Putin hires former glamour model as personal photographer

Yana Lapikova, former Miss Moscow contestant, was confirmed to have been appointed as one of Putin's official personal photographers on Tuesday.

Another photographer and blogger who first announced Lapikova's hiring posted some of her racier modelling pictures alongside her own efforts -- including the ill-focused shots of fruit.

"I think it's fine and nothing to be ashamed of. I think we can only congratulate the Prime Minister's press service on such an acquisition. Not every photographer gets such a career," he commented.

But, 58-year-old Putin's press office has defended the latest addition to the team.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, said the press service had been looking for a new photographer for some time because the others were too busy covering events attended by Putin's deputies. He insisted the selection was entirely down to professional merit.
"We don't select photographers based on gender. She's a really good photographer, her modelling past doesn't concern us at all, it's not a crime," 'The Daily Telegraph' quoted him as telling Russia's Interfax news agency.

Lapikova will work alongside two photographers who document Putin's regular meet-and-greets, government meetings and occasional encounters with endangered predators.
Photography plays a key role in the image strategy adopted by Putin's very active press office. His "action man" image is built on outdoor photo opportunities with polar bears and tigers and bare chested horse riding in Siberia.

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