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Beautiful resources

Beauty pageants are about more than good looks they can have a message, too. Stas Shectman and Marina Kamenev report.

Published: August 8, 2008 (Issue # 1397)



  • The first Moscow Beauty pageant was held in 1988.
    Photo: Beauty of Moscow

  • Yulia Nagayeva is the current Miss Atom, having won an Internet beauty contest for workers in the nuclear energy industry.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / The St. Petersburg Times

The headquarters of Nuclear.ru are located in an uninspiring building near Moscows Paveletsky Station. The company is an independent Internet portal providing the latest developments in the field of nuclear energy. But that is not what it is best known for.

Inside the small office sits Yulia Nagayeva, a tall, striking brunette. She is a senior manager for business development at TVEL, a manufacturer of nuclear fuel. She is also Miss Atom, the latest winner of the beauty contest that has been run by Nuclear.ru annually since 2004. Miss Atom is an online contest for women under the age of 35 who work in the nuclear energy industry.

In addition to the countrys oil and mineral wealth, during the past decade Russia has been busy refining another one of its valuable natural resources: beauty. And while there have been no major international wins for Russia since Oksana Fyodorova won Miss Universe in 2002, numerous domestic competitions ensure that some of Russias most beautiful girls get to bask in the glow of a spotlight.

I think its every girls dream to see how they compare to other women, Nagayeva said. She had entered the contest twice before she won this year and loves the process of taking part.

Its great. We get a stylist who chooses our dresses, a professional hairdresser and a photographer. Then we get photographed in beautiful locations. I really wanted to take part in this, she said.

Our country is recognized for the beauty of its women, said Tatyana Andreyeva, director of Beauty of Russia (Krasa Rossii), one of the longest-running beauty contests in Russia. I consider ours one of a very few countries, perhaps even the only country, where female beauty is in the blood, where it is a national resource. Because of this, I feel that beauty contests here are very significant. They glorify these national resources.

Its not that Russian women are more beautiful than other women, said Fyodorova in a telephone interview. Its just that Slavic beauty is a universal kind of beauty.

Ilya Platonov, the director of Nuclear.ru, runs his competition for a rather different reason. When people think of nuclear energy, they get scared, they think of Chernobyl. We want to show that the people working with and promoting nuclear industry are normal and the fact that the industry is filled with lots of beautiful women.

On July 25, 63 beauties as the organizers call them represented the genetic wealth of cities, villages and regions across Russia and the CIS and strutted their stuff on a custom-built, 500-meter stage on the shore of Lake Onego in Petrozavodsk, Karelia, north of St. Petersburg. This years Beauty of Russia pageant was the first to be held outside of Moscow since 1995.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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