Richest Russian In The World: Andrey Melnichenko Net Worth

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Andrey Melnichenko
Russian billionaire and businessman Andrei Melnichenko attends a meeting with top businessmen while visiting the Sirius education center for gifted children on July 19, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.

Industrialist Andrey Melnichenko is the richest Russian in the world today, according to Forbes' real-time billionaires list. 

Melnichenko, who founded fertilizer producer EuroChem Group and coal supplier Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK), has a net worth of $27 billion, according to the latest Forbes estimate.

The 50-year-old Russian entrepreneur, who was born in Belarus, comes from humble beginnings. The son of a Soviet physicist, Melnichenko dropped out of college when the Soviet Union fell in 1991 to start a chain of currency exchange booths.

Two years later, together with two classmates, he founded MDM Bank, which became one of Russia's most successful private banks. 

In 2000, Melnichenko partnered with metals and oil trader Sergei Popov, Bloomberg reported. The two bought industrial plants and coal mines around Russia, which resulted in the launch of EuroChem, SUEK and TMK, a steel pipe manufacturer. 

Popov and Melnichenko sold their TMK stakes to another partner, Dmitry Pumpyansky, in 2006. The following year, the two swapped assets — Popov took control of MDM Bank, and Melnichenko became the sole owner of EuroChem. Melnichenko later bought Popov's stake in SUEK.

Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began in February, Melnichenko ceded ownership of SUEK and EuroChem to his wife Aleksandra in March before he was sanctioned by the European Union (EU) along with other Russian billionaires, Reuters reported in May. 

Since 2006, Aleksandra was second in line behind her husband on the list of beneficial owners of the two companies, according to three people who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity because they aren't allowed to speak publicly about the couple's assets. That meant that she would inherit ownership of the companies in the event her husband died, the sources said.

Melnichenko had a collection of Impressionist art, including pieces by Claude Monet, according to Forbes.

The billionaire, who is fond of sea travel, also owned two superyachts – a $300-million Motor Yacht A, resembling a submarine, and a $500-million yacht called "Sailing Yacht A." 

Authorities seized these superyachts in March after he was sanctioned amid the war in Ukraine.

The second richest Russian, according to Forbes' list, is Vladimir Potanin, who has a net worth of $26.3 billion. He is followed by steel producer NLMK Group chairman Vladimir Lisin, who has a net worth of $25.2 billion. 

Andrey Melnichenko

Photo: Getty Images/Mikhail Svetlov

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