Institutional Analyst: Special Situation Research
The Russian Samovar, a recent evening, 10 p.m. Green-shaded lamps throw unappetizing light on platefuls of chicken Kiev; the theater across the street has just disgorged the Jersey Boyscrowd. The first of the restaurant’s two floors is hosting a “writers’ cabaret” sponsored by a Moscow-based magazine called Snob.
At the white grand piano gifted by Mikhail Baryshnikov, writer Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is belting out a Russian rendition of “Blue Canary.” Venture capitalist Alex Fridlyand, novelist Lara Vapnyar, and software mogul Stepan Pachikov look on between bites. On the second floor, in an unrelated celebration, half the masthead of Moscow’s anti-Putin newspaper Novaya Gazeta (in town for an award) is getting soused with the daughter of the late émigré novelist Sergei Dovlatov.
At the upstairs bar, Moscow publisher Andrew Paulson is schmoozing with PR man Ilya Merenzon. A few feet away, n+1 editor Kostya Gessen—you may know him as Keith—and his girlfriend, Emily Gould, are chatting with Very Short List editor Alex Abramovich. Samovar’s owner, Roman Kaplan, bisects the crowd with a carafe of cranberry vodka. By the end of the night he will have drunk a dozen shots of it himself.