Moscow -- Several downtown blocks were shut down last weekend by men in black suits carrying assault rifles. The crÃ¨me de la creme of Moscow, including Mayor Luzhkov and his wife came out. George Banson and Al Jerreau performed on a stage suspended inside the biggest concert hall in the city; fruits made of pure gold arranged on marble vases; Bentleys and a $10,000,000 penthouse for presents -- this is a snapshot of the biggest wedding Moscow has seen yet. There was a $5,000 bounty for capturing paparazzi, so no one could get close enough to take a decent picture.
The bride, Alsou Safina, is the daughter of the LUKOil founder Ralif Safin; she is also a pop star and "royalty". Russian and European newspapers have dubbed her "The Oil Princess". The groom, Yan Abramov, is a son of the "royal Armenian Jewish clan of Abramovs". I'll let the reader try to make sense of what this combination of words mean. The "Abramov Clan" is officially "involved in the Russian oil business". This also doesn't tell you much, but says everything you need to know at the same time.
Yan Abramov is a young man who started his own fireworks business, in which his family has heavily invested. The business is still "small and can't be compared to the turn-around of the rest of the family". Alsou has resided all her life in London with her mother and younger brother; however she owns a $10,000,000 estate in the Moscow suburbs. Alsou has the most expensive music videos and arrangement you'll find in Europe these days. She has no real talent for singing, but she still won second place in the English-language Eurovision best pop song contest in 2000. She also found time to star in the British horror movie "Spirit Trap". Russian oil money can take you far, even when the nation is starving; that's for sure.
Yan Abramov used to date Mariah Carey; he would take her out in Moscow and launch fireworks from the banks of Moscow River to impress her. However Mariah wasn't "royal" enough, so he dumped her. Then it was the turn of Ksenia Sobchak, the daughter of a Russia politician, who supposedly is also "royal". But she wasn't a pop singer, and the relationship didn't work out very well. Then he found Alsou who was perfect: a singer, "royalty", and also the child of a loaded Tatarstan family.
Imagine if the speakers of the US Senate and House of Representatives and the mayors of several major American cities were joined by all the pop and rock stars and mafia dons for a wedding for a British-educated pop star and the heir of a "Royal clan involved in oil business". I don't think this would be possible under any conditions in a country like America with the rule of law. However, almost anything is possible in Russia. We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.
The list of politicians in attendance included Mayor Luzhkov and his corrupt wife (the queen of Moscow construction kickbacks), the speaker and vice speakers of the Duma (Russia's Parliament), the speaker of the Russian Senate, and the mayors of the oil boomtown of Baku and Bugulmi (the newlyweds respective hometowns).
Also in attendance was Josef Kobzon a former Russian crooner and MP (with legal immunity in Russia), who now controls numerous pharmacies, bars, and night clubs in Moscow. Kobzon and his family have been banned from travelling to America by the U.S. Department of State for international arms trafficking. The ex-governor of Russia's troubled region of Ingushetia also attended along with numerous Russian pop stars and many young men never seen before in public.
The Moscow godfather Kobzon in his speech wished that the newlyweds would be married forever; he told Alsou not to divorce her husband and to lose him "in only one way -- by becoming a widow". Mayor Luzhkov said that the city's plans to encourage the birth of more children will be completed in the near future, "thanks to the fertility of Alsou". The Duma's biggest clown, Vladimir Zhirinovsky (also the vice-speaker of the Russian Parliament), joked in his speech that he had finally arrived in Moscow's "real high society".
Moscow's real high society had to have special holograms saying "YA" to get into the restricted part of the city. When they entered the concert hall "Russia" they were in a paradise, with exotic birds flying above and golden fruits placed on marble posts. The walls and ceilings of the hall were covered with purple silk, where "YA" letters were sewn in gold, with orchids wrapped around the madonna lily trees. The food served consisted of everything but items that regular Russians can afford (i.e. tons of black caviar, which goes for $100 a pound at the grocery stores).
Among the wedding presents were a Bentley, given to the newlyweds by "Yanik's friends", and a $10 million penthouse in downtown Moscow, a gift from the parents of the children.
The guests left at 3 am, only to come back for more festivities the next day at noon.
This post was prepared based on the information provided by a personal friend who works for one of the Russian government news agencies. There are no good photos available (that $5,000 bounty for every paparazzi beaten senseless really worked) and there was no major news report on the wedding in any of the Russian media.
In conclusion, we want to make it clear that Russia Blog wishes the royal young couple nothing but the very best - a happy, fertile, and lifelong marriage.