Thursday 10 October 2013

Nessun Dorma

Having mentioned yesterday one of the Russian aristocracy who fled in 1917 as a youngster from the Soviet Revolution in the inbox today came a link about the current situation.  It seems that the rich are even richer with 35% of the wealth owned by 110 people.

The continuance of this division of the spoils in Russia is said to be owed to deals struck by President Putin with members of the select group who were the first there when the old Soviet Union collapsed to take over the key assets.

As we know their command of this wealth has had implications in other places.  It may not have given them control of Russia other than the influence money may bring.  It has certainly put them in strong positions elsewhere, notably the tax havens and choice locations.

One of these, as we know to our cost, is Central London, where a subservient government is almost at the point of structuring the entire crucial economic property market of the UK to meet the requirements of the investors there.

North of the Border the monetary needs of an independent Scotland could mean the effective surrender of control of the maritime areas around to the Russians in exchange for a good enough helping of the cream for the interested parties.

In Moscow the Putin administration has not wholly won the admiration of foreign observers.  Laws that are said to be harsh on Gays and others have caused some protests.  Valery Gergiev, the leading conductor, close to Putin, has had some barracking , at concerts.

It is perhaps as well that he is not down to conduct any performances of the Puccini opera "Turandot", which had a run at Covent Garden last month. 

This piece of splendid hokum is a about an Ice Princess who demands suitors answer riddles, get one wrong and you lose your head.  The body count is high.  The role of the executioner is a silent one but very theatrical.  His name is Pu Tin Pao.

The Russian's have had property interests before, some of their aristocracy either rented or in some cases owned properties in England in the Victorian era.  In 1901 the Grand Duke Mikhail, pictured above, here for the Queen's funeral, was put up at Sneyd Hall, at Keele, in Staffordshire.

He was quite taken with it but the owner, Ralph Sneyd, declined to sell.  But sell he did after World War Two when his money ran out to the Stoke on Trent Council who founded a University College, now Keele University, there under Lord Lindsay of Birker.

If Keele University does go broke as many of our universities are now under financial stress, how good it would be to see it taken over by a Russian.

Perhaps it could go in a competition to answer The Riddle of Russia.

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