Wealthiest Russians celebrate Victory Day
The Victory Day is a very special holiday for every Russian citizen. On May 9, each of us becomes a part of something bigger. Thousands of people congregate in Moscow's Red Square to take part in the Immortal Regiment March. The CrimeRussia found out how the wealthiest people of Russia celebrate the most patriotic holiday.
Russian billionaires have a new trend: displaying to the public not startling pictures from the Seychelles or Hawaii – but patriotic photos showing them vacating in Krasnaya Polyana or Kamchatka. If an oligarch from the Forbes list decides to relax far from the homeland, he keeps this in secret from journalists and avoids their cameras. However, all Russian moneybags have a weak point – the passion for enormously expensive luxury superyachts. This ‘heel of Achilles’ makes it possible to easily establish the location of their vessels at any time.
So, how do the richest Russian businessmen celebrate the Victory Day? Leonid Mikhelson, leader of the Forbes rating and Chairman of the Board of Novatek Public Joint Stock Company, spends the May holidays on Corfu Island, Greece. His humble 85-meter-long yacht Pacific worth $130 million is at rest in the port Kerkira, the capital of Corfu. It is warm and dry in Corfu in spring – the best time to enjoy this piece of paradise on earth. Being a well-known connoisseur of art and philanthropist, Mikhelson won’t miss such an opportunity.
Is the billionaire going to join Russian expats conducting the Immortal Regiment March in the old part of Kerkira on the annual basis? Does Mikhelson have a relative who had fought in the Great Patriotic War to hold his photo during the march? Too bad, the richest Russian businessman never speaks about his family with journalists...
Vagit Alekperov, the third wealthiest person in the Forbes rating and President of Lukoil, has a reason to be proud of his father: Yusuf Alekperov went through the entire war, exhausted his health, and died when Vagit, the youngest child in a big family, was only three years old. The son had always admired his father and decided to become an oiler in his memory. Is Vagit Alekperov going to march with the portrait of Yusuf Alekperov through the streets of Barcelona? One of his yachts, Galactica Super Nova, is anchored in this city on the May holidays.
The next richest person on the Forbes list is Aleksei Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Severstal Public Joint Stock Company. Mordashov is proud that his fortune was gained by fair means. One of the billionaire's main assets in Cherepovetsk Metallurgical Complex where his parents used to work. Mordashov is a true patriot and decided to spend the holidays in Turkey – the country traditionally chosen by Russians having enough money to vacate abroad.
The only difference between an ordinary Russian and the oligarch is that Mordashov resides not in an all-inclusive resort – but sails to Turkey onboard his own snow-white yacht Lady M. He has visited Fethiye and Ortakent, a beautiful settlement not far from Bodrum, made a short trip to Rhodes Island, Greece, and returned back to Turkey. On May 5, Lady M came to anchor in Marmaris. So, except for the flag of the Cayman Islands – typical for Russian moneybags – streaming over his yacht, the billionaire spends the May holidays in a pretty patriotic way; thousands of his compatriots will celebrate the Victory Day in Turkey as well.
Vladimir Potanin, the sixth wealthiest person in the Forbes rating and President of Interros Holding, also picked a resort popular among Russians. On March 29, his yacht Barbara departed from Antibes, France and came to anchor in Limassol, Cyprus. The island offers not only plenty of affordable hotels – but also luxury options meeting the high standards of Russian oligarchs.
On May 7, Alisher Usmanov, the ninth richest person on the Forbes list and primary shareholder of USM Holdings, returned to his homeland. It is neither Uzbekistan where he was born nor Russia where the billionaire has made his fortune – but Sardinia. This Italian island became a new home for Usmanov a long time ago. “I have special relations with Italy.” – the oligarch says.
Eager to put down roots in a foreign country, the Russian billionaire purchased in the mid-2000s a luxury villa in Sardinia that used to belong to Indesit owner Antonio Merloni. To join the local society, Usmanov donated two buses for disabled persons to Arzachena commune, supported the local football team, and donated money for the construction of a high-tech hospital. The ‘fellow countrymen' appreciated the high social responsibility of the Russian oligarch and made him an honorable citizen of Arzachena commune. The businessman rarely leaves his new home for long.
On April 30, Usmanov made a short trip onboard his 156-meter-long yacht Dilbar. He departed from Olbia and came to anchor in Antibes, the second most beautiful city on Côte d'Azur after Nice. On the next day, the oligarch returned to Sardinia and came to anchor near Pevero beach, a lovely place on Costa Smeralda.
Roman Abramovich, who has yielded the palm to Usmanov in the Forbes rating, prefers Côte d'Azur. His yacht Eclipse stays near La Ciotat, France, on the May holidays. The pride of La Ciotat is the largest in Europe seaport for maintenance and repairs of huge private yachts. It cannot be ruled out that Eclipse, the second – after Usmanov's Dilbar – most expensive ship belonging to Russian oligarchs, needs technical services. While the vessel worth $460 million is repaired, its owner may relax in one of his French properties. Abramovich and his children own villas in Saint-Tropez, homes in Paris, and Château de la Croix estate that used to belong to Edward VII, former King of the United Kingdom.
Yacht Palladium belonging to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of Onexim Group, is currently anchored in Vilanova Grand Marina not far from Barcelona, Spain. This is the first Mediterranean port specially designed for superyachts. It is located 20 minutes from the Barcelona airport having a special terminal for private jets. Prokhorov, the 12th wealthiest person in the Forbes rating, does not like wasting time – even during holidays.
Viktor Rashnikov, owner and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, holds the 14th position in the Forbes rating – but his 140-meter-long yacht Ocean Victory is more expensive than vessels of the majority of his ‘colleagues’. Its cost is estimated at $310 million, only Usmanov, Abramovich, and Melnichenko have more high-priced ships. Ocean Victory is the 11th largest yacht in the world. Currently, it is anchored near Mykonos, Greece. This island is like the Olympus – but instead of gods, you are surrounded by world celebrities.
Yacht Predator belonging to Iskander Makhmudov, the 18th richest oligarch on the Forbes list and President of Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, is anchored in the coastal city of Imperia, Italy, on the May holidays. This resort city not far from Sanremo is known for its olive oil, soft cheeses, and excellent wines. Makhmudov's yacht arrived at Imperia from Marseille – so he can now compare the best Italian and French wines.
Andrei Skoch, a Deputy of the State Duma and businessmen whose fortune is estimated at $5.2 billion (22nd position in the Forbes rating), is also the Chairman of Pokolenie (Generation) Charitable Fund restoring monuments to slain soldiers – so, he is supposed to celebrate the Victory Day together with other Russians. In addition, the billionaire always proudly remembers his grandfathers – participants of the Great Patriotic War: "Both my grandfathers had fought. Unfortunately, I still cannot find one of them. He was killed after the Victory and buried in Poland. Neither the Red Cross nor other international organizations are able to locate him – but I don't lose hope. My other grandfather had fought and was severely wounded. As a disabled person, he received a Zaporozhets vehicle with manual control. I took my first driving lessons in this car. The grandfather taught me how to drive. I remember his stories about the war and his fears. He managed to convey this to me. Now I see my grandfather in every veteran of the Great Patriotic War".
Such touching words! So, where is yacht Madame Gu purchased by the Deputy for $135 million? It departed from Genoa, Italy and came to anchor in Antibes, France, recently visited by Usmanov. Apparently, there is some discrepancy between the words and deeds of Skoch... By the way, Deputy’s vessel also sails under the flag of the Cayman Islands…
The same flag streams over yacht Alfa Nero belonging to Andrei Gur’ev, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of PhosAgro (26th position in the Forbes rating). On May holidays, the billionaire decided to move closer to his native land. In March, Alfa Nero was sailing in the Caribbean – Antigua, Barbuda, and then Saint Martin. Then it passed through Gibraltar and is currently anchored not far from the yacht of Prokhorov in Vilanova Grand Marina Port specially designed for private superyachts.
Oleg Deripaska, Chairman of Basic Element, currently holds only the 30th position on the Forbes list because of the American sanctions. The oligarch celebrates the Victory Day in Greece – on May 6, his yacht Queen K departed from Italy and came to anchor near Rhodes. This island is as popular as Crete and features both historical monuments and deluxe hotels.
Sergei Galitsky, founder of Magnit retail chain (32nd position in the Forbes rating), seems to be a big fan of sanctioned products not available in his superstores. His luxury 104-meter-long yacht Quantum Blu is anchored in Nice. Herring, potatoes in jackets, rye bread, and a shot of vodka are for veterans with their ridiculous pensions. Côte d'Azur offers crabs, lobsters, bouillabaisse, salad Nicoise, pissaladière, ratatouille, etc. for the festive dinner. Provence is not too far – so, best French wines and cheeses are available as well. Not too patriotic – but very tasty...
Arkady Rotenberg, the 41st most prosperous Russian businessman on the Forbes list, found the most original place to celebrate the May holidays. His yacht Rahil is anchored in Sochi and the Russian flag streams over it. This indicates either a true patriotism or... deep understanding of the political situation.
A superyacht belonging to a Russian oligarch, anchored in a Russian port, and sailing under the Russian flag is a unique phenomenon. Popular comedian Evgeny Petrosyan currently performing in the Krasnodar krai posted on Instagram a photo of himself and white yachts behind and noted that Sochi now resembles Nice.
Igor Makarov, President of Areti International Group (48th position in the Forbes rating) does not have such a profound political insight as Rotenberg. The businessman left Russia on the May holidays and sailed away to distant and ‘unfriendly’ shores – currently, his yacht Areti is anchored in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA. What a bravery! Or stupidity? Time will show.
There is one more vessel whose location deserves a special mention. It belongs to a person holding only the 158th position on the Forbes list. Oleg Burlakov, member of the Council of Directors of Krasnodarpromzheldortrans, has a fortune of $650 million and owns yacht Black Pearl worth $220 million. Only superyachts of persons from the top positions of the Forbes rating are more expensive than it. In addition, Black Pearl is the largest sailing yacht in the world.
The vessel features everything required for deluxe recreation – 6 cabins for 12 passengers, two spa pools, and a huge beach club. The yacht looks amazingly. Too bad, Russian people cannot see it – Black Pearl is currently anchored in Tarragona, Spain. Hopefully, this marvel of shipbuilding comes to Sochi some time. Brothers Rotenberg have an excellent sense of the political situation – and Arkady's yacht anchored in Sochi on the Victory Day is a hint to all other oligarchs.