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© RIA Novosti. Виталий Белоусов

Money rules at Mrs. Russia competition

by at 10/02/2012 19:04

The world of beauty pageants may never have been a place of honest dealings, but Komsomolskaya Pravda’s recent report on the Mrs. Russia pageant shows just what an ugly business it can be in Russia.

The paper wrote that the story came to its attention when participant Olesya Meller approached the daily with the dirty details of how competition was run.

We arrived in Moscow on Dec. 4, and on the second day our boss Alla Markina called me to talk: ‘You know, this is a mega-project in which we invested mega sums. Accordingly, you and I must now determine a price,” KP quoted Meller as saying, referring to Mrs. Russia’s head organizer Markina.

Besides being a participant in Mrs. Russia, Meller had recently organized an affiliated pageant in the Sverdlovsk region.

In reply to Meller’s question of what kind of sums they were talking about, Markina reportedly replied that it depended.

“The first place is not up for discussion Markina allegedly said.Second, I am giving out for 6 million rubles, the third for four. But for you, because you are my partner, second place 1 million, and third – 600,000,” KP reported as Meller’s account of the conversation. Asked why first place was not on the auction block, Markina allegedly replied: “It has already been designated to our sponsor. You can not pay 300,000 euros, can you?”

Komsomolskaya Pravda’s report did not include any comments from Yulia Zabozhanskaya, who was crowned winner of the title on Dec. 11.


Markina responds

After confirming Meller’s account with various other participants, Komsomolskaya Pravda decided to approach Markina directly for a comment.

“Of course, I sell places in the competition and will sell them for the rest of my life,” KP quoted Markina as saying.Where else can I get money from? Who will give it to me, Karlsson [the cartoon character] with a propeller?”

In response to whether that meant whoever provided the most money was named the winner, Markina said that was not exactly correct.

“I, Alla Markina, as the head of the project, determine who wins this year, and it will proceed from the fact that the winner should be: a. beautiful and b. a person who did something for my project. And this Olesya [Meller] came from Bumblef*ck and has not brought a single kopeck!”


Expert comment

Komsomolskaya Pravda contacted the chairman of the International Consumer Society Confederation, Dmitry Yasin, and asked him for his opinion on the way the competition was being held.

The discrepancies between the way the contest is being promoted and the actual methodology of the selection of winners can be viewed as misleading viewers and participants. In fact, it's not a competition, but an auction: the highest bidder wins,” KP quoted Yasin as saying.

The audience should demand a ticket refund, and the contestants the return of deposits that they paid at registration.”

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