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Jul. 27 2010 - 6:01 am | 119 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Real Housewives of Moscow

Studio Portrait Of An Unidentified Woman Weari...

Because you guys seem to enjoy discussions about Russian women and money, I figured I would repost my latest article, from Slate, here. It is about how corrupt Russian bureaucrats use their wives as offshore bank accounts to hide the money they steal, and why that undermines the millions of Russian women not married to chinovniki, and who work for their family’s bread.

A strange thing happened in late June, when the big Russian Internal Ministry bosses disclosed their earnings and those of their family members, thanks to President Dmitry Medvedev’s new anti-corruption measures. The surprise didn’t come from the men: The head-honcho cops were the fat cats everyone assumed them to be, declaring incomes that strangely exceeded that of the president. And the ranks of the obscure upper-middle management fittingly declared modest incomes, usually topping at out around $50,000. A Russian-made car here, a modest apartment there.

But the wifely half of the family disclosures was far more revelatory. There was, for example, the amazing financial statement of the spouse of Viktor Smirnov, the deputy director of the Russian Internal Ministry’s Center to Ensure Operation Performance to Combat Extremism. In 2009, a year in which the Russian economy struggled to get back on its feet after the financial crisis turned it virtually inside-out, Mrs. Smirnov made $500,000. She also owns two plots of land, each about 40 acres. She has shares in two apartments as well as in a housing complex, plus a Subaru Outback, an industrial truck, and a BMW 3-Series, which can retail for over $60,000. What does Mr. Smirnov own? One-quarter of one apartment.

Read the rest here.

via Slate’s Double X


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  1. collapse expand

    IMHO – this one is good. But I wonder what our women will say…

  2. collapse expand

    As an American man living with a muscovite woman, with first hand experience of her fantasy v reality, I say this is spot on and the corrupt bastards set a very bad example for the rest of us.

    Interestingly enough, we had a conversation recently where she literally cried and would not accept the idea that she wouldn’t have $500,000 to spend annually. For her this was the bare minimum she needed to blow annually to be happy. And it was all my fault for not being an oligarch…

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    About Me

    Hi! I am a journalist who, for reasons of sentimentality and an abiding fascination with the absurd, decided to live and work in Russia for a year just as the country vies with Somalia for Most Un-Safest Spot for Journalists in the World. I will blog in a death-defying manner, dear reader. That is a promise.

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    Contributor Since: September 2009
    Location:Moscow, Russia