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Alexandra Tolstoy whose oligarch ex was known as ‘Putin’s banker’ shows off her Oxfordshire home

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Countess Alexandra Tolstoy has offered a glimpse inside her cosy Oxfordshire cottage where she is spending lockdown – months after she was ‘evicted’ from the London home owned by her Russian billionaire ex. 

The aristocratic beauty, who shares children Aliosha, Ivan and Maria with financier Sergei Pugachev, has swapped city life for quieter days filled with country walks, baking and homeschooling.

Photos shared on Instagram, where she boasts more than 75,000 followers, reveal a rustic family kitchen, bedrooms with sloped ceilings and wrought iron beds, and a characterful living room complete with roaring fire. 

Unlike some influencers, Alexandra doesn’t shy away from photographing the realities of family life and happily posts photos of piles of laundry, cluttered countertops and a dining room table strewn with homework.

Pugachev, 57, was once dubbed ‘the Kremlin’s banker’ and was close to Vladimir Putin before falling into disfavour. He is now seen as a ‘traitor’ by the Russian president. 

After arriving in the UK in 2011, he was accused of siphoning a fortune out of his finance house Mezhprombank. State creditors in Moscow pursued him in the British courts, claiming he embezzled hundreds of millions.

The oligarch fled to France, where he remains, and was sentenced to two years in his absence by a High Court judge in 2016 for breaching court orders relating to hundreds of millions in allegedly stolen cash.  

Casual in the country! Countess Alexandra Tolstoy has offered a glimpse inside the cosy Oxfordshire cottage where she is spending lockdown with her three children. Her ex is Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev, 57, who is living in exile

Casual in the country! Countess Alexandra Tolstoy has offered a glimpse inside the cosy Oxfordshire cottage where she is spending lockdown with her three children. Her ex is Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev, 57, who is living in exile

Family life: Mother-of-three Alexandra shows off a refreshingly normal kitchen, complete with cluttered countertops

Family life: Mother-of-three Alexandra shows off a refreshingly normal kitchen, complete with cluttered countertops

Old-fashioned goodness: Alexandra's daughter Maria tucked up in bed in one of the three bedrooms upstairs in the property

Old-fashioned goodness: Alexandra’s daughter Maria tucked up in bed in one of the three bedrooms upstairs in the property

Organisaed chaos: Unlike some influencers, Alexandra doesn't shy away from capturing piles of laundry in her pictures

Organisaed chaos: Unlike some influencers, Alexandra doesn’t shy away from capturing piles of laundry in her pictures

Personal treasures: The house is decorated with dozens of ornaments and soft furnishings in an array of patterned fabrics

Personal treasures: The house is decorated with dozens of ornaments and soft furnishings in an array of patterned fabrics

Alexandra has three children with Sergei Pugachev, 57, who was once dubbed 'the Kremlin’s banker' and was close to Vladimir Putin before falling into disfavour. He is now seen as a 'traitor' by the Russian president. Pictured, the couple together

Alexandra has three children with Sergei Pugachev, 57, who was once dubbed ‘the Kremlin’s banker’ and was close to Vladimir Putin before falling into disfavour. He is now seen as a ‘traitor’ by the Russian president. Pictured, the couple together

Pugachev has cut off Alexandra and their children financially, she claims, and the family were evicted from Pugachev’s £12million south London family mansion during the height of the pandemic after reportedly being given just 12 days notice by the Russian government, who had repossessed the property.

It is understood Alexandra has since moved into another home in London, but has chosen to spend lockdown in her idyllic country home, which she bought in 2004.

Who is Alexandra Tolstoy? 

Before she met Sergei, Alexandra was married to a penniless Cossack named Shamil Galimzyanov. The pair met whilst travelling along the Silk Road on horse in 1999. 

Tolstoy first met Sergei, then a Russian senator and trusted friend of Putin who had separated from his wife, when asked to give him English lessons while she was living in Moscow with Galimzyanov.

A year later, they met again at an awards ceremony attended by the Russian president. Within months, Tolstoy and was pregnant with Sergei’s child. They had three children together – Alexei, known as Aliosha, Ivan and Maria.

Alexandra is the eldest of Anglo-Russian historian and writer Nikolai Tolstoy’s four children. She grew up in Oxfordshire before going to Edinburgh University to study philosophy. She spent her gap year in Russia.  

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Pugachev once owned two major shipyards, the world’s biggest mine and large chunks of real estate in Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as the Mezhprombank, which he co-founded in the 1990s.

The couple met in 2008 after Sergei hired Alexandra to help improve his English while they were both living in Russia, where Sergei was once-close friends with Putin. 

Speaking of their relationship in a documentary that aired last year, Alexandra said: ‘When I met Sergei it was electric. It was amazing. I fell so in love with him. I’ve never felt such a connection to someone ever.’ 

Within a year of meeting, they had a baby and another on the way, and were living a life of luxury in London, Moscow and Paris. 

Alexandra said: ‘It was incredible, he would give me his credit card and I would go shopping, I had a private jet. I just had to pack my suitcase and I could go.’ 

The family moved between an array of properties including a £12million family home in Battersea, a 200-acre country estate in Hertfordshire, and a £40million beachfront villa in St Barts.

But in 2008, Sergei’s bank hit problems and the Russian bank bailed it out with $1 billion loan. 

Sergei, who left Russia in 2011, claims that after relations between him and Putin cooled, the Kremlin tried to seize or destroy his business empire.  

The Russians then accused him of profiting from vast sums of taxpayers’ money given to Mezhprombank by the Russian central bank at the height of the 2008 economic crisis. 

The Russian authorities froze his assets, put him on Interpol’s wanted list and obtained a court order in Britain forcing him to hand over his passports.

All tucked up: Alexandra shared this photo of a TV night in her bedroom, which is decorated with sumptuous textiles

All tucked up: Alexandra shared this photo of a TV night in her bedroom, which is decorated with sumptuous textiles

Multi-tasking: Like many parents, Alexandra is juggling her work with homeschooling her children at the kitchen table

Multi-tasking: Like many parents, Alexandra is juggling her work with homeschooling her children at the kitchen table 

Cooking up a feast: Alexandra cuts a casual figure with her hair pulled up on top of her head in this Instagram snap

Cooking up a feast: Alexandra cuts a casual figure with her hair pulled up on top of her head in this Instagram snap

Quiet night in: The living room boasts a large open fire, low ceilings and is full of character

Quiet night in: The living room boasts a large open fire, low ceilings and is full of character

WHO IS SERGEI  PUGACHEV? 

Sergei Pugachev once owned two major shipyards, the world’s biggest mine and large chunks of real estate in Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as the Mezhprombank, which he co-founded in the 1990s.

He enjoyed a close relatinship with Vladimir Putin, and in 2008 when Sergei’s bank hit problems, the Russian state bailed it out with $1 billion loan.

Sergei amassed enormous wealth from his companies, and lived a lavish lifestyle before becoming an enemy of the Russian state

Sergei amassed enormous wealth from his companies, and lived a lavish lifestyle before becoming an enemy of the Russian state 

Sergei, who left Russia in 2011, claims that relations between him and Putin cooled, due to his relationship with the Russian leader calling him a ‘traitor’ for dating ‘English woman’ Alexandra, the Kremlin tried to seize or destroy his business empire.  

The Russians then accused him of profiting from vast sums of taxpayers’ money given to Mezhprombank by the Russian central bank at the height of the 2008 economic crisis. 

It has since been pursuing Sergei Pugachev through the High Court claiming he illegally siphoned hundreds of millions of pounds from the government bailout of the Mezhprombank.

Authorities froze his assets, put him on Interpol’s wanted list and obtained a court order in Britain forcing him to hand over his passports.

By 2015, he was dividing his time between France and the family home in London and reputed to be number 3 on Kremlin’s hitlist.

Mr Pugachev denies the allegations and claims Moscow is trying to steal £11billion of his assets, including two shipyards and the world’s largest mine. 

He has previously been declared to be in contempt of court, with a two-year prison sentence left hanging over his head should he return to this country.

He had been living in France for the past five years after being ordered to give up his passports in 2014. 

In Nice, he was visited by the DIA who demanded repayment of the billion dollar loan and threatened his family, saying they could ‘cut off his son’s finger and send it back to him.’ 

He also claims ‘credible attempts’ had been made on his life in the UK. 

The tycoon is in another legal battle with Russia in The Hague where he is suing the Federation for £11billion.

He claims he is being targeted because of his knowledge of state secrets.

Sergei said he enjoyed a 'very close' friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin before falling out, with the politician calling Sergei 'a traitor' for dating an 'English woman'

Sergei said he enjoyed a ‘very close’ friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin before falling out, with the politician calling Sergei ‘a traitor’ for dating an ‘English woman’

 

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By 2015, he was dividing his time between France and the family home in London and claimed to be number 3 on Kremlin’s hitlist. 

State creditors in Moscow pursued him in the British courts, claiming he embezzled hundreds of millions. 

Pugachev fled to France before the 2016 High Court ruling in a case brought by Russia’s Deposit Insurance Agency, in which he was sentenced for 12 breaches of court orders connected to a freezing order imposed on him over attempts to recover the cash.

In the February 2016 High Court judgment, no ruling was made on the allegations of embezzled cash and Pugachev told the court he had ‘not stolen any money’. In her judgment jailing him, Mrs Justice Rose noted he ‘does have a genuine fear that his life is in danger from agents of the Russian state’.

Anne-Jessica Faure, a lawyer for Mr Pugachev, said there has been no court decision establishing financial wrongdoing by him. 

On the order of the High Court, the family home was put on the market and Alexandra made a deal with the Russian government to drop her claim to his fortune. 

Quilted magic: A cosy nook where daughter Maria sleeps while the family is in the Oxfordshire countryside

Quilted magic: A cosy nook where daughter Maria sleeps while the family is in the Oxfordshire countryside

Keeping busy! Alexandra tries her hand at lockdown baking in one of the photos shared on her Instagram account

Keeping busy! Alexandra tries her hand at lockdown baking in one of the photos shared on her Instagram account 

Pot plants: The socialite rearranges a flower in a large copper pot by a window looking out to the countryside

Pot plants: The socialite rearranges a flower in a large copper pot by a window looking out to the countryside

Rural retreat: Alexandra rugs up in sturdy footwear and outdoor clothes for a stroll through the nearby countryside

Rural retreat: Alexandra rugs up in sturdy footwear and outdoor clothes for a stroll through the nearby countryside 

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