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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Russian Mega-capitalist's yacht in New Zealand




When Communism died, the opportunists took over.  And we have a sign of that here.

In the news

The biggest superyacht to visit New Zealand has berthed at Auckland's Wynyard Wharf because it is too big for the dedicated big boat marina.

The 134m Serene slipped into port early today, tying up around 7.45am, and watched by a sprinkling of onlookers who were taking pictures of the towering craft at the end of the Tank Farm wharf.
The yacht is owned by Yuri Schefler, a vodka tycoon who is understood to be holidaying in New Zealand for several weeks.

Asia Pacific Superyachts NZ has arranged the visit and is providing services for it while it is here. Managing director Duthie Lidgard said the $423 million Serene will be the biggest superyacht to visit this country.

Details from yacht charter websites show the vessel has a helicopter hangar, two helipads and a submarine hangar. There is an underwater viewing space and the vessel has 12 luxurious staterooms for 24 guests who are tended by up to 52 crew.

Tell the truth, I think this is gross.  Last night, I watched a disturbing and very well acted film called "Cargo."   It told the story of a Russian girl who was desperate to Make It in the USA -- so desperate that she was sucked in by people smugglers, and paid $3000 to get to Mexico, on the promise that they would get her into the United States and find her a contract.

She was told she would be an actress, of course.

Instead, she was kidnapped, and then thrown into the back of a van, driven by an Egyptian who had been paid $3000 to convey her to a strip club/brothel in New York, where she would be put to work.

A small film, and yet a great film, that makes you wonder about the conditions "back home" that send these desperate people to try to find a better life in another country.

Makes you wonder why the vodka billionaire isn't spending money on a bit of charity.  Back home.

And what the devil is he doing here in the middle of winter?


4 comments:

Lincoln Paine said...

The excesses of Russian plutocrats in our time offer a valuable perspective on what it was that made revolution so attractive to Russians at the start of the twentieth century. Now that our understanding is improved, I wish they would revert to a more generous and tolerant society. As for winter in New Zealand, I think a Russian would only scoff at the idea.

Joan Druett said...

Well said, Lincoln. I imagine you have read Piketty's "Capital"? The mobs will rise, without a doubt, unless the mega-rich foster that generous and tolerant society. Bill Gates seems admirable, but so many go in for conspicuous consumption so blatantly that they must become terribly bored with themselves.

New Zealand is nicer in summer than a Russian summer, too!

Dale said...

For a look at the character of the men who were allowed to steal Russia’s natural assets in the rush to privatisation, see Ben Mezrich's ONCE UPON A TIME IN RUSSIA: THE RISE OF THE OLIGARCHS AND THE GREATEST WEALTH IN HISTORY (Heinemann). Most of them seem to be on the run from something, usually each other.
When I look at these repulsive "yachts" I always wonder how many guns they are carrying.

Joan Druett said...

Thanks for that, Dale. I shall definitely look for the book.

And I bet they have torpedo tubes, too!