Russia's war economy is so hot that at least 12 of its oligarchs received $11 billion in dividends over 15 months

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  • Russia’s economy is boosting the wealth of oligarchs, some of whom are sanctioned.

  • A dozen Russian tycoons pocketed $11.4 billion in dividends for 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

  • Russia’s biggest companies are still raking it in despite the West’s isolation of its economy.

Russia’s wartime economy has not only made some poor people better off — some of Russia’s oligarchs are getting richer, too.

At least 12 businesspeople received more than 1 trillion rubles, or about $11.4 billion, in dividends for all of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, according to data reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday. The outlet compiled the data from publicly disclosed information.

Bloomberg reported that many of the tycoons who received the dividend windfall were closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin and that some of them had been sanctioned by the West.

The biggest winners from the dividend payouts were commodities exporters that benefited from Russia’s pivot of its trade eastward toward China, India, and other countries in the Global South, Bloomberg reported. Their key customers were previously from Europe.

Vagit Alekperov, a key shareholder and former president of the oil giant Lukoil, ranked highest, having received 186 billion rubles in dividends. He’s been sanctioned by the UK and Australia.

Alexey Mordashov, the chairman and main shareholder of the steel company Severstal, pocketed 148 billion rubles in dividends. The US, the UK, and the European Union have sanctioned him.

Vladimir Lisin, the chairman of Novolipetsk Steel, meanwhile raked in 121 billion rubles in dividends.

The payouts illustrate how Russia’s biggest companies are still profiting despite the West’s isolation of the country’s economy, which grew 5.4% in the first quarter of this year from a year ago.

Russia’s war-driven economy is so hot that the World Bank upgraded it to a “high-income country” last week.

But Russia’s Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting — a key think tank — warned the country’s economy could cool and slip into crisis in the second half of this year should the Bank of Russia hike interest rates, according to a Monday report from Kommersant, a business-news outlet.

Elvira Nabiullina, the chief of Russia’s central bank, has signaled an interest-rate hike ahead because of higher-than-expected inflation.

Russia’s key interest rate is already at 16% to cool price rises, but inflation hit 8.3% in May — well above the official 4% target.

Read the original article on Business Insider