Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, some Russians were able to amass vast fortunes putting them amongst the richest men in the world. According to Forbes, Russia currently has 77 billionaires despite the country's current economic crisis.

In the past two decades, these oligarchs have been instrumental to the development of the yachting industry, setting a new benchmark as to what could be considered to be a megayacht.



In 1990, the world of megayachts was mainly dominated by Middle Eastern Royal families and Greek magnates such as Stavros Niarchos (commissioned the Atlantis and Atlantis II). The 147m Prince Abdulaziz, owned by the Saudi Royal family, was at the time the largest superyacht in the world.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the landscape of the megayacht industry however started to change with a new influx of owners from Russia and the US tech scene. From 1992 to 2005, 20 superyachts over 80 meters in length were delivered,  surpassing the 19 megayachts delivered from 1865 to 1992.

These new megayachts famously included Paul Allen's Octopus, David Geffen's Rising Sun, Berezovsky's Radiant but also the yachts that came to be known in the field as Abramovich's Navy consisting of SussurroEcstaseaLe Grand BleuLunaPelorus and later Eclipse.



As the financial crisis hit the sector in 2008, the small and middle-size yachting market was severely hit but while many thought the megayacht industry would collapse, it continued its exponential growth. Between 2008 and 2016, a further 48 megayachts have been built, doubling the previous decades' amount of yachts over 80m delivered.

Not only were there suddenly more megayachts but their size also grew with the 162.5m Eclipse being delivered in 2010 for Mr. Abramovich. This growth in uncertain times was once again, in most part, brought by an expanding class of Russian oligarchs. 

Serene, first yacht built by Ficantieri was ordered by Yuri Sheffler before being sold in 2015 to a Middle Eastern buyer. M/Y A was famously commissioned by Andrei Melnichenko and delivered in 2008, same year as Lurssen delivered the first 110m Dilbar to Mr Usmanov.



As many began to think that this segment would finally collapse with a weak recovery followed by recession in Russia, demand did not go away. In 2014, 104m Quantum Blue was delivered to Sergey Galitskiy and 140m Ocean Victory to Viktor Rashnikov. 

In the summer of 2016, a new Dilbar, which is now speculated to be the largest yacht by gross tonnage, was delivered to Mr Usmanov. As for Abramovich's Navy, it has now been split up with Eugene Schvidler now owning Le Grand Bleu, Farkhad Akhmedov buying Luna whilst Pelorus and Ecstasea were both sold to Middle Eastern buyers.  

Whether this growth of the megayacht sector will continue is questionable due to renewed turmoil in Russia's economy. Melnichenko's newest 142m S/Y A project however does seem to be a good indicator that there may be one day a 200m yacht.

Here below are some of the most advanced and industry-leading yachts that were commissioned by Russian oligarchs over the past two decades.

162.5m Eclipse - Roman Abramovich


Photo by Julien Hubert

The 162.5m yacht was built by  by German shipyard Blohm & Voss in 2010 and held the title of  the world's largest private yacht until 2013, when the 180 metre Azzam stole the crown. Although not all the details of the megayacht are unveiled, it is known that her interiors feature designs by the renowned London-based team at Terence Disdale Design. It is speculated that Eclipse boasts a military-grade missile defense system, armor plating and bulletproof windows, while hosting three helipads, a private theater and a fitness center. 

156m Dilbar - Alisher Usmanov


Photo by @superyachts_gibraltar

World's largest yacht by a volume, the 156m Dilbar was delivered to Alisher Usmanov in May 2016.  Confidentiality is upheld to the highest degree at Lurssen, which celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2015, but it is understood that Dilbar's exterior design comes from Espen Oeino with interiors by Andrew Winch. It is also know the yacht has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. The Russian oligarch has another Lurssen superyacht, 110m Ona, that was previously named Dilbar as well.

140m Ocean Victory - Viktor Rashnikov



Delivered by Fincantieri in 2014, Ocean Victory is designed by Espen Oeino with interior spaces created by the late Alberto Pinto together with Sessa Romboli. Owned by Viktor Rashnikov, the vessel accommodates up to 36 guests. As with many other yachts of this size, she is packed with alluring features such as 6 pools spread out over her 7 decks, an internal floodable dock to house her 14m tender,two helipads and a vast spa area. 

119m A - Andrey Melnichenko



M/Y A, owned by Andrey Melnichenko is reportedly now for sale. A was built by Blohm+Voss in 2008. Designed by Philippe Starck, the vessel remains the most talked-about yacht on the seas. She is capable of accommodating 14 guests in 7 luxurious cabins, as well as a crew of 42. Mr Melnichenko's second yacht, the 142.8m S/Y A, is being built at the Nobiskrug shipyard in Germany. According to the Daily Mail, the new project will cost close to 450 million dollars.

99m Madame Gu - Andrei Skoch



According to Forbes Russia, the 99m superyacht belongs to Andrei Skoch. Madame Gu was built by Feadship in 2013 and delivered after four years of construction. Andrew Winch styled her exterior, whilst De Voogt was responsible for the naval architecture. With perfect proportions, it's hard to imagine that her tonnage exceeds 2,900 GRT. The interior, also designed by Andrew Winch, accommodates twelve guests in six cabins. The crew quarters are composed of 18 cabins for 36 members. This twin screw superyacht is powered by quadruple 3,600kW MTU engines providing a top speed of 24 knots and a cruising speed of 22 knots.

95.15m Palladium - Mikhail Prokhorov



With an original design by Michael Leach, Palladium, formerly Project Orca, is thought to be owned by Mikhail Prokhorov. Palladium is a 95.15m (312.17 ft) luxury motor yacht, built by Blohm + Voss in 2010. With a beam of 16.00m and a draft of 4.40m, she has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. 

88.5m Nirvana - Vladimir Potanin



Built by Oceanco in 2012, Nirvana was the star of the Monaco Yacht Show the following year busting an aquarium aft and a set of revolutionary features. Owned by Vladimir Potanin, the yacht features a jungle-themed interior design. Nirvana also hosts two spa pools and extensive lounging accommodations. Designed by Sam Sorgiovanni, the yacht has a transpacific range and a maximum speed of 19.5 knots. Nirvana was previously listed for sale asking 199 million euros but was supposedly taken off the market without any sale occurring.

Latest News

Inside the 91m yacht seized by Malaysia
In the spotlight throughout a long-running case around Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, the 91-meter Equanimity is now being auctioned for a nine-figure sum by Malaysia's government. Built by Oceanco, the superyacht was delivered with one of the largest spas ever seen onboard a yacht.1MDB was created in 2009 as a sovereign wealth fund with over $4 billion under management to invest in strategic projects. After a series of investments in energy and real estate, a controversy around the fund began as to whether funds had been misappropriated throughout this period by management and government officials.Later investigations led to asset seizures spearheaded by the US DoJ, amongst which was Equanimity. It was then claimed that her owner, financier Jho Low, had ordered the yacht using profits that were connected to 1MDB's real estate dealings and off-shore accounts totalling over $250 million for the yacht's purchase and upkeep.Financed also in part through a loan by Sotheby's financial against art works, Equanimity was delivered in 2014 and introduced at the Monaco Yacht Show later that year where she won the award of finest yacht. Amongst her main highlights was an extensive spa area that spanned a large part of her lower deck.Following developments in the 1MDB case, the DoJ moved to seize Equanimity in June 2017 as part of their effort to recoup an estimated $400 million in alleged profits from Low. The yacht was eventually seized in Indonesia at the request of Malaysian authorities. According to a spokesman for Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd, this was done in violation of Indonesian and American court rulings. Following the seizure, the yacht was transported to Malaysia where finance minister, Lim Guan Eng said an auction of the yacht was to take place. It is now understood at least nine figures were being sought for the yacht at the auction, which is expected to be completed by March 2019.Equanimity was, however, famous across the yachting community, well before being pushed into the limelight by this case, for its extensive spa area on the lower deck, plunge pools and highly customised interior. At 2,998 gross tons of interior volume, the yacht still sits as the 65th largest yacht in the world.The 91-meter's spa is akin to that of a megapolis' 5-star hotel. Incorporating plunge pools, massage areas, saunas, experiential showers, hammams, jacuzzis and a gym all designed with the most precious of materials, it directly connects to a beach club from which guests can swim out into the ocean.Equanimity's 5 decks are connected by a grand staircase coupled with a glass elevator. Accommodating up to 22 guests in 11 cabins, the yacht was the first one to be built to comply with the new Passenger Yacht Code. Carrying a crew of 31, the yacht can cruise for up to 5,000 nautical miles at a speed of 15 knots, with its top speed at 18.5 kn.Aft of its second deck, Equanimity features a large helipad, typically covered with lounging sofas and sun beds when not in use. Forward of the helipad is a 20sqm spa pool sitting in front of the entrance to the yacht's spacious main salon. Throughout the deck, guests are kept within the atmosphere of a luxurious, relaxing spa.Inside, across the yacht's lounges and cabins can be found a continuing theme of the sea rendered through a clever use of sculptures, ornaments and glass. Centred around a clear colour scheme with tall windows throughout, Equanimity's interior almost acts as an extension of the sea wherever the yacht cruises.Equanimity's staterooms, styled like a luxurious, modern hotel, are spread out into a master cabin with a study, which can be converted into a double cabin, a VVIP suite, 3 VIP cabins, as well as an additional 2 double and 2 twin cabins spread out throughout the yacht's main deck, giving good views to all guests.Fully-equipped, the 91-meter's gym can be used underway but is best enjoyed when at anchor, with a fold down platform that opens up onto the sea and lets guests exercise practically on the water. Equanimity also comes complete with two custom-designed, 10-meter Hodgdon tenders to ferry around her guests in style.Malaysia's auction will see qualified buyers making sealed bids for the yacht in view of a sale that is set to complete by March 2019. Whilst the exact asking price is for the moment unknown, officials are looking for a 9 figure number according to various press reports. This becomes the 2nd high profile yacht auctioned off this year, following the 95-meter Oceanco, Indian Empress, which was sold earlier this year for €35 million during an auction in Malta.
91m Equanimity to be auctioned for nine figures
Equanimity, the 91-meter superyacht caught up in legal pursuits led by the United States' Department of Justice over the 1MDB fund, is now going to be auctioned off for a nine figure sum in March 2019. This follows the yacht being seized earlier in 2018.The sale of the yacht, which is being handled by Burgess on behalf of the Malaysian government, is happening at the request of the Sheriff of the Admiralty Court of Kuala Lumpur. According to statements made by government officials, interest in purchasing the yacht has already been recorded.This development comes as part of a long saga that started with the US DoJ moving to seize Equanimity back in June 2017. This was being done as part of an effort to recover $1.7 billion that were allegedly misappropriated from the 1Malaysia Berhad Fund according to the DoJ. Of this figure, $400 million were being sought from Jho low, a Malaysian businessman who took delivery of Equanimity in 2014. The yacht cost him over $250 million according to court fillings, including its upkeep.After eventually being seized by Indonesian authorities, the yacht was moved to Malaysia in view of a public auction for the yacht that was to take place according to Malaysia's finance minister, Lim Guan Eng. A spokesman for Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd, the yacht's owner, then commented that this move was done in violation of Indonesian and American court rulings.Launched in 2014, Equanimity was built by Oceanco in the Netherlands and debuted at the Monaco Yacht Show, later that year. Amongst her main amenities area a large spa area spread throughout the yacht's aft.
Hakvoort launches flagship 64m Scout
Hakvoort, the Dutch-based shipyard, has confirmed the launch of its largest project to date, the 63.72-meter Scout. Designed by H2 Yacht Design, the yacht is expected to be delivered to her owners in Spring 2019. She was previously known as Project Brio.Launched on December 1st, the yacht started construction under a different ownership, changing owners early on and shifting the project to the steel and aluminium explorer that it is today. "The owner’s brief called for a rugged explorer style yacht intended to look like a conversion from a commercial vessel." commented H2's Jonny Horsfield. "We placed the tenders on the bow, leaving them exposed to add to the utilitarian aesthetic. There is a helideck and a forward observation lounge in addition to an expansive sun deck."Scout features 4 guest cabins on the main deck as well as an owner's deck in addition to 2 staff cabins on the lower deck. Sold by Fraser Yachts to her current owner, Scout will become the largest yacht built by Hakvoort, topping its 61-meter Just J's delivered in 2016.The owner's previous yacht was a 45-meter RMK Marine also named Scout. Delivered in 2012, she was sold asking $15.9 million and has since been renamed Calliope.Powered by twin CAT engines, Scout will cruise at 12.5 knots and reach a top speed of 14.8kn. Her maximum range will be at 4,800 nautical miles once delivered, coupled with an ice-class hull.
Promise: Feadship's first ice-classed yacht delivered
Promise, the 51-meter yacht launched earlier this year, has now been delivered according to the Dutch shipyard. First yacht built by Feadship to be ice-classed, the 51-meter is now being shipped to the US according to the yard.Penned by Studio De Voogt with an interior by Bannenberg and Rowell, Promise was created as the first Feadship to fit ice-class notations, hinting that the yacht will cruise in polar regions for some portion of time. Powered by twin Caterpillar engines, she will have a top speed of 14.5 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles.Spread across a large beam of 10.8-meters, the 51-meter custom built yacht has been shrouded in secrecy throughout her build. Notable features from the outside are her large helipad aft o the upper deck, as well as tall windows in the main lounges suggesting panoramic views.Photos via Feadship
Indian Empress crew recovers $1 million in salaries
Maritime union Nautilus has confirmed that near $1 million in overdue salaries were paid to the crew of Indian Empress, now known as Neom. This follows the 95-meter yacht being abandoned in Malta in 2017 and recently sold at an auction for €35 million.The yacht's previous owner, Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, left the yacht in Malta in September 2017 amidst controversy over his Kingfisher Airlines and debts of over $1 billion. Known for his former Formula One team, Force India, as well as his United Spirits alcohol distributor in India, which he sold in 2014, Mallya was also active in Indian politics until 2016.After crew members of Mallya's Indian Empress, as well as several other creditors, the largest of which was Melita Power Diesel with an outstanding payment of over €650,000, demanded the yacht be sold to cover expenses, it was put up for auction in Malta. After several failed attempts, the yacht was sold for €35 million and renamed Neom.The latest developments sees the maritime union securing a payout for crew members, which averages at $20,745 per crew members, of which there were more than 40 reportedly unpaid since September 2017.Built in 2000 by Oceanco in the Netherlands as Al Mirqab, the 95-meter yacht remains one of the most iconic on the water. Refitted in 2006 and renamed to Indian Empress, the yacht was made available for charter throughout the past 10 years from €650,000 per week. She is now known as Neom.