When post-Soviet billionaires appear in the news, they are inevitably men who have made their fortunes in the rough-and-tumble world of oil drilling or metal mining—and the women on their arms appear to be little more than the spoils of their success. Consider a recent profile of Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's second-richest man and now principal owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. A reporter followed him one evening in December 2009 to a Moscow nightclub, where he reserved a balcony section for a group of male friends and long-haired, slim women whose high heels and equally high hemlines on their close-fitting black dresses screamed “aspiring model.” Prokhorov joked with his guests, his hand lightly resting on the women's waists, ...

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