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Archive for March 15th, 2007

roman abramovich has always owned chelsea

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I don’t get much of a chance to read the UK papers, but today I bought a copy of of the “other” Times at JFK on the way home from our little warm-weather break. Roman Abramovich features much more centrally in the news cycles over there due to his ownership of Chelsea – we don’t get all that much on him over here – he’s strictly page 10 type stuff in the US, once a quarter or so…

He’s getting divorced, apparently, and there are a series of articles on just how much his ex will take. The headspinning, nausea-inducing aspect of all of this, of course, of course, is the fact that what we’re talking about is a divorce that divides up a large chunk of the fruits of the once publicly-owned assets and institutions of the USSR.

Mrs Abramovich appeared well-placed to become the world’s richest divorcée with her choice of property, Old Masters and opulent trinkets from the oligarch’s fortune. His empire was financed from his interests in the former state-owned natural assets of his once-communist homeland, notably oil and aluminium. Nobody has explained exactly how a Muscovite orphan rose from being a black-market toy trader to put the Duke of Westminster in the shade, but he clearly knows how to strike a deal.

A story that really can’t be told, here nor there, without fissuring several columnar stories of the hurray! End of History and the cancellation of the evil injustice that was communism.

Well, whatever else you can say about the fall of the soviet empire, at least the money’s being well spent.

£10.8bn Estimated total value of his fortune

£7.5bn Amount he and partners received for stake in Sibneft oil company in 2005

£1bn Holdings in Russian industry, including food and pharmaceuticals

£2bn Dividends from Sibneft and sales of stakes in other companies, such as aluminium holdings

£28m Six-storey house off Sloane Square, London

£189m Value of yachts: Pelorus, Esctasea, Le Grand Bleu, Sussurro

£119m Value of private Boeing 767 jet, Boeing business jet, and helicopter fleet

£12m Fryning Estate in West Sussex

£15m Château de la Croe in France

£1m Value of his and hers Maybach 62 limousines

Relatedly, turning back to the NY Times, I find this:

…which will replace this:

For fairly obvious reasons, I’m generally not very big on the idea of academic work / scholarship as an effort to preserve the best that was thought and said (and built) during dark times, etc etc etc. But it is nonetheless true that my youngest students this year were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, even if they weren’t really cognizant of much, globo-politically speaking, during their wonder years, they certainly didn’t grow up with even the slightest inkling that another world was once thought possible, even really built, if only perversely, half-way or worse. Efforts both intentional and automatic are underway to shred this alternative space down rubble for landfill, the stuff that the mall pictured above will rest upon but never portray.

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March 15, 2007 at 11:48 pm