When it comes to photos of Vladimir Putin, he's usually the one who's scantily clad, not his photographer. So this story comes as a bit of a surprise. Perhaps he's been spending a bit too much time with Berlusconi:
Russia's government Friday sought to douse a frenzy of Internet comment after it hired an attractive former model and "Miss Moscow" finalist as personal photographer to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The government confirmed the hiring of Yana Lapikova to join the pool of Putin's official photographers as an intern but insisted she had been chosen on the grounds of her personal qualities alone.
Prominent Russian blogger drugoi posted scantily-clad photographs of the sultry brunette's modelling past on his LiveJournal site, provoking a flurry of comments querying the real reason why she was hired.
If you're curious about the sultry photos in question, Julia Ioffe's gotcha covered.
Given the B-list celebs who routinely make their way into Russia's parliament, an ex-model photographer isn't really that crazy. But the Kremlin seems weirdly defensive about it:
"We do not hire photographers according to gender. She is genuinely a good photographer, her past as a model does not concern us. In any case, it is not a crime," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency.
He explained that it was not easy for the government to hire photographers as the pay for the job was considerably less than that offered in international photo agencies.
"Working as a personal photographer is a kind of torture which is not payed like in the international agencies but far lower".
So, "we hired her because she's totally qualified but it's a really bad job that no one would want anyway"?
I don't know. Even if the pay isn't great, following around Putin and photographing him while he tranquilizes the endangered species of Siberia sound like a pretty great job to me.
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