Monday, August 01, 2005

Russian tycoon's wife naked in Playboy and Penthose

Moscow - The wife of a powerful Russian banker has shocked Moscow high society by posing naked for men's magazines. Explicit photographs of Olga Rodionova, a 31-year-old businesswoman, have appeared in dozens of publications, including Penthouse and Playboy, and she now plans to star in a soft porn film.

Rodionova's new career as a glamour model has made her the talk of Moscow's wealthy elite. It is unprecedented for a woman of her social status and she has provoked both criticism and amusement.

"I see no problem with showing off a beautiful naked body," said Rodionova, who owns a fashion shop and is the mother of a 10-year-old girl. "Nor do I think there is anything wrong with the sex scenes in my film. I have always dreamt of acting and I see the nudity as art. I have no time for those who criticise me for posing. They are being narrow-minded."

Rodionova, a business school graduate, has posed naked stroking a stuffed bear and lying on a Soviet era propaganda banner surrounded by Russian police officers. She has also appeared wearing only a pair of dark glasses under a portrait of Leonid Brezhnev, the former Soviet leader, in the arms of a soldier who caresses her as several other conscripts wait their turn.

Rich Moscovites are just as shocked by the fact that her husband, Sergei Rodionov, a banking and publishing mogul, encourages her. He is even said to have paid for some of her photo shoots

"I took her first nude pictures myself," said Rodionov, 44, who has been told by some business associates that his wife's behaviour is tantamount to adultery.

"Then she started posing for professional photographers. I told her the gossip will fade whereas the pictures will stay for ever and when she is 90 she will look at them and say 'Look what a beautiful woman I was'. I am proud of her."

Many Russian men like to draw attention to their wives' physical attributes. But in the upper echelons of Moscow society Rodionova, who has worked with top photographers such as Helmut Newton, is unique.

"A beautiful young wife is a must for a rich Russian," said one Moscow socialite. "It gives status, just like having a villa in the south of France, luxury cars and bodyguards. But their wives are meant to look good and spend their time buying expensive clothes, not taking them off as a career.

"Wealthy men here have mistresses but they are very conservative when it comes to their spouses. The last thing they want is for their business partners and rivals to pore over pictures of their naked wife."

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