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Russia 2007: Parallel Universe

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The view to the terrace of Il Palazzo, the restored nineteenth-century villa, one of the three accommodation buildings at Villa Làrio.

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When I produced a benefit concert after Chernobyl, Western journalists called me Russia's Bob Geldof. When I launched the domestic edition of Playboy, I was dubbed Russia's Hugh Hefner. Oversimplications aside, there is a similarity between some characters in the West and here. Specifically:

The Paris Hilton of Russia: Kseniya Sobchak A temperamental blonde of questionable beauty, she's a tireless party girl and media manipulator involved in almost every jet-set scandal.

The Michael Jackson of Russia: Sergey Zverev This hairdresser and makeup artist has transformed himself through plastic surgery into a creature of no particular gender, age, or race.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger of Russia: Vladimir Turchinsky Bodybuilding champ with brains and humor, he's become a popular TV host and actor. No political ambitions...yet.

The Eminem of Russia: Dolphin He's white (not surprising for a Russian), mean, lyrically sophisticated, and has been rapping longer than Eminem.

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