tel.: (499) 929-09-13

Tigers, Diamond Hubcaps and a Place to Chill

KRASNOGORSK, Moscow Region -- Toward the back of the cavernous exhibition hall, Alexander Svalov leaned nonchalantly against the body of the 2-meter-long saber-toothed tiger and smiled.

"Why shouldn't someone have this in their living room?" he asked, patting the fur of the snarling taxidermic model. "You don't have to worry about feeding it, and it's easier to look after than a real cat."

Svalov then cheerily explained how the model was made. The skin had come from a real tiger, and the huge, curved front teeth are genuine, he said. And, for 1.8 million rubles ($75,000), the cat could be yours.

Svalov's company, Ice Age, was just one of dozens offering an eclectic range of eye-catching and pricey luxury goods Friday afternoon at the city's third annual Millionaire Fair, which ran Thursday through Sunday.

This year's extravaganza of excess, held in the Crocus Expo exhibition center on the city's northwestern outskirts, was the biggest in the event's brief history. Over 200 brands from around the world were on display, and organizers expected around 45,000 visitors.

Svalov's stand was cluttered with a macabre collection of extinct animal parts, including chess pieces carved from mammoth tusks, a mammoth's skull and the giant skeleton of a Siberian bear priced at 750,000 rubles.

While most of the items he sells abroad usually end up in museums, in Russia they are far more likely to decorate the homes of the super-rich. And there is certainly an increasing demand for such products in the country.



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