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City to woo ultra-rich investors from Russia


Elena Baturina

Elena Baturina

Elena Baturina

CITY officials hope to attract wealthy Russians to invest in the Dublin property market.

Cash-rich Russians have been snapping up properties in London for years and Dublin wants to get in on the act.

The issue is to be highlighted at a business breakfast next week which is part of Dublin's annual Russian Festival.

"We are trying to attract Russian investors to buy here," said Peter Finnegan, director of international relations and research at Dublin City Council.

"There's money in Russia. It's better that it comes in here but not just to buy but to look at investing in here," Mr Finnegan told the Herald.

"We already have the former Mayor of Moscow's wife buying the Morrison (hotel) and we'd be anxious to promote the idea that it's a good time to invest in Ireland," he added.



He was referring to Elena Baturina, the horse-loving oligarch who invested €29m to revive the Morrison.

The sum would barely make a dent in Ms Baturina's fortune of €1.1bn.

Married to a larger-than-life former mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, Baturina is a former factory girl who rose to the top.

Speaking about the Russian Festival, which runs from March 9 to 14, Mr Finnegan said Dublin City Council signed a friendship pact with Moscow and St Petersburg in 2008.

He added: "They do a St Patrick's Day thing in Moscow and since then we have been doing a Russian festival here in Dublin.

"It coincides with the beginning of the Russian Orthodox Lent. This year, it's right on the eve of St Patrick's week but it can be as early as late February. It just depends when Lent kicks off. It's their Ash Wednesday equivalent so that's the big celebration in Russia.

"There is a Russian speaking community here in Dublin. It's coming from many different countries, not just Russia.

"A lot of Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians would be Russian speaking, and Ukrainians of course."

Mr Finnegan said the festival also attracted people in Ireland who are interested in Russia and also people in Dublin who simply like an event.

The festival will also be used as an opportunity to promote the idea of direct air links between Dublin and Russia.

Full details on the events taking place can be found at www.russianfestival.ie.