A former fashion model has joined Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's two-man team of photographers, even though bloggers were unimpressed with her camera skills. Putin's spokesman said the prime minister could not afford a better professional.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed Thursday that 25-year-old Yana Lapikova, who unsuccessfully vied for the Miss Moscow title in 2008, would work as an intern for Putin's two photographers and may become a full-time addition to the team.
"She is a really good photographer, and her modeling past is of no interest to us whatsoever because it's not a crime," he said, according to remarks carried by RIA-Novosti.
Peskov said the two regular photographers are "squeezed dry" by their exhaustive schedule, which he compared to "penal servitude." But he said that finding one more photographer was hard because government pay is no match for salaries at news agencies.
Samples of Lapikova's work, posted on drugoi.livejournal.com, include pictures of glamour models, cats and birthday cakes. Many of the 860-plus comments to the post contain scathing reviews of the photographs.