Russian women keen to snare their very own oligarch and live wealthily ever after have been thrown a lifeline with the publication of a female gold-diggers' manual telling them how to get their man.
The tongue-in-cheek tome, entitled Married to a Millionaire or Marriage of a Higher Sort, has been written by the country's brashest "It" girl and a well-known society novelist specialising in lifting the lid on the lives of Russia's super-rich.
Though the book is written in a light-hearted style, it is designed to appeal to millions of young girls looking for their "Prince Charming" in a country where the gap between the haves and have-nots is staggering and growing wider by the day.
"There are enough oligarchs in Russia to go round!" its back-cover screams. "Your equipment: a smile, a sense of humour, optimism and fervour. Marry a Prince? It's easy."
The manual, which begins by wishing its readers "Happy Hunting!" has been written by the endlessly self-promoting socialite Ksenia Sobchak, a self-styled Russian Paris Hilton figure, and Oksana Robsky, who has already made a name for herself writing semi-autobiographical accounts of her rich friends and wealthy former husbands.
The book comes with a large health warning, reflecting the fact that many marriages to oligarchs apparently end in bitter divorces. In fact, the glamorous duo begin by urging readers to assume at the outset that if they do manage to marry an oligarch (and they admit that the odds are not in your favour) the chances are that the union will end in divorce. Better, they say grimly and perhaps with a nod to Irina Abramovich, to start planning for life after marriage on the wedding day itself.
Accumulating as much expensive jewellery at your husband's expense is one of their tips as is starting up your own business while the marriage is still intact - using your husband's money, of course.
"If you're dreaming of great love, an oligarch is the last person you need," the manual wisely advises. "You need an oligarch if you're dreaming of money, big money." In fact, if you are what they call "a good girl" and want to live happily and comfortably, they suggest marrying a man from the "up middle class", whom they suggest will have fewer psychological flaws than an oligarch, but whose wallet can be just as accommodating.
The two authors, who are pictured on the front cover in risqué evening dresses toting machine guns, go on to compare oligarchs to wild animals likening them, according to their personality, to different species from bears to bucks.
They reveal various ruses with which to persuade your oligarch to buy you expensive presents such as pretending you have lost your luggage for weekends away by bribing airline staff to orchestrate its temporary disappearance.
Any oligarch worth his borscht will immediately offer to buy you a new wardrobe, the writers claim. Ironically, when it comes to living happily ever after, the authors admit that their credentials are mixed, since Robsky has been thrice unhappily married while Sobchak has never been married.Reuse content