18 March 2018

Londongrad

In the British  population census of 2001, it was calculated that 15,000 Russian nationals were living in our country. By 2014, well-grounded estimates showed that there were now over 150,000 Russians living in London alone. Many of these Russian inhabitants are stupendously rich though the sources of their wealth are rarely crystal clear. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the growth of the Russian mafia meant that there was much graft and shady dealing in the years that followed. It was a dog eat dog world

It seems that Britain has welcomed Russian oligarchs, business magnates and billionaires with open arms, happily allowing them to buy up prime real estate, enrol their children in our best schools while even letting them donate many thousands of pounds to Theresa May's Conservative party.

We don't appear to welcome ragged babushkas in slippers from godforsaken post-industrial towns in Siberia or malnourished peasant farmers from the Ural Mountains or displaced steelworkers from Magnitogorsk but we have been happy to embrace bejewelled oligarchs in Bentleys.

Now when I last looked, Russia was not in the European Union and I do  not believe it has ever been a member of The British Commonwealth so as a fairly intelligent and reasonably liberal British citizen I am baffled about how all these rich Russians got to live here in the first place. Who let them in and furthermore why?

There is something quite sickening and perverse about giving rich Russians the red carpet treatment when traumatised Syrian families escaping from the rubble of their destroyed country \are denied entry or forced to get here on inflatable boats at the behest of gangsters. Ironically, Putin's forces continue to prop up Wicked Bashar al-Assad, perpetuating the Syrian conflict and the trauma.

They say that money talks and in the case of London's large Russian community that is clearly true. Normal immigration rules are shelved. The history of their dubious wealth is conveniently overlooked and we even allow them to buy Premier League football clubs, newspapers and publishing houses. Meanwhile, a Syrian child looks into the camera with bloodshot eyes, cement dust on her cheeks and memories of hellishness, fury and death seared in her mind forever.

21 comments:

  1. It is an unfortunate truth, as you said, that money talks. Unfortunately it is the same the world over. I don't see many wealthy Brits having problems living anywhere they want either. As for the unfortunates of the world - for they outnumber the rest of us many times - there is no sanctuary.

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    1. I agree Graham. You only have to look at The Hollywood Hills to find a shed load of rich British immigrants who got there through playing by different rules.

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  2. A very accurate and thought-provoking comment, YP, that echoes the thoughts of many, many people in this beleaguered country of ours. Aren't we in an awful mess?

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    1. Putin sniffs our weakness and he may well have instigated social media interference in the Brexit vote.

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  3. The Russian mafia took up an entire floor of Trump Tower for several years, long before orange man even ran for president. And now they own the White House. It seems they, at least, learned something from the Cold War.

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    1. And, Jan, it is my understanding that many, many pregnant women are flown here to stay in Trump Tower until they give birth to United States citizens!!

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    2. None of us are being told the truth. Putin's tactics are cunning, current and insidious.

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  4. I will have to find more reading material on this - I had no idea.

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    1. Internally, Russian democracy is a sham and that cynicism is transferred to foreign affairs. There is no honour.

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  5. Meanwhile Australia locks up Rohingya/ Syrian/ Hazara refugees in immigration detention here or on god forsaken tropical island hell holes on the basis that they shouldn't attempt to enter Australia by boat. We leave them languishing for years, allow them to die preventable deaths and then fling open the gates to white farmers from Zimbabwe.
    Don't even get me started on the Chinese.....

    They say money wont buy happiness but it sure buys a lot of solutions

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    1. It appears to be the same the whole world over. Different types of justice for different people.

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  6. It's all May's fault, come what may.

    Theresa May became Prime Minister in 2016, which means she has to be blamed for everything....everything that happens since that time, and while she holds that position. It also appears she is to blame for everything that happened prior to her stepping up.

    She can't win...even if she gets dressed for every game. She'd win, of course, if she was Labour...because Labour can do no wrong.

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    1. The rich Russians were arriving in Britain before May replaced Cameron.

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    2. I realise that, Yorkie,,,,I was being facetiously sarcastic...or was attempting to be. I thought you would have picked up on that. :)

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  7. I can understand some unease about these characters. They play by their own rules. They have money to throw around for favors. don't send them over here.

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    1. Canada should be allocated its own share of rich Russians Redsky!

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  8. Chinese money talks in New Zealand...
    We need a total revision of the global economic system.
    I just squeaked through Economics 1A with a D, so I am an authority.

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    1. I bow to your higher economic understanding Kate. Thanks for calling by again.

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  9. I wonder if they're really living here. They may own property here, but I suspect a lot of these oligarchs own multiple homes in multiple countries and jet around from place to place on short-term visas. Who knows what passport they're traveling under. (Not that I have any personal knowledge of the behavior of oligarchs -- this is pretty much total conjecture on my part.)

    Our upstairs neighbors are Russian. I don't know what the man does but he wears a suit and goes to work every day. I'm guessing a banker or some such. So he clearly DOES live here.

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    1. (Pretty sure he's not an oligarch!)

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    2. How should we pronounce oligarch? In the same way that you say Olga or the way that I say Olga? Perhaps the man upstairs is a nerve agent salesman.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.