Russia may not be the richest large economy, or the fastest growing large economy, or Europe's largest economy, or even the economy that hosts the world's financial centre, but it is pretty clearly the best place to be if you want to become a billionaire.
The rate of return on investment in Russia is amongst the highest in the world – for the well connected or the aggressive risk-taker that is. It has been the large economy in which the chance of becoming a billionaire has been the highest over the last 15 years.
"After all, there certainly weren't any billionaires in Russia in 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved, and probably none until 1994 when the first businessmen began to secure control over privatised property. But since then, Russia has been churning out billionaires by the dozen every year; today, there are 101 according to Forbes and no sign of the number slowing down anytime soon," says Jacob Nell, an analyst with Morgan Stanley in Moscow who compiled the table below.
Between 2004 and 2011, Russia produced one billionaire for every 1.87m people, compared with the US, the next best place to be, where one billionaire was created for every 2.29m people, or in the UK with one for every 4.13m people.
China, the darling of the emerging markets, doesn't do half as well, producing one billionaire for every 11.76m people in the last 15 years, while in Germany the man in the street had no chance of becoming a billionaire at all, as the overall number of billionaires remained stuck at 52 since 2004.
Chances of becoming a billionaire, percentage for one person out of million population
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