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    RUSSIAN POLITICIANS COMMENT ON PURCHASE OF FABERGE COLLECTION

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    MOSCOW, February 5, 2004. /RIA Novosti/. The purchase of the largest private collection of Faberge jewels by Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg impressed not only the world market of antiquities but also the minds of Russian politicians.

    The Russian oil tycoon whose fortune is over 2 billion dollars purchased the collection including Easter eggs of the Romanov dynasty on Wednesday. The sum of the deal can be more than 100 million dollars.

    "I think this money can be hardly invested in Russia. It's better to make purchases abroad. The football club Chelsea, Faberge eggs, etc. are the signs of our time, our atmosphere," deputy head of the Yabloko party Sergei Ivanenko told RIA Novosti.

    When oil tycoon and Chukotka governor Roman Abramovich bought the British football club Chelsea last year, some experts expressed concern for the escape of capitals from Russia.

    Sergei Glazyev, a leader of the Rodina /Motherland/ bloc, regards this as a patriotic action. Vekselberg announced his intention to bring the collection back to Russia and experts involved in the deal expect this event in April.

    "As far as I understand, Vekselberg wants to hand the jewels to the state. It means that our businessmen become more responsible and patriotic. This case differs from the purchase of Chelsea and yacht cruises with beautiful girls," Glazyev told RIA Novosti.

    Leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky also spoke about patriotism of this action. "Finally, our tycoons are investing into art and culture. These are our values, which were taken away from Russia for nothing and impoverished us," Zhirinovsky told RIA Novosti.

    Only Boris Nemtsov, the former leader of the Union of Right Forces, who joined a new liberal project "2008: Free Choice" committee, remained indifferent to the deal.

    "No emotions. Absolutely. If Vekselberg wants eggs, let him have them," sighed the politician.

    Viktor Vekselberg purchased the world' largest private collection of Faberge jewelry at Sotheby's. The collection contains 180 pieces, including nine Easter eggs created by the order of the Russian royal family. Formerly they belonged to the Forbes family, American media tycoons.

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