Photos of the “rich Serbian bachelor” living in St. Petersburg, Russia have been published everywhere. But he’s not a Serb and he’s not a Russian. He’s an Icelandic cult leader. [UPDATE: He's not. Read below.]
Who is Don Milisav Juan Gonzales Brzi, the “Rich Serbian Bachelor” whose photo shoot in a gaudy Russian villa has been the subject of one of the most recycled internet memes of the last five years? He’s been back in heavy rotation this week, making headlines everywhere from the Daily Mail to the Huffington Post and of course, media outlets in Serbia and the entire former Yugoslavia. Thanks to some truly heroic internet research from Animal New York’s Marina Galperina, we now know his real identity.
It was Galperina who helped introduce the English-speaking world to the man and his kingdom back in 2009, shortly after some photos from his Mambo.ru dating profile surfaced on LiveJournal. They provided a snapshot of the lonely life (and bizarre bathroom murals) of a pudgy, white-haired man posing in a silk bathrobe and mink coat among his riches, which included a lot of gold Louis XIV furniture and white marble. His alleged name, by the way, means “Speedy Gonzales” in Serbian.
But the dating profile identified the man as “Igor”, a 39-year-old Russian living in St. Petersburg seeking a “worthy Cinderella” between the ages of 16 and 20. As Galperina revealed today, the guy in the picture isn’t a Russian named Igor either.
Still, how did “Igor” become “Don Milisav Juan Gonzales Brzi” in the first place? We can’t be entirely sure, but six weeks after Galperina wrote about Igor in 2009, someone on a Serbian anime forum started a thread with a message (translated from Serbian):
“TO ALL THOSE UNMARRIED WHO’D WANT TO SPEND THEIR LIVES BESIDE ME IN ALL THE BEAUTIES OF MY HOME CAN SEE BELOW ALL THE WONDERS OF MY HOME WHICH I’VE BEEN DECORATING WITH TASTE PERHAPS FOR YOU.
DON -MILISAV- HUAN -GONZALEZ -BRZI
GIVE ME A CALL.”
It was the first mention of the name Don Milisav Juan Gonzales Brzi on the internet. After Igor’s photos, the message closes with “+33 8652 2562”. Appropriately, +338 are the first three digits you dial for Versailles. But the number’s fake because it’s too short. From what we can surmise, none of the Russian versions of the ad include a fake French phone number, so it’s likely “Igor” became the “Rich Serbian Bachelor” because of a joke on a Serbian anime forum.
So who is the man in the fake Russian Versailles?
Galperina revealed that he is High Holy Tsesarevich Vilhelm Ulfar Vilhelmsson Romanov, a man from northern Iceland who (sometimes) lives in Latvia. He’s the leader of an Icelandic cult called Eternal Life, and claims his mother is Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova of Russia, who was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
Vilhelmsson’s cult leader name is Ulfar, and Eternal Life believes in Ulfarism (“Wolfism”), that “everyone has the right to live forever”. He has a Twitter account with one follower and 65 tweets. He has a book available on www.ulfarism.com (though you will be encouraged to donate via PayPal after each line).
Here’s an excerpt:
“In the beginning there was nothing. Then nothing became. What became was death. Then death moved and the stars started to turn. When one star turns with one another then we have electricity. Electricity is start of life.”
A few more excerpts:
“Do not cut down trees in a war. That will force others to eat flesh and that will be your guilt.”
“A man can engage not more than four women.”
“We shall listen to the whites and let the white judge, rule and write the law with all classes’ blessings.”
According to more than one Icelandic website, High Holy Tsesarevich may also be selling his sexual services for 5,000 Icelandic krona an hour (a little over $40).
Galperina figured out the connection between Don Milisav Juan Gonzales Brzi and High Holy Tsesarevich Vilhelm Ulfar Vilhelmsson because the original posting with the ridiculous photo shoot had an a strange Google ad which (just like Ulfarism’s website) solicited money. Turns out he was soliciting money for his Icelandic cult.
According to his Facebook page, he works at an American-style fast food restaurant in Reykjavík.
UPDATE: Animal New York said they were wrong
Marina Galperina of Animal New York, whose discovery we quoted in the article, announced that she was wrong about the identity of the “Rich Serbian Bachelor”.
And here’s her explanation in the today’s article “Rich Serbian Bachelor” is not “Icelandic Cult Leader” but He’s Real and Terrible:
“Earlier this week, we attempted to investigate the origins of the viral ‘Rich Serbian Bachelor’ aka ‘Modern Russian Prince,’ and ended up down a wrong turn through the internet rabbit hole. Despite some similarities in internet activity, is not the same person. I apologize profusely for this error. This sometimes happens, but I’m particularly sorry it happened to you.
And also, sorry that it tied you to him, which according to a story Metro Sweden dug up that I couldn’t, “Igor” is really Igor.
And he really was looking for virgins age 16 to 20. When a Russian journalist from Pravda attempted to interview him, he told her, ‘Darling, throw a coat over your naked body and come to me, because I’m not into hanging out at cafes and parks.’ And later, ‘So, idiot, are you rejecting my offer? I have paintings here that every museum would be jealous of, and you’re turning it down. I’m not going to rape you. We’ll have some champagne with strawberries and chat.’
The journalist has not visited the ‘castle’ which is speculated to actually be the showroom of Igor’s furniture company.”
We apologize for reproducing the error, especially in light of the fact that Velhelmsson’s aunt reportedly spoke to the Swedish newspaper Metro, who says he is hospitalized and not well.