Some time ago, one of our readers noticed that Ella Gareeva Draper was a member of a Russian knock-off of Facebook called OK.RU. Similar to Facebook, each member has a profile page…
…and people can form or join groups of interest to them, such as this one: Yes, Ella is a member. In fact, we’re not certain, but it looks as though she might even be the admin.
We don’t speak Russian, but our friend Google Translate did a bang-up job of telling us what this says:Erm….okay, we admit we didn’t feel particularly enlightened, until one of our particularly well-read team members pointed out that “Ellochka the Cannibal” was a character in the 1928 Russian novel by Ilf and Petrov, titled “12 Chairs”. (Oh, and “Ellochka” happens to be an affectionate nickname for “Ella”.)
Here’s an excerpt from the novel which describes Ellochka the Cannibal:
[A]ccording to researchers’ calculations, William Shakespeare ’s lexicon comprises twelve thousand words. The lexicon of a Negro from the cannibalistic tribe Mumbo-Jumbo comprises three hundred words. Ellochka Shchukina got by easily and freely with thirty.
Here are the words, phrases, and interjections she judiciously chose out of the entire great, powerful, word-rich Russian language:
- So rude.
- Ho-ho! (This expresses, depending on the circumstances: irony, amazement, rapture, hatred, joy, disdain, and satisfaction .)
- Dismal. (Said about everything. For example: “dismal Petya came over,” “dismal weather,” “a dismal occasion,” “a dismal tomcat,” and so forth.)
- Horror. (Horrible. For example, on running into a dear friend: “a horrible meeting.”)
- Little fellow. (Said about all men of her acquaintance, regardless of age or social standing.)
- Don’t teach me how to live.
- Like . . . a baby. (“It was like taking candy from a baby,” said about a card game. “I smacked him like a baby’s bottom,” said, evidently, during a conversation with the responsible lessee.)
- Fat and handsome. (Used to characterize animate and inanimate objects.)
- Let’s take a horse-cab. (Said to her husband.)
- Let’s take a taxi-waxi. (To male acquaintances.)
- Your back is all white. (A joke.)
- Just think.
- Ulya. (An affectionate ending for names. For example: Mishulya, Zinulya.)
- Oho! (Irony, amazement, rapture, hatred, joy, disdain, and satisfaction.)
The extremely insignificant number of remaining words served as communicative links between Ellochka and salesclerks .
Upon examination of the photographs of Ellochka (one frontal view, one side view) hanging over the bed of her husband , the engineer Ernest Pavlovich Shchukin, it was not difficult to discern a pleasantly high, round forehead, large moist eyes, the dearest little nose in all of Moscow province, and a chin with a little beauty spot drawn on with mascara. Ellochka’s height flattered men. She was short, and even the shabbiest fellows looked like tall, powerful men next to her. As for distinguishing characteristics, she hadn’t any. Ellochka didn’t need them. She was pretty.
The two hundred rubles her husband received each month from the Elektrochandelier factory was an insult to Ellochka. There was no way it could aid her in the grand battle Ellochka had been fighting for four years now, ever since she’d assumed the social standing of a housewife, Shchukin’s wife. All the forces at her command were dedicated to the battle. It swallowed up all their resources. Ernest Pavlovich brought extra 270+ in Moscow work home with him, denied the household a maid, acquired a primus stove, took out the trash, and even cooked up the meatballs. But it was a fruitless effort. Every year the dangerous enemy did more damage to their household finances.
Four years ago, Ellochka had noticed that she had a rival across the ocean. Misfortune arrived at her doorstep on that joyous evening when Ellochka was trying on a very nice crepe de chine blouse. In this raiment she almost looked like a goddess.
“Ho-ho,” she exclaimed, reducing the staggeringly complex feelings that had seized her down to this cannibalistic cry. In simplified form, these feelings could be expressed in a phrase such as: “Men will become agitated when they see me like this. They will begin trembling. They will follow me to the ends of the earth, stuttering from love. But I will be cold. Are they really worthy of me? I am the most beautiful woman alive. Nobody else on the planet has such an elegant blouse.” But she only had thirty words, so Ellochka chose the most expressive one of all: “ho-ho.”
It was in just such a grand hour that Fima Sobak came over to see her. She swept in with January’s frosty breath and a French fashion magazine. Ellochka came to a halt on page one. The glossy photograph depicted the daughter of the American billionaire Vanderbilt in an evening gown. She saw furs and feathers, silk and pearls, an extraordinarily easy cut and a breathtaking hairstyle. That decided everything. “Oho!” Ellochka said to herself. That meant: “It’s either her or me.”
We felt we were starting to get the picture.
Ellochka, it seems, is a Russian archetype of a particular sort of woman—the kind who relies more on her physical attributes than her mental ones, the kind for whom the highest ambition is latching onto a prestigious man who can provide her with the sort of lifestyle to which she would like to become accustomed. The kind of woman who sees other women—especially whose who are better off than she is—as competition who must be obliterated if she is to survive.
The name and description of Ella Gareeva’s OK.RU group was beginning to make more sense: “Actually we are NOT cannibals—we ourselves give a piece of ourselves to everyone with whom LIFE confronts us. And maybe, that’s why They come back to us again….”
In English we might call “Ellochka the Cannibal” another name: “Ella the Man-Eater”. Interestingly, in Russia “Ellochka the Cannibal” is also a synonym for a vulgar, greedy, uneducated woman who just happens to be physically attractive.
Oddly, we found the above picture of “Ellochka the Cannibal” on a website called “Hot Russian Brides: Featuring Beautiful and Exotic Women“; like many such sites, it represents a strange but notable aspect of Russia’s transition from Communism to Russian-style capitalism.
As Peter Pomerantsev says in his book “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible“, since the fall of Communism a kind of feverish, surreal version of capitalism has rushed in to fill the political/economic void. In this new world, everything is for sale—including one’s self; everything is negotiable; and a certain class of women—a modern-day version of Ellochka the Cannibal, perhaps—has come to believe that working for a living is unspeakably demeaning.
These New Ellochkas have a simple goal: find a rich man and milk him for all he’s worth, says Pomerantsev:
“Business theory teaches us one important lesson,” says the instructress. “Always thoroughly research the desires of the consumer. Apply this principle when you search for a rich man. On a first date there’s one key rule: never talk about yourself. Listen to him. Find him fascinating. Find out his desires. Study his hobbies; then change yourself accordingly.”
Gold Digger Academy. A pool of serious blonde girls taking careful notes. Finding a sugar daddy is a craft, a profession. The academy has faux-marble halls, long mirrors, and gold-color-painted details. Next door is a spa and beauty salon. You go for your gold-digger lessons, then you go get waxed and tanned. The teacher is a forty-something redhead with a psychology degree, an MBA, and a shrill smile, her voice high and prim, a Miss Jean Brodie in short skirts: “Never wear jewelry on a first date, the man should think you’re poor. Make him want to buy you jewelry. Arrive in a broken-down car: make him want to buy you a smarter one.”
The students take notes in neat writing. They have paid a thousand dollars for each week of the course. There are dozens of such “academies” in Moscow and St. Petersburg, with names such as “Geisha School” or “How to Be a Real Woman.”
“Go to an expensive area of town,” continues the instructress. “Stand with a map and pretend you are lost. A wealthy man might approach to help.”
Ella the Gold-Digger
This brings us back to Ella Gareeva and her “Ellochka the Cannibals” group: Ella claims to have met and married Mr Draper when she was an art student in Moscow, some 20 years ago. We know that following the breakup of her marriage to Mr Draper, Ella walked away with a significant spousal maintenance payment.
Even after Ella and RD had their two children together, Ella continued to receive her spousal maintenance, since she had not actually remarried; however, it seems to have been cut off some time within the past year and a half, leaving Ella and Abraham scrambling for cash. We believe that this is what motivated Ella to tell interviewer Nathan Stolpman that she had made a mistake in saying that Mr Draper, the son they had together, and Mr Draper’s current wife were all participating members of the so-called cult in Hampstead.
You can read more about that here; but the bottom line is that Ella the Gold-Digger is desperate for cash. Rather than resigning herself to getting a job, she tried to undo some of the damage she’d done to her ex-husband and her eldest son…but we fear it’s probably too late. Most people just don’t take kindly to being accused of raping small children and murdering and eating babies. Strange, but true.
Meanwhile, we cannot help but chuckle at the divine irony of it all: Ella the Gold-Digger, deprived of her treasure, is now stuck in the dusty Spanish countryside with a demented, abusive little man with a criminal record as long as your arm and a chronic inability to handle money, despite all his big talk. The hoax they so cleverly planned with Sabine and Belinda has crashed down around their ears; Ella’s children are safely away from her greedy clutches; their various attempts to raise money through crowdfunding have been foiled; and their only remaining supporters are a few hard-core nutcases who just can’t bring themselves to let go.
Quite the come-down for Ellochka the Cannibal.