Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shone a spotlight on Russia’s oligarchs. Before the invasion, the oligarchs lived a high life as well as a high-profile life. They owned luxury yachts, mansions, and well-known football teams. Now they are trying to keep a low profile because the US and other Western countries have sanctioned many Russian oligarchs. The expression “shine a spotlight” on someone or something means to bring attention to someone or something. An oligarch is a ruler in an oligarchy. An oligarchy refers to a country ruled by a small group of powerful people. The word “oligarchy” comes from ancient Greece where it was called “oligarkhia” which means “the rule of the few”. To live a high life means to live an extravagant and exciting life. Most rich people live a high life.
The US and other Western countries say Russian President Vladimir Putin is an oligarch. They say Russia is an oligarchy ruled by Putin and a small and powerful group of his allies. An oligarch, especially when referring to Russia, also means a very rich and politically powerful businessman. Russian oligarchs became very rich in the 1990s after the fall of the former Soviet Union when businesses were privatized. They often used illegal means to make money. They lived a high life, especially in London, where they bought yachts, private jets, and mansions. When Putin came to power he allowed the oligarchs to continuing living a high life on condition they kowtow to his rule.
After Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe sanctioned many of the Russian oligarchs. They accused the oligarchs of supporting the invasion by not criticizing Putin. They also accused the oligarchs of partly financing the invasion. The oligarchs tried to hide their money to prevent Western governments from freezing their assets. But the US was still able to seize some yachts and freeze some assets belonging to oligarchs with close ties to Putin.
俄羅斯入侵烏克蘭，連帶將國際注意力聚焦在（shone a spotlight）一眾俄羅斯商業寡頭（oligarchs）身上。侵略前，那些商業寡頭（oligarchs）養尊處優、生活奢華（high life）而高調，他們擁有奢華的遊艇、豪宅，以及知名的足球隊；現在他們嘗試低調過活，因為美國和其他西方國家已制裁了許多俄羅斯商業寡頭（oligarchs）。習語“shine a spotlight” on someone or something意思是令某人或某事受到關注。An oligarch 就是一個oligarchy 中的統治者，而oligarchy 則指實行寡頭統治的國家，由一小撮有權勢的人掌權。“Oligarchy”一字來自古希臘語，本身的寫法是“oligarkhia”，意即「少數人的統治」。To live a high life就是奢侈地生活，盡情吃喝玩樂。許多富豪都是生活極盡奢華（live a high life）。
美國和其他西方國家指，俄羅斯總統弗拉基米爾·普京是個寡頭統治者（oligarch）。他們說，俄羅斯是寡頭統治國家（oligarchy），由普京和一小撮跟他同盟、有權力的人執政。An oligarch——尤其是指俄羅斯的話——也解作一個非常富有，及在政治上很有權力的商人。在一九九零年代前蘇聯解體之後，企業私有化讓俄羅斯的寡頭（oligarchs）變得非常有錢。他們當時常用不法的途徑致富。他們生活奢華（high life），特別在倫敦買了不少遊艇、私人飛機和豪宅。當普京上台時，他容許這些商業寡頭（oligarchs）繼續過他們奢華的生活（high life），條件是他們得臣服於他的統治之下。