Downward Mobility

Russia's Dwindling Billionaires

The magazine Finans has released its annual list of the 10 richest men in Russia, and the results aren't pretty: Thanks to the financial crisis, the number of Russian billionaires has dwindled from 101 last year to 49 this year, a five-year low, and while the combined net worth of the top ten was $221 billion at the end of 2007, by the end of last year it was $79.5 billion. A year ago Mikhail Prokhorov, a playboy bachelor who profited last year by selling nickel and palladium giant Norilsk Nickel, wouldn't have even made the list, but this year he clocked in as the richest Russian, with a $14.1 billion fortune, down from $21.5 billion a year ago. Roman Abramovich, who owns the Chelsea soccer club, placed second with $13.9 billion after losing $9 billion, and Oleg Deripaska, Russia's richest man in 2006 and 2007, dropped to eighth on the list with $4.9 billion after suffering a 90 percent decline of his $40 billion fortune.