New Yorkers have been tweeting, instagraming and posting countless photos of a gleaming blue megayacht docked off midtown Manhattan.
It's called "Serene." At a staggering 436-feet, with five levels, several swimming pools, two helicopter pads and soaring chrome exhaust pipes at the top, it nearly outshines the Intrepid Museum next door. (Its best amenities are inside: the "underwater viewing room," an indoor climbing wall, children's playroom and cabins for 24 guests and 52 crew, according to the yacht builder.)
Anyone doing a quick Google search learns that the owner of Serene is Yuri Scheffler, the vodka-and-spirits magnate behind the Stolichnaya brand. And with the turmoil in Ukraine and Russia, many have also speculated that Serene's sudden presence is a sign of the worried oligarchs—the Putin-connected, Russian super rich who now face a financial backlash from the West for Russia's actions.
(Read more: Putin on the Ritz? Russian said to have billions)
But they would be wrong. Scheffler is no Putin oligarch. And he has a surprising perspective on Ukraine.