Maria Baibakova Is So Sorry People Are Making Fun of Her

Maria Baibakova's Twitter profile picture
Maria Baibakova's Twitter profile picture

Maria Baibakova has drawn good notice pretty much everywhere in the art press for representing the classy side of Russian oligarch-dom via her great taste and down-to-earth public persona. But these days, she’s walking things back after a spectacularly tone-deaf essay for Russian Tatler, which was neither in good taste nor down-to-earth.

Given that the article seems to confirm everything you think actually goes on behind the PR curtain, it flew far and fast. Buzzfeed teased it as “13 Russian Nouveau Riche Hacks That Will Change the Way You Treat Your Servants.” Most of Baibakova’s wisdom can be summed up as, “Do not, at all costs, treat your many servants as equals.” Except, that is, for that one really weird part where she explains the pitfalls of hiring Filipinas, whom she deems both shifty and shiftless.

In an apology posted to her personal website, Baibakova has done the classy thing—thrown her editor under the bus. “The text is heavily edited and when I translate it to English I can see it is insensitive and crude,” she writes. “I am ashamed of these words and apologise wholeheartedly to all who were offended.” She does stand by her tips on how to fire servants “without time for excuses and tears” as being intended as a treatise on how to run a household like an efficient business—though on Twitter she also adds, in seeming contradiction, that the Tatler essay is “not reflective of my views.”

On November 4 in New York, Performa will honor Baibakova in a gala as one of the new “Renaissance Women.”

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