Who made 'Putin's List'? A broad scope of Russia's political and business elite

Who made 'Putin's List'? A broad scope of Russia's political and business elite
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives at a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 27, 2017. Putin called the White House's release of a list of Russian business and political leaders a "hostile step." (Alexander Nemenov / Pool / EPA / Shutterstock)

The White House list of Russian politicians and business elite — seen as possible targets for sanctions — includes a wide spectrum of the country’s industry and political establishment. The list has stunned Moscow, where the roster is seen as much broader than anticipated.

The Kremlin has promised to respond soon.


In total, there are 210 names on the Trump administration’s list. Of those, 96 are so-called “oligarchs,” a wealthy class of Russia’s most influential — and rich — businessmen who are believed to have close ties to the Kremlin and to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. The list highlights those believed to be worth at least $1 billion, a sum generally thought to be impossible to amass and keep in Russia without some kind of close connection to the Kremlin. Worthy of note, the list bears a close resemblance to Forbes Magazine’s 2017 Russian billionaires list.

The Kremlin’s presidential administration staff is included, along with 76 Putin advisors, Cabinet ministers and aides. There also are 39 members of the political elite, including governors, mayors and regional government heads.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the Russians on the list:

Dmitry Medvedev

Russia’s prime minister since 2012, Medvedev, 52, has been Putin’s chief of staff and deputy prime minister. Medvedev served as president from 2008 to 2012, after Putin encountered a presidential two-term limit and became prime minister. Putin was elected president again in 2012, and Medvedev took over as prime minister. Medvedev was the focus of Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny’s widely viewed video investigation into Kremlin-linked corruption scandals. In the video, Medvedev is accused of amassing a fortune worth $1.2 billion in land and lavish houses through shell companies and foundations. The video has garnered more than 26 million views.

Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s foreign minister since 2004, Lavrov, 67, previously served as ambassador to the United Nations. He is known for being a smart, loyal civil servant with a wry sense of humor.

Sergey Shoygu

Minister of Defense since 2012, Shoygu, 62, has been rumored as a possible successor should Putin step down. Shoygu is credited with Russia’s recent efforts to beef up its military spending.

Leonid Mikhelson

Forbes lists Mikhelson, 62, as being worth $18.4 billion, which would make him the richest man in Russia. He is the chief executive officer of Novatek, Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer. He also owns a quarter of the publicly traded company.

Roman Abramovich

Considered one of Russia’s richest men, Abramovich mostly resides in London, where he owns the Chelsea soccer team. Abramovich, 51, is worth an estimated $9.1 billion, making him the 12th richest Russian billionaire on the Forbes list.

Petr Aven

Aven, 62, is co-founder of the Alfa Group, which includes Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest commercial bank. Aven’s partners at Alfa Group also are on the list — Mikhail Fridman and German Khan. The three men have been linked to the Trump administration in another way: They filed a lawsuit against Fusion GPS, the Washington-based research and intelligence firm that hired a former British intelligence officer to compile what became known as the Steele Dossier, purportedly documenting compromising connections Trump might have to Russia — information that remains largely unverified. Aven, Fridman and Khan say the document harmed their business reputations by alleging their association with Kremlin efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections.