In grand style: How Russian oligarchs spent millions in 2016 

In grand style: How Russian oligarchs spent millions in 2016
Mikhail Gutseriev spent one billion dollars on his son's wedding

At the time, economist Mikhail Gutseriev, the author of a series of scientific publications on financial issues, gave a piece of advice to ordinary Russians, how to survive in the crisis: "save and save again." Perhaps, most Russians save somehow wrong. But the oligarchs, as it seems, competed in 2016, who would do more for their children on the "saved" funds. Coincidentally, the year was rich in weddings of heirs of multimillion-dollar businessmen. And these events became a kind of competition among the financial elite – who has more... both imagination, and money. So with what did they surprise people and each other this year?

The wedding of the century

The most high-profile event of the year was the wedding of Mikhail Gutseriev’s son. Not by chance the event, on which a billion dollars was spent, was dubbed in the media as the "the wedding of the century."


In 2016, the Gutserievs family was on the first position in the ranking of the richest Russian families. Its wealth increased by 2.5 times within the year – up to $ 9.8 billion, Forbes reported. 

BIN Group owned by the Gutserievs for the year conducted transactions totaling $ 1.5 billion: it bought banks, pension funds, developers and oil companies. In addition, Mikhail Gutseriev has earned $ 700 million, realizing an oil option. 

The family includes the founder of the group Safmar Mikhail Gutseriev, his brother Sait-Salam Gutseriev and the nephew Mikhail Shishkhanov. Gutseriev’s son Said also owns shares in the group of companies, but as Forbes points out, he does not really participate in the business and is not included in the list of the richest Russians. Group Safmar controlled by the Gutserievs (formerly BIN) within the last year conducted transactions totaling $ 1.5 billion by buying banks, pension funds, developers and oil companies. The money for the transactions the Gutserievs took from the reserves saved overseas, Forbes said.

Lush and very expensive wedding the Russian oligarch organized for his son on March 26 attracted the attention of many domestic and foreign media. For organizing this momentous evening for his family and guests, the businessman spent over a billion dollars.

Свадьба сына Гуцериева

Mikhail Gutseriev’s son wedding

The owner of JSC NK RussNeft, OJSC Russky ugol (Russian coal), PJSC Mospromstroy, Radio Chanson, PJSC BIN, GCM Global Energy Inc and other highly profitable assets and enterprises decided to organize a wedding according to the Caucasian unwritten rules – the one that would make "the whole world gasp." Billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev invited to the wedding more than 600 people and paid fabulous fees to domestic and foreign stars: Elton John, Sting, Patricia Kaas, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Enrique Iglesias, Alla Pugacheva, Christina Aguilera, Stas Mikhailov. As LifeNews found out, to invite J.Lo to a private party costs 5 million Euros, and Elton John would come for seven millions.

According to some reports, about 400 million rubles were spent on the 25 kg wedding dress, created by the fashion house Elie Saab, and the crown adorned with precious stones. Each guest at the family celebration to commemorate the event received a gift from the newlyweds and the host of the grand event: a golden chest, encrusted with malachite, rock crystal and Swarovski crystals. On the chests, the wedding date of Gutseriev’s son Said and his young wife,19-year-old student Khadija Uzhakhova, was engraved. Each golden chest cost the billionaire 165 thousand rubles, and there were 300 of them ordered.

The wedding was attended by first President of Ingushetia Ruslan Aushev. The bride comes from Ingushetia and as the newlyweds’ friends wrote in social networks, the Gutserievs family was looking for a woman suitable for Said for four years.

Keeping up with the Gutserievs

Another high-profile wedding was held in Moscow in June 2016. The eldest son of the owner of the Tashir group of companies, billionaire included in the Forbes list Samvel Karapetyan, Sargis married with the Georgian businesswoman, the co-owner of the online project Buy By Me Salome Kintsurashvili.


Samvel Karapetyan is a Russian businessman, philanthropist. The President and founder of Tashir Group of Companies, which includes more than 200 companies in various sectors of the Russian economy, and the President of the Tashir charity fund. As of September 2016, holds 549th place in the ranking of the richest people in the world and 28th place in the ranking of the richest businessmen in Russia according to Forbes magazine. His fortune is estimated $ 3.8 billion.

For the event, Karapetyan rented the same restaurant: the celebration was held in the Moscow banquet hall Safisa. The decorations of the hall, according to bloggers’ descriptions, was not inferior to the previous wedding, fresh flowers were everywhere. Special attention was paid to the huge size of the cake: 6 meters of height and decorated with roses.

Свадьба сына Самвела Карапетяна

Samvel Karapetyan's wedding

The ceremony was attended by 500 people, including the stars of show business. The guests were entertained by the lead singer of Maroon 5 Adam Levine, Alla Pugacheva, Timati, Grigory Leps, Dima Bilan, Philip Kirkorov, Nikolay Baskov, Valery Meladze and Sofia Rotaru. Andrei Malakhov, Vera Brezhneva and Tatiana Gevorgyan were the hosts of the ceremony. The couple pleased the guests with national dances. However, according to experts, Karapetyans failed to eclipse "the wedding of the century".

On an Olympic Scale

The oligarch Musa Bazhaev also had to spend a lot on family celebrations – by the standards of the majority of people in Russia – in the past year. Coincidentally, 2016 also saw the half-century anniversary of the businessman, and the wedding of two of his daughters.


Musa Bazhaev is the 50-year-old Russian businessman, originally from Achkhoy-Martan. With his brothers Ziya and Mavlit, Bazhaev founded the Alliance Group in 1998. Now. Musa Bazhaev heads the companies Alliance Group, Russian platinum (engaged in the production of platinum group metals). 100% owners of the companies are the members of the Bazhaev’s family. Musa Bazhaev fortune estimated Forbes amounts to $ 500 million. In the magazine’s ranking, he is the 160th richest person in Russia; the 159th is his 20-year-old nephew Denis, the son of Zia Bazhaev’s who died in 2000.

On May 12, in the Olympic Concert Hall, the head of the Alliance Group in a big way celebrated his 50th anniversary: he invited 400 relatives and friends. The event cost 250 million rubles. During the banquet, the peace and security was provided by the riot police. More than 40 men lined up along the perimeter of the building and cordoned off the entire complex. The Great Hall of the sports complex was decorated with the five Olympic rings and the Olympic flame burning under the dome. The cost of renting the hall in the stadium in average costs 15 million rubles. However, the concert program also has been likened to the opening of the Olympics. The evening, which was hosted by Nikolai Baskov and Maxim Galkin, began with a tenor of Italian classical music star Andrea Bocelli. The French diva Lara Fabian performed Love Is Like a Dream to the accompaniment of Igor Krutoy, and Nikolay Baskov has demonstrated proficiency in Chechen language. The actor sang one verse of a patriotic song about Chechnya, while Maxim Galkin read poems in Hebrew. The Israeli singer Ishtar Alabina performed famous songs from the joint repertoire with the Gipsy Kings – Casablanca and Salam Aleykum.

Юбилей Мусы Бажаева

Musa Bazhaev's celebration

Also, the guests were entertained by Grigory Leps, London Royal Symphony Orchestra, the Irish dance group, Yuri Antonov, Polina Gagarina and Philip Kirkorov. For the music program around 100 million rubles were spent. Food and drinks cost about 57 million rubles. The organization of the luxury event was provided by the producer Andrei Fomin. On the scenery, the construction of the dance floor, decoration with natural flowers and technical equipping, Musa Bazhaev spent 55 million rubles. The culmination of the celebration was the huge cake decorated with the Olympic rings and the initials of the hero of the day. Bengal candles during the dessert lit the Olympic torch's Bazhev’s nephew, the 20-year-old Denis, who is the co-owner of Alliance Group.

Свадьба дочери Бажаева

Musa Bazhaev's daughter wedding

And after four and a half months after the anniversary, Bazhaev’s daughter, the 22-year-old student of the MGIMO Elina married the son of a prominent Chechen businessman Alikhan Mamakayev, owner of Dorchester Finance, in Monaco in a dress for 20 million rubles. Elina’s spouse – the 25-year-old Bekhan – is a graduate of the University of London, speaks six languages. The young man is the owner of several of his father's companies. With one of the most beautiful Chechen women Bekhan met in February, and after a couple of months got her consent to the marriage proposal. The celebration took place in Monte Carlo, in the Le Louis XV restaurant, where the families invited a very small number of guests: only 100 people. Amazingly luxurious dress for Elina was made by the Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad for 20 million rubles. Six months ago, Elina’s elder sister Maryam also celebrated her wedding in the dress made by Murad.

Off to Israel

One more marriage celebration could become "the wedding of the century", the one of the daughter of the famous Russian businessman Merab Elashvili. In November, the daughter of the Sbarro owner organized a wedding in Tel Aviv, to which 2,000 guests were invited.


Merab Elashvili is a Russian businessman, the President of the company GMR. Planeta Gostepriimstva (Planet of Hospitality), the Vice-President of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. He owns several shop networks, the most famous of which is the Sbarro chain. According to the portal IzRus, network of GMR today is estimated at 2-2.5 billion, and its annual turnover is about $ 150 million.

Eighteen-year-old Anna Elashvili married the 20-year-old David Mardi. The wedding took place in Tel Aviv, in the exhibition center. Merab Elashvili arranged a celebration for newlyweds, where Nikolay Baskov, Soso Pavliashvili, and American rapper Ryan Leslie performed. In addition to these star guests, the event was also attended by the hosts Valdis Pelsh and his partner Olga Shelest. And of course, there were local artists and dance groups. According to LifeNews, to hold a traditional wedding ceremony, the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar came to the celebration from Moscow.

Свадьба дочери Мераба Елашвили

Anna Elashvili married the 20-year-old David Mardi

However, according to experts, it was still far away from what the Gutserievs organized. For example, a luxurious white wedding dress, though it was just sewed by tailors in Dubai, was much more modest than the price of Khadija Uzhakhova’s dress – only six thousand Euros.

The oligarch Alexander Ponomarenko, who spent 35 million rubles for the celebration his son’s Nikita’s majority age, and the Vice-President of the AFK Systema Leonid Monosov, who paid 60 million rubles for the wedding of his beloved daughter Alina, pleased their children in the past year as well. The Head of Sibur Dmitry Konov also gave himself a significant gift: he organized his own wedding for 40 million rubles.

In the Oscar style

At the end of the year not they weddings surprised the Russian. In the cinema called Moscow, the entrepreneur, owner of Nafta Moscow Suleiman Kerimov organized a grand New Year corporate party, at which he gave away Louboutins, Zemfira sang and the Minister Abizov was having fun.


Suleiman Kerimov is a Russian businessman, the member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Republic of Dagestan. Controls the financial-industrial group Nafta Moscow, owns the football club Anji. In 2016, the business publication Forbes has estimated Suleiman Kerimov wealth at $ 1.6 billion, putting his name on the 45th place in its ranking. The entrepreneur is among the 200 richest Russian businessmen.

For the businessman’s New Year's celebration, the whole cinema in the city center was closed. Kerimov and his colleagues were guarded by hundreds of security officers. The party was decorated in honor of the main American cinematographic event, Oscar, but no Hollywood stars were present at the ceremony. Three hundred cheerful guests were entertained by the domestic celebrities: singer Zemfira and Sergey Shnurov, who for the millionth time performed his hit . Before going on stage, the band Leningrad organized a small competition  for a few pairs of coveted Christian Louboutin shoes among the employees of the company. Also, on the stage, Andrei Malakhov and Nikolay Baskov as the hosts of the event were seen. The latter, who saw Timati arriving to the private event with three guards, could not help but bite his young colleague, catering business of whom became extremely successful. Baskov presented the rapper to the merry crowd as "the owner of Black Star, factories, ships, but nevertheless in need of earning." Reporters calculated that the Russian stars cost Kerimov not much cheaper than the foreign ones. For example, the performance of Zemfira in the New Year's holidays at a private event costs about 150 thousand euros. Nikolai Baskov charges roughly the same. Shnurov and his musicians take a little less – 100 thousand euros.

The organizers decided to give up on traditional tables, instead of which they threw a banquet: the guests were treated with sushi, sandwiches, fresh berries and fruits. While the "working class" of Kerimov’s corporation was dancing to Leningrad’s obscene song called Siski, the head of the company, dressed in a gray shirt and a strict black suit, spoke with the top managers of Nafta, moving with a glass of water from one room to other: all this time, the businessman was accompanied by a bodyguard. The richest man in the Russian government, according to the Russian Government website for the 2015 - Minister Mikhail Abyzov, came to congratulate Kerimov with the upcoming 2017.

Министр Абызов

New Year's celebration

After the official part and the concert, another surprise from the generous chief was waiting for the Nafta employees: in the hall with soft sofas, the guests watched Timur Bekmambetov's film Yolki-5 (a few days before the official premiere).

Another Dilbar

One of the few oligarchs who forked out for expensive "toys" this year was Alisher Usmanov. The rest more preferred to sell. The international automobile portal GTSpirit reported that the Russian billionaire, the shareholder of the USM Holdings Alisher Usmanov bought a new boat in Germany: it is 156 meters long and costs $ 600 million.


Alisher Usmanov is a Russian businessman, billionaire, founder of the USM Holdings. In the March 2012, Bloomberg named Usmanov Russia's richest man, estimating his fortune at US $ 20 billion. In 2013-2015, he headed the list of Russia's richest people. In 2012, according to Forbes magazine, he took 67th place among the most influential people in the world. In the list of 200 richest businessmen of Russia for the year 2016, drawn up by the Russian version of Forbes magazine, Usmanov took 3rd place.

Яхта Усманова

Alisher Usmanov yacht  

The yacht was sold to Usmanov by the German shipbuilding company Lurssen (Bremen) after a few years of secret work and months of testing at sea. His new 'toy' the Russian called, as well as his last ship: in honor of his mother Dilbar. The boat left the German shipyard in May 2016. Dilbar can accommodate 40 staff members and a crew of 80 people. The ship was designed by the well-known naval architect bureau from Monaco Espen Oeino. The project was called Omar. It is to be recalled that Usmanov’s previous yacht was built in 2008. According to various estimates, it costs from € 100 to € 200 million.



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