Heroine of the People

by Andrew Stuttaford

I didn’t know there was a “Miss Earth” contest (apparently it’s an eco-friendly response to Miss World or something) , but Russia’s contestant, Natalia Pereverzeva, a former Miss Moscow and Playboy alumna, seems a worthy contender on a number of counts, not least this (the Daily Telegraph reports):

…Natalia Pereverzeva… said Russia was “a great artery, from which the ‘chosen’ few people are draining away its wealth.”

The 24-year-old issued the withering attack in response to a standard question about what made her proud of her country and what she could promote about it, asked of all contestants of Miss Earth.

 “My Russia is a beggar. My Russia cannot help her elderly and orphans. From it, bleeding, like from a sinking ship, engineers, doctors, teachers are fleeing, because they have nothing to live on….”

The stinging indictment, published in full on the pageant’s website, caused a furore in Russia. The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper splashed with the headline: “Did our Miss Earth 2012 contestant slate Russia or tell the truth?”  Commentator Dmitry Steshin appeared to think the former, saying Miss Pereverzeva had expressed herself in tired Western stereotypes. The beauty contestant was involved in “trading her body in photographs to arouse the sexual instincts of the end consumer” and her opinion was therefore worthless, he suggested.

How very Taliban.

On the other hand:

Miss Pereverzeva, a model and former finance specialist, began by praising her country, saying it was, “a kind cow with very big eyes, funny horns and always chewing its mouth; oh, what sweet milk she gives!”

No, I have no idea what that means. But she’s a brave woman nonetheless.

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