Bezos Vs Putin - Who Will Be The First Trillionaire?

Authored by James Durso via,

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the one of the world’s richest men, and he may become the first trillionaire. But some think Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged $200 billion fortune surpasses Bezos’ paltry $90 billion. Who is really #1?

It depends how you count.

First, the numbers are dodgy.

Putin critic Bill Browder, once Russia’s largest foreign investor, says Putin has a $200 billion fortune (compared to Russia’s $1.6 trillion GDP). Browder was ejected from Russia in 2005 after being designated a "threat to national security" and said of his activism, “I was not going after his [Putin’s] enemies, I was going after his [Putin’s] own financial interests.”

He hasn’t produced any proof of the $200 billion other than his “belief,” but his humiliating ejection from Russia and the death in prison of hi­s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, might be related.

Second, no one manages $200 billion by themselves. If Putin “had” $200 billion he would demand it be managed well, and that means managed as a portfolio. A portfolio similar in size to Putin’s is Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway with a total equity of $283 billion. What do you do with $283 billion? You buy things like a railroad or large, visible positions in the airline sector. (And after all that, Buffet still has $100 billion in cash left over.) Managing all that money requires lawyers and financial specialists who are world-class at managing money and keeping their mouths shut. Forever.

The claim that Putin is richest man in the world rests on the assumption that he has front men managing his money. How easy is to do that and not be noticed? Well, for comparison, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud of Saudi Arabia is worth $17.8 billion. But according to The Economist, “his sums don’t add up,” in part because he could be fronting for others members of the Saudi royal family. We can infer from this that Putin would need a herd of billionaires to do his bidding as his alleged fortune is almost 12 times larger than Alwaleed’s, while he has managed to maintain more secrecy than any Saudi royal.

You have to go back in Russian history to know how Putin manages his assets.

Back one hundred years in fact, to the reign of Czar Nicholas II when the wealth of the Romanovs was estimated to be $45 billion (in 1917 dollars) and it was “impossible to separate Czar Nicholas II's wealth from the state's.” Putin probably has a few billion somewhere just to oil the wheels, but who needs bank accounts when the assets of the state are yours?

Like all politicians, Putin probably considers himself immortal. But he also probably remembers what happened to the families of Soviet officials who were purged: if they were lucky they survived their sentence to the Gulag. Which brings us to Putin’s friends and their children, the Kremlin juniors.

Putin’s closest friends from St. Petersburg, such as Gennady Timchenko and Yuri Kovalchuk, the largest shareholder in Bank Rossiya, are reputed to be some of the sources of Putin’s wealth. As such, they were sanctioned by the U.S. in the wake of Russia’s seizure of Crimea but will likely stand firm because they believe in Putin and they know what happened to those in the first generation of oligarchs who wavered.

Nikolai Shamalov is a Putin friend and co-founder with Putin and others of The Ozero (Lake) Cooperative, a development near St. Petersburg. (As Putin friends go, you don’t get closer than an Ozero owner.) His two sons, Yury and Kiril, went on to important positions in state-influenced companies, and Kiril married Putin’s daughter Katerina at a resort owned by Yuri Kovalchuk. The couple is reportedly worth $2 billion.

Russia’s first post-Soviet ruling class may expire peacefully with substantial assets in the hands of their children. Do they have more money than Bezos? It’s hard to tell, but it doesn’t matter if you have the power.

As he shuffles off this mortal coil, the unrepentant Chekist will smile knowing he beat them all.


Manthong any_mouse Wed, 08/23/2017 - 22:51 Permalink

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Isn’t this Browder the clown that got wrapped up trying to use that female Russian lawyer in a scam Trump story? If so, it would not be a surprise when he is disappeared.

In reply to by any_mouse

J S Bach chunga Wed, 08/23/2017 - 23:24 Permalink

Why don't these writers EVER consider a Rothschild when discussing the "T" word?  After all, they've been receiving interest on every western nation's money since their fractional reserve banking scams were inflicted upon them.  This has been going on for centuries now.  Any mathematicians out there care to contemplate the totals on that compounding gravy?

In reply to by chunga

DownWithYogaPants J S Bach Wed, 08/23/2017 - 23:46 Permalink

I have to second you on this point.  Rothchilds were trillionaires long long ago.  Here is my reasoning:  George Soros has 25 billion. Yet he has a public presence.  The real powers behind the throne are almost completely unseen. That means they are at least 10 to 100x Georgy the NAZI collaborator.  So yeah good candidate is Rothchild.  That's a lot of fucking skim they get off the private central banking scheme.  Nice work if you can get it.

In reply to by J S Bach

East Indian DownWithYogaPants Thu, 08/24/2017 - 00:00 Permalink

here is my reasoning: The world GDP is about $70 trillion; since 2008 alone, the Central Banks have created $15 trillion new dollars, euros, yens, renminbis, etc. Now how much of this debt is owned by you and me? 0% And how much is owned by the banksters and their central banksters? 100%. Now, tell me there isn't a single person among them who does not own 7% of that new debt money. No? Voila. There you have your trillionaire.  And if you take the money already in circulation into account, then there is certainly a trillionaire hiding somewhere since 2004 at least. 

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

OverTheHedge DownWithYogaPants Thu, 08/24/2017 - 01:30 Permalink

My only issue with the premise that George Soros is junior varsity, and that (insert name) Rothschild is multiple times more wealthy, is that you will start running out of assets to actually own. Queen Elizabeth allegedly owns vast tracts of land across the world, but does she, really? She owns the bits that no one else uses, like the strip of land around the UK between the high water and low water marks She also owns the tops of some very unproductive, cold mountains in Canada. Nice to have, but not really a productive asset.I'm sure the Rothschild family has lots of assets, but how much more than EVERYONE else can they own, before we start noticing? You suggest 10 to 100 times more than the Soros pile (that's a pun, if you speak Greek), but Soros is fairly well known, and his asset management stands out. As the article suggests, there would have to be a HUGE conspiracy, with all the world's premier finance people fully engaged, and it's not as if these people are a homogeneous group who would stick together like that, now, is it?Is it?Oh.....

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

Conscious Reviver J S Bach Thu, 08/24/2017 - 06:37 Permalink

Well done J. S. Bach. The author thinks everyone's mind works in the same greedy grubby way his does, but it just isn't so. Some people are driven by higher ideals. Like the admiration and gratitude of one's countrymen and a large part of humanity outside one's country might be sufficient to motivate some. The world has had it with the lying criminal murdering bankster empire.

In reply to by J S Bach

MEFOBILLS chunga Thu, 08/24/2017 - 01:19 Permalink

It is mental.  It is a hit piece on Putin with no facts, just allegations.Here is a fact, Putin removed or reduced the Oligarchs using various methods, especially by Taxing them, or putting them in jail.  For example, Yukos owning all the oil under Russian soil, was stealing the Patrimony of the Russian people.  Grabbing all the oil for yourself is the taking of rents forever, for yourself and your ((tribe)).Fact:  The symphony between Church and State, meaning the old Byzantine empire is being resurrected.  This then puts Orthodox Church in position of being a moral arbiter over the state.  Being an Oligarch implies immoral criminality due to ill gotten gains, yet Putin installed a governor (the church) as a brake on criminality.So, which is it?  Putin cannot be two different things simultaneously.  Russian civilization is improving every year.  Miraculously Russians have thrown off the "international" schemes of the Liberal ((internationalists)) from the 1920's.  Russian's suffered through intense warfare, then the Gulags.  Yet, somehow they have gotten back up on their feet.  Will America be able to do the same, after it is destroyed. Ejecting of parasites is very difficult, especially if they control the press and the money power.Also, author implies that Putin is Cheka.  WTF?  Cheka's were primarly a Jewish run operation, who "grabbed the Slav's" by their short hairs.  The Cheka's were worse than the Gestapo.Author of this piece is a serious dumb-ass, or he is casting hypnosis for some reason.The Tyler's are slipping.

In reply to by chunga

OverTheHedge MEFOBILLS Thu, 08/24/2017 - 01:40 Permalink

Firstly, it is august, so slow news on the hedge. Last year I reread the entire Dune saga, because it was so dull here, but then things picked up again in September. This year I haven't picked up a book (except for Yiannis Varufakis's brief history of the EU, which is a fun read if slightly biased), but still, it is August.Secondly, I wonder if Tyler does this on purpose: people either pay to have articles placed here, or use other inducements, but the comments section takes NO prisoners. If the article is a pile of crap, it will be pointed out ruthlessly, and immediately, as it is here. When the comments are moderated, that will be the time to leave. Question: where else on the internet is total freedom of debate allowed? Anyone know? We can even be nasty about minorities again, how the servers are on the Amazon cloud, or is it the NSA cloud? I forget which.Either way, the article works, even if it is complete rubbish.

In reply to by MEFOBILLS

Conscious Reviver not dead yet Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:15 Permalink

Read this article.… to see how blatant and shameless they are about their love for ISIS. ISIS Love. It doesn't seem to matter to them in the least that their preference has led to the slaughter of over a million people in Syria and Iraq. Mass destruction. How many maimed? They argue that Western distaste (for slaughter and forcing people to live under ISIS)  should not keep them from getting what they want.And applause MeFoBills.And Bozo vs. Putin is a ridiculous comparison. A government sponsored bean counter vs. The Great Statesmen of our time? Crazy article.

In reply to by not dead yet

Veritas X- MEFOBILLS Thu, 08/24/2017 - 03:03 Permalink

Always a pleasure reading your analyses MEFOBILLSTruly enlightening for those still stumbling-in-the dark.May I add some concrete facts supporting your analysis:447 of the top 556 Bolsheviks were (((jewish)))… **Putin; 80-85% Bolsheviks Revolution were Jews. ** The CHEKA with ca 200,000 was ca 75% (((jewish)))…

In reply to by MEFOBILLS

Koba the Dread Overfed Thu, 08/24/2017 - 02:42 Permalink

Agreed! I strongly doubt anyone at Zero Hedge is capable of posting an article that isn't click bait. The Tylers are winding up affairs, grabbing at the hits they can before they close up The Big Store. Hey! Everybody enjoys a good con game. . .as long as you just get to watch it. A good con is fun to be stung by as long as you know you're being scammed and don't lose too much. Think of the loss as the price of admission or as tuition.Adios Zero Hedge. I notice a lot of your former big hitters have long abandoned you. Where to go next? Where to go next? Breitbart smells too much like unwashed factory workers. Unz like your maiden aunt's laundry basket. Druge is the National Inquirer of the airwaves. Gee! Maybe I can find some old Muppet shows on Youtube.

In reply to by Overfed

sessinpo Bes Wed, 08/23/2017 - 23:01 Permalink

There will always be oligarchs.  There will always be winners and losers, just like there are beta males and alpha males. If every oligarch were gone tomorrow, do you not think someone else will rise to power? Every class and every system eventually leads to some sort of order in which someone(s) have to lead. And by nature they accumulate wealth and power.

In reply to by Bes

MozartIII tmosley Wed, 08/23/2017 - 23:29 Permalink

Putin! He actualy cares for his country and thinks long tern. Then he also makes his money, he is not a leftist/marxist that works for free. Notice how we never talk about those poor blood suckers on these lists (Then Soros has to pay left and right actors, so they can be organic in their rising up against the something)......Bezos was a college clown that stole someone elses idea for comunicating to college friends. Due to how it's grown with support from the NSA,CIA & FBI... Of course he sold out. No current kids are using facebook. It's for old people, the boomers have latched on, the young are elsewhere. Bezos is done, just not soon enough. If we have a real revolution (not the Soros, Clinton, Obama fake ones with bussed in paid protesters from both sides). These clowns will be killed or banned from the country. They don't actually study real history to understand any of this, their handlers have never read any real history to help them have understanding. Time will tell! The left is losing and is going to maximum stupidity to look like they are winning (No comment about the non-existent media has been made), the left is stuck on a path set forward by the fabian society. Find more info here: (warning, a lot of reading with real words, times & dates)- tactics of the left are pissing off more people than they can win, the RIGHT & Left generally work for the large C Corps and Special interest groups. Putin is offering real strength and legitimate support to several areas of the world. Bezos is just a big zit.No one cares about any of their money! It's not mine, yours or anyone elses!  Why do you care so much about other peoples money? OH, you don't have any...And in your infinite kindness, you will never spend that which is rightfully yours on others, unless you have abundance through prosparity. That would come from the evil of capitalism, and success. If you fail... You are not missed!

In reply to by tmosley