Evgeny Chichvarkin with his wife Tatiana Fokina and Alexandra Tolstoy (right).
Wives of Russian oligarchs have been interviewed about Vladimir Putin’s regime in a new documentary.
The 90-minute program “Secrets of the oligarch wives” will stream on Paramount+ from June 28.
One of the women said it would be “suicide” for her to go back to Russia now.
The wives of Russian oligarchs have spoken out about Vladimir Putin’s regime in a new TV documentary.
Insider has previewed “Secrets of the Oligarch Wives”, in which the women tell of corruption, betrayal, and suspected murder while painting an image of a vindictive Russian President who sees treachery at every turn, forgives nothing, settles every score, and is jealous of the oligarchs’ lifestyles.
“Whenever you make a contract with the devil, there will be consequences … if you deal with the dark side, it will come to haunt you later,” says Tatiana Fokina, the wife of Evgeny Chichvarkin. He founded Euroset, one of Russia’s largest mobile phone retailers, and was once worth more than $1.5 billion.
“Going to Russia now would be suicide for me,” Fokina said, adding that her comments would get her jailed if she did so.
Alexandra Tolstoy, whose partner is Sergei Pugachev, once estimated to be worth $2 billion, said: “Putin would much prefer to have been an oligarch than to have been president.”
Oligarchs gained their wealth in the 1990s by buying large stakes in state-owned industries after the Soviet Union collapsed. The wealth allowed them to buy superyachts, luxury properties, private jets and lead lavish lifestyles.
However, since the invasion of Ukraine, Western countries have targeted these wealthy individuals and seized their assets in a bid to put pressure on Putin.
In the new documentary, the women have decided to speak even though it may make them targets and prevent them from ever returning to Russia.
Bill Browder, a campaigner and critic of Vladimir Putin, says in the documentary: “There is no difference between Russian organized crime and the Russian government. The Russian government is effectively an organized crime organization and Vladimir Putin is the mafia boss.”
Browder once ran the largest foreign investment fund in Russia. He said in April that sanctioning oligarchs. before the invasion of Ukraine, would have had a “much greater effect” on Putin’s actions.
The 90-minute documentary, produced by See It Now Studios and Blink Films, is available on Paramount+ from June 28.