This weekend’s story about Peter Mandelson and Oleg Deripaska demonstrates and interesting example of media short-hand:

Sunday Telegraph 26th October 2008
Sunday Telegraph 26th October 2008

Ever since Roman Abramovich bought his way into the British consciousness, the word ‘oligarch’ has been used to describe Russian Billionaires. It is used erroneously: Oligarch means a ruler of sorts, but Abramovich, Deripaska and Usmanov are not members of the Russian Government. Instead, they are businessmen, and now the word has become a shorthand for a particular cliche, one that hints at post-KGB gangsterism. All the papers choose to link Peter Mandelson and George Osborne to an ‘oligarch’, not a ‘businessman’, because the former casts Oleg Deripaska in a more sinister light. Its a better news story as a result, but its also a twisting of language, I reckon.
It reminds me of the ‘radical’ Shia Cleric, Moqtadr Al-Sadr.
Continue reading “Oligarch”