At the very moment that President Trump has ramped up sanctions against Russia and we are seemingly close to revelations from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Brits make matters worse by assuming a stiff upper lip, snuffing out plans for the sumptuous Russian Debutante Ball that had been scheduled in London—just because an alleged Bolshie spy and foe of Vlad was poisoned in Salisbury by alleged intelligence operatives. Truly this is more shocking than the discovery by Captain Louis Renault of gambling at Rick’s Café Casablanca. It has cast a pall over the city’s social scene and may have exacerbated Anglo-Soviet tensions as a result.
Elisabeth Smagin-Melloni [why do so many Brits have hyphenated names?], an organizer of the event, declared in breathless tones that it was the first time in 15 years that such a problem had occurred and added, according to The New York Times, “I am not discussing politics, here, I think. If I like Mr. Putin or don’t like Mr. Putin should not be an item to be discussed. We should not make a political question out of normal human relationships.” Impugning normal human relationships with distasteful political issues is simply unacceptable and uncharacteristic of the normally staid British.
It has been reported that London has 40,000 buildings and properties owned anonymously [there’s no evidence to connect the infamous New York Times OpEd here], rumored to be largely the result of purchases by Soviet business persons in Londongrad, as the neighborhood is called. Apparently, tightened government procedures have caused “mild disruptions,” including searches of private jets arriving from Russia bearing proud family members and perhaps some young ladies in waiting for their debuts.
A real estate agent who sells luxury properties noted that Russian purchases of upscale properties had spiked, likely due to the pressure of sanctions upon the Soviet economy and the weakening of the pound. Unfazed, the agent added, “The truth is I think that the immigration officers and the Russians are being questioned, they all understand that it’s necessary to go through the hoops and hurdles because it is a political imperative, and the government needs to be seen to be taking some measure to curtail Putin’s cronies.” Ah, the upper lip relaxes.
Smagin-Melloni voiced optimism that relations between the two nations may improve because Prime Minister Theresa May’s tenure could end with political party realignment. However, the disappointment created by this year’s cancellation is deep and profound. One dress designer had already completed a gown, open-backed with a tulip-shaped magenta skirt, for one attendee. Disappointment was palpable as the designer had accepted an invitation to the ball from Lord Michael Buckmaster-Brown [hyphen] to witness the inauguration of the gown she had created..
It is not known whether the debutante attendees are as down-hearted as the event’s organizers. The purpose of the ball is to transport the debs to the final years of czarist Russia, a lavish era that succumbed to the drab and dreary Communist rule for many decades subsequent until the Putin regime restored kleptocracy and oligarchy. Efforts to interview debutantes have proved impossible, mainly due to the fact that most are in seclusion for pre-traumatic stress in light of the ball’s cancellation. It is likely some will have aged out when the next event is scheduled.