Oligarch's daughter apologises for 'offensive' tips on servants

MOSCOW- The daughter of a Russian oligarch has apologised after publishing a magazine column about how to treat household staff that gave tips such as never eating together or talking to them as equals.
"I profusely apologize for my offensive article," Maria Baibakova, whose father is former metals magnate Oleg Baibakov, wrote in Facebook, after the article in October's issue of Russian Tatler, a glossy high-society magazine, prompted an uproar.

The article -- which came out as Russia's economy is reeling from Western sanctions -- was headlined "You must fire servants quickly and in front of witnesses".
The article, illustrated with a photograph of the author with a butler, was picked up by the US site The Daily Beast, which jokingly described it as a "useful recruiting document for neo-Marxists".
"After reading it, you're no longer in any doubt that Russian society is no longer divided into workers, peasants and intelligentsia as it was 30 years ago," Russia's mass-circulation daily Moskovsky Komsomolets sarcastically wrote on Thursday.
"Now it's divided into the bosses and the servants."
Baibakova, who lives between London, Moscow and New York, countered in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the column was "heavily edited" and came out as "insensitive and crude".
However the editor of Russian Tatler, Ksenia Solovyova, told Kremlin-connected Life News television on Thursday that Baibakova had checked it before it was published.
Baibakova said in the column the most common mistake was to "make friends with one of the staff and start treating that person as a family member."
You should never eat at the same table with any member of staff except your son's tutor, she advised.
Don't chat to household staff about your annoying mother-in-law or a designer who impressed you at a fashion show, she underlined, saying this would make them unfit for the job.
"After getting such head-turning information, the maid starts feeling part of your world, not hers. And in your world, dusting and cleaning carpets is unthinkable."
She also advises never to shout at household staff since "we should only express strong emotions to those equal to us".
Her ultimate tip is to save yourself the "constant stress" of managing staff -- and get a butler.
"Maria Baibakova here has explained very well the reasons for the October Revolution," quipped one Twitter user, Anthony Marchenko, referring to the Bolsheviks seizing power in 1917 to create a Socialist state.
The Russian edition of Britain's Tatler magazine has come out since 2008.

Thursday, October 2nd 2014

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