On this hot Moscow Friday, I bring you two jewels of Russian decadence:
One. Miss Russia, known also by her mortal name Irina Antonenko, will soon depart for Las Vegas to represent her country in the Miss Universe competition. In her suitcase is a custom-designed dress embroidered in gold, becrusted with sapphires and amethysts, and, yes, trimmed in sable fur. It is supposed to resemble the old tsars’ crown, ye olde Monomakh’s Cap. Total cost? $60,000.
Two. Roads in Russia are a disaster, but building them is a shitshow of corruption that makes you want to bring in a Soprano-backed construction crew to do it on the cheap. The best metaphor to date comes from Russian Esquire, which did a calculation based on the most corrupt corner of Russia, Sochi, where preparations for the 2014 Olympics are already under way. Because 30 miles of roadway in Sochi will set you back some $8 billion, Esquire did various estimates on what road surfaces could account for that cost.
The options are as follows:
- 6.37 cm of oysters
- 21.9 cm of foie gras
- 9 cm of Louis Vuitton handbags
- 4.7 cm of fur coats
- 13.85 cm of Hennessy
- 6 cm of black truffles
And now you know.