Spare a thought for Moscow's zolotoya molodezh (golden youth): caviar on tap, cocainefuelled parties, nightclubs where you can spend £5,500 for a private room (with shower) and where beautiful girls dance nearly naked on the bar
Sounds OK to me. Of course there's lots of talk about how unhappy they all are. Or will be. No goal in life, everything too easy, etc etc.
But looking at them, staring out of The Sunday Times magazine in fishnet tights and see-through tops and tiny bikinis, they don't look too unhappy. Bit vacant, perhaps. Not much sign of culture or learning. But then many of them are the children of out-and-out gangsters or, at best, ruthless meglomaniacs. Budding Einsteins they aren't.
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Take this tale about a 14-year-old's birthday party. Two years ago, writes The Sunday Times's Mark Franchetti, a Ukrainian businessman sends a private plane to Moscow to ferry the boy's entire school class to Kiev for the weekend. They stay in suites in the most expensive five star hotel and cruise down the Dnieper in a private yacht. Unfortunately the boy's father can't join them; he's in jail at the time.
In the 16 years since communism collapsed fortunes have been made staggeringly fast. As Franchetti says, "no other country has ever given birth to such private riches in so short a time". There are now 110 dollar billionaires in Russia and 100,000 multi-millionaires and Moscow's billionaire bratpack are spending money with the same urgency their oligarch fathers made it.
The same shamelessness too. "No yacht. No plane. No money. No chance," are the words emblazoned across the cleavage of one pretty teenager's white T-shirt as she sips a cocktail in a nightclub called Rai (Paradise).
"What better place to be than in Moscow?" shouts Andrei, celebrating his 17th birthday in the same club. "We have it all. It's the best place in the world to party If you have money, of course. But that's not a problem."
No indeed, though not everyone's celebrating. "The question we should be asking ourselves is whether we are turning our children into spineless, fragile creatures who live in a fantasy world that has nothing to do with reality," says the wife of a multimillionaire businessman, predicting that many of them will end up in rehab before they're 30.
These are kids who have everything but haven't achieved anything, says Olga, an aspiring fashion journalist. "They have no goal in life I call them dyeti-ovoshi, the vegetable kids." Olga knows. Her former boyfriend, Dmitry, then 17, would hire an entire cinema whenever he wanted to see a film "because he didn't want other people there. I once asked him what he aspired to. 'The latest Mercedes', was all he could answer."
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