Zaroff inherited his money from his father, then invested it.
Zaroff is a Russian Cossack, and the son of a nobleman. His father was “a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea” and he inherited this money. He also served in the army, as was expected of noblemen’s sons. After “the debacle in Russia,” Zaroff left the country.
Many noble Russians lost everything. I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities, so I shall never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris.
Zaroff’s wealth is what allowed him to create his own little private game reserve on a deserted island. He built himself a chateau and lived off of his investments, having an excellent life. Unfortunately, he amused himself by capturing and hunting down men.
The fact that he escaped the scandal in Russia relatively unscathed shows that Zaroff is very cunning. As an expert in wiggling out of difficult situations, he seems untouchable. He never faces any consequences for his actions, until he tries to take on Rainsford. This is one of the main reasons Rainsford had to kill him. There was no other way to stop him.
General Zaroff came from a wealthy family. He tells Rainsford that his father owned a million acres of land in the Crimea.
God makes some men poets. Some He makes kings, some beggars. Me He made a hunter. My hand was made for the trigger, my father said. He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea, and he was an ardent sportsman. When I was only five years old he gave me a little gun, specially made in Moscow for me, to shoot sparrows with.
However, when the Czar was overturned in Russian, many of those who were Russian nobles or had substantial fortunes lost everything. Zaroff had invested heavily in American securities before this time, and he reamined weathly after this political transition. Because of this lucky investment, he was able to continue hunting and later live on the island.
Many noble Russians lost everything. I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities, so I shall never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris. Naturally, I continued to hunt--grizzliest in your Rockies, crocodiles in the Ganges, rhinoceroses in East Africa.