Amateur model known as 'Katya' revealed as Russian honeytrap bait
Published 28/04/2010 | 12:11
Ekaterina Gerasimova has piercing blue eyes, an innocent girl-next-door face, and likes to do a little amateur modelling.
But if her "victims" are to be believed, she is the Kremlin's most effective secret agent and a latter-day Mata Hari.
Her mission, it is claimed, is to discredit prominent Kremlin critics by luring them into compromising situations using vintage KGB honey trap techniques.
Offering her own body, sex, and drugs from cocaine to marijuana as an inducement, "Katya" as she is usually known has tried and often succeeded in bedding at least half a dozen high-profile Kremlin critics.
The reputational damage she has inflicted has varied from serious to negligible depending on her victim's marital status and response.
Her latest victim was Viktor Shenderovich, a journalist and the script writer on Russia's now defunct version of the Spitting Image TV satire.
Mr Shenderovich, who is married and has a daughter, admits that he slept with Ms Gerasimova but claims he was set up by the Kremlin.
Though he has tried to laugh the incident off, his credibility as an authoritative critic of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, appears to have been at least partly dented by the sting and his marriage is now reportedly in trouble.
The editor of Russian Newsweek magazine also fell under Ms Gerasimova's spell and was filmed in his underpants chopping up what looked like cocaine after having sex with her.
A clutch of anti-Kremlin opposition figures and activists including a man who looked like the leader of the radical National Bolshevik Party have also been caught in flagrante delicto with the twentysomething model.
But unlike Soviet times when the secret service used compromising material or 'compromat' as it was known to blackmail, Ms Gerasimova's exploits have been widely publicised in grainy and heavily edited videos on the internet.
The videos are often accompanied by mocking music and subtitles. It has taken a few weeks for her victims to realise that they have all been set up by one and the same girl.
Yet little is known about Ms Gerasimova beyond that she registered for an online modelling agency that supplied pretty girls for ad campaigns, trade exhibitions and fashion shoots.
Pictures of her show a brunette posing in her underwear wearing pink nail varnish and a broad smile.
Nicknamed 'Moo-Moo' after the surname she appears to have given herself on a social networking site, victims say she used different first names, had different cover stories, and was highly persistent in her advances.
Some of the victims say they knew something was wrong when she suddenly produced drugs or, in one case, asked a young opposition leader to join her and a female friend in experimenting with a large selection of sex toys.
The politician, Ilya Yashin, said he got up and left at that point after asking her whether they were being filmed.
Katya herself appears to have disappeared into the ether but at least one other prominent Kremlin critic has already warned that he expects a similar video featuring himself and Katya to hit the internet soon.