Carnegie Hall oligarch hits opposition at Oxford

Carnegie Hall oligarch hits opposition at Oxford


norman lebrecht

November 03, 2015

The Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik, whose alliance with chief exec Clive Gillinson at Carnegie Hall provoked the resignation of chairman Ron Perelman, has run into trouble at the University of Oxford.

The Guardian newspaper will tomorrow publish a protest by academics and Russian dissidents, calling on the university to stop work on the Blavatnik School of Government, by which it is ‘selling its reputation and prestige to Putin’s associates.’ The letter says Blavatnik belongs to ‘a consortium of Russian billionaires called Access-Alfa-Renova (AAR)’ which engages in harassment against western companies and anti-Putin individuals.

No evidence is brought in the letter to implicate Blavatnik in such activities. From the little we know, he seems to be a fairly benign oligarch, far less involved in pro-Putin activities than several prominent musicians and City bankers.

Universities, on the whole, are not choosy when someone offers them a few million. The letter is unlikely to have much effect.




  • Neven P. says:

    Universities, museums, orchestras and concert halls should be entirely funded by the public. Oligarchs should be forced to stash their money only into the secret Swiss bank accounts, London & New York real estate and overpriced modern art. Then everybody will be happy!

    • Jevgeniy says:

      Agree entirely! You left out that Oligarchs should be heavily taxed for their secretly secluded swiss accounts. It’s only fair. It will make the concert halls and universities all the more flush.

  • Eddie Mars says:

    The fact that this neo-conservative tosh will be published in The Grauniad – alongside the warmongering tripe of Timmy Garbage-Trash of Oxford University; Nathalie Nougayrede; ‘Bellingcat’ aka Eliot Higgins; Peter Pomerantsev; the ‘Calvert Journal’; and sundry tacit benefactors of the Heritage Foundation guarantees it will laughed off the face of the earth, except in London N16.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Well-well, the Grauniad article is online now, and guess whose by-line is on it? None other than Luke Harding – unrepentant plagiarist, and author of a book in which he claims Putin personally broke into his apartment in Moscow,

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    “Universities, on the whole, are not choosy when someone offers them a few million. The letter is unlikely to have much effect.”

    Who is, in contrast to Universities?

  • esfir ross says:

    To Neven P. Oligarch are also member of the public.

  • Neven P. says:

    Are they?