Newly rich Russians discovered the cult of ancestors. No price is too high for a noble title

In the long run, a direct connection to the Tsar House adorns more than luxury limousines and gold chains: until now, Russia's rich and celebrities were more into material items such as western designer fashion, antiques or lavish vacations on the Côte dAzur, but now their desire is geared more towards higher values: proof of nobility Origin.

"There is a huge demand for noble titles," confirms Nikolaj Pokrowskij, head of the archive and information center of the official Russian noble assembly. Whether politician, singer or businessman: For many of the titles Graf or Fürst, no family tree research is too complex - and no price too high. “There are a lot of scams going on. They also discredit the real aristocrats, ”complains Pokrovsky.

Officially there is no nobility in Russia anymore, and because there is no law, everyone can call themselves count or prince with impunity. Real noblemen - after expropriation and Soviet harassment today mostly poor at cash - sometimes get immoral offers to "inherit" their good name. It is easier at the registry office: For discreet payment, the officials occasionally erase their names. Dubious aristocratic associations and self-proclaimed blue-blooded people offer titles against cash. Fantasy certificates included. Those who want it to be more solid invest in genealogy - frowned upon in Soviet times, today fashion. In Moscow, for example, a project group called Dinastija offers digging in the archives. Prices: open to the top. "Nothing can be bought," says Chef Oleg Popow, rejecting rumors to the contrary. "Nobility - that's relative," he adds with a wink. “Evidence can be found for everything. Over the past 20,000 years, mankind has mingled so that everyone can find noble ancestors. ”

So that the customer can make a state with his new ancestors, Dinastija also supplies family crests, historical novels and oil portraits with the ancestors. The Moscow businessman Wladlen Goziridse also wants to order his family coat of arms - the search for the family tree has brought astonishing results to light. "Noble relatives can be traced back to the 5th century," the 33-year-old building contractor swears. "There are also links to Genghis Khan and European noble houses."

"It is above all successful men who do genealogical research," reports Marina Mironowa, ancestor expert at the private Moscow Institute for Public Relations. Many new rich have made money from dubious sources and prefer to remain silent about their recent past. “They also want something to be proud of,” believes Mironowa. “Not only bequeath money to your children, but also something down-to-earth. Meaning and tradition. "

FOCUS online author Boris Reitschuster