real life

This expensive Russian Academy teaches you how to marry a very rich man.

Women attend classes in Russia to learn how to become “gold diggers”. (Note: This is a stock image.)





At a training school in Moscow, rows of serious blonde girls take careful notes. Paying thousands of dollars a week, these young women are here to learn from the best in the business; a forty-something-year-old redhead with a psychology degree and an MBA. Their timetables list ‘business theory’, ‘research’ and ‘principles’ classes; a full schedule of lessons to ensure they are employable in their chosen occupation.

These women attend Oliona’s Training School, one of the many academies in Moscow where young Russian ladies learn the precise tactics of being a successful ‘gold digger,’ an up-and-coming lifestyle for many of Russia’s most beautiful women.

“Never wear jewellery on a first date,” they’re instructed. “The man should think you’re poor. Make him want to buy you jewellery.”

“Squeeze your vagina muscles. Yes, your vaginal muscles. This will make your pupils dilate, making you more attractive,” the teacher says matter-of-factly as the girls quickly take notes.

London-based television producer Peter Pomerantsev went undercover in Russia to reveal the country’s weaponisation of information, culture and money for his latest book, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible. What he discovered was a world where young women see ‘gold digging’ – or ‘escorting’ – as a serious money-making business.


And it’s a an industry that continues to grow in popularity as Moscow is once again named the billionaire capital of the world — with 84 of the world’s richest calling Russia’s most populous city home, according to Forbes.

In Russia, escorting is not a career to be ashamed of. Many of the girls Pomerantsev interviewed felt empowered and voluntarily shared their unique story with him and the world – something he was not anticipating.

Russian women continue to have difficulty finding employment, so some women feel this is their only choice. Many employers don’t want to hire women as they believe that their work will be hindered by family duties. For those who are ‘lucky enough’ to find employment, their average wage tends to be 60 percent less than a man’s salary, Human Rights House reports.

 Russia is the billionaire capital of the world. 

It’s a harsh reality that in 2014, women are still socially marganised in Russia and brought up to believe they have fewer options than men — a mindset which is doesn’t look like changing.

“I don’t understand the whole thing of working 24-7 in some office. It’s humiliating having to work like that,” a recent training school graduate told  Pomerantsev. “Why should a woman kill herself at a job? That’s a man’s role.”

A basic Moscow mistress rate comes complete with $4000 a month allowance, a brand new apartment, a car and a weeklong holiday in Turkey or Egypt twice a year. In return, the escort must give her supple and tanned body to her ‘sugar daddy’ any time he wants: always happy and always willing to perform.


 Russian women are proud to be a ‘gold digger.’ 

As Pomerantsev writes, there may be another motivation behind these beautiful, intelligent young women’s choice to turn to ‘gold digging’ for employment. He speculates that for some of the girls, it’s not so much about the money or the lifestyle but, rather, they do it for the love that is lavished on them.

As Pomerantsev noted, all of these women had grown up fatherless: “A generation of orphaned, high-heeled girls, looking for a daddy as much as a sugar daddy.”

They’re searching for “a man who can stand on [his] own two feet. Who will make them feel safe”, Pomerantsev speculates.

Sadly, just like their relationship with their own fathers, the ‘sugar daddies’ don’t tend to stay around for long.

But if they lose their man (or their ‘sponsor’),they just start again, reinvent themselves and press reload. As they learn at Oliona’s training school: it is all just part of their job.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (Peter Pomerantsev, 2014) is available to buy online here.