The Russian Billionaires
I have been reading about the Russian oligarchs (aka "billionaires") for a few months now as you may have noticed. While they are highly controversial figures, you have to give them credit for having big brass ones. If you're a tycoon in Russia, you commute in an armored limo accompanied by a convoy of SUVs filled with men toting automatic weapons. It's the only way you can survive. The threats can come from rival tycoons as well as any of Russia's hundreds of different police and security units. One oligarch, Vladimir Gusinsky, was estimated to have a private security force of 1000 former military and police men guarding him and his assets.
Here's the latest book on these men. It focuses on the ones who fled to London after Putin took over from Yeltsin a decade ago. Putin has been gradually clawing back some of the assets that they obtained for next to nothing in exchange for providing political support to Yeltsin in the 1990s.
Londongrad From Russia With Cash - The Inside Story Of The Oligarchs by Mark Hollingsworth and Stewart Lansley.
The amazing true story of how London became home to the Russian super-rich - told for the first time ever. A dazzling tale of incredible wealth, ferocious disputes, beautiful women, private jets, mega-yachts, the world’s best footballers - and chauffeur-driven Range Rovers with tinted windows.A group of buccaneering Russian oligarchs made colossal fortunes after the collapse of communism - and many of them came to London to enjoy their new-found wealth. Londongrad tells for the first time the true story of their journeys from Moscow and St Petersburg to mansions in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Surrey - and takes you into a shimmering world of audacious multi-billion pound deals, outrageous spending and rancorous feuds.But while London's flashiest restaurants echoed to Russian laughter and Bond Street shop-owners totted up their profits, darker events also played themselves out. The killing of ex-KGB man Alexander Litvinenko in London to the death - in a helicopter crash he all but predicted - of Stephen Curtis, the lawyer to many of Britain's richest Russians, chilled London's Russians and many of those who know them.
This is the story of how Russia's wealth was harvested and brought to London - some of it spent by Roman Abramovich on his beloved Chelsea Football Club, some of it spent by Boris Berezovsky in his battles with Russia's all-powerful Vladimir Putin. Londongrad is a must-read for anyone interested in how vast wealth is created, the luxury it can buy, and the power and intrigue it produces.
You can get more information on the book here: Londongrad From Russia With Cash - The Inside Story Of The Oligarchs