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Shenderovich Caught in Sex Video

MTShenderovich speaking to a Putin supporter near the Georgian embassy.

Satirist and radio host Viktor Shenderovich on Thursday accused Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's administration of trying to discredit him by posting online a video showing him cheating on his wife.

The clip, which also purported to show two other opposition figures having sex with the same woman, is the latest in a series of hidden-camera stings to target prominent critics of the government.

"I recognized this multipurpose girl Katya from photos published by Novaya Gazeta and understood that this movie is also out there and that the premiere is coming soon," Shenderovich wrote on his blog at 3 a.m. on Thursday. He said some "kind folks" tipped him off that it would be released.

Several hours later, RuNet was roaring over the low-resolution video, which included individually shot clips showing Shenderovich; Alexander Potkin, the leader of the nationalist Movement Against Illegal Migrants; and a man who looked very much like writer and Other Russia opposition leader Eduard Limonov.

All were having sex with a person who appeared to be the same woman, although she could not be identified because her face was covered by a black spot.

Shenderovich, who is married and has a daughter, wrote that he had sex with the woman but without any particular pleasure. He also joked that security officials had shortchanged him by offering only one woman.

The woman, he said, was also featured in a compromising video circulated last month showing Russian Newsweek editor Mikhail Fishman. In the video he appeared to be snorting cocaine while a naked woman walked around the apartment.

Ilya Yashin, a leader of the Solidarity opposition movement, said at the time that he had spent a night with a woman at the same apartment, whom he now believes was an agent for the security services. He said he left when he was offered cocaine.

Yashin accused Nashi of being behind the videos, after the pro-Kremlin youth group posted a film earlier in March that appeared to show him, Fishman and liberal political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin giving bribes to traffic police.

Nashi denied involvement.

On his blog, Shenderovich called the video revenge fr om Putin's retinue for accusing the prime minister of killings, corruption and seizing power.

"Putin's administration was listening to [these allegations] with enormous cool, and without denying any of it, they answered with their typical, illegal filth," he said.

Speaking later on Ekho Moskvy radio, where he works, Shenderovich said "federal authorities" were involved in making the video. "It was done by authorities with two purposes: discrediting and blackmailing."

Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told The Moscow Times that he was not aware of the incident.

"We'd like it if he faced his problems alone," Peskov said.

Potkin, reached by phone Thursday, also confirmed that he was in the video.

"It was me," he said calmly. "Now you see that there are no guarantees of having your private life protected."

Limonov told The Moscow Times that he had not seen the clip and could not comment. Shenderovich could not be reached for comment.

The woman whom Shenderovich mentioned is Yekaterina Gerasimova, an amateur model who works for the Progress modeling firm in Moscow and provides services to security service officials, Yashin said. He and other prominent bloggers have said they recognized her and the apartment where the clips were filmed.

The flat, located on Orlikov Pereulok in downtown Moscow, is listed in online realty databases and can be rented for $2,500 a month.

A spokeswoman for the Progress modeling agency denied that Gerasimova was ever employed there.

"We didn't have any working agreement with her. She is not in our database," she said, adding that anyone interested in working for the agency can register a profile on its web site. "We don't know what these people do in their free time."

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