Ultra-Wealthy Russians in London Get Social

The old barriers which used to separate the Russian expatriate community in London from the rest of the citizens appear to be beginning to dissolve, as billionaires snap up high value works of art, hold elegant benefits and fund raisers, and enthusiastically dive into the wealthy socialite world in general. The Wall Street Journal has a report today about a party thrown by Alexander Lebedev which brought in the A-List figures such as Hugh Grant, U2’s Bono and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. This picture seems distinctly different from the cloak-and-dagger snake nest of Mayfair spy agencies, as described in Steve LeVine’s excellent upcoming book, but it’s possible these worlds coexist. Given that Lebedev is part owner of Novaya Gazeta, I am sure the guests to the charity event must have been buzzing with questions about the latest news in the Anna Politkovskaya trials… Right – It will be nice if one day people didn’t have to check their politics at the door at any Russia-related event. lebedev061908.jpg Alexander Lebedev: statesman, captain of industry, 358th richest person in the world, and now, London socialite