To hedge their bets, some wealthy Russians have moved some assets and their families abroad. Many professionals also are emigrating. London has become a magnet. It is home to about 250,000 Russians, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said earlier this year. As of last year, Russian firms and individuals had deposited at least $100 billion in British banks, the Bank of England said.
"Some might be hedging," says Natalia Leshchenko, a Russia analyst at consulting firm Global Insight in London. "But it's not just the well-off who are coming. Professionals come to work."
Muravina, the Moscow designer, just opened a shop in London to help moneyed Russians decorate the homes they are buying in upscale Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Chelsea neighborhoods.
London's famed Harrods department store also is trying to appeal to rich Russian expatriates in their windows this Christmas season by offering luxury jewelry, clothing and furniture under the theme: A Russian Winter's Tale.
But what Harrods is showing is small potatoes compared with what at least one Russian bought at the Millionaire Fair back home last weekend: an eight-passenger Bombardier Learjet, that Alex Todd, president of European markets for the U.S.-based Luxury Air Jets, said he sold to a client he wouldn't identify for $10 million to $20 million.
Contributing: Yulia Ochetova, wire reports.