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The curious case of 'Russian millionaire Boris Bork'

Boris Bork instagram persona Image copyright Instagram

Boris Bork had it all. This Moscow multi-millionaire drove fast cars, ate fine food and was frequently seen accompanied by glamorous women.

Photos on Instagram document a life of luxury littered with the trappings of immense wealth and attracted a following of more than 17,000.

He even appeared in a music video by a popular Moscow band.

So far, so good for Boris.

But all is not quite as it seems, because Boris Bork is not real.

Boris Bork is the creation of two friends who set out to prove that you actually do not need much money to create an online sensation.

Image copyright Instagram
Image caption "Millionaire Boris Bork" was actually the brainchild of two friends working in digital media and played by pensioner Boris Kudryashov.

Marketing consultant Roman Zaripov, 23, said the idea had come to him and a blogger friend after reading an article about how much it supposedly cost to create a social media star - a figure involving "six or seven zeroes".

Convinced they could do it much cheaper, they searched VKontakte, Russia's Facebook, for a "grandfather" who looked like a fictional millionaire, and found Boris Kudryashov, a pensioner willing to go along with their stunt.

And they then spent several weekends shooting photographs to turn Mr Kudryashov, who lives on a modest 12,000 roubles (£151; $195) a month, into "millionaire Boris Bork".

Image copyright Roman Zaripov
Image caption Roman Zaripov (right) pictured with Boris Kudryashov - the Russian pensioner who played millionaire Boris Bork.

In a Facebook post detailing how the stunt was carried out, Mr Zaripov said he was astounded at "how easy it is to deceive people, and how those who should carefully check information actually don't".

Once Boris' following had started to grow, Mr Zaripov said, offers of work had started to flood in.

"I'm still surprised at how, having spent 50,000 [roubles] in two months, you can make tens of thousands adults believe in a non-existent person," he said.

By Chris Bell, UGC & Social News team

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