The Russia-friendly Crimean Parliament recently made 33-year-old Natalya Poklonskaya the region's chief prosecutor, a position that vaulted her to internet fame this week. Because she's good at her job? Not quite. Because she's hot. At least according to Russian media:
Fawning reports like that have, of course, spawned an online Cult of Natalya. She's especially popular among Japanese anime enthusiasts and now has her own subreddit, dedicated to sexy fan art of the magistrate—helped in no smart part by a series of photographs, apparently taken from social media profiles, that are being passed around by anti-Russia activists in Ukraine:
Poklonskaya "plays piano and likes to draw," Russia's LifeNews tells us as part of its "Sexy, Sure, But This Feisty Prosecutor Is Tough, Too!" charm offensive.
How tough? Here's what she said about the Ukrainian revolution and its fallout in Crimea, in her first press conference two days ago, as reported by the government-run Voice of Russia:
"What happened in Kiev was, first and foremost, an anti-constitutional coup and an armed seizure of power," Ms. Poklonskaya said. "That's what my feeling has always been and that's the opinion I wasn't afraid to voice [while still working] at the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office."
The people who currently hold the offices of Ukrainian President and Prosecutor General are illegitimate, the 33-year-old added point-blank. Her outspoken criticism has already created many enemies in the Ukrainian media, with journalists describing some of her leaked photos as "frivolous."
Poklonskaya can't win: No matter how capable she is, the only thing anyone cares about—from the Ukrainian activists who oppose her, to the Russian media run by her bosses—is how hot she is.
So what are her qualifications? According to the government-run Rossiskaya Gazeta newspaper, she got a degree from a law enforcement academy in Yalta and served for a time as a low-level prosecutor for the previous (Russian-friendly) government in Kiev. As she tells it, she left Kiev in disgust last month after that government was overthrown by the Ukrainian protesters, beating tracks to Crimea... where she learned she'd been fired from her job and a criminal probe of her activities had begun in Kiev.
But who cares? She's pretty! Vladimir Putin knows what the internet wants! And she wants to rid the Crimean streets of criminals—by which she means pro-Ukrainian activists. Take, for example, the caption to this pic from a fawning profile of Poklonskaya in Rossiyskaya Gazeta:
Roughly translated, it means: "I want my child to live in an honest country, not a country of bandits, predators, or Nazis."
In that lovefest of a profile, in which Poklonskaya talks about her daughter (she is divorced) and receives tons of flowers brought in by her assistants, the prosecutor derides the demonstrators who took power in Kiev as Molotov cocktail-lobbing "zombies" with "Nazism in their heads."
"There is no law in Ukraine," she says, before implying an attempt was recently made on her life, adding: "I will do anything for my child to be proud of me and proud of the fact that she lives in such a great power as the Russian Federation."
Which is a mighty proud statement from someone who wasn't a Russian Federation citizen until this week. Maybe next week Crimea will get some seats in the Russian Duma, and she can move to Moscow.