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Vladimir Putin Gives Himself a Raise — But Weak Ruble Means He Earns Less

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin earned 8.8 million rubles last year, or $130,000 at the current exchange rate, according to an income declaration the Kremlin posted Friday.

That's 1.2 million rubles more than the Russian leader made in 2014, but no explanation was provided for the pay increase.

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin grimaces as he speaks to the media after his annual call-in show in Moscow
Putin grimaces speaks to the media after his annual call-in show in Moscow on Thursday. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

However, due to the falling ruble, Putin's annual income dropped by $6,000 compared with last year, and his real-term pay package was $54,000 smaller than in 2014, based on the U.S. Treasury's yearly average exchange rates.

Putin's officially declared property also includes an average-sized apartment, a land plot, a garage, three vintage Soviet cars and a utility trailer.

However, the recent Panama Papers leak fueled long-standing allegations that the Russian president is worth far more.

The documents showed that a close friend of the Russian president controls offshore assets worth at least $2 billion. However Putin was not named in the papers, and he denied the leak showed any wrongdoing.

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Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov made four times more than his boss at 36 million rubles in 2015 (around $577,000). Peskov's ruble income has increased fourfold since 2014. Again, no explanation was provided.

The ruble has dropped 40 percent against the dollar since 2014 due to a protracted economic crisis in Russia. This was caused by plummeting oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Putin cut his salary and those of his staff by 10 percent last year. Real disposable household income in Russia has dropped by half since 2014, and the number of Russians living below the poverty line grew by 3 million to 19 million last year, according to official figures.

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