Billionaires probably don’t have too many cares in the world. But raising well-grounded children is one of them, it seems. In 2011, Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One magnate, spoke to the Guardian about his socialite daughter, Tamara: “Yes, for sure, she goes and buys loads of shoes and bloody clothes. Unnecessary. Completely unnecessary. I suppose it’s because … one wonders … and this is not in her defence – how many other girls her age would do the same if they could?”
Nowhere is the density of super-wealthy offspring greater than in Russia. Many oligarchs keep a tight lid on the lives of their children, but, occasionally, the public gain an insight. This week, for example, it was reported that Arkadiy Abramovich, the 19-year-old son of Roman Abramovich, had bought a stake in an oilfield in Siberia for $46m. Arkadiy, who is currently working as an intern at the London office of a Russian investment bank, acquired the oilfield in a complex deal via a shell company of which he owns 45%. That a 19-year-old even knows what a shell company is, let alone controls one, tells you something about the life of a billionaire’s child
In true “like father, like son” style, not only has Arkadiy developed a taste for his father’s investments in Russian oil fields, but in 2010 he was linked to an unsuccessful attempt to take over the Danish football club FC Copenhagen. It doesn’t seem to be wildly speculative to suggest that Arkadiy might one day pick up the reins at his father’s beloved Chelsea FC.
Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the 23-year-old daughter of fertiliser billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, has a similar taste for multi-million-dollar purchases. Last year, she bought New York’s most expensive apartment for $88m – to live in while she completes her university studies in the US. Ekaterina’s representative – yes, she has a spokesperson – confirmed to the press that she had acquired an apartment at 15 Central Park West. Press reports said the property boasted “10 rooms including four bedrooms, a wraparound terrace of more than 2,000 square feet, four bedrooms and two wood burning fireplaces”. But it later emerged that the apartment had become the subject of a legal tussle as part of a bitter divorce between her father and his estranged wife.
Kira Plastinina, the 20-year-old daughter of Russian dairy magnate Sergei Plastinin, is also a busy student. While attending a university in Dallas, she also finds time to be an international fashion designer. Her retail chain filed for bankruptcy in the US in 2009 – when she was aged just 16 – but she now owns clothing stores in Russia. When she launched her label in 2007, her father reportedly paid $2m for Paris Hilton to attend the party in Moscow.
But not all oligarchs hand their wealth to their heirs. Anastasia Potanina, the daughter of metals-and-media billionaire Vladmir Potanin and a former aquabiking world champion, said in 2010 that she supported his decision to give away all his fortune to charity.
And earlier this year, oil billionaire Vagit Alekperov announced that he had placed strict conditions on how his son Yusuf, who works as an oil technologist in Siberia, would be able to manage his company once his father had died. “My son won’t have the right to split and sell [the company],” he said. “Let him choose his fate for himself.”
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk