At the beginning of 2008, the list of richest Russians contained 101 billionaires; a magical number that for the time being will not be matched. The global crisis hit hard in Russia. Exactly a year later, there are only 49 Russians with fortunes of ten figures or more. 101 Billionaires shows the other side of modern Russia, the raw reality that lurks behind the facade of the power elite.
Under Vladimir Putin's rule, Russia has reclaimed its position among the superpowers of the world in the past eight years, the economic recession and the tumultuous nineties seemingly all but forgotten. Thanks to the country's huge abundance of raw materials such oil and natural gas, the Russian economy is flourishing as never before. After a mere 18 years of capitalism, the January 2008 issue of Finans Magazine reported that there are currently 101 billionaires in Russia.
It is difficult to detect much prosperity in the book 101 Billionaires, which portrays an entirely different segment of the Russian population. Far away from the glitter and glamour of Moscow, the world's most expensive city, we find the impoverished Russians, victims of the 'tough-as-nails' capitalism with which Russia made its name immediately after the fall of Communism.