The rich, rich wife of Russian officials

The Russian Forbes has rated the wives of politicians and officials with the highest incomes. Finding that they are often richer than their husbands.

This could lead to thinking that it is common among high ranking Russian politicians and officials to marry wealthy women. Or one could think that marrying a high official in Russia makes a good chance of becoming rich. In fact, very rich.

Like the first of's list, Gulsina Minnikhanova, married to Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. Her 2016 income declaration - whose publication is compulsory under Russian law - certifies revenue of nearly $42 million. Gulsina is three hundred times richer than her husband. The main source of her income comes from a luxury hotel complex and spa, with the evocative Italian name of Luciano, in the center of Tatarstan’s capital, Kazan.

What neither the income declaration nor Forbes rankings say is where Gulsinahas taken the money to build her Luciano.

Richer that rich

Gulsina, though the richest, is not alone. In the top 10 there is the wife of another regional governor and the spouses of federal, regional and local lawmakers.

The second in the list is Raisa Bredny, married to Ulan-Ude city lawmaker Vadim Bredny, of Putin's United Russia party. Raisa earned $33 million in 2016 by directing her husband's food company. More than the latter, which declared only $15 million.

Coming at no. 3 is Olga Bogomaz, happy wife of Aleksandr, governor of the Bryansk region, with little more than $13 million, two hundred times her husband's declaration.

It takes the fourth place to find the first woman in the list who isn’t married to a politician. Ekaterina Ignatova, wife of the Rostec state giant head, Sergei Chemezov, is in fact almost as rich as Mrs. Bogomaz: she declared little more than $13 million too, but she is only four times richer than her husband.

Well, there’s no need to continue down the list.

Rich and powerful

The rich and richest rankings in Russia resemble the royal family's pedigree. They're all related. Thus, Mrs. Bredny's husband, the second richest of our list, is instead ranked first in the list of the richest public employees in Russia. While in third place is the president of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, husband of Guslina, the queen of our ranking. And so on.

So much money in the hands of public officials who administers public affairs - or in those of their spouses - raises so many questions. Questions that in Putin's Russia no one can ask, but to which every single Russian give the same answer. Resigned but not outraged.

The fight against corruption is indeed the main topic used by democratic opposition, lead by Alexey Navalny.

His aim is to show Russians how much wealth is packed in so few hands, while ordinary people struggle.

The only argument capable of shaking the average Russian from his Oblomovian torpor.

Something that so far has worked too little.


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