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Russia Racism:New Miss Russia ‘Not Slavic Enough’

Racism in Russia rising everyday The newly-crowned Miss Russia has told she is still proud to represent her country, even after racist slurs accusing her of not being Russian enough.

Elmira Abdrazakova’s father is Tatar, one of Russia’s oldest ethnic minorities, and she was born in Kazakhstan, but she was brought up in Russia and considers herself thoroughly Russian, as do the authorities.

The 18-year-old has been targeted by critics online and received so many vitriolic messages after winning the competition she was forced to temporarily close her social networking sites.

One fairly typical message, still posted on a Russian news site, describes her as an “ordinary Azeri parsley seller” and says the user would not even glance in her direction.

Another says she is “an ordinary market stall worker” and would be considered “a real beauty among sheep”.

The new Miss Russia told  she had been shocked to read the messages.

“The nationality question – I don’t really understand it, I don’t understand why men would write to a young girl offensive things about her nationality.

“It humiliates first of all not me, but those people who write it.

“It was bizarre for me when men were writing things like that to me, I was surprised we have people of that sort here.”

Ms Abdrazakova comes from a small coal-mining town in Siberia and there is an almost fairy tale quality to her rise to fame.

She says she only entered the competition to get the chance to try new experiences and visit the capital, Moscow, and that she never dreamed she had a chance of winning.

She now hopes to inspire other young girls and to prove that you can achieve success in Russia without a wealthy background.

She explained: “For many teenage girls Miss Russia will become a role model, a measure of beauty.

“Maybe some girls will look at me and get inspired by my experience to grow, to develop, to work hard. I hope they can see that in life you can reach something without big money.”

“I wasn’t expecting to win, to get this crown. The host announced that Elmira Abdrazokova won and I remember standing there and thinking, what a lucky girl who won it. Then it dawned on me – that’s me.

“All that evening I couldn’t believe it, only when I got back home I sat down and realised – I’m Miss Russia!”

Miss Russia 2013 might not conform to the Slavic ideal still expected by some here, but she will now go on to compete for Russia at the Miss World contest.

Ms Abdrazakova told us it was a great honour, and that she would try to represent her country as well as she could, even if not everyone in that country believes she truly represents them.

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