Snobs of Russia unite

VALERY MELNIKOV/AFP/Getty Images Do you find Vanity Fair and Vogue just a bit too bourgeois? Are you tired of lumpen-proletarians who don’t know their place trying to friend you on Facebook? Can you never find anything on TV classy enough to show on that sweet plasma screen you had installed in your breakfast nook? Well ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
595337_080424_prokhorov2.jpg
595337_080424_prokhorov2.jpg

VALERY MELNIKOV/AFP/Getty Images

Do you find Vanity Fair and Vogue just a bit too bourgeois? Are you tired of lumpen-proletarians who don't know their place trying to friend you on Facebook? Can you never find anything on TV classy enough to show on that sweet plasma screen you had installed in your breakfast nook? Well then Snob may be for you!

"Bad-boy oligarch" Mikhail Prokhorov, who at 42 is Russia's fifth-richest man and the country's "most eligible bachelor," is investing $150 million in a new lifestyle media brand called Snob. The brand will include an exclusive social networking site, magazine, and TV station, all aimed at upwardly mobile young Russians.

VALERY MELNIKOV/AFP/Getty Images

Do you find Vanity Fair and Vogue just a bit too bourgeois? Are you tired of lumpen-proletarians who don’t know their place trying to friend you on Facebook? Can you never find anything on TV classy enough to show on that sweet plasma screen you had installed in your breakfast nook? Well then Snob may be for you!

“Bad-boy oligarch” Mikhail Prokhorov, who at 42 is Russia’s fifth-richest man and the country’s “most eligible bachelor,” is investing $150 million in a new lifestyle media brand called Snob. The brand will include an exclusive social networking site, magazine, and TV station, all aimed at upwardly mobile young Russians.

Prokohorov, who made his fortune by investing in nickel and gold during the 1990s, is a kind of poster boy for the champagne-drinking, Mercedes-driving set that Russians derisively refer to as “new Russians.” His motivtion for this project, he says, is to reclaim the word “snob” from its connotations of unearned privilege and make it a kind of rallying cry for Russia’s nouveau riche:

Snob to us means a person who is a ‘self-made man’, a person who has gained a right to snobbishness,” he said emphasizing the main difference with the British meaning which he said referred to inherited wealth.

The Snob media empire aims to focus on “lifestyle features, business news and travel.” If Prokohorov’s personal hobbies are any indication, the snob lifestyle also includes skiing, art collecting and upscale prostitution rings.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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