According to Forbes, wealthy lawmakers holding office in the Duma make the Russian Federation the richest government in the world – with 12 billionaires holding seats, totaling a net worth of $41 billion. Heidi Brown writes: “Of course, wealth and political power are as old as the institution of government. But the scale of wealth in Russia’s government is unparalleled anywhere else on Earth. These men, mostly entrepreneurs, often swear their motives are altruistic, but the overriding factor is likely the personal benefit they enjoy from being closer to the center of power. Most are affiliated with Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party–compared by some political pundits with the old Communist Party: Membership has many privileges.” So far it hasn’t been a problem for the billionaires that Russian law prohibits Duma members from running businesses – controlling shares are just diverted to family members. See the photo essay here.