Anna Chapman: Internet Sensation

Assuming none of these Russian spying charges stick (apparently no actual secrets were sent to Russia), Anna Chapman seems likely to profit massively – one envisions her own reality TV show, K-Mart fashion line, and all the other trappings of instant tabloid fame. Some thoughts from Jeff Stein in the Washington Post:

“Act naturally,” the Russians tell their espionage trainees before dispatching them to America.

Boy, did she.

Anna Chapman cut a wide swath in New York even before her arrest on charges of spying for Mother Russia, judging by the sultry shots and videos suddenly popping up everywhere, starting with her own Facebook page.

Now, thanks to her penchant for seductive poses, she’s an international star. You’d hardly know her real pose, according to U.S. officials, was deadly serious: seducing government officials and businessmen into providing state secrets.

That would be treason for an American, punishable by death. Chapman, a Russian, faces only five years in prison for her espionage-related charges.

Even the lurid New York Post, though, caught the whiff of danger in Chapman’s gambit.

“Spy ring’s ‘femme fatale’” the tabloid’s front page screamed. “Red hot beauty snared in Russian ‘espionage’ shock.”

“The Soho Spy,” ABC News called her. “Stunning Anna Chapman Accused in Russia Spy Ring.”

Stunning indeed. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Web site ran a headline a carny barker would approve of: “Check Out Alleged Russian Spy Anna Chapman’s Facebook Glamor Shots.”

Of course, she was already on You Tube. A dozen videos appeared seemingly out of nowhere, some of them short and shaky jobs apparently shot by anonymous “friends.”

But in another, professional video, whose origin is still unclear, Chapman gives an interview in Russian to an unidentified journalist. In it, she talks about how much easier it is to make business connections in New York than Moscow.

“It’s very easy here,” she says.

Her profile on LinkedIn, the social and business networking site, was less lurid but no less seductive…

[continues in the Washington Post]

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