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article imagePlayboy model Maria Kozhevnikova appointed to Russian Parliament

By Joan Firstenberg     Dec 16, 2011 in World
The big question on the minds of Russians is: Are the married Putin and model Maria Kozhevnikova an item? Kozhevnikova, a Playboy model who has been appointed to Russia's parliament is a big Putin supporter and has spoken highly of the Russian leader.
The first thing Russian actress and model Maria Kozhevnikova did after she took her parliament seat representing Tomsk in Siberia was say, "I want to say that this man has very strong vibes."
Kozhevnikova was speaking, of course, about Vladimir Putin.
Kozhevnikova is a member of Putin's United Russia party and the Telegraph reports that she's an avid fan.
"I've seen Putin close up several times and I want to say that this man has very strong vibes," the Telegraph quotes Kozhevnikova as saying. "I've watched how people have changed when they got close to Putin, not because they are afraid, but because they feel a calm and strong confidence. Because of this, the West is afraid of him, and that is understandable."
The New York Daily News says this is a hot topic in Russia, with people wanting to know just how close the 27-year-old blond bombshell is to Putin. Many believe she has an intimate relationship with the him, something both Kozhevnikova and Putin deny.
But she isn't denying that she is a member of the Young Guard, a base of support for Putin. Many of the leaders of the movement are young and attractive. Maria moved up quickly and is fiercely loyal to the Russian leader.
An email she sent to the Reuters news service, echoes Putin's claims that the widespread protests in Russia against the recent elections won by Putin’s party are funded by outside forces. She told Reuters, "A 'strong Russia' cannot be controlled. Mass rallies have never solved the people's problems and answered their aspirations. The people were always just a weapon in the struggle for power."
Kozhevnikova, who appeared on the cover of the Russian edition of Playboy two years ago, will take her seat in Parliament on Dec. 21.
"For me this is an absolutely big event in my life," she said. "I’m just an ordinary citizen of the Russian Federation. With the problems I face every day, now I’ll be provided a platform where I can speak up the difficulties and offer solutions. I think now the time has come when the young people’s voice is listened to. The future of our country belongs to young people, and we must also be involved. I faced the problems of not being able to find a job after college, or buy an apartment by myself."
The Daily Mail reports that Maria is the daughter of Soviet ice hockey player, Alexander Kozhevnikov, who was twice an Olympic champion.
She was a lead singer in Russian group called Love Stories before taking on film roles. She is best known as a star in Univers, a TV sitcom about student life.
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