RUSSIA'S entrant for the Miss Earth 2012 beauty pageant has provoked outrage in her motherland by calling it "a beggar" and "my poor long-suffering country, mercilessly torn to pieces by greedy, dishonest, unbelieving people".
Natalia Pereverzeva said Russia was "a great artery, from which the 'chosen' few people are draining away its wealth".
The 24-year-old issued the attack in response to a standard question, asked of all Miss Earth contestants, about what made her proud of her country.
The annual international beauty contest, which emphasises environmental issues, is being held in the Philippines.
Miss Pereverzeva, a model and former finance specialist, began by praising her country, saying it was "a kind cow with very big eyes!"
But then she added: "My Russia is a beggar. My Russia cannot help her elderly and orphans. From it, bleeding, like from a sinking ship, engineers, doctors, teachers are fleeing, because they have nothing to live on. My Russia – it is an endless Caucasian war." (© Daily Telegraph, London)