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Opinion
Timothy L. O'Brien

Putin’s Wealth May Be Unreachable, But Russia’s Isn’t

The U.S. should be prepared to lock Russia out of the international financial system.

How much does he have and where does he have it?

How much does he have and where does he have it?

Photographer: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP

The first Google hit that surfaces when you search “Vladimir Putin’s net worth” is from something called Wealthy Gorilla, which bills itself as “one of the leading self-improvement blogs on the web.” It pegs the Russian president’s wealth at $70 billion — a figure that, like much else on the site, is offered without evidence.

Bill Browder, a U.S. investor who made a fortune in Russia before becoming a prominent Kremlin critic, told the U.S. Senate in 2017 that Putin was worth $200 billion. Browder is more credible than Wealthy Gorilla, which may not be saying much, but he didn’t share his math, either. Putin “keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation,” Browder said.