Another Guggenheim trustee, Janna Bullock, was born in Russia and made her name — and $700 million— in real estate and art. Bullock had assembled more than 4,000 works by Russian artists from the late 19th century to the present day, the Guggenheim Foundation said in a 2007 press release announcing her election to the board.
But in 2010, the New York socialite took a leave of absence from the Guggenheim amid a Russian mafia money laundering scandal. Several countries froze her assets,The Moscow Times reported in September.
A few popular social media companies have Russian investors to thank.
Yuri Milner, 52,has contributed cash to some of America's well-known brands, including Twitter, Groupon and Zynga. In 2011, through his firm Digital Sky Technologies, he convinced Goldman Sachs to help buy a $500 million stake in Facebook, Bloomberg News reported.
(Read more: Where Russia's wealth is outside its borders)
That same year, he bought a $100 million mansion in Los Altos, Calif. — the most reportedly paid for a single-family home in the U.S. at the time. But Milner, worth an estimated $1.8 billion, isn't the only Russian to rival Silicon Valley.
Eugene Kaspersky founded Kaspersky Lab, an antivirus software company, seven years ago in Moscow. It now has 30 offices, including a U.S. headquarters outside of Boston.The firm's impressive list of clients includes the FBI, and Kaspersky's personal wealth has grown to around $800 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.
While the U.S.scales back its space program, Kremlin has pledged cash to make the space industry a priority. Currently, Russia is the only country to operate a space shuttle that can take astronauts to the International Space Station.
Billionaires, such as Arkady Rotenberg, whose riches are in construction, have invested millions of dollars into space technology to set Russia apart.
(Read more: Another Crimea? Ukraine's neighbor asks to join Russia)
The Russian aerospace firm Orbital Technologies, meanwhile, made headlines in 2010 when it announced plans in the next few years to launch a spaceship hotel 200 miles above the Earth. The clientele would be, of course, deep-pocketed explorers.
"Space tourism is a real and fast-growing business," Orbital Technologies CEO Sergei Kostenkosaid at the time, according to Reuters. "Whoever builds the first new spaceship now will reap big dividends."