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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
From Chukotka to Chelsea
By Dan Warren

The two districts are rather different
London (left) boasts rather different wildlife to Chukotka
Roman Abramovich has bought Chelsea FC in a multi-million pound deal - but what can he expect when he comes to watch his new team?

He had best prepare for a culture shock.

The billionaire businessman is governor of the Russian territory Chukotka - a place as different from west London as is possible while remaining on Earth.

Lying 8,700km from Chelsea on the north eastern tip of Russia, Chutkotka is staggeringly remote, bordering the Bering Strait and straddling the Arctic Circle.

Three times the size of the United Kingdom, Chukotka is home to a mere 68,000 citizens, who endure harsh winters where the temperature drops to -40C.

Average Chelsea house price: 645,261
Average Chukotka monthly wage: 36
Buying Chelsea home on Chukotka wage will take: 1,493 years

Stamford Bridge alone holds more than 42,000 people - and the football club's pampered stars have been known to don gloves for playing while the autumn sun is still shining.

Chukotka is known as the region of reindeer breeders, and as well as those antler-bearing animals, bears, wolves and Arcitc foxes have made the district their home.

Chelsea boasts some very different, although no less fascinating beasts.

The lesser spotted Gucci-clad It Girl wannabe is often found grazing on ciabatta, while a rugby-loving chino-clad Josh or Jeremy attempts to mate - usually unsuccessfully.

In Chukotka, the various inhabitants comprise the Chukchi, the Chuvantsy and the Siberian Yupik who work in construction, mining and administration.

Down the King's Road, the Ffaffyngton-Smythes, Wimpole-MacAllisterres and Palmer-Tompkinsons "work" in PR, management consulting and writing utterly pointless newspaper columns.

That said, some parallels can be drawn between the two areas.

Vodka is a popular tipple in both areas - although whether the Chukotka natives are paying 3.90 for a shot of some ultra-trendy blueberry and chili flavoured liquid is doubtful.

Of course, Abramovich, as a billionaire, is unlikely to have too much trouble slotting into the opulent lifestyle of a native.

But there are pitfalls to his switch to the west.

He was worshipped in Chukotka for bringing wealth into what is a desperately poor region - and the Chelsea faithful are likely to do the same.

But the people of Chukotka are unlikely to revolt if Abramovich does not bring in a world class striker and make an impact on the Champions League.

Chukotka's governor may experience some bleak and hostile moments as Chelsea's guv'nor.

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