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Feature Story March 6, 2007
Top 10 Most Likely First Ladies!
Who Will Be The Next First Dyev? By Yasha Levine Browse author Email

In this Women's Day issue, we're looking exactly one year ahead. Why, you ask? It's simple. Next year's Women's Day falls on the eve of Russia's 2008 presidential elections. March 8, 2008 is going to kick-off a new era in Russian history, and so we're offering a comprehensive never-before-seen pictorial survey of the top ten women behind the men vying for the presidency.

Svetlana Medvedeva

Married to: Dmitri Medvedev, Russia's First Vice President, Chairman of Gazprom's board of directors

Age: 35

Occupation: Homemaker

Svetlana snagged her husband during first grade in a backwater village near St. Petersburg. They've been inseparable ever since. Svetlana lucked out with Dmitri. Unlike pretty much every other chinovnik on the presidential short list, Dmitri does not appear to be particularly ashamed of her. He doesn't flaunt her, but he doesn't hide her like many of his colleagues. According to Komsomolskaya Pravda, the closer it gets to election day, the more Svetlana can be seen running around town. Not only has Svetlana been squeezing herself into Moscow's elite tusovka, she's been trying to show off her stuff in the political arena. She's started to wear fancy dresses, she's been spotted hanging out at a house warming party for Alla Pugacheva, and she even took an unsupervised trip to Venice with her son on behalf of her husband to organize and kick off Italy's Russian Language Week. Clearly, Svetlana's training has begun.

Medvedeva comes out of hibernation

Galina Lukashenko

Married to: Alexander Lukashenko, President of Republic of Belarus

Age: Unknown

Occupation: Peasant

It's not clear how Galina met Belarus' future president, why the two decided to wed, or why Lukashenko doesn't get a divorce. But bat'ka must have cut the marriage off pretty quick, most likely after they exchanged nuptual vows. During his 13 years as president, Galina has never once been seen at his side. She doesn't have Lukashenko's direct phone number and must schedule a visit through official channels if she wants to see him. According to KP, she's not even interested. They have nothing to talk about. Things took a bad turn when she unwittingly entertained a few reporters with stories about how much she loved to milk her favorite cow, Milka, and even handed out photographs of the act. Her husband was livid. To prevent future negative PR, Lukashenko confiscated his wife's cow, ripped out her garden, erected a fence around her decrepit wooden hut, and placed a police observation post nearby to keep an eye on her. Other than cultivating a strawberry patch, Galina has been forbidden by presidential decree to do any sort of farming. Lukashenko visits her on her birthday sometimes, bearing gifts such as a microwave or coffeemaker. Her mother and sister live next door, while it's rumored that Lukashenko lives with another woman.

Galina giving her cow a squeeze

Irina Ivanova

Married to: Sergey Ivanov, Russia's First Vice President and former Minister of Defense

Age: Unknown

Occupation: Banker at Vnesh-econombank or a chinovnik

Irina Ivanovna is the most mysterious of the bunch. No known photo of her exists and her husband Sergey regularly skirts any question regarding his spouse. All that is known is that she was born and met Sergey after he graduated from the KGB academy. Sergey lived in St. Petersburg and the two had a long distance romance before Sergey moved down to Moscow. They've been married for 30 years and, allegedly, she has borne her man two boys. In 2004, Irina gave Donald Rumsfeld and his wife a tour of St. Petersburg. Rumsfeld remains the only known non-Russian politician who has seen her. Ivanov doesn't wear a wedding ring, but has referred to her as "the perfect wife": skinny, blond, and pretty. According to him, her interests match his. Both are avid Beatles fans.

Elena Berezovskaya

Married to: Boris Berezovsky, exiled oligarch living in UK, Putin's arch villain and a wanted criminal in Russia

Age: Early 30's

Occupation: Spoiled wife of oligarch-in-exile

Elena is Boris Berezovsky's third wife. In oligarch circles, she has a mean reputation for being the biggest ball buster around, a Grade-A sterva. She likes expensive things and the men that gave them to her. That's how she found Berezovsky... Fast-forward two kids and a half-decade later, and Elena might have lost some of her looks but she showed the kind of grip she had on Boris' 'nads by managing to effortlessly block not one, but two divorce attempts. In 2006, Elena got wind that her man was about to dump her for a 16-year-old Russian dyev from the southwestern Siberian town of Novokuznetsk named Marianne. According to the tabloids, Boris fell in love and is reputedly still hanging with the jailbait, but Elena managed to cut an under-the-table deal with her man by threatening to start a kompromat-filled scandal he'd regret. Defeated by an ageing money-hungry troll? How does he expect to wage war on the Kremlin?

Berezovsky couldn't beat this STERVA

Irina Kasyanova

Married to: Mikhail Kasyanov (aka Misha Two Percent), former Vice President of Russia and current leader of self-created National Democratic Union opposition party

Age: 51

Occupation: Homemaker

Irina met her future husband in school and they've been together ever since. The thirty or so years have given Irina a lot of time to learn from Kasyanov, a wily bribe/kickback artist turned Democratic opposition leader after he was turned out by Putin. Not much is known about the woman, but over the years, she has stood by her man. By many accounts, Irina functioned as a front, foil and royal coffer for all her husband's machinations and was deep into various schemes Kasyanov had going. One of the more famous corruption allegations against him and his wife was their illegal sale of Sosnovka-1, a sprawling government-owned dacha, on pennies on the dollar. The Kremlin dug up this charge to hopefully bury Kasyanov once and for all, but it didn't work. But the dirt on Kasyanov's wife floated up with the investigation. As it turned out, she owned the shell company through which the purchase of this property was cleared. And that was not her only racket...

Irina Kasyanova with her daughter

Galina Zhirinovskaya

Married to: Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Jewish anti-Semite and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia

Age: Unknown; old

Occupation: Biologist, PhD

Galina Zhirinovskaya met Vlad in 1968 when they were both students at MGU. Their tents were close to each other on a camping trip, where they met and became friendly. They were married shortly thereafter. Not much is known about her life, but it appears that she stayed as far away as possible from her husband until recently. She even uses her maiden name to hide her connection to her husband. A few years ago, Galina supported her husband's call to legalize polygamy in order to stabilize Russia's growing demographic crisis and wrote a book describing her 30 years of life with Zhirinovsky that gets all up in their sex lives. Last May, she was almost sent out by Zhirinovsky to Siberia to fight an infectious disease. He threatened to divorce her if she came back with no results.

Zhirinovskaya out and about town

Elena Fradkova

Married to: Mikhail Fradkov, Russian Prime Minister

Age: Old

Occupation: Unknown/homemaker

Other than a few highly-unflattering photos making her appear more like a third-string nose guard than the elegant lady that she is, not much is known about Elena Fradkova. Her husband takes his cue from Ivanov on this one and is tight-lipped about the subject. While fielding questions about his family during his swearing in ceremony, he forgot to even mention that he had a wife. According to Komsomolskaya Pravda, he talked at length about their kids, but not a single word about Elena. KP reports that there are rumors that Elena Fradkova likes to roll around between the sheets with her man and is so inventive that Fradkov doesn't stay overnight on official visits if he can help it.

The Fradkovs

Irina Abramovich

Married to: Roman Abramovich, world's 11th richest person

Age: 40

Occupation: Oligarch's wife/former Aeroflot stewardess

Irina met Roman Abramovich while he was flying first-class on an Aeroflot flight she was working as a stewardess. Back in the early 90s, with New Russians flying back and forth between Russia and Europe, stewardesses were in a good position to catch the best specimens. Irina did well. People that knew her then didn't think of her as hottie. Supposedly, she had a nervous sickly quality about her and had some crazy crooked legs. But something did the trick. Now, she rarely appears in public, even less so than her husband. She's constantly afraid for her life and is guarded by a team of former British intelligence officers. She never travels in the same car as her husband, fearing that if they get bombed, their five kids will become orphans. Last October, she filed for divorce on the suspicions that Roman was cheating on her with 23-year-old Russian socialite. With 11 billion pounds at stake, the divorce could be the largest pay out in history. But there's a theory going around that Abramovich put Irina up to fake the affair, and that the divorce as a way to safe guard his wealth by transferring some of it to her name.

Irina Abramovich hears a ticking sound

Irina Mironova

Married to: Sergey Mironov, Speaker of the Federation Council of the Duma and leader of the fake center-left "opposition" party Fair Russia

Age: Unknown

Occupation: Chinovnik for life

Irina worked as Mironov's secretary when they hit it off. He was married at the time, but that didn't stop him from putting on the moves. When he was transferred to Moscow, he decided to dump his old wife and bring Irina out with him. Good help is hard to find! That was in 2002. Since the move, he's done a bit to help out his old lady. Mironov gave her a good paying position on an election oversight committee and has been showing her off at bureaucratic functions. According to KP, Irina was making 500,000 rubles a year in 2004 from her chinovnik position. It doesn't seem possible, but from everything sniffed out about the couple by Russian tabloid journalits, the two are truly and genuinely in love. As one of the top people in government, the dashing Mironov could have had any woman he wanted. But he chose the full-figured, plump cheeked Irina. Indeed, love is blind.

Irina Mironova in love

Daria Kasparova

Married to: Gary Kasparov, world chess champion turned Democratic opposition leader

Age: Mid-20s

Occupation: Unknown; business school graduate/celebrity wife

Gary Kasparov picked up Daria during a press conference he was holding at her university. To date, she is his third wife, and is 20 years younger than the last. She's got a few inches on the chess master and looks to have a bit of the Jewish blood in her. Right before they married in 2005, Daria was quoted by KP as saying, "I want to start a family. So we could have celebrations that I didn't have when I was a kid. Yes, Gary, shares my dreams." She was raised in a single mother household. Daria was named "Hero of our Class" when she graduated from her St. Petersburg university in 2005. Her classmates and teachers were amazed by her fine catch and decided to reward her.

Kasparov and his new bride

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Yasha Levine is an editor at The eXile. You can contact him at

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