Are you desirable?

Only if you're friends with loads of oligarchs, obviously

This is an excellent one from Pravda. It is fast becoming my favourite Russian newspaper. Why? I'll tell you why.

a) It has a whole section wonderfully called Hotspots and Incidents, generally listing horrific happenings and an uncanny amount of explosions happening around the place. I mean, elsewhere you might just call that news. But not at Pravda. Also, why call it news when you could call it Hotspots and Incidents? These guys have a sense of drama and event, and I like that.

b) Sometimes there are headlines like Sporadic Prostitutes Conquer Moscow.

c) They run loads of photo stories, such as Cyclops Cats, Two-Headed Birds and Monster Dogs.

On top of all this, there is this story -- unequivocally titled Russia's Most Desirable Single Women, based on "women's fortune and their celebrity status". Check them out. My favourites thus far are Alina Kabayeva, friends with Putin; Alyona Akhmadullina, friends with "many Russian oligarchs"; and Ksenia Sukhinova (you must remember Ksenia -- she's a major hero of this blog AND the face of the Eurovision Song Contest). And then of course's there's the other Ksenia -- oh, how the Ksenias must want to scratch each other's eyes out -- Ksenia Sobchak, who is, says Pravda, "an analogue to Paris Hilton". Can you possibly imagine a more distinguished tagline to your identity?

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

Show Hide image

The NS Podcast #112: Going Underground

Are women-only carriages the way forward?

This week, we explain why we're backing Tessa Jowell as Labour's candidate for London mayor, talk women-only carriages on the tube, and speak to Tom Shone about Woody Allen. (Caroline Crampton, Barbara Speed, John Elledge, Stephen Bush, George Eaton).

You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes here or with this RSS feed:, or listen using the player below.

Want to give us feedback on our podcast, or have an idea for something we should cover? Visit for more details and how to contact us.