This week, the Federation Fund brought another batch of Hollywood stars to Moscow, film star Jim Carrey was reported to be on the point of marrying a Russian student, and Komsomolskaya Pravda revived the art of face-reading to solve the enigma that is It Girl and journalist Ksenia Sobchak.
After splashing out on huge billboards across Moscow, the Federation Fund, which invites stars over for fundraisers for sick children, held a charity auction that attracted a lot less media attention than its previous efforts. That could be due to the section on its website devoted to suing media outlets. This time, the Daily Mail gave it the biggest coverage, focusing on the burning issues of whether Sophia Loren should be showing cleavage at her age and how tiny 1980s pop singer and former X Factor judge Paula Abdul looks in real life.
The foundation attracted a lot of speculation when its first high-profile concert included a performance by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. And later a mother of a child who was visited in the hospital by film star Sharon Stone complained to Ekho Moskvy radio that she had seen no more concrete help. The foundation scrambled to provide evidence of its donations, until then not made public. It also sued media over critical coverage but with little success. A statement on its website complains that "such cases are extremely dangerous for the litigant."
According to a brief summary on its website, its two charity concerts in Moscow last summer raised $765,000 for hospitals, plus buying an apartment in Beslan for a young man who was nearly blinded while saving a boy playing with a hand grenade. It's a lot of money, but the pomp of the events, with a massive turnout of stars spending several days in Moscow, raises questions about the costs.
The website says the concert Putin appeared at in December 2010 raised far more, with 372 million rubles ($12.6 million dollars) going to hospitals in cash form plus a list of equipment and toys donated.
This week Hollywood stars gave the foundation a vote of confidence, however, with Sophia Loren turning out for the third time and Woody Allen and Kevin Costner, who came to previous events, donating lots.
Meanwhile, newspapers speculated that film star Jim Carrey was about to marry a Russian student, Anastasia Vitkina. The New York Post reported that they were in a relationship late last year, but suitably for a potential star's spouse, no one seems to know much about her. Even the Russian tabloids have not come up with any juicy details about her Russian origins, while Kommersant simply wrote that she was born and grew up in Russia. Her reported age varies from 23 to 30, but she is evidently a fair bit younger than Carrey, who is 50. It must be love because she let him take her on a date to a Guns n' Roses concert. Still, that was not as bad as Komsomolskaya Pravda, which gave up a whole page to discussing Ksenia Sobchak's face, based on a documentary about the "science" of "phenotypology." Her flared nostrils indicate a fiery temperament and "not the strongest nerves," apparently, while her long neck shows she likes to take the initiative. Sobchak's nerves were certainly tested Thursday when U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul pulled out of her GosDep 2 talk show at the last moment, when the audience had already unfurled Stars and Stripes flags. McFaul has been tweeting to Sobchak about his keen desire to go on the show, which is barred from MTV, but he failed to turn up, forcing Sobchak to field a somewhat one-sided discussion of U.S.-Russian relations on the show, which is filmed live.