Rich Russians Apparently Can’t Parade Their Supercars Around in This Economy
Apparently, Vladimir Putin thinks public displays of wealth are inappropriate.
Vladimir Putin apparently doesn't care for rich Russian citizens displaying their wealth while his country faces economic hardships, even if those hardships are his own doing. Dozens of rich Russians were arrested after gathering their exotic supercars in Moscow for a "rich and successful" rally in the Russian capital, and more than 170 cars were impounded. Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Rolls-Royces were among the cars in the rally. Seven of the owners are being jailed for up to 15 days, according to Tass, Russia's state-run news.
In an attempt to crack down on protests and political dissent, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Putin may be implementing a zero-tolerance policy for any public gatherings that aren't specifically planned by the government. According to Putin, public displays of extreme wealth are inappropriate during hard economic times, which is rich coming from the guy who regularly wears watches worth more than the cars he just impounded. Even more ironic is the fact that the harsh economic conditions his citizens are suffering are due to sanctions imposed on Russia by western countries for his invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Mirror, Moscow police's sudden crackdown came as a surprise to the rally's organizer, Alexei Khitrov, who said “at first I thought it was a joke." According to Khitrov, the 28-year-old Russian crypto-millionaire, the rally was supposed to create an elite "atmosphere for networking." As cringeworthy as that sounds, Khitrov's surprise isn't unwarranted. Such displays of wealth were never an issue before but, with reports of heavy Russian military casualties, Putin wants to maintain an image of control over his citizens.
“What was legal yesterday may be forbidden today, most people just haven’t realized it yet,” said Mikhail Vinogradov, head of the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation, according to Bloomberg. “For the authorities, the principle is ‘no public events are permitted except those we organize ourselves’.”
Russian senator Mikhail Dzhabarov even went as far as to say that the rich Russians arrested should be sent to help the military in Ukraine. While none of them know how to fight, he said, "they are quite capable of helping in rear chores or as orderlies in military hospitals.”
Of course, ostentatious public displays of extreme wealth during bleak economic times are wildly inappropriate when many citizens are struggling to survive. Especially so when many of those citizens are also against the very war that's causing their financial distress. However, the Russian government doesn't really have a moral leg to stand on, either. It's the corrupt punishing the tone-deaf.