Titles you can count on - literally
Some believe the nobility can be bought for a right price.
It took one million rubles or US$35,000 for 20-year-old Natasha Kochetova to get a noble title and become Her Excellency Countess Natalia de Bright.
A noble dress, a crown and a little ceremony have all been included in the price.
Natasha says the new status is her ticket to higher society.
Valery Dmitriev is Head of the Russian Imperial Society, which made Natasha a countess. He claims to be a direct descendant of Rurik, the father of all Russian princes, and says nobility is not open to just anyone.
“Those who are not patriots, or have a criminal past, or display bad or not respectable behavior, or who are not symbols of our epoch – they cannot get it, no matter how much money they are ready to pay,” Dmitriev said.
Natasha’s money will go towards the welfare of Russia and Russian people, according to Valery. But, he insists, it is not for her thousands of dollars that Natalia has been chosen among the thousands of willing applicants, although his explanation is a little offbeat.
In the meantime, this kind of thing is all a big scam in the eyes of Russia’s Romanov House.
“Everywhere in the world, Russia included, nobility can only be granted by the head of the Royal or Imperial House, the official one,” explains a spokesman for the Head of the Russian Imperial House office, Aleksandr Zakatov. “Here in Russia, this is the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna. This is the only legal way.”
Aleksandr says that papers issued by others have no historical significance and no legal force. They are just worthless pieces of paper.
A quick look on the Internet reveals a number of firms, with the inevitable “Imperial” in their titles, claiming they can “confirm” your noble origin or just grant it to you – if you are a decent person of course. But nobility is far from cheap today. And since it changes nothing but your name on a piece of paper, you will probably just keep it in a desk till the end of your days, or hang it on a wall. So why not just design one yourself and print the certificate out? It is easier and costs nothing, but it still says that you are noble.