Daria Zhukova: In defence of 'Daria'

Daria ZhukovaDaria Zhukova, currently stepping out with Roman Abramovich and spending his hard earned cash on a massive Moscow art museum, came in for a bit of a hard time on this blog a little while ago for saying she wasn't "very good with names" when asked who her favourite artist is.

After due consideration, she now offers a defence. "If someone wants to interpret that as me not knowing the names of artists, that's their prerogative. I think that's a bit silly. Anyone who doesn't know anything about art knows the name of at least one artist." She meant, she now says, that she didn't want to single out favourites.

Despite the fact that it's taken a while to come up with this line, and the image of dark suited, shady advisors sitting in an underground bunker and scratching their heads is an endearing one, I'm actually inclined to believe her. Not simply because we share a Russian heritage, either. But by all accounts, Zhukova (the daughter of another oligarch) is a smart and well-educated operator. When she and Abramovich got together, the whispered comments in Belgravia were that he was trading up - away from the sort of loyal woman who had stood by him while he was on the way up, and in the direction of someone who could add culture and chic to the cash.

But most of all isn't it fabulous that while the city crumbles, a 27-year-old can worry that naming an artist in an interview might skew the market? And isn't it extraordinary that she might actually be right?
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