President Dmitry Medvedev, multi-billionaire Alexander Mamut and Boris Yeltsin Jr., grandson of the former president of the same name. Here are some of the Russian VIPs who sport an iPhone. The names of the famous people are only the tip of the iceberg of a phenomenon, the iPhone-mania, which affects the country at all levels and which Bloomberg News deals with today, with an interesting article.
Russia would be a sort of second home for the iPhone; in the country with the capital Moscow the number of phones sold would exceed any foreseeable limit for a nation where the cell phone is not for sale and would not be authorized to work: 250 thousand pieces. If confirmed, Eldar Murtazin of the Mobile Research Group would make Russia the second country in the world, behind the USA, in the iPhone market. The mobile phone is a real status symbol: "if you see two managers having lunch in any restaurant in Moscow, both of them will have an iPhone placed next to them," says Timofei Kulikov, who works for X5 Retail Group, a company that imports electronic products.
The thriving market despite an iPhone in Russia may cost even $ 1000 and unlocking another $ 100. But money, you know, is not an obstacle for a country where pockets of poverty are contrasted by an impressive number of new rich and super-rich. Just think that the jeweler Peter Aloisson has just finished a white gold iPhone (cost 120 thousand euros) and is preparing to deliver a 500 thousand euro to a mysterious Russian citizen.
In Russia, 20,000 iPhones a month would arrive with serious economic damage to the government, because they are smuggled goods that do not pay taxes or duties. But this does not seem to be a problem or a concern as iPhones are advertised in newspapers across the country, complete with "unofficial" outlets. The main transport channel seems to be scheduled flights arriving from the USA; practically on every plane that lands in Moscow from the United States passengers are accommodated carrying iPhones destined for the semi-clandestine canals of the capital and large cities.