…but she just might make a comeback if the situation in Russian continues:
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Emil Veliev was chatting about the glories of Agalarov Estate — some 800 acres of residential development where every towering house will have a swimming pool, a community fitness center has been built with three indoor tennis courts, and the price tag for many homes starts at $10 million…
The challenge of building an enclave for Russia’s wealthy elite near small, poor villages lays bare a central socio-economic tension in Russia today: The large rush of cash brought on by high oil and gas prices has created an ever-widening gulf between the super-rich and the rest of the country.
Moscow has more billionaires — 74 — than any other city in the world, according to Forbes magazine, and Russia is second, with 87 billionaires in all, only to the United States. Agalarov is one of them; he puts his net worth at more than triple Forbes’ estimate of $1.2 billion.
Meanwhile, the average salary in Russia in May is about $720 a month, and inflation is in double digits, according to official statistics.
New developments like Agalarov Estate are springing up on the highways leading out of Moscow, right alongside tiny settlements where families have barely enough money to pay the bills…
A band of residents in the nearby village of Voronino — a feisty collection of pensioners, their children and middle class Muscovites who spend the weekends there — has waged a campaign of letters and complaints to Russian officials alleging that Agalarov tried to force them to sell their property.
The villagers told the regional prosecutor’s office that after a round of menacing phone calls to those who wouldn’t sell, a local dog was shot, another had its throat slit, and a bathhouse was burned down.
It seems that Russia’s wealthy learned nothing from the 1917 revolution. It would be awfully nice to not have a modern-day repeat.