In an age of growing billionaire wealth and ever-larger numbers of dollar-millionaires, an inevitable question is how reliable are the numbers put out annually by data gatherers like Credit Suisse, the Hurun Rich List, and Forbes with regard to the count of the wealthy people, and the extent of their wealth. In her remarkable book, Putin’s People, Catherine Belton says that seven or eight oligarchs at one stage controlled about half of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP). Such dominance by a narrow circle around the country’s ruler is rare. In India, though, the growing talk is of the two ‘A’s as they have come to be called. Their wealth -- currently estimated at $90 billion each -- is multiples of what any Russian oligarch ever had. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, before he was jailed, was worth just $15 billion, and the wealthiest Russian today is said to be worth $30 billion.
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