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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow's Capitalist Elite: Wealthy and Wary

If you need proof that Russia is taking firm strides toward capitalism, here it is in the form of two lists of Russia's 20 richest and 50 most influential businessmen.

Bankers top both lists, with Most Group head Vladimir Gusinsky rated the richest and Inkombank President Vladimir Vinogradov rated the most influential businessmen in Russia, said Alexander Kinsburski, a researcher at Vox Populi public opinion service, which polled a field of experts to create the lists.

The nation's leading businessmen, however, were less than grateful for the publicity in a country where bankers have often been targets for Mafia-style killings. Eleven bankers were murdered in 1993 alone.

Oleg Boiko, chairman of the board of the Natsionalny Credit bank and Olbi-Diplomat trading concern, said he was glad he did not head the list of the country's richest men.

"I am not surprised that I was rated second, but I am happy I was not first," Boiko said in an interview. "Let Gusinsky be the object for all the attacks the top people are always subject to."

Boiko said he could not evaluate his personal fortune, as shares of the firms he owns are not quoted on the market. But he said last year's profit of the Natsionalny Bank and Olbi group came to "dozens of millions of dollars."

Such statistical problems are endemic, making any precise listing of Russia's richest businessmen -- along the lines of the Fortune 500 -- virtually impossible. That leaves a polling of estimates by those in the know as the best available alternative.

A press-secretary for Most Bank said that Gusinsky, who ranked four points ahead of his nearest rival on the list of the wealthy and came in second on the influence list, would not be available for comment since he was vacationing in Britain.

The Most group includes Most Bank, one of Russia's biggest, the construction company Most-Development, consulting services and an investment company. It also owns part of the Segodnya newspaper and the television station NTV.

Vinogradov's Inkombank, which made a profit of 34.7 billion rubles ($17.8 million) in 1993, holds third place in credit investments in the Russian economy, according to Anatoly Mironov, spokesman for the bank.

He said Vinogradov was away hunting somewhere in the vast Russian forests and was unreachable for comment.

Kinsburski of Vox Populi said the idea for the lists occurred to him after businessmen, who were never before involved in politics, appeared in a separate list of the most influential politicians.

"We understood that businessmen had become a real power in our country and decided to poll them as well," he said.

The poll's base was narrow but informed. According to Kinburski, 10 specialists from Moscow business, mass media and advertising agencies chose from 175 candidates to come up with the rich list, while 50 experts collectively chose the 50 most influential businessmen. Influence and wealth were rated on a scale of one to 10, with 10 the highest.

Seven heads of large trading firms and financial organizations have joined the most- influential list since a similar poll was conducted in April.

One of them is Sergei Mavrodi, president of the MMM joint-stock company, which has used a massive advertising campaign to make its shares the most widely held in Russia. While MMM's activities have aroused much criticism from the government and analysts, the company continues to guarantee a phenomenal 10 percent weekly return on investments.

Three new heads of industrial enterprises also appeared on the list: Rem Vyakhirev, head of Gazprom; Vagit Alekperov, head of Lukoil, Russia's largest independent oil company; and Boris Berezovsky, director of LogoVAZ and the All-Russian Automobile Alliance.

Berezovksy drew a great deal of media attention in June, when several attempts were made on his life.

Heads of Moscow exchanges, who were some of the first movers and shakers in Russia's emerging market economy, showed a significant decline.

Alexander Zakharov, general director of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, home to the state treasury bills trading, plummeted from a joint 18th to 37th place; Yury Milukov, president of the Moscow Commodities Exchange, dropped from joint 18th to 35th; Alexander Vlasov, president of the Russian Raw Materials and Commodities Exchange, fell from 26th to 40th.

But Konstantin Borovoi, the showy founder of Vlasov's exchange, kept a strong ninth place on the list of the country's richest people. Borovoi left the exchange to pursue a career in politics, but this appears to have been a less successful move. He failed to make it onto the influence list at all.

Russia's 20 Most Influential Businessmen

Rank Poll rating

1.V. Vinogradov (Inkombank) 7.72

2.V. Gusinsky (Most group) 7.67

3.A. Smolensky(Stolichny bank) 7.62

4. V. Yakovlev (Kommersant ) 7.50

5. M. Khodorkovsky (Menatep) 7.49

6.O. Boiko (Olbi concern) 7.35

7. V. Neverov (Germes) 7.21

8. R. Vyakhirv (Gazprom) 7.19

9. S. Rodionov (Imperial bank) 7.11

10. V. Kadannikov (AvtoVAZ) 6.89

11.S. Fyodorov (Eye Microsurgen) 6.85

12. S. Mavrodi (AO MMM) 6.67

13. B. Berezovsky (LogoVAZ) 6.70

14. P. Nakhmanovich (Avtovazbank) 6.67

15. M. Masarsky (Ross. Zoloto) 6.62

16-17. Y. Agapov (Kredobank) 6.50

16-17. V. Malkin (Rossiisky Kredit) 6.50

18. A. Rappoport (Alfa) 6.49

19. N. Bekh (KamAZ) 6.45

20. V. Yakunin (Tokobank) 6.40

20 Richest Russians

1. Vladimir Gusinsky 10

2. Oleg Boiko 6

3. Vladimir Vinogradov 6

4. Alexander Smolensky 6

5. Mikhail Khodorkovsky 6

6. Sergei Mavrodi 5

7. Vladimir Neverov 5

8. Svyatoslav Fyodorov 5

9. Konstantin Borovoi 3

10. A. Yefanov 3

11. Vladimir Kadannikov 3

12. I. Kivelidi 3

13. Mark Masarsky 3

14. V. Sherbakov 3

15. Yuri Agapov 2

16. Kokha Bendukidze 2

17. Boris Berezovsky 2

18. Mark Goryachev 2

19. A. Mukhametshin 2

20. I. Nakhmanovich 2

Source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta