Redheaded spy Anna Chapman stares seductively into the camera lens and declares, "I will reveal all secrets." It's the top of a new television show that takes her post-espionage career as a media persona to a new level.
The secrets to which the 28-year-old Chapman alludes aren't about her years of undercover work in the United States, but on unexplained mysteries of the occult.
The new one-hour show, "Mysteries of the World with Anna Chapman," debuted Friday night on Ren-TV private television.
Chapman, in a red-and-black dress with a black collar, narrated some of the show, which probed how Arabic script might have appeared on the skin of a child in Dagestan. She provided slick studio segues between film pieces throughout the show, using the kinds of terms that might have come in handy in her previous life.
Introducing an interview with the family of the 2-year-old boy, Ali Yakubov, Chapman says: "My sources in Dagestan tell me that the Yakubovs fear for their lives," and that they had previously denied reporters access. "I talked them into it," she says.
In 2009, media reports about the boy caused a frenzy in the region when imams said pinkish scrawled verses from the Quran had appeared and faded on the child's body every few days. Regional experts dismissed the claims, saying the impoverished region was clinging to any hint of hope.
The television show neatly avoided Chapman's previous life as a deep-cover spy in the United States, something she has vowed not to discuss and Ren-TV officials have promised not to raise.
"We don't talk about the situation that made Anna famous. We understand that her activities were in the interests of the state," Ren-TV documentary series head Mikhail Tukmachyov told Komsomolskaya Pravda.