Disappointing Londongrad

londongrad073109.jpgWriting in the Guardian, Anna Blundy is not all that impressed with the latest contribution to the oligarch literature: Londongrad by Mark Hollingsworth and Stewart Lansley

The wives and girlfriends “flock” to Courchevel and “descend on the Côte d’Azur”, though it is clear the authors had no access to them either. There is also a strong note of derision directed at the Brits, described as “bag carriers” for the rich Russians, with emphasis on Stephen Curtis, Khodorkovsky’s UK lawyer, who died in a suspiciously timed helicopter crash in 2004.

The book does include the classic story of Berezovsky serving Abramovich with a writ in Hermès on London’s Sloane Street and accounts of the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko and Robert Workman, the pensioner shot dead in a case of assumed mistaken identity with the chief magistrate, Timothy Workman, who had dismissed Putin’s extradition applications for former Yukos officials.

It also includes a couple of great Russian jokes. Some oligarchs go into a restaurant and the waiter says the marble table is valuable and they shouldn’t put briefcases on it. The waiter returns to find a big briefcase on the table. “It’s not a briefcase,” the oligarch argues. “It’s my wallet.”