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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

Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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