Monaco and the White Russians
At the beginning of the 20th century, to say that Monaco was an attraction for the Russian nobility is something of a euphemism. Fleeing their harsh winters, Russian nobles only had eyes for the French Riviera, and especially for its gem, Monaco.
The Principality’s prosperity, and particularly that of the casino, was in large part due to the Russian community. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the end of the First World War, the Casino de Monte-Carlo found out what had become of the 650 Russian clients listed in its files. Some 430 had died violent deaths. Some survivors, mostly broke, returned to Monaco in a more or less voluntary exile. Camille Blanc, Director of the Société des Bains de Mer, had not forgotten the extravagant sums that some clients had left on the green baize, and remembering this gratitude, offered them jobs as ‘technical advisors’, thus enabling them to eke out a living. One of them was Simon Malutine. In his heyday, he had a fondness for throwing gold coins over the balcony of his hotel room and watching passers-by pick them up. After the Revolution, he became one of the casino’s ‘technical advisors’, benefiting from a small pension until he passed away in 1935.