Russia has the World’s Richest Government –Forbes

Money, dollars - from photos.comCynics in Russia now have a new figure to point their fingers at. As the Forbes magazine reported on April 1st, the country currently has the world’s wealthiest government. Millionaire and billionaire politicians serve in all manner of capacities, working in the Parliament, as mayors and as governors.

The number of billionaires residing in the country also rose this year, and Russia now ranks second in the world for numbers of the super-rich. The new oligarchs have made their money in a variety of entrepreneurial activities, from commodities to the stock market, and hold an unprecedented amount of the national income. The 500 richest Russians control over half of the country’s GDP.

Many of the high net-worth politicians have close ties to outgoing President Vladimir Putin, and most are members of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. Forbes admits that wealth and political power frequently come together, but adds that Russia has taken the concept to new extremes. “[T]he scale of wealth in Russia’s government is unparalleled anywhere else on Earth,” the magazine writes. And the personal benefits of political power in the country are great, giving business leaders both lobbying power and a cutting advantage over the competition. As another added perk, legislators have immunity from prosecution while in office.

The situation is all the more absurd, since Russian law prohibits any government official from running a business. But with hundred-million dollar sums potentially at stake, finding a solution that makes everything legitimate on paper doesn’t prove too difficult.