By Eliot Borenstein,1 August 2019
Billionaire, and to a lesser extent Brigada, point the way out of the New Russian paradigm and into something more respectable. Sasha Belyi needed to launder more than simply his money; he needed to clean up his backstory. Andrei Gumilev, essentially a superhero, embodies the culture’s wish-fulfillment fantasy regarding its superrich: neither he nor his past need laundering, because he has always been deserving of wealth, and his road to riches, rather than strewn with corpses, is paved by his efforts on behalf of the country he calls home. Gone are the New Russian’s corruption, boorishness, and selfishness; in Andrei L’vovich’s own words, what we have instead is an aristocracy.