By Della Hasselle
MANHATTAN — First the Russians were hiding among us as spies and now it appears they are painting the town red.
A swath of wealthy Russians are spending like drunken investment bankers all over Manhattan as part of a “New Russian Wave,” the New York Post reported.
The flashy Muscovites are renting private rooms at expensive nightclubs, buying designer gear in bulk, and drinking the best bottles of booze that money can buy in restaurants all over town.
The Russian elite include Princess Kristina Kovalenko, who hails from Moscow, New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and lingerie model Irina Shayk, girlfriend of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last week, 32-year-old Kovalenko, a royal from the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, was spotted sipping her signature cocktail made from a $5,000-a-bottle Louis XIII Remy Martin cognac and apple juice, the Post reported.
“Only I know the proportions,” Kovalenko told the Post, as she poured a round for the table. The princess doesn't blink an eye at dropping $6,500 on a lunch, or spending $8,000 to go out with friends.
“If they drink whiskey, it’s two to three thousand. If they drink cognac, it’s six to eight,” she told the Post. “I want people to feel they’re at home.”
Eddie Miller, an event planner from Ukraine, says that Kovalenko’s spending habits aren’t unusual for the Russian crowd.
“They go to the three best clubs in the city: Avenue, 10ak, and SL. They spend $10,000 or $20,000 on magnums and don’t even drink them,” Miller told the Post.
Another unnamed Russian billionaire reportedly bought an unrestricted evening at strip clubs, complete with $20,000 of Davidoff cigars and the exclusive attention of the club’s top dancers, the Post reported.
Compared to Moscow, New York is cheap. A regular night at a high-end club in Moscow costs at least $15,000, compared to the $1,500 it costs here, according to the Post.
The elites’ lavish lifestyle has been focused in New York since travel restrictions eased, sources told the Post.
“For a long time they couldn’t get visas to come here, so a number of the oligarchs went to London instead,” Mark Baker, a partner at Juliet, said.
Now, unlike recession-tapped investment bankers, the Russians are flashing credit cards left and right all over the Big Apple, Baker said.
“Russians don’t have a lot of guilt,” Baker told the Post. “When Wall Street went south, my business was picked up by my Russian and Eastern European friends. You’re looking at a generation that was repressed. Now they’re fun. Russians are good for the economy, man.”
And what do these billionaires think about the controversy of alleged Russian spy Anna Chapman?
“If anyone asks what I do, I’m going to say, ‘I’m a spy,’ former model Iva Stelmak told the Post. “It’s very ‘in’ right now.”