the Politburo. His politically fine-tuned language has been worked and re-worked to give the appearance of the servant, but he’s posing as one in order to master the people.
Officially Putin earns $187, 000 per year for his official salary. He has declared a small apartment and he owns three cars. That’s rather too little for one of the most powerful countries in the world. Can he really be doing that for the benefit of the people? Putin’s last tax declaration was in December 2012 in order to run for President. He stated that he had earned only $115, 000. His bank balance showed a bottom line of $179, 612. Rather meager.
For years there have been investigations carried out by journalists to try to attempt to get through the black veil of secrecy behind which there is the pot of gold hiding with Putin’s name on it. For years it has all been to no avail. The money is tied up in a complex system of off-shore companies and behind stooges that front the shop window. Pinning down Putin is no easy matter and pinning down his wealth is even more difficult.
However, today The Guardian and Die Welt along with various other international newspapers have estimated his fortune after investigation to be in the region of $40 billion. A tidy little sum to keep Putin in the style that he has been accustomed to over the past 12 years at the top of Russia. That means that Putin ends up being a pretty damn lucrative galley slave that I am certain there will be many a man and woman that wish to queue up and for the first time in history have the shackles thrown on them.
Putin’s Presidential perks include:
- 20 palaces
- 58 aircraft (43 planes and 15 helicopters)
- A fleet of yachts
- A 22-million ruble collection of watches.
He is reputed to have shares in no fewer than three oil and gas companies (which include Gazprom andSurgutneftegas) through off-shore trust companies. When he made the statement about being a galley slave in2008, he added: “I’m pleased with the results”. Who wouldn’t be after amassing that amount of privilege in a society where there are millions who have little to live on and certainly not enough to eke out anything more than a Soviet-style existence? It is not only the fact that Putin has amassed great wealth, but also that he has lied about how much he actually possesses. But, perhaps the worst thing is that he has squandered taxpayers’ money in a lifestyle that was more befitting of Tsar Nicolas II than the President of Russia today. To have at one’s disposal 20 palaces or 58aircraft is beyond the bounds of reason and we only need compare with other leaders of nations around the world. Putin is living in the icy cold scenescape of Russia but he has the privilege of a Gulf State today.
If the $40 billion wealth of Putin is true, then he is at the top of the list of foreign leaders in terms of personal wealth:
- King of Thailand $30 billion
- Sultan of Brunei $20 billion
- President of the UAE $15 billion
- Queen of England $450 million
- PM David Cameron $47.9 million
- President Obama $10.1 million