Russia's contestant in the Miss Earth competition is Natalia Pereverzeva, a 24-year-old who works as a financier for the Civil Service.
As you can see from the promo video below, Miss Earth offers a different take on beauty pangeants than Miss Universe and Miss World, emphasizing sustainability and ecological causes.
Despite this angle, we figure few expected Pereverzeva — a government employee — to answer to a seemingly innocuous question with a lengthy, angry, and incredibly articular rant about her country. Now Pereverzeva's answer — in which she calls Russia a "poor long, suffering country, mercilessly torn to pieces by greedy, dishonest, unbelieving people", has caused a storm in Russia. One newspaper ran with the splash "Did our Miss Earth 2012 contestant slate Russia or tell the truth?"
What makes you proud of your country and what can you promote about it?
I have always been proud of the country in which I live. I can't imagine myself without it. My country – that's all I have, all people that I love, are all that is dear to me. My Russia – it is bright, warm, patched, but it is so pleasant to slumber under it in a winter evening when the storm rages outside. My Russia – it is a beautiful stately girl, full-blooded, rosy, in embroidered Sarafan, with long and thick plait, in which multicolored fillets are twisted, a beautiful fairytale girl. My Russia – it is a kind cow with very big eyes, funny horns and always chewing its mouth oh, what sweet milk she gives! Oh, how it smells – meadow herbs and the sun.
But my Russia – it is also my poor long, suffering country, mercilessly torn to pieces by greedy, dishonest, unbelieving people. My Russia – it is a great artery, from which the "chosen" few people draining away its wealth. My Russia is a beggar. My Russia cannot help her elderly and orphans. From it, bleeding, like from sinking ship, engineers, doctors, teachers are fleeing, because they have nothing to live on. My Russia – it is an endless caucasian war. These are the embittered brother nations who formerly spoke in the same language, and who now prohibit teaching of it in their schools. My Russia – it is a winner which has overthrown fascism but bought the victory at the expense of lives of millions of people. How, tell me, how and why does the nationalism prosper in this country? My dear, poor Russia. And you still live, breathe, and you gave to the world your beautiful and talented children Esenin, Pusbkin, Plisetskaya. The list could be continued on several pages, and each is gold, a gift, a miracle.
I am happy to be your citizen. Russia! In spite of all tears, sorrows, wars, invasions, no matter who rules Russia, I am still proud to be born in this great and beautiful country that has given so much to the world over the years of its existence. I am proud of my motherland for mercy, for heroism, for courage, for diligence, for heritage that she leaves to the world, for people who can live for others. I believe that each person living in Russia should identify himself with it. Feel the participation and take a proactive stance whatever it concerns. There are moments to which we close eyes and reject as spoiling a look. Everyday we meet the facts that are unpleasant to us, that are unworthy of our homeland. Only we can improve the situation. We must learn to express ourselves and to show our best quality traits. We should try not to live only as consumers, but to develop ourselves, read books, listen to interesting music, and be interested in scientific achievements. Politics, to communicate with good people, develop creativity, bringing into this world something new. We should bring up our children and talk to them on spiritual topics, disclose their talents and only then we reject everything unnecessary, affected and pretentious. When we seriously begin to take care of our country, it will blossom and shine brightly.
According to reports Russian press, Pereverzeva's agent says she is currently in Indonesia and she has not been in much contact, but she had not realized "she said something terrible". Perhaps even more remarkably, she says the questionnaire was handed out without warning, and the answer was spontaneous. We wonder how long these feelings have been brewing.