From the bestselling author of It s All Greek to Me! and from a traveller who likes to get his hands as well as his boots dirty, this is an eye-wateringly funny true story of his travels and travails in the New Russia Sometimes sinister, often hilarious and always entertaining, I Was A Potato Oligarch is a Russian feast from caviar to samovar The Soviet Union has disappeared along with people s nationality, currency, jobs, salaries, pensions, politics. Oligarchs pillage the nation’s wealth. It looks as if Russia might become a liberal democracy. It also looks as if it might plunge into chaos. These are fascinating times and John Mole wants to be part of this New Russia. But what can he do? An MBA, 15 years in international banking and a few novels, have left him with few useful skills. Inspiration strikes – British fast food! Nobody is doing baked potatoes and the secret is in the packaging. He gets to work with technical advice from Jackets of Brixton, money from the British taxpayer, and a partnership with the Russian Farmers’ Union. And then, just as it takes off – the summons. Breakfast with the mafia… The potato business becomes a journey under the skin of the New Russia. Hired as a rabotnik, a worker, entitled to a week in a sanatorium every year, he tries to corner the market in business names and pizza cheese. He is taken for a corpse’s son, a Red Square demonstrator and a vampire’s victim. He tries to merge into his surroundings, too literally sometimes, but nothing that a hose-down and a change of clothes doesn’t put right. While he is trying to sell British fast food to Russians, Russians try to sell things to him. Fireworks, seashells, tungsten, the scrapings of baby reindeer horn. And advanced biotechnology, using bacteria to purify the air in submarines. Spuds end in fiasco. Bugs come to the rescue.

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