Russian Spy? Maybe So. TV Darling, Absolutely.
Share with others:
MOSCOW -- She likes spy movies and the actress Angelina Jolie. She might be considering an acting career herself and really wants a feline pet. Well, a lion cub.
These were the revelations from the first major public appearance by Anna Chapman, who has achieved celebrity here since she and nine others accused of being Russian sleeper agents were outed and deported from the United States six months ago.
Heralded by a thumping techno remix of the James Bond theme song, Ms. Chapman appeared on a popular talk show on Thursday, speaking about life, love of country and a fondness for shooting. "In general, I am a very good shot," she said. "I have a passion for it."
Unlike her more obscure colleagues, Ms. Chapman, 28, has welcomed the spotlight. "She is without exaggeration the woman of the year," said Andrei Malakhov, the host of "Let Them Speak," a Russian talk show.
She has been vaunted here as a patriot who has risked her safety and her future for her country, and last week, Ms. Chapman joined the youth wing of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin's governing party. "Loving your motherland is absolutely necessary to be happy," she said.
Still, Ms. Chapman spoke longingly of New York, where she was accused of passing encrypted messages to Russian officials from a TriBeCa Barnes & Noble.
Pressed on the show about her activities in the United States, Ms. Chapman said, "I will never confirm whether I worked in intelligence."
Instead, she reminisced about her childhood. There were home movies of a young Ms. Chapman reciting poetry in school and practicing ballet. Her grandmother brought a pickled herring and beet salad onstage as a gift.
As for her future? "Keep watching television," she said. "Next year I will reveal all my secrets."
More than anything, she said she wanted a pet lion cub.
Perhaps she was thinking of the tiger cub Mr. Putin got two years ago. Whatever the case, her host, Mr. Malakhov, summoned a handler from backstage who presented her with one.
First Published December 30, 2010 11:51 pm