Miss Russia claims she was “shunned” by her fellow Miss Universe contestants and was bullied by Miss Ukraine.
Failing to make the last 16 of the competition, Miss Russia Anna Linnikova explained to Evening Moscow that she put her lack of success down to politics as tensions continue to simmer in the region.
She reckoned wider geopolitical events saw her fall victim to “negative comments from long-time acquaintances from Ukraine,” but seemingly didn’t acknowledge that her country was in the middle of an invasion.
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She reckoned it was “a pity” that Ukraine’s Viktoria Apanasenko didn’t fancy a chat.
Linnikova said: “Many others avoided me and shunned me simply by learning about my origins.
“The girls from Ukraine and Switzerland simply ran from me like fire!”
She added: "From the very beginning, I faced a continuous stream of insults and threats from Ukrainian social media users."
Noting the political tension as the reason for not winning, she said: "Everything related to the top 16 stage has an exclusively political context. I don't think it was affected by the quality of my performance."
The tense atmosphere between the two was captured on camera at one point, as Linnikova seemingly tried to join a lineup right next to Apanasenko, who then appears to ask a fellow candidate – Miss Colombia – to stand in the middle.
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“I tried to make contact, but all efforts were in vain,” she added. “Everyone saw Viktoria’s demonstrative behaviour- this is her choice, and I do not hold a grudge.”
Taking to Twitter with a clip of the moment, one user said: “Miss Russia tries to intimidate Miss Ukraine by wanting to stand besides her!?
“Miss Ukraine was disgusted & she requested Miss Columbia to switch places.”
She’s not the only one to have spoken out about the matter though, with Apanasenko talking to the Daily Beast about how it felt to have shared a stage with Miss Russia, who at one point wore a costume called Crown of the Russian Empire.
She said that on the day of the finale of the competition she had been watching footage from the war and the assault on Dnipro, where rocket attacks had claimed the lives of 41 civilians.
Weeks before the pageant took place she had been among the many hiding in basements to avoid Russian missile attacks.
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She said: “I am more than grateful to Miss Universe for their support, but I am not sure the organisers understood what it felt like for me to be standing and smiling on the same stage with Miss Russia who was wearing a red dress, the colour of blood."
She continued: “Until the very last moment I hoped that Miss Russia would come up to me and say sorry, but she only came up to me to get a selfie for what I think were propaganda purposes.
“Miss Russia did not say a word about the war. People told me it would be dangerous for her.”
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