5 of the Most Extravagant Russian Oligarchs
Having amassed their wealth in the turmoil surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union, the mind-boggling opulence of Russia’s ultra-rich often makes it seem like they live in a parallel universe compared to the rest of us. From their superyachts to palace-like homes and lavish weddings, here’s a glimpse at how Moscow’s elite spend their serendipitously earned cash.
- Roman Abramovich
Once a salesman of imported rubber ducks from his Moscow apartment, Roman Abramovich’s meteoric rise up the global rich-list has made him the 11th-richest person in Russia and 140th-richest in the world.
His largesse extends to the world of soccer: Abramovich owns the leading British club Chelsea, pumping money into the industry’s transfer market to rein in world-class players like Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres.
Abramovich is also the owner of Eclipse, a nine-level yacht with an estimated cost of €340 million. At the time of this mega-vessel’s delivery, the Eclipse was the largest superyacht in the world, replete with a swimming pool that can be converted into a dance floor. Not to be outdone by sunbathers, the ship’s top deck is dominated by the helicopters and garage; behind the scenes, the Eclipse is home to a mini-submarine, and is even armed with anti-ballistic missile defence and anti-paparazzi systems
Clearly unfazed by New York’s skyrocketing property costs, Abramovich was once the mastermind behind plans to build the biggest private residence in Manhattan. The owner of №11, 13 and 15 East 75th Street on the Upper East Side, this oligarch added a fourth house- №9 — to his collection, bringing his combined bill to $132 million. The four townhouses were destined to be combined into a single mega-mansion, but were ultimately sold to his ex-wife Dasha Zhukova last spring.
2. Farkhad Akhmedov
With the dubious honour of enduring what has been described as “Britain’s most expensive divorce”, oil and gas baron Akhmedov is the proud owner — for now at least — of a $500 million yacht named Luna.
Home to two heliports, a spa and a swimming pool spanning her nine decks, Luna is also host to a crew of about 50. Ordered to pay an eye-watering £453m settlement to his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova, Akhmedov may yet be forced to hand over the keys to this mammoth party boat.
Still, the Luna is only a taste of Akhmedov’s collection: his other assets include a £90 million modern art collection and a bevy of vintage shotguns.
Further still, the Akhmedova-Akhmedov divorce has certainly forced some of the billionaire’s skeletons out of the closet: as the proceedings drag on, Akhmedov has been accused of hiding his assets and cash overseas.
3. Andrey Melnichenko
Amassing his fortune in the fertiliser, coal, power and banking industries, Melnichenko ranked 139th on the Forbes World’s billionaires list in 2016. Together with his wife Aleksandra, this billionaire is the proud owner of the dryly named Motor Yacht A, a £225 million superyacht that once necessitated the lifting of London’s Tower Bridge to allow its passage down the Thames.
Extending his taste for style to the skies, Melnichenko also owns a customised Boeing 737 private jet, no doubt used to transport the couple between their expansive property portfolio spread between London, New York and — unsurprisingly — the French Riviera.
While other oligarchs seem permanently embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings, Melnichenko and Serbian supermodel Aleksandra seem to have discovered the secret to a lasting marriage. Their lavish 2005 wedding, one of the most expensive ceremonies in history with performances by Whitney Houston, Julio Iglesias and Christina Aguilera, certainly seems to have done the trick.
4. Yuri Shefler
Russian vodka king Shefler is the proud owner of Scotland’s most expensive sporting estate — Tulchan Estate on Speyside — which reportedly boasts some of the best salmon fishing in Europe. Schefler snatched up the prize after it was put on the market for more than £25 million in 2017.
Shefler also grabbed headlines in recent years with the sale of his $468 million superyacht Serene to Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince, one complete with an extensive saltwater swimming pool, giant hot tubs and a sauna with a view. If you’re concerned for Schefler’s watersport opportunities in the wake of the sale, however, you can rest easy: he remains the owner of a $75 million estate in Malibu, California.
5. Aleksey Shapovalov
Last, but certainly not least, this is a Russian oligarch with a taste for bling: in 2017, Shapovalov married Ksenia Tsaritsina, the young mother of his two children, in an astonishingly lavish wedding even by ultra-rich standards. Sealing the deal with a £7.7 million ring diamond ring for his bride, Shapovalov’s wedding was also host to an eight-tier “floating” wedding cake complete with a beaded chandelier finish, three bridal gown changes, and performance by Russian pop stars for the couple’s hundreds of guests at the Moscow event.