Russian Spy? Maybe So. TV Darling, Absolutely

MOSCOW — She likes spy movies and the actressAngelina 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, the young redhead who has achieved Hollywood-like 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 has become a darling of the tabloids, appearing in racy photo spreads, one of which recently involved her posing with a pistol.

“She is without exaggeration the woman of the year,” said Andrei Malakhov, the host of “Let Them Speak,” a popular Russian talk show.

In Russia, she has been vaunted as a patriot who has risked her safety and her future for the sake of her motherland. President Dmitri A. Medvedev awarded her and the nine others top government honors. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, a former spy himself, met and sang patriotic songs with them shortly after their return. Last week, Ms. Chapman joined the youth wing of Mr. Putin’s governing party.

“Loving your motherland is absolutely necessary to be happy,” she said.

Still, Ms. Chapman, who has kept the last name of her British ex-husband, spoke longingly of New York, where she was accused of passing encrypted messages to Russian officials from a Barnes & Noble in TriBeCa.

The value of her intelligence gathering and that of her colleagues has been a matter of dispute. None were charged with espionage in the United States, where some lived for 10 years under deep covercompiling information that seemed easily attainable on the Internet.

Pressed on the show about her activities in the United States, Ms. Chapman said, “I will never confirm whether I worked in intelligence.”

Rather than tales of cloak-and-dagger intrigues, she reminisced about her childhood with her mother, sister and friends, who appeared with her. There were home movies of a young Ms. Chapman reciting poetry in school and practicing ballet. Her grandmother brought a large pickled herring and beet salad onstage as a gift.

However, Ms. Chapman seemed barely able to endure a reunion with an old boyfriend, who came onstage and described their first kiss.

As for her future? “Keep watching television,” she said. “Next year I will reveal all my secrets.”

More than anything, though — more even than punishment for the still unnamed traitor who sold her out — she said she wanted a pet lion cub.

Perhaps she was thinking of the tiger cub Mr. Putin received for his birthday two years ago. Whatever the case, her host, Mr. Malakhov, summoned a handler from backstage who presented her with one.

Elated, the crowd began singing the theme song to a Soviet-era spy film, “Shield and Sword.”

Ms. Chapman kept her lips sealed.

A version of this article appeared in print on December 31, 2010, on page A10 of the New York edition.

Posted by: Conrado Garcia Jamin

About northernbarbarians

I'm an activist and advocate for human rights and the establishment of penalties to the simulators and inconsistent. My fight is for respect for universal rights and freedoms. Journalist various print and electronic media in several countries. Independent research analyst of social risks in unions, political, corporate and institutional image. Four books published and three in electronic version. Live one day at a time, even on payments, sometimes alive yesterday. Modest income is the price of freedom.
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