Putin was required to give details of his income and assets as part of his registration for the upcoming presidential election, due to be held March 18. Putin completed his registration Tuesday, according to reports in Russian state media.
Putin's stated income and wealth would make him relatively wealthy in Russia, where the average national salary was estimated to be less than $6,700 a year in 2015. The Russian president claims his income came from his official salary and a military pension, as well as income from saving accounts and shares.
However, most outside observers believe that Putin's wealth is far greater than he lets on. Many estimates are generally in the billions — in 2015, Bill Browder, a former fund manager in Russia and major critic of Putin, estimated the president's net worth at $200 billion, a figure that would likely make him the richest person on Earth.
Proving these estimates has been difficult, though some details of the wealth in Putin's family have recently come out. Bloomberg News reported last month, for example, that Putin's son-in-law had acquired billions of dollars worth of shares in a Russian petrochemical giant after marrying into the family, though he since appears to have been forced to relinquish those shares because of marital problems.
Putin himself has also been spotted wearing expensive watches with a total value thought to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as have a number of other high-ranking Russian officials. The Obama administration considered releasing details of Putin's finances to embarrass him in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, officials later told The Washington Post.
Two other candidates registered for March's election earned at least twice as much as Putin between 2011 and 2016, according to the documentation they filed with the Russian election commission. Liberal Democratic Party candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky earned 98 million rubles ($1.7 million) in that period, while Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin made 157.4 million rubles ($2.8 million).
Russian presidents have publicly released their salaries since the Boris Yeltsin era. According to the RBC business portal, documents released by the election commission suggest that Putin's income more than doubled after the 2012 presidential vote, and the amount of money in his bank account almost tripled.
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