Cablegate Chronicles: The Oligarch's Wedding, The Setting

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A description of a lavish wedding in the Caucasus.

FROM: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: AUGUST 6, 2006
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL
SEE FULL CABLE


¶8. (C) Gadzhi's Kaspiysk summer house is an enormous structure on the shore of the Caspian, essentially a huge circular reception room -- much like a large restaurant -- attached to a 40-meter high green airport tower on columns, accessible only by elevator, with a couple of bedrooms, a reception room, and a grotto whose glass floor was the roof of a huge fish tank. The heavily guarded compound also boasts a second house, outbuildings, a tennis court, and two piers out into the Caspian, one rigged with block and tackle for launching jet skis. The house filled up with visitors from all over the Caucasus during the afternoon of August 21. The Chair of Ingushetia's parliament drove in with two colleagues; visitors from Moscow included politicians, businessmen and an Avar football coach. Many of the visitors grew up with Gadzhi in Khasavyurt, including an Ingush Olympic wrestler named Vakha who seemed to be perpetually tipsy. Another group of Gadzhi's boyhood friends from Khasavyurt was led by a man who looked like Shamil Basayev on his day off -- flip-flops, t-shirt, baseball cap, beard -- but turned out to be the chief rabbi of Stavropol Kray. He told us he has 12,000 co-religionists in the province, 8,000 of them in its capital, Pyatigorsk. 70 percent are, like him, Persian-speaking Mountain Jews; the rest are a mixture of Europeans, Georgians and Bukharans.

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