The Guardian looks at an unprecedented power struggle within the Kremlin as Vladimir Putin's last term as president winds down. The battle, between ex-KGB officers and liberal allies of Putin's successor, Dmitry Medvedev, revolves around control of the enormous assets of Russia's state-owned industries. As the face-off heats up, information is leaking out about Putin's personal stake: a fortune of "at least" $40 billion, which would make him Europe's richest man.
Putin's net worth has been a taboo subject in Russia, but it now appears that he controls more than a third of a major oil producer and has a controlling stake in a mysterious Swiss oil trader. Kremlin insiders say the battle is not ideological but financial, and some suggest that Putin would like to retire but is staying to protect Medvedev from the ex-KGB camp.