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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In the Spotlight: Sobchak's Losers

This month, blond it-girl Ksenia Sobchak released her latest book, “An Encyclopedia of Losers.”

The slim volume, with large print and slightly obscene illustrations by artist Andrei Bartenev, follows Sobchak’s former literary ventures: a book of fashion tips, “Stylish Things,” and a step-by-step guide, “How to Marry a Millionaire,” both of which were breezy — somewhat forgettable — reads.

Sobchak’s definition of “loser” is a very broad one. The encyclopedia’s title in Russian uses the word lokh, which is hard to translate. Dictionaries tell you something like “country bumpkin,” but you quickly realize that this cannot be the case when you see it graffitied on concrete housing estates. I think that it means something like “sucker” or “loser,” someone who tries to be cool, but just never quite gets it.

Lokhs can be rich or poor, she writes. Rich lokhs like pointy crocodile shoes, jewel-encrusted hubcaps for their Bentley, and Ulysse Nardin watches decorated with a miniature St. Basil’s cathedral. Their favorite word is “exclusive.”

Meanwhile, poor lokhs like pyramid schemes and designer knock-offs that enable them to look like rich lokhs from a distance.

Reading this, it’s hard not to flick through my well-thumbed copy of Sobchak’s style tips, where a photograph reveals her vast collection of pointy cowboy boots, at least six of which appear to be snake and crocodile skin. Oh, and didn’t she once crash her $300,000 Bentley Continental? But that would be quibbling.

The book takes aim at various social luminaries and is quite funny in an outrageously rude kind of way. I can’t imagine that the blond, coiffured pop-opera singer Nikolai Baskov would much like the photo collage of him with the slogan: “Nikolai Baskov, walking past the mirror, accidentally came.”

Nor will former Bolshoi “fat” ballerina Anastasia Volochkova be overjoyed by Sobchak calling her “swan woman” and accusing her of luring away a boyfriend with pseudo-profound text messages about the sun coming up.

Sobchak also settles scores with Olga Rodionova, the model wife of a publisher who took her to court earlier this year. Sobchak ridiculed her for posing for a book of erotic photographs by French artist Bettina Rheims, a project that was financed by her husband and that featured close-ups of her genital piercings. Rodionova won the case in January, and Sobchak was ordered to pay 20,000 rubles ($640) in damages.

Sobchak responds by mocking an interview Rodionova gave where she explained that Sobchak was simply jealous of her because Sobchak wasn’t married.

An accompanying photo collage shows Sobchak in a 1950s-style scene holding two angelic children with the slogan: “Sobchak is a fool, a bitch, and envies all women who have family happiness and material prosperity.”

The book even goes into politics, saying Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has high approval ratings because he “stretches out his mighty hand and touches the subcortex of the loser.” She compares him to the perestroika-era healer Anatoly Kashpirovsky, who promised to send health-giving rays through the television screen.

“Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev has this gift to a much lesser extent,” she writes.

She gives the example of Putin chatting with ultrapatriotic artist Ilya Glazunov at his art gallery when Putin ludicrously complained that the sword was too small in a painting of a heroic figure, “looking like a penknife in his hands, as if he were cutting salami.”

The artist humbly agreed, saying Putin had a “very good eye,” in an episode wittily reported by Kommersant’s Kremlin watcher, Andrei Kolesnikov.

Losers love this kind of thing, she writes. “As long as the hero has a big heroic sword, who needs democracy?”