Edgar Allan Poe wrote a brilliant short story in 1842 about a time of plague called The Masque of the Red Death. The gothic horror fiction is about a reckless nobleman who tried to avoid a deadly plague by throwing a masquerade ball in his abbey. In the end, the host and his wealthy guests still succumb to the plague.
As such, recent events in Ukraine bring Poe into focus. It’s a story we’ve been following. Poe’s tale of frenzied elites seems to be true in Ukraine, which is in the middle of an economic plague. Reputable sources fill us in on corruption, political instability, and ultimately a grotesque celebration of rogue wealth at a masquerade in Kyiv.
Recently sanctioned Russian fugitive Pavel Fuks, who resettled in Ukraine, recently threw a multimillion birthday bash. Famous singers like Russian pop princess Loboda were flown in on private jets. Notorious Russian gangsters and sanctioned oligarchs arrived with their entourages in corteges of exotic armored cars. Even Kyiv Mayor, former champion heavyweight boxer, Vitali Klitschko showed up to pay respects together with notorious oligarch Igor Kolomoyski. The celebration was the epitome of low rent opulence. Drugs and crass debauchery were everywhere. The horror of Poe’s Red Death came to life as masked guests gallivanted through the specially constructed sets aimed at depicting Venetian streets of yesteryear.
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Fuks was celebrating his 50th birthday like a Bond villain. We are told that he invited about 100 guests and spent over $300k just on trashy decorations at a private golf course owned by his recently estranged mentor, secretive Ukrainian billionaire, Vitaly Khomutynnik, who together with Fuks attempted to get access to former President Trump’s inauguration events. According to Ukrainian investigative journalist Mikhailo Tkach, Mr. Fuks claimed that his friends paid for his birthday bonanza; pressed, Mr, Fuks “admitted” that he didn’t know which of his friends organized the extravagant event or how much was spent.
Why should Americans care that 1990s era gangsters transformed into “businessmen” and for the night transformed into masked Venetian revelers? We should care because we paid for it. Not only are Ukrainian sanctions not working, but the likes of disgraced Russian builder Mr. Fuks are misappropriating funds from Ukraine’s budget, which is already heavily subsidized by the American government. These are funds that the U.S. and IMF have provided to Ukraine as aid and loans. As the Biden administration has massive financial secrets to keep in Ukraine, the spigot will no doubt be kept on. Yes, a multi-million masquerade birthday bash themed as a Venetian Carnival gets thrown in Kyiv, while Ukraine is in store for a real economic plague. American taxpayers paid for this masked ball. They should know what they paid for.