For the past decade and a half, Russian oligarchs have built the biggest yachts, bought the most expensive mansions and bid for the top artworks in the world. But now, the billionaire beneficiaries of the Vladimir Putin era are getting squeezed.
The combination of sanctions, the falling ruble and continuous slide in oil prices is chopping billions from the fortunes of Russia's richest men (and they are all men). We shouldn't feel sympathy for these strongmen of Russia, since the 110 richest Russians control 35 percent of the economy.
Yet the current crisis in Russia could become the largest single wealth-destruction event in recent years.
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Among those who could get hardest hit is Gennady Timchenko, a close ally of Putin who's worth around $10 billion. Timchenko used to control the oil-trading giant Gunvor Group, but says he sold his shares just before the U.S. slapped sanctions on the company.