Bail-ski: A Toast to the Russian Oligarchs, They're Gonna Need It

 

Drinking Away the Billionaire Blues

Drinking Away the Billionaire Blues

 

Forbes Russia just put out its 100 Wealthiest Russians lists and in the spirit of Glasnost, I thought I’d open up the discussion here.

The numbers are out and the news is uglier than that thing on Gorbachev‘s head for Russia’s billionaire oligarch class…

From Forbes Russia via The Guardian UK:
The number of Russian billionaires has slumped from 110 last year to 32, while their assets – valued at $520bn in 2008 – have dropped by 70%, according to the magazine’s latest survey.

Remember the good old days of 2007?  Russia’s top exports like Oil, Gas, Gold and Mail Order Brides were in demand all over the world and the prices were flying high.  All of this new wealth funneled into the pockets of the ex-KGB operatchniks who were quick enough to grab the country’s industrial assets after the fall of communism.  The Wod-ka was flowing, the borscht was cold and life was good.

Look what happened to this poor sonofabitch:

The biggest, most significant loser is Oleg Deripaska, who last year was Russia’s richest man. Deripaska is now worth $3.5bn, according to Forbes, down from $28.6bn. He has struggled to repay multibillion loans from western banks used to expand his aluminum and building empire.

Sounds like our friend Oleg could use a Bailski!

With metals and oil pricing through the floor so far this year, one shudders to think about the consequences of Mother Russia deciding that this whole “capitalism thing” is bullsh@t.  They’re enough trouble over there as is, if the hammers and sickles start coming out of storage, look out Central Europe!

The good news for Boris and Alexei is that your standard of living in St Petersburg or Moscow probably doesn’t change much when your net worth drops from $15 billion to $5 billion.  At most, we’re talking about cutting back your purchases of armor-plated Escalades to 12 a year and maybe a little less money blown during a drunken stupor at a Sotheby’s Marc Chagall auction.

So here’s a toast to the downtrodden Russian Oligarchs, may they rebound in 2009 and go back to strangling their neighbors’ economies with natural resource profiteering very soon.  

You guys are the real victims here, and we’ll be rooting for you.

Full Story: Forbes Russia Wealthiest List (Guardian)

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