Yes, that is what I believe. I would be surprised if Putin is not one of Europe´s richest men, and in that case it´s not his official salary which is behind his wealth. The rumours linking Putin to corruption, bribery and unlawful takeovers of companies surfaced already during his time as assistent to Sobtjak, the mayor of St. Petersburg in the beginning of the 1990´s. Putin´s position as the official responsible for foreign trade in St. Petersburg gave him undreamed-of possibilites "na leva" (to the left). As president from the year 2000 he has then had all the opportunities to enrich himself, his relatives and friends at the expense of either the Russian state or stateowned companies.
|Putin, here together with his friend and supporter, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder|
It can be extremely profitable to be close to Putin. Vladimir Putin's right-hand man Igor Shuvalov is a rising star in Russian politics. He's also made a lot of money since joining the government:
While Shuvalov has gained prominence as arguably the government's second-most important leader, he's also gotten notice as Russia's wealthiest public servant. In required annual income declarations, Shuvalov's reported earnings rose from about $160,000 in 2008 to about $500,000 in 2010. Over that same period, however, his stay-at-home wife—Olga Shuvalova, a law school classmate—outearned him, some years reporting more income than all top government ministers combined. In 2008, Mrs. Shuvalova declared income of about $12 million. In 2009, about $20 million. In 2010, about $10 million. When the Russian press made note of Mrs. Shuvalova's earnings, and her registered ownership of some valuable property outside Moscow, the deputy prime minister said his wife was receiving dividends from investments that he'd placed in a trust before entering government service.
Read the entire article here