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.