Vladimir Putin's Net Worth Revealed

Vladimir Putin is the current president of Russia with a reported net worth of $70 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. With his recent decision to invade Ukraine in February 2022 and the international sanctions that followed, the controversial leader's finances have been the topic of many headlines. Although Putin has officially disclosed an annual salary of $187,000 as president, there are varying reports on how much he's actually worth.

People familiar with the Russian leader claim Putin has exploited his power to secretly take part ownership of private companies. In 2017, American fund manager Bill Browder estimated Putin's worth to be approximately $200 billion after the president arrested Russia's richest man Michael Khodorkovsky, according to Yahoo! Finance. "After Khodorkovsky's conviction the other oligarchs went to Putin and asked him what they needed to do to avoid sitting in the same cage as Khodorkovsky," Browder said in 2017 during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee testimony (via Celebrity Net Worth). "From what followed, it appeared that Putin's answer was, 'Fifty percent.' He wasn't saying 50% for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50% for Vladimir Putin personally."

Curious to learn more about his wealth? Here's what we know about Vladimir Putin's net worth.

He studied law before jumping into politics

Vladimir Putin's life in law and politics began decades ago. As a young man, the future Russian president attended Leningrad State University where he studied law. Before graduating in 1975, Putin met assistant professor Anatoly Sobchak, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Sobchak co-wrote the Russian constitution and would become a large political figure. While Putin was in school, Sobchak mentored him, according to Britannica.

After university, Putin became a foreign intelligence officer with the Committee for State Security (KGB), where he worked for 15 years, according to his Britannica biography. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1990 and went back to Leningrad State University, which is where he reunited with Sobchak. This set the stage for Putin's long political career. Putin advised Sobchak, who was elected mayor of St. Petersburg. 

Putin eventually made his own way up the ladder to first deputy mayor in 1994.

Vladimir Putin has been president for almost two decades

In 1999, Russian President Boris Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin, who was security chief at the time, to the role of prime minister (via Reuters). Later that year, Yeltsin resigned and Putin became acting president — then he won the presidential election in 2000. Putin has been in power ever since. In fact, aside from another stint as prime minister starting in 2008 due to constitutional term limits on the presidency, Putin has been in power for almost 20 years.

Because of this, Forbes suggested another theory about Putin's wealth: He might not be as rich as he appears. Putin might not need many personal assets because he has such a stronghold over Russia and the country's businesses. This theory notes that not only can Putin use money and deals from the country's private sector, but he could also just appear to have massive amounts of money in order to make himself look even more powerful.

He has a wealthy circle of friends

Whether President Vladimir Putin is one of the richest people in the world or not, one thing is certain — he has a list of wealthy associates. In 2016, investigative journalists published leaked files (known as the Panama Papers) that revealed offshore financial dealings of wealthy individuals. According to The Guardian, although Putin wasn't named in the leak, many people in his circle were, as well as information about financial deals that may have been linked to the president.

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden financially sanctioned five elite Russian families (along with two large Russian Banks). According to CNN, sanctioning these individuals with close ties to Putin, as well as their family members, will make it harder for Putin's inner circle to protect and hide their wealth. The official White House statement made it clear that the rich individuals sanctioned have profited from their connection to the Russian government.

Vladimir Putin allegedly has an expensive watch collection

Although Vladimir Putin's exact net worth is up for debate, he has been known to wear his some pricey items, which can give us another clue about how much the Russian president can afford. Specifically, Putin has an affinity for luxury watches and has been seen wearing expensive timepieces on multiple occasions.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, President Putin has been pictured wearing watches such as a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar and a Breguet Marine. He's even been spotted giving expensive watches away to members of the public, although these were viewed as publicity stunts. In one instance, Putin gave a young boy a Blancpain watch worth thousands of dollars. Another time, which was also caught on camera, Putin gifted a luxury watch to a worker who had asked for a memento. 

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that, by 2012, Putin had been pictured wearing approximately £160,000 (about $213,000) worth of watches throughout the years, presumably a strong indication of Putin's net worth.

He's reportedly declared just two homes

In 2019, President Vladimir Putin officially disclosed his assets. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his disclosure listed an 830-square-foot Saint Petersberg apartment and a larger apartment (1,600 square-feet) located in Moscow. Additionally, he declared a camper trailer worth $900. Although Putin might own these apartments and the trailer, he's also suspected of residing in more expensive, undisclosed abodes.

In 2020, the Russian newspaper Sobesednik (via News.com.au) reported Putin is connected to a multi-million dollar palace. The estate, which is two times the size of Buckingham Palace, is owned by the Russian Federation and is believed to belong to the president or someone associated with him.

Critics also claim Putin owns another home off of the Black Sea, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Russian activists shared footage of the billion-dollar property, which boasts a hockey rink, nightclub, and guest house, among other extravagant features. At 190,000 square-feet, the mansion is thought to be the largest home in Russia.

Sanctions may not hurt him financially

Although the United States, as well as the country's allies, have sanctioned various Russian financial institutions, oligarchs, and even Vladimir Putin himself, it's unclear how or if sanctions will directly impact the president's net worth. While initial sanctions haven't stalled Russia from invading Ukraine, they have negatively affected Russia's economy. "Nobody can say what's happening in Putin's brain," Heidi Crebo-Rediker, a former State Department chief economist, told Politico, "but he obviously felt the confidence to move ahead regardless of the economic blowback. Sanctions did not deter."

Because Putin's exact wealth is so elusive, it's difficult to know how sanctions will affect him. If the president does secretly own assets, it might be hard to pinpoint them. For example, a yacht that has been linked to Putin moved from Germany to Russia ahead of the Ukrainian invasion in February 2022, according to Business Insider

Moreover, sanctions might not have a dramatic impact on his inner circle. "It means that the sanctions that we hit these people with are largely going to be glorified press releases, because without knowing what these assets are, we can't freeze them," U.S. Helsinki Commission Senior Advisor Paul Massaro told The New York Times.