Roman Abramovich
Net worth: $23.5 billion

Orphaned at age 4, Abramovich was raised by his uncle and grandmother. He dropped out of college and eventually made a fortune after taking over Russian oil giant Sibneft, which he later sold.

Roman, was gifted with a talent for business and being in the right place at the right time as he started his career as an entrepreneur just as Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms permitted the opening of small private businesses.

He began his business career selling plastic ducks from a grim Moscow apartment but, within a few years, Abramovich’s vast wealth spread from oil conglomerates to pig farms, and secured his place within Yeltsin’s inner circle. However, even today, his task force of bodyguards and armoured Mercedes testify to the high-risk nature of capitalism in post-Soviet Russia.