Russian columnist and magazine producer Leo Skvirskiy speaks on the latest article by oligarch daughter Maria Baibakova, which has caused a wave of rage in the media.
NEW YORK, October 2 (RIA Novosti) — It seems that everyone in Moscow has already discussed the latest crazy article in the Russian Tatler. It was very difficult for me to write about it, because every sentence caused a sudden urge to swear, but I’ve managed.
Surprisingly, this time Tatler presented its public with something other than a story about a divorcee and her difficult life in a Cannes mansion, which she won in a divorce settlement. No, this time it was something far more ‘serious’.
Maria Baibakova, known mainly for her affair with ‘prince’ Payam Sharifi, and her explicit passion for contemporary art, has now decided to become a columnist for Tatler, a magazine ‘for the rich by the rich’. She strung together a set of instructions on how to hire and treat servants. An acute translation can be found here.
Baibakova cites the TV-series ‘Downton Abbey’ as an example of high life. What she forgets to mention, though, is that the events that take place on screen are set between the wartime and post-war period, when having 200 servants just lost its point. In this way, the show explains why people came to live a more modest and simple life.
With a thin red string, Miss Baibakova attempts to connect herself to the English nobility, and indeed, as we have come to see, to compare herself to someone posh… – like so many Russian girls from rich families. It’s 2014, and still the Russian nouveau riche find themselves amused by the idea of lording over others, even though most continue to litter on the streets.
Another issue I have is with a ruthless case of product placement that occurs in the article. Baibakova is such a serious dimwit that she has even decided to advertise for the cultish brand Amway (google it), which appears here and there in the article. That makes me wonder if peddling merchandise is her hobby.
Eventually this stopped being just a cute joke, since the American tabloid The Daily Beast turned its attention to Miss Baibakova’s publication, and apparently this whole ‘Downton Abbey’ affair turned into something internationally ugly.
Immediately after The Daily Beast e-mailed her, Miss Baibakova apologized for the article on Facebook, saying it was poorly edited and asking for forgiveness from everyone who was offended by the word ‘servant’. For some reason, though, she only did so in English, as if her ‘servants’ spoke the language fluently enough to understand. That’s how English realities are translated into Russian. Nuff said.
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