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Dubai instead of native birches: Russian oligarchs still prefer going abroad
21 June, 10:18
Dubai instead of native birches: Russian oligarchs still prefer going abroad
Photo: The New York Times
As before the outbreak of hostilities, the Russian "business elite" instead of their native Russian cities, seeks to fly away from their homeland.

Ivan Zubov

The influential American publication The New York Times analyzed the map of flights of aircraft belonging to the so-called Russian "elite" since the beginning of the special operation in Ukraine, and revealed very remarkable changes. Novye Izvestia has written more than once about the increase in the flow of emigrants from Russia during these months. But this mainly concerned journalists, civil activists and IT specialists who flew to Armenia, Georgia or Turkey - countries that are relatively accessible for Russians in terms of visa requirements. Or to Germany and Latvia, which accept Russian citizens who fear persecution at home.

But another social group, the so-called business elite, rushed to the largest city of the Persian Gulf, Dubai, which they had long ago renamed Dubai. If before the start of the special operation, only 3% of private flights departing from Russia headed for the United Arab Emirates, now, according to an analysis of the records of the flight tracking company RadarBox.com, this figure has grown to 14% by May!

The analysis covers both private and commercial leased aircraft, although the flight pattern assumes that most aircraft are privately owned.

Until February 24, even in the face of a deep freeze in relations between Russia and the West, luxury European real estate in the UK, France and Switzerland served as a haven for Russia's super-rich. Now, with European airspace closed to Russian aircraft and European countries confiscating the assets of Russian oligarchs, the era of weekend shopping trips to Geneva seems to be over. Instead, other geography is traced in the flight patterns. For example, Kazakhstan and Turkey, countries that have not joined the sanctions against Russia and that have provided a home for Russian businesses leaving the country, have become leading destinations. And Azerbaijan, which still maintains close ties with both Russia and Ukraine, also won in this situation.

But no other country has seen such a sharp jump in the number of wealthy Russian travelers as in the United Arab Emirates, where the resort and financial center of Dubai has become their main refuge.

“Many people have no choice”, - says Russian journalist Daria Poligaeva, who moved to Dubai a few years ago. “This is one of the few places where you can now move your business, where there is a market where you can develop your business…”

In a comment to this publication, economist Dmitry Prokofiev writes:

Revealed Preference Theory advises economists not to pay attention to people's "words" (whoever they come from), but only to "actions." What a person says is not important, it is important. what he does - for example, where he flies on a private jet. The article The New Geography of the Russian Elite, published by The New York Times on June 17, 22, explores the "new geography of the Russian elite" that has changed in recent months. The "new geography" is clearly presented in the illustrations, in short - instead of Nice, London and Basel, the masters of the Russian Federation went en masse to Dubai, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, as well as Baku and Tashkent.

However, it is not even important which countries appeared in the “new geography of elites”, but which country did not and does not exist in this “geography”. That's right, the cities of the Russian Federation are not included in the elite routes. (And business jets of Russians are also parked in the UAE. Not in the Russian Federation.)

Actually, there is nothing to say here..."

Political scientist Alexander Saygin adds:

“I would also note that, despite all the mantras, there is not a single Chinese or Indian city on the list. And this is no less important..."