London Art Auctions Target the Former Soviet Union’s Growing Middle Classes

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LONDON (REUTERS).- Auctioneers are targeting the former Soviet Union’s growing middle classes, as well as ultra-wealthy oligarchs, at a twice-yearly series of Russian art sales in London this week. Business tycoons from Russia and Ukraine have been among the biggest bidders in salerooms around the world for several years, helping to boost values for contemporary, modern, impressionist and Russian art. And with fine art prices hitting new records after a relatively brief slump caused by the global financial crisis, auction houses are quietly confident that the appetite for Russian paintings, manuscripts and works of art will be strong. “We are expecting more business and the market is looking up,” said William MacDougall, director of the specialist Russian auction house MacDougall’s. He expects to sell