Private ambulances, real estate in Spain, and estranged spouses. Main trends of officials’ income declarations in 2016
It is always exciting to count somebody else’s money. Especially incomes of Ministers and Deputies. The CrimeRussia has joined the main national amusement of these April days and identified a few signature trends.
For some time now, in the latter half of April, Russian officials and Deputies report to the nation their incomes for the previous year. This tradition takes roots in the anti-corruption legislation of the Russian Federation and is followed in the recent years both by the national leaders and regional functionaries.
Income declarations of officials for the year of 2016 demonstrate the main trend of the year: similarly with the President and Prime Minister, Deputies and officials have earned less money in comparison with 2015 – marginally less, but still. The only exceptions are the Council of the Federation and some Ministers.
Government of the Russian Federation
The richest member of the Government is Lev Kuznetsov, the Minister of North Caucasus Affairs; his annual income has exceeded 582 million rubles ($10.2 million) in 2016. He owns 10 land lots (and one more in joint usage) with the total area of some 1.5 ha and 24 real properties. The second richest Minister is Mikhail Abyzov, a Minister ‘without portfolio’ responsible for the work of the Governmental Commission for Coordination of “Open Government” Activities, with an income of 520.9 million rubles ($9.2 million). The third is Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District; he has earned 356.9 million rubles ($6.3 million) in 2016.
At the same time, Igor Shuvalov and Dmitry Medvedev attacked by the Anti-corruption Foundation of Aleksey Navalny have incomes below the average. The First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation has earned 71.7 million rubles ($1.3 million), while his wife Olga Shuvalova, the owner of dogs ‘representing the country abroad’ has earned 61.1 million rubles ($1.1 million). Of course, the ‘emperial apartment’ in the high-rise building on Kotelnicheskaya quay with the total living space of 719 square meters is not listed in the declaration because it has been placed, similarly with many other assets of the Shuvalov family, into the trust management of ‘family lawyer’ Sergei Kotlyarenko.
The income of Medvedev was only 8.5 million rubles ($149.4 thousand) in 2016 (in 2015 he had earned slightly more – 8.7 million rubles ($152.9 thousand)). The Prime Minister lives in an apartment with the living space of 367 square meters and has a half-hectare land lot leased for 49 years. His spouse has two parking spaces, Volkswagen Golf, and no income at all.
By the way, the income of Vladimir Putin in 2016 was 8.8 million rubles ($154.7 thousand), which is 30 thousand rubles ($527) less than in 2015. The President’s declaration mentions two apartments (one of those is in use only) with the living spaces of 77 square meters and 153.7 square meters, land lot of 0.15 ha, and garage.
The poorest member of the Government is Alexander Tkachev, the Minister of Agriculture; his declared income is 5.6 million rubles ($98.4 thousand). Even though Agrokompleks named after N.I. Tkachev belonging to close relatives of the Minister has increased its assets by 640 thousand ha of lands and became one of the five largest landowners in Russia. The Minister has in his personal use three land lots with the total area of 0.45 ha and an estate with a mansion with the living space of 903 square meters, guesthouse, (435 square meters), and non-residential premises (324 square meters). His wife has earned almost 10 million rubles ($175.8 thousand).
The largest gap between the incomes of the two spouses can be observed in the family of Nikolai Nikiforov, the Minister of Communications and Mass Media: he has earned 5.8 million rubles ($101.9 thousand), while his spouse has earned 8.4 times more – 46.8 million rubles ($822.6 thousand). Vladimir Medinsky, the Minister of Culture, has also earned much less than his spouse: 6.7 million rubles ($117.8 thousand) vs. 43.7 million rubles ($768.2 thousand). The income of Maxim Topilin, the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, (5.8 million rubles – $101.9 thousand) was 3.9 times less than the income of his spouse, while Mikhail Men, the Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities, has earned 4.4 times less than his wife. Sergei Prikhodko, Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Government Executive Office, has earned 11.7 million rubles ($205.7 thousand), which is 2.5 times less than his wife’s income; while Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has earned 24.8 million rubles ($453.9 thousand), which is 2.4 time less than the revenue of his wife.
Presidential Executive Office
The richest person in the Presidential Executive Office is Sergei Kiriyenko, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office. According to his declaration, he has earned 85.5 million rubles ($1.5 million) in 2016. It is necessary to note, however, that he was appointed to this post only in October 2016, so the majority of his income pertains to his work as the Head of the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy where he had been employed since 2005. His declaration also mentions a land lot with the area of 0.71 ha, a forest lot (in use only) of 0.5 ha, and home with the living space of 700 square meters.
Therefore, Kiriyenko has surpassed his boss Anton Vaino, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office. Vaino was appointed to this post in August 2016 and has earned 9.6 million rubles ($168.7 thousand). He owns a home with the living space of 454 square meters, apartment with the living space of 111 square meters, and land lot with the area of 0.28 ha.
Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council, a separate subdivision of the Presidential Executive Office, is the second richest person in this governmental structure. His income for the year of 2016 is 33.5 million rubles ($588.9 thousand). He owns a home (250 square meters), apartment (256.6 square meters), and land lot (0.33 ha).
The next is another deputy to Vaino – Dmitry Peskov, Deputy Chief of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary. His income is 12.8 million rubles ($225.0 thousand); he owns three apartments (112, 112.5, and 55 square meters). No homes or lands. This is pretty humble for a functionary of such level, especially taking that the cost of Richard Mille RM 52-01 watch worn by the Presidential Press Secretary during his wedding with once-famous figure skater Tatiana Navka was some 35–37 million rubles ($615.2–650.4 thousand).
‘Wedding gift’ to Peskov
Peskov said that this was a wedding gift from Navka. In fact, this marriage was pretty beneficial for Peskov: according to the same declaration, his wife has earned 120.8 million rubles ($2.1 million) in 2016 and owns four apartments (180.4, 126, 108.4, and 78.7 square meters), two homes (353.5 and 779 square meters), and two land lots with the total area of 1 ha.
Home of Dmitry Peskov and Tatiana Navka
Another prominent member of the Presidential Executive Office, Vladislav Surkov demoted to an Aide to the President, has earned 8.7 million rubles ($152.9 thousand) and did not declare any real estate. However, his spouse with an annual income of 7.2 million rubles ($126.6 thousand) has six land lots with the total area of almost 5 ha, two homes (598 and 761.6 square meters), and an apartment (59.4 square meters).
By the way, none of these persons have mentioned a single car in their declarations. But other people in the Presidential Executive Office possess, in addition to trivial Mercedes and Cayenne vehicles, some really exotic stuff. For instance, Aide to the President Vladimir Kozhin has a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, while his wife has a VAZ Largus. It is impossible, however, to imagine the officials whose offices are located on Staraya square driving such cars. Therefore, in order to conform to their image, the spouses also have a Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6.
According to the declaration of Alexei Gromov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, he only has a Joyner-JNSZ all-terrain vehicle. Another Aide to the President, Konstantin Chuychenko, has a Grandezza 27 СА motor boat and two trailers.
Mikhail Krotov, the Presidential Envoy to the Constitutional Court, has an old Volga GAZ-21 car. Aleksander Golubev, Chief of the President’s Office, has a GAZ 1402 – the last model of the famous Chaika vehicle line.
Overall, there are plenty of domestic car industry fans among the officials. Apparently, they follow the example of the national leaders – which is not too expensive for them. To refresh background: Vladimir Putin has a Niva with trailer and two Volga GAZ-M21 cars. Dmitry Medvedev also has a GAZ-21 and GAZ M20 Pobeda (Victory).
Some officers of the Presidential Executive Office are unbelievably health and strong: at the age of 70, they ride motorcycles. Sergei Grigorov, an Adviser to the President, has four of those: Royal Enfield Bullat, Black Douglas, Harley-Davidson FLSTC, and Ural IMZ. This is in addition to a number of cars: Jeep Wrangler, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz GLЕ 450, and ZAZ965.
State Duma of the Russian Federation
Some Deputies have enormous passion for cars. Take, for instance, member of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party Vladislav Reznik. His garage (what a miraculous garage!) stores 13 light vehicles, 10 all-terrain vehicles, 9 trailers, 1 snowmobile, 6 trucks, and 2 tractors (including UAZ, Mercedes-Benz - G300, G63AMG, and S600, Maybach, Toyota Land Cruiser, Hummer H1, Toyota Hilux, etc.).
Another member of Edinaya Rossia, Grigory Anikeev, also likes technical diversity. In addition to several Mercedes models (two 500s cars and G63 AMG) and Hammer, he has several motor boats, two АМС-49415Н medical vehicles (for what purpose?) and Eurocopter AS 350 В3 helicopter.
Of course, not all Deputies of the State Duma are so rich – car fleets of other parliamentarians are much more humble, and sometimes this even seems suspicious. For example, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal–Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), is a very modest person with only one car – NIVA VAZ 212140. His income is also not too high in comparison with other Deputies – 79 million rubles ($1.4 million). Communist Yuri Afonin also has a NIVA VAZ 2121. Sergei Neverov, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, owns a NIVA VAZ 21214 as well – but in a more expensive Bronto modification (armored vehicle).
Overall, plenty of Deputies have NIVA cars, but some of them prefer other domestic vehicles: Sergei Kasatonov has a VAZ-21099, Ivan Firyulin – even older VAZ-21063 and VAZ-2107, Mergen Oorzhak – Lada Priora VAZ-217230, and Natalia Sanina – ZAZ-968.
Home of Sergei Neverov
Sergei Zhigarev, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Economic Policy, Innovative Development, and Business and member of LDPR, has an ‘American rarity’ – Chevrolet Bel Air built in 1957. In addition, his garage also stores Volga GAZ-21, huge Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD, and Ducati Monster 1100 motorcycle. His wife drives a Mercedes-Benz S500. Aleksander Zhukov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, President of the Russia’s Olympic Committee, and Member of the International Olympic Committee, has declared only one vehicle – Ambassador Grand. This line of cars has been produced by Indian-based Hindustan Motors since the 1950s and became the most popular small car in India. No one can say why Zhukov has chosen such a vehicle – perhaps, he likes Bollywood movies? Deputy Svetlana Maksimova has thee tractors (DT-75 MLS, MTZ-82, and MTZ-82.1), which seems pretty logical: she is a graduate of a veterinarian college and agricultural academy and might practice agriculture when she is not too busy with lawmaking.
Former wrestler Aleksander Karelin, who is 190 cm tall, somehow manages to fit into MINI Cooper S, which is a part of his vehicle fleet. Some Deputies have only trailers, some – have no transport at all. For example, Natalia Poklonskaya, former Prosecutor of Crimea elected to the State Duma for the first time, neither has a car nor an own apartment (only two official apartments). Her annual income is 2.6 million rubles ($45.7 thousand). Another new – but already well-known – lawmaker Vitaly Milonov has earned slightly more – 2.8 million rubles ($49.2 thousand). Irina Yarovaya, an irreconcilable fighter against corruption and other threats, has a pretty humble (by Deputies’ standards) income as well: 6.3 million rubles ($110.7 thousand). She has no personal assets – only an official apartment (84.7 square meters) provided to her for the duration of her Deputy’s term.
The law prohibits Deputies, Senators, and officials from having foreign accounts, keeping cash and valuables in foreign banks, and using “foreign financial instruments”. At the same time, it is allowed to own real estate abroad. Spain is the favorite country of the Deputies. The following members of Edinaya Rossia have real properties there: Andrei Baryshev, Konstantin Zatulin, Aleksander Bryskin, Arkady Ponomarev, and Andrei Chernyshev – as well as wives of Nikolai Valuev, Vadim Belousov, and Umakhan Umakhanov.
Members of Edinaya Rossia Sergei Vostretsov and Yuri Oleinikov have apartments in Bulgaria. Nonpartisan Deputy from Bashkortostan Rifat Shaikhutdinov has declared a share in a Finnish farmstead, while his wife owns a home in Italy. Vladimir Katenev has a land lot in Finland, while his spouse owns an apartment there. Communist Vladimir Blotsky has a house with some land in the UK. The spouse of Valery Gartung owns an apartment in Switzerland; wife of Andrei Golushko possesses a home in France. Leonid Simanovsky has declared a summer home in Cyprus, while Sergei Sopchuk has reported an apartment, garage, and shed in the Czech Republic.
Member of Edinaya Rossia from the Arkhangelsk region Andrei Palkin had the highest income in 2016 – 679.3 million rubles ($11.9 million). Prior to joining the politics (he has been a Deputy of the Archangelsk Regional Assembly since 20047), he used to be the Head of Kotlassky Dok Open Joint Stock Company, was running a construction business, and founded 16 companies. In 2015, being a Regional Deputy, he owned 59 apartments and 200 (!) vehicles. Upon upgrading to the federal level, he had to part with many of his assets in order to comply with the law. He started selling apartments and businesses to his sons through 15-year payment plans. Still, the Federal Tax Service has requested him to pay all the outstanding taxes in the amount of 4.4 billion rubles ($77.3 million). But cunning Palkin has found a solution and declared himself bankrupt. “It’s OK, Trump went bankrupt four times,” – he said.
The poorest Deputy is former professional boxer Dmitry Pirog; according to the declaration, his income is 147 thousand rubles ($2.6 thousand) and he balances on the verge of poverty. The monthly salary of a Deputy is some 400 thousand rubles ($7 thousand) – but this seems strange only at the first glance: Pirog became a Deputy only in March 2017 – he replaced Aleksander Metkin who had voluntarily resigned from the State Duma. Therefore, Pirog did not receive Deputy’s wages in 2016. Based on his declared assets, the former fighter is not so poor: he owns two Audi A8 cars (one of those is a Long limousine worth some 7 million rubles ($123 thousand)), two apartments, and a land lot.
Other ‘low-income’ people’s representatives have surpassed Pirog by far. The second ‘poorest’ Deputy is 21-year-old Vasily Vlasov, the youngest parliamentarian and member of LDPR; his annual income is 1,312,389 rubles ($23 thousand). According to his declaration, Vlasov has no immovable or movable assets.
Communist Aleksander Nekrasov has the richest wife. She has earned 646 million rubles ($11.4 million) in 2016, while her husband, a former co-owner of Leader Construction Holding (a leading developer in St. Petersburg), has earned 129 times less – some 5 million rubles ($87.9 thousand).
Home of Vyacheslav Volodin
Vyacheslav Volodin, the Chairman of the State Duma, has earned 62 million rubles ($1.1 million). He has a home with the living space of almost 1 thousand square meters, a few guesthouses (468 and 208 square meters), several nonresidential and service facilities, greenhouses, waste treatment facilities, apartment (174 square meters), and land (0.83 ha).
The requirement to publish asset and income declarations of functionaries on official web sites of the governmental agencies and in media has been introduced in Russia in 2009. In the framework of the Federal Anti-Corruption Act, President Dmitry Medvedev has signed the respective Decree. According to the law, Deputies and officials of the Russian Federation must submit asset and income declarations for the previous year by April 1 of the current year. The provided data are published after being audited by tax and watchdog authorities within 2–3 weeks after the declaration submission deadline. According to the most recent amendments to the anti-corruption legislation made in the end of 2016, a failure to submit the declaration within the established time limit results in the disqualification of Deputies, Senators, and officials.
Council of the Federation
Valentina Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Council of the Federation, has earned 22.8 million rubles ($400.8 thousand) in 2016. She has also declared three countryside land lost with the total area slightly more than 1 ha, country house (730 square meters) with an amenities building (255 square meters), home officially belonging to her husband (161 square meters), two apartments (290 and 215 square meters) with a parking space, and service country house (730 square meters). Her movable assets are limited to a Chevrolet Niva car.
The richest Senator, both in 2015 and 2016, is Valery Ponomarev from the Kamchatka krai. According to his declaration, the co-owner of Okeanrybflot and shareholder in Interprombank has earned 2.6 billion rubles ($45.7 million) – this is more than twice as much as in 2015 (1 billion rubles – $17.6 million). The second richest person in the Council of the Federation is Aleksander Babakov; his income is 318 million rubles ($5.6 million). In 2015, he was a Deputy of the State Duma and earned only 4.7 million rubles ($82.6 thousand). Reportedly he is a co-owner of VS Energy running power and hotel business in Ukraine. Babakov also owns Premier Palace hotel in Kiev; in March 2017, ex-Deputy of the State Duma Denis Voronenkov was shot dead near it.
Premier Palace hotel
The income of Senator Vitaly Bogdanov, owner of Multimedia Holding, has considerably increased since 2015 – from 65 million rubles ($1.1 million) to 223 million rubles ($3.9 million). The income of Suleyman Kerimov, named by Forbes the 21st richest Russian businessman whose total wealth is estimated at $6.3 billion, has reduced since 2015 – from 12 million rubles ($210.9 thousand) to 5.3 million rubles ($93.2 thousand).
The ‘poorest’ Senator is Rauf Arashukov, son of ex-General Director of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk Limited Liability Company; his income is 1.6 million rubles ($28.1 thousand). But he has 3 homes with the total living space of 1,478 square meters, land lot, and two apartments in use.
The average income of Senators for the year of 2016 is some 30 million rubles ($527.4 thousand), while the total income of all the members of the Council of the Federation has doubled since 2015.
Government of Moscow
The average annual income of the members of the Moscow Government and Deputy Mayors is some 6–7 million rubles ($105.5–123 thousand). This group includes the following Deputy Mayors: Petr Biryukov, Marat Khusnullin, Anastasia Rakova, Natalia Sergunina, Aleksander Gorbenko, Leonid Pechatnikov, and Maksim Liksutov. In 2015, Liksutov was the richest Deputy Mayor, but in 2016, his income has reduced by 10 times: from 66 million rubles ($1.2 million) to 6.8 million rubles ($119.5 thousand). Only Isaak Kalina, the Head of the Department of Education, has earned more than his colleagues in 2016 – 9.6 million rubles ($168.8 thousand). Business Ombudsman Mikhail Vishegorodtsev has earned 3.4 million rubles ($59.8 thousand), while Sergei Cheremin became the richest Minister in the Moscow Government with an income of slightly less than 95 million rubles ($1.7 million). In 2015, Cheremin also was the champion of the Moscow Government: he had earned some 90 million rubles ($1.6 million).
Cheremin owns two apartments (175.8 and 74 square meters), townhouse with the living space of 413 square meters, country house (515 square meters), and 6 garden lots with the total area of 15 thousand square meters. The Minister’s wife is not mentioned in his declaration – although, according to the official biography, Cheremin raises three children together with her. By the way, one of these children mentioned as a minor in the declaration owns an apartment with the living space of 155 square meters in Moscow and a home with the total living space of 425.8 square meters in Israel.
In contrast, the spouse of Vishegorodtsev is mentioned in his declaration; she earns good money, thus, enabling her husband to focus on the advocacy of businessmen’s rights. Her income in 2016 is over 25 million rubles ($439.5 thousand); she owns the majority of family assets: 6 land lots with the total area of 13 thousand square meters, 2 apartments, 1 parking space, and Mercedes-Benz V250 Bluetec vehicle.
With regards to the vehicles, the Ministers of the Moscow Government demonstrate a common trend: they prefer to use official or spouses’ cars. Based on their declarations, 11 high-ranked Moscow functionaries, out of the 17, do not have own means of transportation. The notable exceptions are Artem Ermolaev, the Minister of Information Technologies and owner of legendary Chevrolet Camaro and Bombardier Model 6 four-wheeler; Sergei Cheremin, the richest Minister in the Moscow Government owning two Mercedes cars and a Lexus; and Maksim Liksutov, Deputy Mayor for Transport.
Liksutov is the ‘transport champion’ in the Moscow Government not only because of his official position, but also because of the vehicles in his possession, including Lexus LX 570, Mercedes-Benz CL 550, and Mercedes-Benz G55AMG cars, legendary motorcycles Harley-Davidson V-ROD Muscle, Ducati XDiavel S, and Honda Goldwing GL 1800 (each worth at least 1.5 million rubles – $26.4 thousand), and motor scooters Aprilia Sportcity 250 and Aprilia Scarabeo 125.
On April 20, Vladimir Zhirinovsky has sharply criticized the requirement to publish income declarations of functionaries and Deputies. According to the LDPR leader, who has earned 79.14 million rubles ($1.4 million) in 2016, the disclosure of this information just angers the people and leads to conflicts in the society.
There is a popular opinion that the publication of functionaries’ declarations is important for several reasons. For the general public, this is an indication of a certain income transparency among the officials; for the public servants, this is a disciplinary factor preventing them from committing corruption offences; while for the law enforcement structures, this is a tool allowing to identify persons whose incomes grow suspiciously fast.
But all these reasons are pretty questionable. In most situations, the transparency of officials’ incomes for the general public is an illusion. The data provided in the declarations are of general nature; they outline the total income and assets but do not allow to analyze their origin and quality; the information about financial instruments and bank accounts is not published. The anti-corruption effect of the declaration is also doubtful: the officials use numerous tricks to part with their businesses only formally and divert suspicions of illegal enrichment and conflict of interest by placing their assets into trust management, transferring those to relatives, and arranging fictive divorces.
The love boat wrecked by daily routine
In the context of asset and income declarations submitted by the governmental officials, this saying gets a totally new meaning. Based on the epidemic of divorces, the duties of civil servants are not compatible with happy family living.
For example, 144 Deputies of the State Duma, out of the 450, are not officially married. Many husbands and wives, who were listed in officials’ income declarations in 2016, have disappeared from those in 2017. Based on the declarations for the year of 2016, Mikhail Abyzov, a Minister ‘without portfolio’ responsible for the work of the Governmental Commission for Coordination of “Open Government” Activities, and Sergei Cheremin, the richest Minister in the Moscow Government, have divorced their wives. The ‘best halves’ have vanished from their declarations without a trace. In the several last years, the following functionaries have lost their spouses: Anton Siluanov, Minister of Finance; Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Healthcare; Maxim Sokolov, Minister of Transport; Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister; Maksim Liksutov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow, etc.
Interestingly, the asset and income declaration of Natalia Poklonskaya, former Prosecutor of Crimea and current Deputy of the State Duma, does not provide any information about her husband repeatedly mentioned in her earlier interviews. Last year, the Deputy had said that her second husband is raising her daughter from the first marriage together with her, and his is her former colleague in the watchdog authority – although Poklonskaya refused to provide his current place of work. But the CrimeRussia had earlier reported, citing its own source, that the husband of Natalia Poklonskaya is Andrei Krasilnikov, former officer of the Prosecutor General’s Office and since the last year, Federal Inspector for the Republic of Crimea of the Executive Office of the Presidential Envoy in the Southern Federal District.
In 2014, the Ural media wrote that Poklonskaya had visited Yekaterinburg, the home city of Krasilnikov, together with him to perform a church wedding ceremony.
Supposed common-law partner of Poklonskaya during a service trip to Chechnya
Currently, the list of Crimean officials does not include a person with such name, and according to the official web site of the Crimean Government, Aleksander Ushakov is the Acting Senior Federal Inspector for the Republic of Crimea of the Executive Office of the Presidential Envoy in the Southern Federal District.
Of course, the official marriage – religious of civic, common-law union, or divorce is everybody’s personal business. But it is necessary to remind that in January 2017, Poklonskaya, being the Head of the State Duma Commission for Control over Deputies’ Incomes, has proposed to introduce the term ‘affiliated persons’ into the Federal Anti-Corruption Act. The ex-Prosecutor of Crimea believes that the list of such persons should include not only close, but also distant relatives of officials, including ex-spouses; and the people who have officially divorced but continue living the family life must be closely watched by the law enforcement structures. Poklonskaya insists that the introduction of such amendments into the anti-corruption legislation is essential to counter the wave of fictive divorces among the functionaries and Deputies trying to conceal their assets.
The arrest of Rauf Arashukov was a signal to the other senators: not only the governors but also members of the Federation Council, have lost the status of untouchables. So, it’s time to learn to live modestly, without inappropriate luxury. The most perspicacious realized this a few years ago and stopped giving their beloved ones.