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Rags to riches?

On a Sunday in March 2016, at 2pm, I visited Konstantin Ernst at his broadcasting house to interview him. He was in a splendid mood and we spent at least two hours together. That is, he spoke; it wasn’t easy to sneak in my questions. At one point I succeeded: why did he omit the 1990s in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I asked. Those years were still too close, he replied, being much more reserved than just a minute ago: they are far too painful to be shown on television, he said.

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Рожденные в СССР: почему российские миллиардеры не любят вспоминать 90-е

Многие участники списка Forbes заработали свои первые миллионы, продавая вареные джинсы в постперестроечные времена, но залог их благосостояния кроется в социалистическом прошлом

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Viewpoint: Is Russian Money in London Silencing Us?

Thanks to notoriously strict libel laws in the UK and powerful image campaigns, the superrich not only silence researchers and the media, but also shape attitudes on the street. Using the example of two Russians, Elisabeth Schimpfössl, author of “Rich Russians: From Oligarchs to Bourgeoisie” (OUP 2018), traces the dynamics of this process. 4 September 2018

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Из олигархов в буржуа: как миллионеры изменились за 20 лет

В отличие от зарубежных, русские буржуа еще богаче, почти без исключения высокообразованны, очень осторожны в вопросах политики, слегка депрессивны и довольно высокомерны, в том числе в отношении Запада. Элизабет Шимпфоссль Forbes Contributor, 4 September 2018

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Stalin in Manhattan

During my last trip to New York I was invited to attend the annual PR event of a chic Russian-owned Manhattan antiques shop. Everything was fancy; the location in one of the trendiest streets in Upper East Side that attracts a cosmopolitan jet-set crowd, the subtly tanned maître de, a young man with a gym-honed physique complemented by the most perfect manicure possible, and the champagne-sipping ladies elegantly balancing on pencil thin heels. I chatted with the wife of the new owner, a very pleasant thirty-something, who appears genuinely natural, despite being perfectly turned out, thanks to Botox, good dentistry and professional fashion styling.

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Russia’s New Rich and their Attitudes to the West

In 2014, the head of Russia’s biggest international news agency reminded the world that Russia is the only country capable of ‘turning the USA into radioactive dust’. Do Russian elites share similarly hostile attitudes towards Western countries?

Every Russian knows Dmitry Kiselyov’s face. Many technocrats in Brussels and Washington do so as well. In May 2014, the European Union included Kiselyov on their sanctions list published after the death of 298 people on board a Malaysia Airlines plane destroyed over eastern Ukraine. In 2013, Putin appointed the balding energetic man as the head of Rossiya Segodnya, Russia’s biggest international news agency and an important government mouthpiece.

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Rich Russians and their Genes

‘In the first place it’s genetic inheritance’, was the most frequent reply I got when I ask wealthy Russians, multimillionaires and billionaires, how they think their parents have helped them to become successful.

A biologist view on things is not limited to the topic of “success” genes. ‘Why are the Jews so smart?’ the financer and Dali and Picasso collector Alexander rhetorically asks me. ‘Because over 2000 years there has been a natural selection for the intellectually best to survive.’

Jews are popular husband material because many Russian women know about their apparently extraordinary potency and the vitality of their genes. As the glamour lady Valentina elucidates, an obvious proof of this is the number of children Jewish men all over the world father.

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