Spy Chapman given lion cub on Russian chat show

31st December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Seductive redhead spy Anna Chapman opened up to Russians in her first ever chat show appearance on television, enjoying a reunion with her first love and even accepting a pet lion cub as a present.

Dressed in a clingy green dress and high heels, Chapman gave her first television interview constructing an image of a provincial girl-next-door turned international mystery woman who wields a gun in men's magazine photo spreads.

"I am a very good shot, very skillful," she said, perched on a leather sofa on "Let Them Talk," a popular show on national network Channel One, which called her 'Girl of the Year'.

The interview late on Thursday alternated with footage from her home town Volgograd and laudatory comments from friends and former teachers.

"I've got on everyone's nerves because I very much want a little lion," Chapman declared at the end of the programme when asked if she has a wish.

"Unfortunately you can only keep them for three months, but I cannot do anything with myself," she said. "I am raving for a lion."

She was swiftly presented with a lion cub, led in to the studio wearing a collar and on a lead, to rapturous applause from the audience. "I will call him Nano," she said, as the animal sniffed around its new owner suspiciously.

The studio invited many of Chapman's classmates including her eighth grade "first love" who came with a bouquet of flowers and timidly kissed her on the cheek.

Chapman landed in the spotlight when she was booted out of the United States along with nine other Russian spies this summer in an extraordinary spy swap.

While the other spies kept a low profile, she went on to pose on the cover of Maxim magazine and engaged in several publicity stunts such as sending off cosmonauts from the Baikonur cosmodrome.

"People recognize me on the street very often, but life is not that much different," she said on the show.

As usual, she offered few comments about her espionage activities or the circumstances of her discovery, which has been reported as a result of betrayal.

"It's not for me to judge, I wish for nothing negative to anyone, even a traitor. It's his problem, not mine," she said. "What happened is for the best. It's a beginning of something great and beautiful," she said.

"She is without question, the Girl of Year 2010!" exclaimed the host Andrei Malakhov, one of Russian television's star chat show presenters.

Malakhov enthusiastically changed between a suit and a T-shirt with Chapman's head clad in a beret like Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. The caption read 'Cha'.

The programme gave many glimpses into Chapman's past before she departed Russia, showing a young girl recite a poem in a Soviet school uniform, and a teenager falling off a quad bike.

Her first effort to earn, the programme said, was a pencil drawing of Leonardo DiCaprio which she bartered for food and homework favours while in an all-girls school, just after "Titanic" came out in cinemas.

Chapman and the other spies were given awards by Medvedev but former intelligence professionals have lambasted them for their apparently shoddy spycraft in the field.

© 2010 AFP

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