Maria Baibakova, the Russian oligarch who wrote an article in Russian Tatler which gave tips on how to fire one’s staff, has told The Daily Beast she is “ashamed” of the piece and “apologises wholeheartedly” for the “offensive” article.
Baibakova, a noted art collector, said that she had lived “a very humble childhood” and said that her piece was heavily edited and that its overall meaning had been “lost in translation” so that some of her remarks came across as “insensitive and crude”.
In the piece she advised Russians that “no good” would come of making friends with one’s staff, and said of firing staff, “It needs to be done fast, clearly explaining the reason, without giving time for excuses and tears, observing all laws and agreements [for example paying two weeks’ wages], and—this is a must—with witnesses.”
Today, the chastened art collector said she saw the entire episode as an opportunity for “self-reflection” and added, “I am ashamed of these words and apologize wholeheartedly to all who were offended.”
Baibakova said she had merely been trying to draw a parallel between running a corporation and running a household, and was trying to argue the same standards of professionalism should apply in both.
She told The Daily Beast, via email: “There is an unfortunate history in Russia of mistreating household staff, so my underlying hope when I was given this assignment was to incentivize Russians to treat staff fairly by giving employers a financial incentive to behave in a more ethical manner (e.g. dismiss staff professionally without emotional abuse and provide fair severance pay, etc).”
She added, “As a woman who lived a very humble childhood I consider myself a balanced person who places the highest value in hard work and mutual respect. I see this an opportunity for self-reflection.”