Many Russian oligarchs come to London to enjoy their wealth. They call this city Londongrad. Russia’s richest men buy land, estates and yachts for millions and millions of pounds. A book “Londongrad: From Russia with Cash” devoted to the life of Russian money-bags in Great Britain has been published in the country recently.
The main characters of the book by Mark Hollingsworth are Roman Abramovich, Boris Berezovsky, Oleg Deripaska and other well-known Russian businessmen.
“If you enjoy revelling in the outrageous vulgarity, tastelessness and ruthlessness of people who are rich beyond all imagining, then this is the book for you. It is not quite, as the subtitle suggests, the “inside” story of the oligarchs — but it is about as close as the authors dare to get,” The Sunday Times wrote about the book in its review.
For the moment being about 300,000 Russians live in London and 100 or so of these people are incredibly wealthy. The rich Russians moved to London primarily because of generous tax laws. There was no need to pay taxes from the money earned abroad. Moreover London attracted oligarchs as a fashionable city. Later some of them realized that they could find an asylum in London as the Russian authorities have all the evidence to institute criminal proceedings against them.
The Russian oligarchs are not afraid of spending their money in Great Britain. The book narrates that the rich men buy pieces of fine art like wallpapers: paintings by Picasso, Monet, etc, etc. The Russians sometimes pay four times as much as the list price at auction. It is not enough for the oligarchs to buy four or five houses in London (always near Harrods so that their wives could enjoy shopping) and knock them all into one giant house with a living room the size of a football pitch. They need a country residence, as well. Berezovsky bought his estate in Wentworth Park for £20.5mln after he had a quick look at it from a helicopter. He did not even step inside the house.
As for cars, the rich Russians buy only most expensive cars such as Rolls-Royce, Bugatti and Lamborghini.
What’s an oligarch without a yacht? Abramovich’s yacht, Eclipse, which is the size of a small island, comes with a submarine, has a missile-detecting system and costs about £300 mln.
There is a long list of British millionaires, lords and stars hanging around the rich Russians, including Peter Mandelson, Nat Rothschild and Elton John.
The British are not against the Russian “immigrants who have helped make our capital such a rich, diverse and rewarding place in which to live.”
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