6/22/2018 2:56:58 PM

Putin's poster girl: 'Only the United States is our real competitor,'

At only 24 she is already tipped to become a minister, and perhaps achieve her goal of ruling Russia. Happy to exploit her glamorous looks, Maria Sergeyeva has emerged seemingly from nowhere to become a leading propagandist for her hero, Vladimir Putin, her country"s "Iron Man" Prime Minister.

Critics, who have dubbed her "Putin"s pin-up", say that she is being used by the former KGB leader to target the young and to whip up jingoism and loathing of the West as Russia stares into the abyss of an economic crisis.

She is a leading light of the Young Guards, a youthful and growing band of zealots dedicated to resisting any efforts to stop Putin"s inexorable Russian revolution.

Blonde ambition: Maria Sergeyeva, who dreams of leading Russia, "finds adventures" while drunk and wearing nothing but a Cuban flag

Maria Sergeyeva

Although Sergeyeva claims that she holds no official position in the Young Guards, she is suddenly ubiquitous in Russian society - writing newspaper articles, attending political rallies (which, unlike so many others, don"t get banned) and pontificating via the internet. One recent speech that was made available online had 140,000 hits, crashing the political website hosting it.

Boasting that she wears almost exclusively Russian-made clothes rather than Western designer labels - she has a fondness for pink bikinis - Sergeyeva urges drivers to follow her example by shunning foreign cars.

She is critical of the West, especially America, seeing the world through the same prism as her leader. "Only the United States is our real competitor," she says. "When they provoked war in Georgia and revolution in Ukraine, I was so angry."

When it comes to Russia"s latest crippling financial crisis, she believes that only Putin and his ally President Dmitry Medvedev can save her country. Despite all her anti-Western rhetoric, Sergeyeva idolises Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill - she carries a book of his quotations in her handbag.

Putin's poster girl: 'Only the United States is our real competitor,'Putin's poster girl: 'Only the United States is our real competitor,'

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