Sign of the times at Russia’s Millionaire Fair

It's been only four years since the first Millionaire Fair in Moscow, and already we're getting nostalgic for those heady early years of petrodollar excess, as falling oil prices and the global economic crisis take their toll on Russia. This year's fair, a three-day testament to hyper-luxury "must-haves" like diamond-encrusted hubcaps, wrapped up on Nov. 30 with a thud, as men in suits and women in gowns searched the exhibition hall for any hint of the Laurent-Perrier champagne that flowed so freely in previous years. The over-the-top event, imagined as only the nouveau riche could after years of Soviet deprivation, was described by Pravda, in its first year, as offering "goods that wealthy people need in their everyday lives: gold-plated coffee pots, marble angels, jewel-encrusted pens, Lamborghinis, yachts and helicopters. There was even a live tiger on a lead near the stand filled with gold suitcases." Most of it was still there this year. The only thing missing were the roubles to finance such gilded lifestyles. Turns out those mega-rich Russian oligarchs are more like us than we knew, cutting back on everyday necessities in tough times!

—Posted by Noreen O'Leary