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    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

    Russian FM Spokeswoman Zakharova Reveals Tough Work-Life Balance Off Camera

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    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova revealed to Sputnik Polska, what it's like to balance an extremely public image with daily chores and raising her daughter.

    While Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova answers many tough questions about Russia's foreign policy, she also has a personal life like anyone else. Sputnik Polska's Leonid Sviridov asked her about the finer details of her life. This is an abridged interview, focused on what it's like to live an ordinary life while also maintaining an extremely public image and formulating responses to extremely controversial issues.

    Sputnik: Our interview is less about politics and more about life. Tell me, how do you choose your clothes?

    Maria Zakharova: Clothing must follow the format of the event, time of day and the circumstances. Apparently, people somehow think that I fly on a cloud, drawn by two pink ponies, and morning swallows bring me outfits stitched with spring flowers — but this is not so! I am an ordinary person, I do not have anything that distinguishes me from the man on the street, in a cafe or in a store, other than that I am shown on television.

    I do not have any fashion workshop, a tailor or a stylist.

    And where do you get your hair done?

    At a hairdresser salon. If there is a briefing at the Foreign Ministry, I style my hair with a hairdresser before the briefing. And if it's at a television studio, there is a dressing room with everything already there.

    What did you dream of as a child?

    Childhood is not a single thing, a child passes through stages. At various stages I dreamed of different things. I once dreamed of favorite toys, later on, that no one would be ill in the world — it was a very specific dream. I wanted to be somebody: in the morning, a doctor, by day, an astronaut, in the evening — a ballerina.

    A Sputnik reader from Italy asks: Are you married?

    Yes, it's not a secret. My daughter is five and a half years old, she does not go to school yet, she goes to preschool. I raise my daughter, together with grandparents, the nanny and, of course, teachers in the preschool.

    There is another question from a reader: In early July, I plan to spend a few days in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Can I meet you?

    I get a lot of such questions through social networks and handwritten letters. If it is from a journalist, I meet them, if it is from an ordinary person, I also try to meet them, if time allows.

    Sometimes it happens that when I go to some town, people learn from social networks that I am there — I get offers to come to the museum where they work, or to come to some kind of event. When there is an opportunity, I go. Therefore, give my contact information to the person who wrote the question.

    Maria Vladimirovna, do you have a dacha [summer cottage]?

    Yes. We go there often. When the dacha was built, we chose a place near a large lake. It is a very beautiful place.

    Did you celebrate Maslenitsa [weeklong pancake holiday coinciding with Mardi Gras]?

    Of course, I made pancakes on one of the days. Mine are special: thick pancakes, I don't really like the thin ones.

    Do you have pets?

    We have one dog in our large family. Its history is linked with me. For over 15 years we never bought a dog, but only adopted them, they were dogs from the street. After my grandmother's dog died of old age, I found this one on the internet, in one of the dog shelters. There I saw the dog's picture, it had something very heartfelt about it. And when we went to the shelter, we found out that it is three times bigger than expected.

    On your desk, I see a package of tea, "Secrets of Crimean Herbs."

    Yes, I brought it from Crimea, where I went for the first time last summer. I took a week off — I repeated the word Crimea so many times, but never went there myself. We spent a week in Yalta.

    Do you cook yourself?

    I do not have cooks or servants. I am an ordinary person who gets up early and eats a quick breakfast, while everyone is asleep. Like all mothers, I have the usual morning chores, and then I run to work.

    Do you have a favorite soup?

    I do! Pumpkin soup made inside a pumpkin. We take out the pumpkin pulp and discard the seeds. Then we simmer the pumpkin, add some oil and various seasonings and then some coconut milk. We boil the soup and run it through a blender. We pour the soup into a pumpkin and serve in a natural serving dish.

    And for the second course?

    I cook both fish and meat. Recently I cooked rabbit. I did it using an Eastern European recipe, marinated the rabbit meat overnight in red wine, and then stewed it. I love to cook.

    What was the greatest success in your life?

    The birth of my daughter, no question about it. The birth of a child allows you to look at this life in a completely different plane. A child has a magic key, which opens to you the secret doors of the universe, that's for sure.

    In general, I believe that raising a child is the hardest thing in life. There is nothing more difficult. This is the greatest responsibility in life. It's hard to be a doctor and do surgeries, it is difficult to fly an aircraft. But raising a child is a colossal responsibility.

    Probably the last question: Are you satisfied with your life?

    If a person says that they are satisfied, there is a big doubt about their sincerity. Life is the story of not only pleasure, but also about overcoming. It is a process. There are moments when I am extremely dissatisfied with something, and then, everything works out, and I am very happy. That's life.

    For now, I am exploring it.

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    interview, Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, Leonid Sviridov, Moscow, Russia
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