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Press Review November 25, 2003
 
This Passport is Not Valid
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 2
 
If there's one thing I can't stand, it's an overstated private jet. A private jet should stand out, sure, but it shouldn't grab you by the lapels. And Roman's jet is just peachy-keen, like everything else about him from his "tawny stubble" to his "Burberry t-shirt and navy jacket." Passport's interviewer flew all the way out to Chukotka to find exactly the same story as in the Mary Dudley and Barbara Childs articles: as always, an oligarch's generosity has made everything fine for the former victims of "an uncaring government." Across the whole "Roman empire," from Chukotka to Chelsea, Roman's "largesse has...made him a hero." In fact, he is something of a local deity: "the people of Chukotka pray that he stays" and "don't care" about his "sinister image." [What sinister image is that, you may wonder? Don't even ask. Or rather, remember this: up until late 1999, no television station in Russian television even dared to show his photograph.] All that matters is that, thanks to the the oligarch, "wages and pensions are paid on time now."

Passport lets Abramovich make patently absurd comments like, "'I don't think I wanted to be a governor or ever would be,'" failing to inform its readers that one very good reason Abramovich scattered his "largesse" on Chukotka was the fact that governors, like Duma deputies, are immune to criminal prosecution.

Passport devotes an entire page to another example of "largesse": this year's "Trafalgar Ball," at which "some 250 expatriate and Russian guests" got dressed up celebrating "the naval victory of 1805." Which is significant, because the Battle of Trafalgar essentially marked the restoration of the reactoinaries over revolutionary France. The Ball, featuring toothy couples, candles and kilts, managed to raise $13,000 for disadvantaged children, or roughly $50 per plutocrat. They're just too giving for their own good.

Those of you who hate the eXile -- and we hear that there are one or two of you out there -- now have the alternative to the alternative, the glossy, sunny counter-revolution you've always been dreaming of, to make your colonial stay here as safe, dull and wonderful as a Passport to Paradise.

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dolan@exile.ru
 
 
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