For decades Moscow was a capital city devoid of vibrancy, self-expression and individualistic opportunities. Not any more. Russia’s warp-speed economic transformation, fueled predominantly by petrodollars, remade this former Soviet control center into an international hotspot. Boasting more billionaires than any other city in the world, Moscow’s extravagant all-night discos, opulent restaurants, and chic designer boutiques have made metropolises like New York City, Paris, London, and Dubai glow pale by comparison.
Today, the rich and mega-rich constitute a new social class, a small but powerful sector composed largely of seasoned survivors from the Soviet era, street savvy oligarchs, and Russia’s new elite: a premiere generation of trust fund babies and hedge fund jugglers who shop til they drop and party til dawn in nightclubs with table fees upwards to $15,000, pyrotechnic floorshows, and strictly enforced “face control”. If you’re not beautiful, rich, and connected, stay home.
Outside the main stream party zone, Moscow’s night life is attended by underground artists; homosexuals, now free to express themselves openly at several popular nightclubs; and prostitutes, working legally as “escorts” in private, high-end brothels that service Moscow’s business and political elite.
However, with the current international economic downturn, it is impossible to predict whether Moscow’s new-found wealth will last long enough for the party to continue.