Meet Arsenal tycoon Alisher Usmanov’s glamorous niece-in-law, an Uzbek ‘princess’ who dresses Russia’s oligarch kids in costumes costing £5,000, equivalent to the annual pay of 13 people on a minimum wage in her native Uzbekistan.
Widow and heiress Diora Usmanova, 27, is facing a furious backlash over her ostentatious displays of opulence in one of the world’s poorest countries outside Africa.
Her new uber-posh couture-for-kids outlet in Moscow offers pearl-encrusted dresses based on the designs of Russia’s tsarist past, but she has been slated for ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘immorality’ – and accused of being out of touch with the life of ordinary people as the country’s old Romanov rulers.
She is niece of long-time Uzbek prime minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, a loyalist to 78 year old autocratic president Islam Karimov, who is notorious for boiling his political foes to death. He also placed his own billionaire daughter Gulnara, 43, under house arrest for alleged corruption.
During his rise to power, Diora’s ‘brutal’ uncle is blamed by human rights groups for beating Eshniyoz Hamzayev, a maths teachers, in 2000 because his students were picking cotton too slowly. He died five days later.
He is also held responsible over the 2002 torture and murder in his then fiefdom of Samarkand of the 18 year old grandson of Uzbek dissident and literature professor Jamal Mirsaidov.
The teenager’s mutilated corpse – one arm had been immersed in hot water – was dumped on the academic’s doorstep four hours after Mirsaidov met then British ambassador Craig Murray to discuss the widespread use of torture in Uzbekistan.