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Wealthy Russians Take Over British TV

Published: September 26, 2013 (Issue # 1779)



  • Fox TV’s new show “Meet the Russians” will feature wealthy wives, models and businessmen, a sampling of London’s Russian emigre population.
    Photo: Fox TV

"Meet the Russians," a reality entertainment show produced by Fox TV, will start broadcasting in Britain on Sept. 25. It estimates there are 300,000 Russians now resident in London, and it intends to look at a cross section of the most flamboyant ones.

"Prepare to enter a jaw-dropping world of unbelievable riches and extraordinary characters", declares the website. "In our brand new fly-on-the-wall series, you'll experience one extraordinary world dripping in lashings of luxury, opulence, exclusive events and private jets. This is a Russian fairy tale with a difference."

The show advertises characters such as Dmitry: "Always outrageous, Dmitry is the star of any event he attends, and his tongue is as sharp as his dress sense and Louboutin spiked shoes!" Or Katia: "The latest top Russian model to make it big internationally."

Of course, the participants in the series are not the typical Russians in London, but they are rather more the type of person usually found on FOX reality TV shows.

However, the series is the latest manifestation of the ongoing high-profile Russian presence throughout Britain, in general, and London in particular. It has been 10 years since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in one of the most public symbols of a wave of Russian new money that made inroads into British life. Abramovich and the likes of Leonard Blavatvik and the Waterstones book chain owner, Alexander Mamut, have moved the cliche of the Russian away from the 1980s cold war warriors to the new cliches of "Moscow on Thames" and "Londongrad," the home for billionaire oligarchs with a taste for anglophilia.

British-Russian political relations might have been strained by Alexander Litvinenko and Syria, yet at a social level, relations between the two nations have never been better. It is hard to find an official estimate of the number of Russians who have made Britain their home: it varies from 32,000, the Office of National Statistics figure in 2009, to 400,000. The Sunday Times Rich List of the wealthiest people in Britain in 2013 is topped by Russian Alisher Usmanov. Another emigre, Yevgeny Lebedev, has lived in England since he was a child. Born in Russia, he came to London as a diplomat's son; his father Alexander worked at the Soviet Embassy. He is now chairman and owner of the Evening Standard, Independent and Independent on Sunday and a naturalized British subject who has made a contribution to British life.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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