President Zelensky Is Not A Billionaire. So How Much Is He Worth?

President Zelensky Is Not A Billionaire. So How Much Is He Worth?

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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky

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Despite social media reports claiming he’s a billionaire, Volodymyr Zelensky doesn’t come close to making Forbes’ global wealth rankings.

A popular internet meme currently making the rounds claims without evidence that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is worth $1.4 billion – “more than Will Smith, Chris Rock, and Dave Chapelle combined.” The insinuation is clear. For Zelensky, a former comedian, to have accumulated a fortune of this size, there must be corruption involved. And while this claim has been parroted by its fair share of anonymous Twitter eggs, a number of blue checks have gotten in on the action.

Lee Stranahan, an American host on Kremlin-owned and controlled Radio Sputnik featured in the Oliver Stone documentary “Revealing Ukraine,” tweeted to his nearly 100,000 followers: “Why Is Zelensky a Billionaire?”

Forbes’ answer: he’s not. The Russian invasion has hit Ukraine’s billionaires hard. According to Forbes’ 36th annual World’s Billionaires List, there are only seven left in the country and Zelensky is not one of them (nor is former president and chocolate magnate Petro Poroshenko, who dropped from the rankings this year).

But unlike his predecessor, Zelensky never was a billionaire. He’s currently worth roughly $20 million at most, based on reporting by Forbes Ukraine.

His main asset: an estimated 25% stake in Kvartal 95, a group of companies that produce humorous shows, which he transferred to his partners after being elected president, though he’ll likely regain his shares after leaving office. Kvartal 95 produced and owns the Servant of the People series, a popular political comedy starring Zelensky as a Ukrainian high school teacher who is elected president. Netflix, which previously streamed the show between 2017 and 2021, snapped up the rights again in March. With estimated revenues of $30 million annually, Forbes Ukraine values Zelensky’s stake at $11 million.

While he does own a flat in one of Ukraine’s most expensive apartment buildings in the center of Kyiv, it’s relatively modest by Western standards. Forbes estimates Zelensky’s entire real estate portfolio is worth $4 million, including two more wholly owned apartments, two that he co-owns, a single commercial property and five parking spaces.

Internet sleuths, or more likely Russian propagandists, have credited Zelensky with owning as many as five luxury yachts and three private jets, in addition to $60 million of shares in companies like Saudi Aramco, Meta and Tesla.

Forbes found no evidence of such a fleet, and if Zelensky does own stock in those companies it’s hard to believe those shares would be worth anywhere close to $60 million. We estimate he and his wife Olena Zelenska share a bank account that holds roughly $2 million in cash and government bonds. Their other assets, consisting of two cars and some jewelry, are worth no more than $1 million.

Zelensky won’t be making Forbes’ billionaires list anytime soon. But he’s got much bigger things on his mind.

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