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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Pauvres riches russes

by Maud Dugrand

Poor Rich Russians

Translated Thursday 17 April 2008, by Jonathan Pierrel

Finding a general practitioner who prescribes “drinking plenty” and “eating raspberry jam”, that inescapable remedy in the Russian pharmacopoeia, as treatment for a flu, at the cost of several thousands of dollars per consultation, is now possible and such practitioners exist in Moscow.

A clinic for millionaires has opened to Rublyovka, the posh neighbourhood of the Russian capital. A dozen people who live in this neighbourhood go so far as to spend millions of dollars in annual health programmes, while others pay out up to 10,000 dollars for a monthly consulting hour with a psychologist. And even if the problems of Russian millionaires are the same as those in the West – insomnia, excess weight, sexual problems, drug or alcohol abuse – the chief consultant at the clinic claims: “Western psychoanalysts are not well versed in Russian mentality.”

Artiom Tolokonine, on the other hand, knows it well. This young thirty-three year old practitioner, who inspired the concept of “health for the rich”, says: “I know my clients like the back of my hand. I earn as much money as they do. I live on the same level. I go skiing in Courchevel as they do. So I know that if my client owns a castle in Monaco, yet complains about not having love, I will only be effective if they pay me a sum equivalent to the castle.” And a doc confides: “With rich people, I feel more responsibility: they always verify the diagnosis.” Raspberry jam, for example?

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