Champagne, luxurious automobiles… the approach to life of the Russian elite within the sights of westerners

The European Union and the UK adopted within the footsteps of the US by saying on Tuesday the ban on the export of luxurious items to Russia, a measure that ought to not disrupt the approach to life of the oligarchs, however that sends a political message for your complete Russian inhabitants. clarification.

Between the autumn of the ruble and the decline in buying energy, the sanctions towards Russia for the reason that invasion of Ukraine on 24 February have already had very concrete penalties for the Russian inhabitants. However Westerners particularly attempt to make the lives of a handful of personalities near Vladimir Putin an increasing number of tough.

Property confiscation, asset freeze, the sanctions at the moment are aimed immediately on the luxurious of the Russian elite. Certainly, the European Union on Tuesday, March 15, banned the export to Russia of its luxurious sedans, its champagne, its jewellery and different gadgets prized by the oligarchs.

Nonetheless, this solely issues items with a worth above a sure threshold, for instance set at 50,000 euros for automobiles.

“Those that help Putin’s warfare machine ought to not be capable to take pleasure in their lavish way of life whereas bombs are falling on harmless individuals in Ukraine,” stated Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Fee. The UK made the same choice by imposing an embargo on vogue and paintings.

The same choice had been made by the US a number of days earlier. The measure is outstanding, as a result of till now solely North Korea was topic to restrictions on the export of luxurious items.

“The message right here is addressed to the elites and is to make it clear to them that there’s nonetheless time to interrupt free from Vladimir Poutine,” Julien Vercueil, professor on the Nationwide Institute of Oriental Languages ​​and Civilizations (Inalco) explains to France 24. ), which factors to a “schizophrenic” relationship between the oligarchs and European or American luxuries. “The West is a mannequin for all issues conspicuous consumption, however of their discourse the elites are compelled to shout down this decadent West. As a result of his values ​​are usually not Vladimir Putin’s,” analyzes this specialist within the financial system of post-Soviet states.

“Principal” lifestyle

Nonetheless, these new sanctions are unlikely to disrupt the lavish life of the high-ranking leaders, enterprise leaders and politicians within the Kremlin.

“It stays difficult to hunt for these individuals, who’ve nice monetary energy as a result of they journey or typically have twin nationality,” says Bruno Lavagna, creator of “Géopolitique du luxe” (éd.Eyrolles), accompanied by France 24.

As defined by Courrier worldwide, “rich Russian oligarchs are letting wealthy Russian oligarchs depart their nation to settle and put money into the United Arab Emirates or in Turkey. A solution to shield their monetary belongings, but in addition to have “a distinguished lifestyle.” stated Emirati each day Al Bayan.

>> To learn: Gasoline, oligarchs, finance… How Russia protects itself from western sanctions

Amongst them Roman Abramovich, proprietor of the British soccer membership Chelsea, whose aircraft has landed in Istanbul a number of occasions for the reason that starting of March. In contrast to its European neighbors, Turkey doesn’t impose restrictions on Russian planes or luxurious yachts which have anchored in its ports in current weeks.

Lastly, to replenish on champagne, garments and luxurious watches, Kazakhstan looks as if a super gateway for the wealthiest Russians. “There’s a Eurasian financial union that may permit the Russian elites to purchase these merchandise with out further customs duties,” says Julien Vercueil.

Russia, the golden palm of inequalities in Europe

However the message of those new sanctions particularly concentrating on luxurious items isn’t just for the oligarchs. Additionally it is a matter of accentuating the division between these super-rich and the remainder of the inhabitants.

“A majority of Russians are shocked by the inequalities they see round them and the way in which these fortunes have been made,” assures Julien Vercueil.

Russia is essentially the most unequal nation in Europe. Based on a report by Credit score Suisse, 1% of the Russian inhabitants concentrates 74.5% of the nationwide wealth and 10% owns 89% of the products.

These inequalities are the results of an increase in excessive incomes within the stratosphere within the Nineties, coupled with the monopolization of the financial system by a handful of businessmen. The unfold continued to widen resulting from a continued rise in commodity costs.

Russians who can spend a number of thousand euros for a Chanel or Prada purse signify solely a small a part of the inhabitants. Opposite to the cliché of the bling-bling billionaire, a lover of Rolex watches and Dom Pérignon champagne, the Russian market is subsequently not important for the giants of the sector.

Based on LVMH, the world chief with manufacturers akin to Christian Dior, Kenzo and even Moët and Chandon, Russia represents solely 2% of its turnover. For champagne, Russia yearly buys about 1.5 million bottles, or 0.5% of the market. A drop of water, if we evaluate it to the 34 million bottles offered in the US in 2021.

>> Conflict of Designations of Origin: France resumes champagne exports to Russia

“Russian consumers weigh about 5% of the world market. So the posh world will be capable to get well, as a result of this can be very resilient, because the well being disaster has proven,” sums up Bruno Lavagna. “It also needs to be famous that he’s in solidarity with the worldwide neighborhood,” provides the specialist within the luxurious world.

From the start of March, a number of main teams confirmed their help for Ukraine by briefly closing their retailers in Russia. Some, akin to LVMH, have introduced that they’ll proceed to pay their staff within the nation.

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